Hard work vs. talent

“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” John C. Maxwell

They say hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. And I do agree. After all, talent is never just an innate ability. It’s a lot more than just that.

It’s hard work, perseverance, discipline, vision, courage, faith, and a bunch of others all mixed up into one.

But can hard work alone make you a good artist?

In a way, yes. Of course, it’s not going to be easy, but there’s only one way to get better at anything: by doing more and more work.

Trying to be better than you were yesterday takes a lot of hard work. Then again, it’s also important to figure out what is it that you’re doing wrong and fix it.

So, yes. Hard work alone is not enough. You need to know on what to work, you need to acquire a certain vision that work alone does not offer… you gain than only by observing those who are better than you.

Watch and learn… watch and learn.

They adaptability is our greatest resource. It’s what actually makes us intelligent enough to do all the things that we do. We not only change ourselves to our environments, but we change our environments to suit our needs.

That’s one of the things they call talent: you shape the medium, you break through the norms and the rules, and you create something different. You adapt the work to suit your particular skill set.

I know talented people who have no vision. They can’t create something that’s theirs. They’re just really good at imitating other artists.

So, yes, it might sound as complicated or whatever, but, in all honesty, it’s not. If you want to be a writer, just write and read. If you want to be a painter, just paint and absorb as much art as possible.

And then there’s the other neat thing: live your life. Don’t forget to do that once in a while.

Art is simply the act of enhancing reality in a way that transmits a message.

Never forget that.

But art is also a craft, a job, and a business.

Never forget that as well.

11 thoughts on “Hard work vs. talent

  1. Really enjoyed this one. There is a 10,000 hour rule that seems to fit those that try to master a subject or profession. 10,000 hours of hard work before reaching professionalism. Excellent post.

  2. Cristian, well said. Hard work, training, practice, and passion in anyone’s art comes through as genuine. And being open and vulnerable to help from others – improving your craft – adds to talents.

  3. Yes, talent hard work together will push you to success. But not all the time because the hardest pill to swallow is having work ethic and talent and still falling short. It’s the main reason so many people play life safe. No one wants to put their all in and still fail.

  4. The problem with talent is this. You have the inclination, but unless you develop the self discipline to do something with it, and to work on it every day, it goes only do far. Unless you’re willing to fall on your face, get up, dust yourself off and try again, you’re just not going to go vary far.

    1. But talent is also an excuse. When you think someone else is more talented than you because they are better, it allows you not to assume responsibility.

      Because who wants to say: “They’re better than me because I didn’t work as hard as they did.”

      The ego often gets in the way most times, but I found that what destroys one’s ego does wonders for the soul.

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