Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Diamonds in the Rough

[Note: I'm pleased to announce that I am writing regularly for the STOX Scribe, a weekly newsletter affiliated with IDEASTOX, a groundbreaking web community that provides a place for individuals to save, share, develop, value and attract people and funding to their ideas. This post originally appeared in the STOX Scribe, dated Aug. 3, 2009.]

Many people seem surprised that Susan Boyle, the YouTube "Britain's Got Talent" phenomenon, got to middle-age without being discovered for her singing talent.

I'm not surprised at all. Both my parents sang and I grew up around talented amateurs who - for one reason or another - never made it big. Many of my friends today are unpublished authors, poets and screenwriters. For years, I took dance classes from a tall, beautiful woman who could have taken a place in the Broadway chorus line, but never quite got there.

The point is, raw talent is all around us. It's not unlike raw ideas, which - as we've all heard - are valued at around a dime a dozen.
What matters isn't the talent - or the idea The point is, raw talent is all around us. It's not unlike raw ideas, which - as we've all heard - are valued at around a dime a dozen.
What matters isn't the talent - or the idea - so much. What matters is what you do with it.

Developing an idea takes strategy, research, commitment and money. Likewise, someone with raw talent must invest in training, preparation, industry savvy and networking before she is likely to get noticed.

Part of it is also luck and timing. A terrific singer born in London, or Los Angeles, has got it easier than one who's lived her entire life in an obscure Scottish village. A great idea conceived in Silicon Valley has a better chance than one cooked up in Pakistan.

Most of all, developing talent and ideas takes courage. Boyle showed a lion's share of it when she stepped out in front of a hostile audience.

People with great ideas must screw up that kind of courage if they want their ideas to go beyond the raw stage and succeed on the world stage.

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