| Talent + Effort = Skill |
| Skill + Effort = Achievement |
Why are we always so quick to initially assume a person’s success is due to talent and never hardwork? "He's so talented!" "She's so gifted" "He's a natural." We have all made and heard of these remarks. Perhaps it is so we can excuse our perceived shortcomings by telling ourselves that we were born without talent or natural abilities. And perhaps that gives us an "out" to even try in the first place. I’m sorry to disappoint you (not really), but effort appears twice in the equations that lead to achievement, not talent. Effort plays a much greater role than talent in the achievement of success.
Talent + Effort = Skill
It is true that talent plays a role in skill aquisition. However, you must note that talent only increases the rate at which you learn that skill. Having more talent may get you there faster, but effort will ensure that you actually get there. Talent without effort is just wasted potential.
It may take a little longer to do so, but a moderately talented and hardworking individual can often achieve the same level of success as their extremely talented counterpart. As a muay thai coach and Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor, I have sadly observed many talented fighters to be among the most irresponsible and lazy. Their talent may have allowed them to strive in the early years of their craft, but as time progresses, I often see them fall behind their less talented peers who were willing to work harder. The less talented individual who hammers away at their craft day in and day out for an extended period of time will eventually succeed. As Will Smith once said:
“I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented, where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic. While the other guy is sleeping, I’m working. While the other guys are eating, I’m working. If you don’t dedicate yourself to becoming better every single day, you will never be able to communicate with people the way that you want.”
Skill + Effort = Achievement
Once you have acquired the skill, you will then again need to put in the effort to make something of it. The measure of personal achievement is relative to the individual and corresponds to their relative potential. For example, achievement for an individual who has always lived a sedentary life could simply mean to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercise and proper nutrition. While achievement for the physically “talented and gifted” athlete could mean becoming a world champion at his chosen sport. Likewise, there is little to no achievement for that same athlete who possesses the talent and skill to be the best, but instead fails to put in the effort and quits before that potential is realized. In all examples, effort must be present in combination with skill for one to achieve something of worth; what constitutes as achievement varies from person to person and almost always exceeds their perceived limitations.
Do not underestimate the power of EFFORT. We may not be able to change our god given gifts, but we surely can all work a lot harder and smarter with what we have been given. And if we do this day in and day out, eventually, success will just be around the corner.
Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. Scribner/Simon & Schuster.