Talent is not Enough
There’s one thing you may believe or ,at least, give some credence to as you read this post, and it’s that some people are born with unusual aptitude, supernatural skill, God-given dexterity, superb giftedness, rare talent and many more ways we describe it. Tiger Woods has a talent for golf, Beyonce has IT for music and dance, Lebron James was born to play basket ball, Angelina Jolie is a talented actress, the Argentine Lionel Messi has a God-given propensity for scoring goals, Chris Rock has a unique flair to usher the crowd into a state of awe, TD Jades has to gift to make to audience cry, and the list goes on.
I don’t want to be an absolutist on this talent argument, but when any of the folks above is comprehensively examined, the talent argument does not pass the beyond reasonable doubt court room scenario. Ascribing it all to talent is not only an intellectually fraud exercise, it subjects a particular field to circus status reserved for individuals lucky enough to be born with this God-given potential.
Talent is not Enough
Whether talent really exists or not, which is a subject beyond this post, it cannot explain why some people are genius, awesome, amazing, and some are just okay. When you look at any of the ‘amazing’ artists, athletes, managers, and so forth, the talent explanation may make sense while they are on stage, but try to dig deeper into their life, go a little deeper into their childhood life and other family circumstances and the talent explanation begins to break down, it starts to lose steam.
Tiger Woods was born to Earl Woods, a teacher and a former military man, who spent almost half of his life in the U.S. military. Before joining the army he was a coach for the little leagues team. He became an expert golfer in his early forties when Tiger was born. According to Earl, he introduced Tiger to golf before Tiger’s first birthday. Before the age of two, Tiger and Earl were at the golf course practicing and playing golf rigorously. Note that we’re talking about a former teacher, youth coach and an army man playing golf with a two year old boy on an unforgiving military schedule.
If Kobe Bryant has any ‘talents’ that you don’t have, it’s probably the fact that he’s 6 feet 6 inches and weighs 205 lb (93 kg).
Kobe’s father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant was a former player of the Philadelphia 76ers Basketball team and a former coach of Los Angeles Sparks. Bryant started playing basketball when he was 3 years old. When Bryant was six, his family moved to Italy but his grandfather would continue to mail him videos of NBA games, which Bryant would watch and study. Pause and think about this. At six years, they made Kobe sit, watch and study videos of the Los Angeles Lakers, which was his favorite team and the team he has currently won five national championships.
Focus or Talent
In a multiple choice test, choose what in your opinion is responsible for Tiger’s ‘awesomeness’
While merely watching Tiger on the golf course, most people, I included, are likely to choose Talent, but knowing what I know about the golfer, it’s difficult for me to say he’s what he is because of something he was born with that none of us had. I’d say the same thing about Kobe. If Kobe has any talents at all, it’d be his ability to stay at the basketball court for hours practicing his three-pointer, free throws and dribbles while his favorite shows run on television. In fact, Kobe himself says that if he had stayed at Italy, he’d have tried to become a soccer player. If that happened, would we say he was born with a God-given potential to play soccer?
My intent is not to make you discard your beliefs in giftedness; probably rather to make you less of an absolutist on talent. To believe that you got to have some special talents in an area to do well in that area places a limitation on you as a human. Believe in talent or giftedness is commonplace, but I choose to believe that talent is inadequate.
Persistence and focus is a theme you’ll find in Beyonce, Tiger Woods, Kobe Byrant, Lionel Messi, Angelina Joli, Nelson Mendela, Kofi Annan and Hillary Clinton. We say they have talent; they say they’re merely focused and persistent at what they do.
In conclusion, before you write yourself off in any area as not talented enough, simply ask, who is? Perhaps what you need is a little bit of focus and persistence.
Thanks for reading.
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(Note that this is a continuation of my series “What the Successful People Have in Common)
Earlier in the Series:
- Introduction: What Do the Most Successful People Have in Common?
- What the Successful People Have in Common, Part 1: Breaking Rules
- Success Qualities Part 1b: Blowing Your Own Horn-How to Do it Right
- What the Successful Have in Common: Passion
- What the Successful Have in Common: Risk Taking