I stumbled upon an interesting concept while reading an article on Medium. The writer, while giving tips for professional writers, advised that they try to identify their natural habitat when it comes to writing. She gave an example of A list Hollywood stars who have distinguished themselves by playing roles that only they could have given the best expression to. For instance, there’s a reason Steve Martin would excel far more in a comedy role than he would playing a superhero. In the same way, Wesley Snipes’ inimitable interpretation when he dons the hat of a villain is testament to his suitability for the character.
The writer referred to this perfect fusion of personality and vocation as Vein of Gold —a phrase coined by the author, Julia Cameron, —who also has a book by the same title.
The idea behind Vein of Gold is that creatives, (and indeed everyone else), have a turf on which they are most comfortable playing. One where they do not have to exert themselves too much to give a stellar performance.
The good news: Everyone has a vein of gold.
That one area where they are better than almost everyone else; a space where they shine without even trying.
And while being uber-talented in one field does not preclude an individual from doing well in others, there’s no comparing the result they record when they operate within their vein of gold.
Remember those classmates who were mathematical geniuses when we were in high school; who went as far as correcting teachers when they made a mistake, while the rest of us crunched our brows in frustrated confusion?
They were flexing in their vein of gold.
It’s their forte. That innate imbuement and inward dexterity that providence bestowed on them.
These days, there’s plenty of emphasis on stretching. We tell people to explore and go out of their comfort zone.
We are obsessed with taking on new things even if we continue to struggle or fail at them.
In fact, in some quarters, you are considered unsuccessful or lazy if you decide to stick only to what you are good at.
This notion is wrong.
The reality is, you are more likely to be the best at what you are naturally good at and continue to improve upon rather than that which you do not have a flair for.
It’s the reason everyone has a talent. It’s natures way of giving an individual their unique advantage—a zone where they’re most comfortable—and can trump the majority.
In a world that’s going crazier by the day with unprecedented heights of uncertainty, it makes sense to hold on to any semblance of certainty.
Now more than ever before, you want to do the things that give you joy.
You want to immerse yourself in a vocation that makes you happy.
Also, on an uncanny level, the year 2020 has been bedevilled with one tragedy after the other. COVID-19 apart, people are losing their lives every day. A situation that has prompted many to surmise that if staying alive is the only thing one manages to do this year, it would be an achievement.
This is not to discountenance the desire to learn new things or suppress the urge for something different.
It’s good to stretch. I learnt how to use Canva during lockdown. I also picked up some other skills, but it was because I wanted to. I could extend myself; I wasn’t under pressure.
And if you are like me who has a voracious appetite for knowledge, that’s great! By all means, step outside yourself and your natural inclinations to take on new challenges.
However, I realise that as a writer and editor, it’s more important and far more rewarding for me to improve on my core and attain an inimitable height of expertise rather than spread myself over many activities that are not my place of strength.
In every field of endeavour, the people who record outstanding success are those who focus on their natural skill. Little wonder personalities such as Lionel Messi, Beyonce Knowles, and Lebron James are epitomes of success in their professions.
What’s your Vein of Gold?
Where do you shine without even trying?
Know it, get better at it, and seize opportunities to showcase it.