Thursday, July 6, 2017

PSA: Talent vs. Skill (In Terms of Calligraphy and Bullet Journaling)

psa: the difference between talent and skill, in terms of calligraphy and bullet journaling
Today's PSA is is something that bothers me so much. The difference between talent and skill is not only confused within the calligraphy and bullet journaling communities, but also in society as a whole.

First up, here are the dictionary definitions of the two words, taken from Merriam-Webster.
  • Talent: "a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude (i.e. natural ability)" or "the natural endowments of a person"
  • Skill: "a learned power of doing something competently: a developed aptitude or ability"

In other words, talent is what you're born with, the things you inherently are good at doing, while skill is what you work for. It's not necessarily a big deal to everyone, but you are disrespecting and discounting someone's hard work and all of the countless hours that they've put into developing their craft if you describe their skill as talent.

In terms of calligraphy, people practice a lot to get to where they are. Every person that you admire started from somewhere. People work diligently and spend a lot of time in order to improve their art. Personally, I'm not a very artistic person; I've never been good at drawing, and my handwriting is naturally really ugly. However, through lots of practice, I've been

When talking about bullet journaling, you usually don't see the behind-the-scenes: the mess that is some people's desks, mistakes and smudged ink, blank or half-used spreads, being dissatisfied with their current system, sketching out and carefully drawing spreads, etc. It does take experience to create conventionally pretty spreads and pictures. (And of course, a "good" bujo is just any that benefits its user, regardless of how "pretty"it is,)

So, in conclusion, talent = good at something because you were lucky and happened to be born with a certain ability, while skill = good at something because you put in a lot of effort and worked hard. Though it's annoying for creatives themselves, the biggest problem with people confusing these two terms is that it discourages others from trying to improve at something because they think, "Oh, I might as well give up because I'll never be able to get better since I don't have talent."

However, that is so not true. Hardly anyone ever starts out already good at their craft; though a natural affinity might aid some, it's a skill that's developed over time for the vast majority of people. See this as inspirational because anyone - regardless of natural born ability - can become good at anything that they put their mind to. Don't perceive your own lack of talent, something only a fortunate few possess, as an insurmountable barrier to success.
Mae-Mae Han

What other things bother you in the calligraphy or bullet journal communities? Make sure to leave it in a comment down below!


  1. What confuses me is that BUjo is meant to be about planning to be more f=efficient. Some of what I see as BUJO's look as thought the person has hours to spend doing working on their journals. If they have so much time, then they don't really need a bujo to help improve productivity. I'm all for art journals and artistic/pretty diaries etc, but are they really BUJOs? Are they confusing BUJO with art journal? Bit like confusing talent with skill?

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