When Talent Isn’t Enough

I’ve been very fortunate to be around talented people my entire life. Whether it be on the field, in the classroom, or in the office – I have always been around those who always seemed to have it better than me. And I think that when I was younger, I would often sulk. Why couldn’t I be smarter, or faster, or stronger, or have a sixth sense for cool things. I think that I’ve always just been really average at a lot of things. But I think it’s this awareness of being average and accepting that I am that has allowed me to do somewhat well in most settings that I go into. It’s not only the lack of talent or the awareness that I have, I think that there’s also something to say about hard work.

I’m sure we all know that kid in high school who may have peaked a little too early. They were amazing athletes but never played beyond the high school level, they were in all the gifted course but never reached the expectations that were laid out by teachers and parents, what gives? Talent is amazing and it can get you to some pretty beneficial spots but it’s the application of that talent and the intent that makes it bloom. It’s the intent behind talent pushed and motivated by hard work and discipline that allows a talent to flourish into something other than a lucky occurrence. I think about all those kids that I grew up with playing sports in high school that had aspirations to play at the next level but then fizzled out. They didn’t want to study, they didn’t want to train, they didn’t want to work for it.

But sometimes you see the kids who have talent and who have the discipline. They understand what it takes to be great and they push themselves to become just that. One of my favourite sports figures in the world is Kobe Bryant. It’s not because Kobe was a freak athlete. Kobe was never the best shooter, the most athletic, the best leader, or the best defender – but he was the hardest worker. His talent wasn’t only playing basketball, his talent was hard work. How wonderful is that? The man is still human. If he can work that hard, why can’t I, why can’t you? When talent meets effort, that’s special and it’s not seen as often as you’d think.

But what about average folks like me? Like us? Well we have to work even harder then. As mentioned at the top, I have been very fortunate to always be surrounded by talent. Talented teammates, talented friends, talented coworkers – I am lucky to be around greatness and I can tell when it’s the real thing. So to keep up, I have to work harder. I have to push myself more. My talent is not how aware I am of my situation, my talent that I developed over time is working hard. It’s understanding that in order to get what I want I must fall in love with the process of getting better. It’s understanding that I may never be the first option but I will be a great person to rely on when called upon. And when you start thinking about luck, you start to realize that with putting in the effort, you can actually put yourself in the position to be lucky as well. When you don’t have the talent to make it to where you want to go, adjust, find another direction, and work hard towards that. It’s not about being the best, it’s about doing your best.

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