When it comes to the arts, a lot of people thinks it’s all about talent. They believe the only difference between success and failure, in creative and artistic endeavors especially, are latent abilities bestowed upon the lucky few as they formed in their mother’s womb.
Of course, natural gifts do indeed play a role. A good set of pipes and an ear for the notes can really help further a singing career. Likewise, an insightful mind, the ability to see and describe different perspectives can help pave the way for success in writing. For an easy analogy, we can look to professional sports. Michael Jordan would not be the greatest basketball player of all time (sorry, there is no debate) if he hadn’t been born with the genetic blueprints that directed his bones and muscles to stretch well beyond six-feet tall, propel his body four vertical feet into the air, and grow a pair of mitts that enable him to palm a basketball like I palm an orange. You can’t learn that kind of stuff.
But lost in the beliefs that we are predestined for either obscurity, mediocrity, or greatness — through no power of our own — is the hard truth that talent without effort is dead. Time and time again, this is proven. Take another look at MJ. It was sheer gumption that pushed him to a level beyond where his physical gifts could take him. The best player in the history of the game, maybe one of the few who could coast on talent alone and still kick tail, left everything he had on the court for every game.
You never know what your abilities really are until those abilities are tested. I guess what I’m saying has already been said best by the shoe company intertwined with Jordan’s legacy: if you want to do something, just do it.
This month’s cover subject is another great example of what I’m talking about on the local level.
Rufus Elam is a funny guy. I’ve known him personally for nearly a decade, and have always been impressed with his quick wit. Apparently, he’s had “it,” the mysterious X factor that often goes by the synonym of “talent,” in the form of an ability to make people laugh his entire life.
And now, he’s flexing and stretching that ability, stepping onto the stage and melding his dreams with his talent. Who knows how far Rufus will go? What we do know is that the only way Rufus became a standup comedian was by deciding to just do it.