Most people believe one of two things; success depends on either your natural talent, or it relies on your work ethic; Talent V Hardwork.
I was scrolling through my LinkedIn feed recently and the above two images came up directly one after the other.
Talent, natural ability, DNA. Proponents claim that if you don't have this, you'll never succeed, or at the very least, you'll never be the top performer in your category.
Hard work, effort, never-say-die attitude. Proponents say that without hard work, no amount of talent will get you to the top.
As a kid I was always jealous of other kids who I thought had some special, natural talent. It seemed to me that anything I had succeeded at I had to work exceedingly hard.
I say "as a kid", but if I'm honest, it's only recently that I have come to the realisation that, had I dedicated enough time and effort to any endeavour, I would have been just as successful. Which is why I now believe that talent is overrated, and that hardwork is the only thing that matters.
Now don't get me wrong, if you have talent and can apply that talent to something you enjoy, and you have the drive to work harder than most others, it’s almost impossible for you to not succeed.
But if you have little natural ability aka “talent”, you are not done with yet. Work hard. Challenge yourself. Get better every day. Improve.
These are all things we tell each other and ourselves every day. If hard work doesn’t matter, then we are all lying.
I believe that hard work will be enough. Personally, I have always been OK at anything I try my hand at. Perhaps even slightly better than average. But never automatically great at anything. Never a "natural" at anything. I am better at some things than I am at others, but I know that with hard work, I can be great. If I want to succeed, I must have a never-say-die attitude and work my guts out.
Hard work matters. Maybe you won’t be the best, but working your guts out to be second best is still better than being last.
Of course you need to understand your own limitations. Don't be a fish struggling to climb a tree. Know your strengths and play to them, but don't let your your limitations prevent you from trying in the first place. In saying that though, once one fish learns how to climb a tree, they have shown that any fish can climb a tree. Remember when athletes thought that it was impossible to run a mile in less than 4 minutes?
My success depends on me. How hard I work. How much I practice. How many hours I put in. My effort will ultimately determine my result. I have to believe this. Hard work is all I have. It's all most of us have. Should we stop because we don't have a natural gift. Hell no. I'd rather bust my guts and be number 2, than give up and not even finish the race.
What do you think is more important? Nature or nurture? DNA or determination? Talent or hard work?