How Important is Talent?

Talent doesn’t matter. Okay, that isn’t strictly true, but it’s a lot closer to the truth than you may think.

I’m certain you’ve been told before that you performed well at a task or solved a problem because you’re ‘So clever!’, or ‘A natural!’, or — the worst of them all — ‘Talented.’

We all like hearing these things. They make us feel good. But something the complimenter nor the receive of the compliment takes into account when giving or hearing this type of praise is the mindset it establishes.

By telling someone that they have achieved a goal purely because they happen to be characteristically proficient at said goal, we tend to instill the unhealthy attitude of: ‘I did this because I’m naturally good at it, and I didn’t have to put in much effort!’

Why is it that some of the most talented people in the world end up not achieving very much, while many of those those with far fewer innate abilities go on to lead far more financially successful and personally gratifying lives?

It is because, when pursuing your goals, effort counts for twice as much as talent does. This is one of the most important lessons one can learn, and it sadly isn’t taught nearly as much as it should be.

Now, I know exactly what question you’re probably asking yourself right now: ‘But surely natural talent counts for something, right?’ Of course it does. We are all born with distinct levels of ability and it affects us in different ways. It is whether we choose to use it, and how well we apply it in our everyday lives, that will determine how much our talent help us.

Remember the formula:

Talent x effort = skill

Skill x effort = achievement

Effort is present in every success we have. Show it some respect.


Head Tutor

BYT High Wycombe