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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Does Talent Even Matter?

Lord help me, I can't get this story out of my head. And I just have to warn you, it might mess with your head, too. Especially if you weren't born rich.

Basically, what you've told yourself your whole life wasn't true turns out to be exactly true: it does matter who your daddy is, and it does matter if he has money. Studies have found that when one has money, one has more access to privilege which means better schools, higher-class social circles and network connections, and more opportunity. Perhaps most of us knew that, at least. But the lie that we told ourselves was: but if I just work hard enough with my talent, I can really make it somewhere.

The answer is: maybe. If you're lucky.

If you have money: you're more likely to be successful, whether or not you had talent in the first place.

This article is, to date, three weeks old. I still haven't stopped thinking about it. Part of me feels like I knew it all along. Another part of me still holds on to hope. Not every success story is that of a child born into privilege. Some stories of greatness have some spin on them to make the hero sound like they were born in hardship, when really, they had privileges all along. But not every success story.


I've had privilege in my life: both of my parents worked in jobs that provided us a stable income. I'm white. There was always food on the table. I was allowed to dream and chase after those dreams. I feel that that is a pretty privileged life right there. And yet why is success so illusive? When I work so damn hard?

These are questions I'll continue to grapple with as I continue to work my buns off. I wonder if others have realized this fact already, and how they continue on with the knowledge. Do they cling onto hope that they might be the outlier? Have they given up? Do they find a job and a life more stable and fulfilling than the endless chase toward success in an art field?

I'd love to know your thoughts on this article, and what you think about these studies. How does it make you think of your own life and your own dreams?


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