I was a big gamer when I was a kid. I’d race through my homework as quickly as possible so I can spend 4-5 hours playing on my computer and Playstation (1, then 2, then 3). I’d master the art of headshot-ing in CS, earning bonus money with the annoying high-arc shot in Gunbound, and wreaking havoc with throwing knives in COD. I was damn good at games. But my parents were worried that I was wasting my time, even seriously calling me a game addict at one point. Regardless, I kept on gaming ’cause I enjoyed it, plain and simple. (Looking back at it, I probably should have spent some of that time talking to girls instead).
But of course, where I excelled in gaming, I struggled in college. I found the Computer Science material dry, outdated, and purposeless. Many of the professors were more concerned with students turning in completed projects than inspiring the students to do more. So for years, I wallowed in mediocrity because I lacked any motivation to do any better.
(Now, stay with me here, I know this seems like it’s going nowhere but I promise there’s a point to this.)
Derek and I met up with an older Omega named Dennis because he seemed to share that Omega spirit that Derek, Stevo, and I still have. Dennis, who’s hiring engineers for his startup, started talking about how how hard it was to find good talent in San Francisco. Dennis has been in this industry for quite a while, so hearing this got my ears perked up.
“Wait, this is San Francisco. How can it be hard to find good talent? There’s so many smart engineers here.”
“Well… OK let me rephrase that. You can always find good talent, but it’s hard to find good talent with passion.”
Hearing this got me re-evaluating what “talent” really means.
We always perceive talent based purely on a person’s end result. Suppose we have two people with the same intelligence and same amount of training. If Person A completes a task in 30 minutes, but Person B completes the same task in 5 minutes, then clearly we’d say that Person B has more talent. But the question we never seem to follow up with is this: Can he perform again? What if Person A consistently performs at 30 minutes with great enthusiasm, but Person B gradually becomes bored and thus his time dips past 30 minutes? Then Person A clearly is the better overall worker. So the question remains: who has more talent?
As always, results aren’t indicative of your current skillset or future performance. I was terrible at school but that didn’t mean I was doomed with my career (far from it). I’ve always had a history of being passionate, from basketball to Omegas to friends and to family. Passion (or even having a history of passion) is a very strong indicator of your projected ceiling. Passion is intangible, yet it’s the most important attribute that people seek when it comes to having “talent.” Passion can come from many things. Whether it be having a chip on your shoulder, wanting to make your family proud, or just having pure joy from doing what you love to do. Passion is something that we’ve all experienced before.
There are some of you out there who believe you lack talent to pursue your dreams. I want to tell you, straight up, that it is not true. If you’re feeling “stuck” (like how I felt stuck in college), quit doing what you don’t give a shit about and do something that will make you happy. If you have doubts, look back at a time in your life when you loved something so much that you worked your ass off for it. Maybe you loved working out and got that amazing 6-pack. Or maybe you wanted to complete a marathon once in your life and while training you puked many times. Or maybe you ate 10 Filet-O’-Fish because you love food. Regardless of where your passion was at, you are capable of being passionate once more.
Passion is talent, and that means you’re talented.