With all of us being artists I bet most of you have been called talented before or called someone talented and thought nothing bad of it - I mean it's a nice compliment, right? Well, personally I don't like being called talented, even though I know people do it because they want to compliment me. Here is why.
First of, let's see what 'talent' actually is.
A talented person is, per definition (Cambridge Business English Dictionary), "(someone who has) a natural ability to be good at something, especially without being taught". I found another definition (German Google) that goes: talent is "a certain great skill that has not been acquired through learning or training, but is already part of a person when they are born". Overall 'talent' is usually described as a "natural skill".
Now think for yourself. Would you say that you're naturally good at drawing? Personally I feel that I'm not. My interest in drawing has developed at a young age (say, between age 2-5) but that's only the interest. I wasn't good at drawing then, but I wanted to become better, as good as my mom to be precise. Once I had an interest in becoming good at art I gave my best to improve and was happy when I saw the results of my efforts. So the first thing that inspired me to draw was my mom and her drawings. Later there was a neighbor boy who was about my age but who was better at drawing than I was. And that irritated me. It was (I know this sounds cocky but it was) the first time I ever met someone who was as old as me but better at drawing than me. And it inspired me even more to become better. It was also the first time I ever thought about art styles since his drawings were inspired by Animes (mostly by Dragon Ball I think). Time passed and even now he's still better at drawing than I am, though our styles are very different, so it's kinda hard to tell who's better.
At age 13 or so I joined dA after someone recommended the website to me. The art I found here was very inspiring to me as well but I think the most important thing that dA did for me was make me eager to improve my English skills. I felt really ashamed of my poor English with all the native speakers around here. So dA is what made me develop an interest in languages - and over time a skill (and decent English grades).
What I want to say is: If someone calls me talented it feels like they don't acknowledge all the hard work I've put into my art for all these years since I was little. It feels like they tell me that it's a natural skill of mine. To be honest I don't believe in talent at all. I think everyone can learn anything as long as they have an interest in it and are physically capable of practicing it. Talent is more or less an excuse that people use. Like "wow you're so talented I'll never be as good as you" - yeah. You won't if you don't try!
Basic interests in something are often developed at a very young age, a time when our parents (or other people that serve as role models) have more influence in our interests than we do. So it is not always our own choice to develop an interest and a skill that is good for us. By the way, what even causes an interest to exists? I think it's inspiration. The wish to be as good at something as someone else - or better. It is hard to pursue an interest though if pursuing is not fun or rewarding enough - and this is also what people who talk about talent usually mean: "I wish I was as good as you at X but I don't want to invest as much time into it as you did so I'll never be as good as you."
So interests alone don't naturally become skills, but learning something we're not interested in is always troublesome (as English was for me before I had an interest in learning it). It's more of a spark, an opportunity, away that we can follow or leave it be. The more interests you have that belong to a similar topic the easier the thing you want to learn will come to you, especially if you're making use of effective learning methods. Like for us artists it is easier to choose atmospheric colors if we have an interest in color theory and if you have a certain animal as a pet you will probably know its anatomy well and be able to draw it more easily.
You could say that the mix of inspirations, believes, values and tools that is our personality determines whether we learn something faster or more slowly, or at all.
And most importantly - it has to be fun!
Here's a little extra. If I can do it, you can do it.
Keep being creative, everyone!~