Friday, May 15, 2020

Twitch Streaming Does Not Require Talent

What is talent? When it comes to Twitch streaming, talent could mean being more confident on camera, having a better looking broadcast, or growing faster than someone else who's been on the platform for just as long. To put it simply, talent is an unfair advantage. But contrary to popular belief, talent doesn't actually give the advantage to its bearer. When it comes to talent, the advantage typically goes to everyone else.

In reality, talent is nothing more than a seductive way of making you complacent. It causes you to forget what hard work is, and what manner of effort is required to make things happen in the real world. For someone cursed with talent, their craft seems so easy until it suddenly doesn't. And by the time they realize that they've been lagging behind, it's too late to catch up. From that point, it'll take a lot of hardship to claw their way back into their old spot. In this entry, I'll teach you to avoid the pitfalls into which talent can lead, and to make up the skill difference if you feel you feel talent has left you overlooked in the first place.


Don't get complacent.
Plenty of us have been burned by talent before, though we may not have seen this for what it was. The most common example is when someone has a natural affinity toward one of their subjects in school as a child- a whirlwind in which I was caught as well. Throughout my educational career, I was abysmal at science and barely passable at math, but a command of the English language came naturally to me from a young age. I aced every test for years without ever studying, and I was praised by parents and teachers for things I didn't even see as difficult. I was placed in advanced classes not because I sought out more challenging work- in fact, as a child I hated to read books- I simply floated through because the subject was common sense in my head. Other students in these AP classes would read for fun, trying to challenge themselves with more and more complex authors, and I was puzzled that they wasted their time in such endeavors.

Then all of a sudden, at some point late in high school, my abilities fell off a cliff. Instead of perfect scores, I started failing. No matter what English classes I took or who taught me, I wasn't able to keep up in the advanced classes anymore- the subject had simply passed me by. Because I had been gifted in this field from the start, I had assumed I would never need to think about it again. This instilled a terrible work ethic, and once turbulence appeared I was unable to pull out of the nosedive. At the same time however, those other advanced kids who were seeking out challenges at every step along the way never faltered. It was like we were running a race against the curriculum- both I and those other advanced students began with a head start, but they were smart enough to know that just because they had an initial advantage didn't mean the race was over. They kept running and working hard, while I simply stood still. And by the time I was overtaken by the curriculum, I found that my legs weren't strong enough to catch up. The talent itself wasn't the issue, but my taking it for granted was. It took me years of independently seeking out books to read and developing my own skills to reach a satisfactory point again.

If some aspect of Twitch streaming comes easily to you, then you're lucky. But don't assume it'll be easy forever. Whether by outside events, schedule changes, hardware failure, or another of life's infinitely unpredictable factors, there will come a point when that advantage of yours is tested. And the only thing which will decide whether you fall behind on your streams or keep going will be the amount of discipline you've instilled in yourself before the hard times, when it seemed like things were going well. If you've been resting on your laurels, assuming it would always be easy, you're setting yourself up for heartbreak.


Ryu never stops training. Neither should you.
My advice to those who do have an innate talent for streaming, and my advice to those who don't, is exactly the same: don't stop challenging yourself. This could involve honing your speaking voice, streaming more consistently, updating things more often behind-the-scenes, or anything else that pushes you outside your comfort zone. Encourage yourself to face the hardships before they become necessary, and you'll avoid larger hardships in the future.

For most of us, going live every day requires a near-masochistic effort. Whether from shyness, lack of tech, lack of skill, or any other factor which causes self-doubt, we have to actively force ourselves to do this thing we love. Though there are some who find ease in one or two aspects of the craft, the majority of Twitch streamers begin at the beginning with no extra head starts. If you feel you fall into this more prevalent category, I hope I've helped you to dispel the romantic notion of how much easier it would be if you only had more talent for streaming. Effort will always be more valuable than talent. Being 'naturally good' at something is almost meaningless, because if you don't want the prize bad enough, that innate skill won't carry you through to the finish anyway. But if you persist through hardship, and if you seek out the difficulty before it comes looking for you, then you'll be ready for whatever lies ahead.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Nicely said! How I came across this, idk. But I woke up at 3am and Google searched different talents for streaming and this came up. Amazing 👏🏽 appreciate your words of wisdom. I can relate to your story.