Carl Jung once said something about how great talents are like fruits, dangling from the thinnest of twigs that are easily snapped off. What he meant by that exactly, I'm not sure. One thing I do know is that everybody has a talent, and that no talent is too small to be dismissed or too big to be feared.
Talent reminds me of an excellent book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: The Little Prince. This little prince lived on a small planet all by himself, performing several activities to keep his days and nights busy. One of these was to care for a rose, which he watered and protected from animals by placing it under a glass globe. He loved it very much.
One day he came to Earth and, wandering here and there, came upon a rose garden. The sight of this garden broke his heart for it was full of roses. All along he'd believed that his rose was unique in the whole universe, yet here he looking at hundreds of others. His own wouldn't have stood out from the others if he had happened to bring it along. But, after the initial shock and dismay (and because he was such a wise little prince), he realized something: his rose was unique after all! Throughout the years he had loved it and nurtured it. It was his and his alone. That set it apart from the others.
So it is, I think, with people and their talents. Take, for instance, a painter. It's almost a certainty that there are more critically acclaimed painters than painters who perform their craft in obscurity. But does that mean the unacclaimed painters' work is mediocre? Perhaps to professional critics and such others, it is. Perhaps having their art being labeled "mediocre" is one of the blows that snaps the twig, felling the talent.
Or maybe this scenario. A glass blower is critically acclaimed, his work is popular among many people. He knows he does a good job, but when he sees his glass pieces displayed among many others, he gets this feeling of inadequacy, of mediocrity. I think most people go through this glass blower's predicament at least once; it doesn't matter whether they're writers, composers, athletes, web designers, sculptors, tattoo artists, teachers, etc. A person pours his heart and soul into something, sweats blood and sheds tears over it. After the rush of exhilaration of a job passionately and excellently done, he takes a breath to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Until one day, the composer hears (what he thinks) is a better song; the teacher comes across a fellow educator who makes teaching seem effortless; the writer reads something so well written his stomach clenches in envy. The first flush of achievement is replaced by uncertainty. This niggling demon in the back of his mind shakes his confidence and has him questioning his abilities.
I won't claim that what other people say and think is unimportant because it is, especially if the other people in question are authorities in their fields or if they're people whose opinions matter to you. Validation and approval are flattering and encouraging, but your fulfillment (and mine) shouldn't hinge solely on those.
Ultimately, fulfillment should come from within; self-acknowledgment and self-validation are achieved when you are able to say truthfully that you truly gave it your best, that you couldn't have done any better. Knowing that another person does it better shouldn't deter you from what you love to do. There will always be better -- and worse -- writers, athletes, web designers, musicians, glass blowers. What you do, if you are impassioned, should never be mediocre for you because you love it, you nurture it.
Though there are countless others with similar talents, yours is unique. Because it is yours and yours alone, and nobody else can do it quite the way you do.