I’ve recently read a book called GRIT by Angela Duckworth, the whole book is about how natural talent can only get you so far, and after that to succeed you require grit and determination to be the best and perfect your craft.
I think that everyone is guilty of using the excuse ‘oh, but they’ re NATURALLY good at x’ when someone is better than you at something. Duckworths book says that people put too much emphasis on talent and people being naturally good at things and not enough emphasis on the hard work. Being naturally good at something helps you at first but it is not a long term determining factor of success, hard work and ‘grit’ is.
For example, someone could have a natural talent for art/drawing and someone not. But if the person who is less good at art/drawing has grit and determination to improve, practices their skills and believes they can improve, ultimately in the long term, they would end up being a better artist than the person with natural talent (if that person didn’t practice).
If you put so much emphasis on talent, and people being ‘naturally good’ at something, it completely undermines all of the hard work individuals have put in to get to where they are. People are always there to celebrate successes and milestones, but aren’t there for the grueling journey of consistently showing up.
Take Michael Jordan, until the recent documentary came out about him (The Last Dance, if you haven’t seen it, watch it) I think the world just assumed ‘oh but he’s just NATURALLY good at basketball’, ‘he was just NATURALLY better than his team mates’. But, when you watch the documentary it gives you a look into his life, mindset, and hunger for success. Practicing when his team mates weren’t and always improving his craft. He wasn’t naturally better than them, he just worked really really hard. You realize that his success was all down to him constantly repeating and practicing basketball day in and day out to get to where he got.
I am DEFINITELY guilty of using the excuse that people are ‘naturally’ more talented than me at things, especially running. When I see people running 5km pb’s the little voice in my head definitely starts twittering ‘oh…but it’s because they’re naturally good…’ which is ridiculous, when I have seen them consistently showing up and practicing on Strava for weeks prior.
When I was younger I was constantly told I was a ‘naturally’ good runner, but in reality I was just super fit from doing so much swimming. Now when I try to run I get so frustrated that Im not as good as I used to be, but its simply down to lack of training. I find it so hard to get over the mental battle that if I put in the work with running I WILL get better. I really need to learn to take my own advice…
Below is a picture of me after running my first half marathon, people see the celebratory picture but they don’t see the journey/hard work that gets you there.
A quote I love is, ‘80% of success is showing up.’
- Stop using natural talent as an excuse
- If you want to succeed at anything you’ve got to put the time/work in
While I’m aware this post has a sporting focus it is true of anything. Reading, productivity, singing, dancing, sewing, cooking, writing or meditating the list goes ON.
Are you guilty of using the excuse ‘but they’re naturally good’? What is something you would love to be better at but haven’t spent the hours putting in the work to improve on? Maybe today should be the day you start.
Thanks for reading, Chloe x