Are You Talented or Skilled?

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i always wanted to be the artsy type. granted, i was self-elected president of pottery club my senior year in high school. i don’t have much to show for that except a 12lb crayon i thought would be a good idea to make? raw, artistic talent doesn’t flow naturally from me when it comes to painting or drawing or other typically artsy things.

since we bought our house 1.5 years ago, there’s been a big blank spot over our fireplace. i sort of always wished i was talented enough to do some pretty painting to hang up there. we moved in at christmas time and my grandparents sent us a gorgeous housewarming wreath that we kept up for entirely too long.

after every last needle of both our wreath and our tree were drier than the saraha desert, we were left with this big empty space. we searched many places for the perfect piece of art to go there but never found anything we super loved until…


how gorgeous and perfect is this painting?! we absolutely adore it!

what makes it a million times even more special is that my very own nana painted it!

when she unveiled it to us, i immediately exclaimed, “oh my goooodness nana, you are SO TALENTED!!!!”

her response, “i’m glad you like it though i’m not talented, it’s a skill i choose to develop.”

there’s a reason we truly should listen to people with more life experience than us. they throw down wisdom like shaq makes it rain cheeseburgers in the 90s movie kazaam!

yes, we are all born with certain talents and gifts. we are also born with the ability to choose to spend our time doing more of one thing than another.

so what’s the difference between a talent and a skill?

a skill is “a learned power of doing something competently a developed aptitude or ability”

a talent is “the natural endowments of a person.”

while i see the above painting and immediately think my nana is extremely talented (you might too), it’s easy to forget the amount of time she dedicates to this skill. she takes a variety of weekly art classes, drives to the middle of the grasslands in kansas to try her hand at new scenery and constantly goes behind her comfort zone to try new things.

i find this revelation empowering! though i wasn’t born with the natural talent to draw or paint amazing things, it is within my capacity to be skilled at it. i can choose to increase this ability by spending my time and energy on the skill of painting. or the skill of communication and writing (which i currently do) or cooking (which i don’t).

when you might be discouraged about not having a natural ability to do something that really lights you up and makes you happy, remember that this can become a skill of yours. when you prioritize something and spend time and energy on it, eventually it may start to feel like a talent of yours. don’t forget the hard work you poured into acquiring that skill and own it!

thank you nana for our beautiful new painting, you truly are a skilled artist!


  1. Roemer

    August 15, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    You nailed it Chelsea! She does work very hard and almost every day
    Glad you and Ryan like it. Papa

    • chelsea

      August 21, 2018 at 9:34 am

      we love it papa!!! and yes, she does work very hard on it 🙂

  2. Charlene Maugeri

    August 15, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    This is such a great post and so true! My Nana was also both very talented and skilled as an artist!

    • chelsea

      August 21, 2018 at 9:34 am

      yay! we are lucky to have such good nanas in our lives, charlene!

  3. Penny McWright

    August 15, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Beautiful painting and such wisdom and advice you have given all of us!

    • chelsea

      August 21, 2018 at 9:35 am

      nana is a wise woman indeed! we adore the paintings, you’ll get to see them in real life soon!

  4. Audrey

    August 22, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    This is a gorgeous! And what a unique and healthy way to think about talent vs. skill! I would say scrapbooking for me is a skill. I like to think I’m creative, but really it’s practice with putting the pages together over and over. And watching and learning from other people more talented/skilled than me.

  5. Vivien

    August 27, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Your nana is most wise.

    • chelsea

      September 18, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      she really is!

  6. Elyse

    September 24, 2018 at 9:51 am

    This is SO true. I’ll admit it annoys me though when Andrew says the same thing to me about his art.