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Grit vs. Talent

Would you rather be talented or tough? It’s an interesting question. Top athletes and actors appear to have a lot of talent, but is talent alone enough?

Take a moment to consider the words of former US President, Calvin Coolidge:

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

Talent has advantages, but is overrated:

  1. Talent can make the journey easier. It can make progress quicker, and the journey smoother and faster.

  2. But talent is not enough. It does not eliminate the need for practice. You still have to show up every day, no matter how you feel. Talent without practice is no more valuable than not having the talent in the first place. Top performers in any field have both talent, and years of intense practice.

  3. Talent isn’t a choice. You can’t choose to have a particular talent. You either have it, or you don’t. Ideally, your interests and talents are aligned.

  4. Talent is only necessary at the highest levels. Can you be the world’s greatest pianist or golfer without talent? No. But you can make a good living playing the piano, or playing golf without as much talent, provided you work hard and long enough.

There’s nothing wrong with being talented. The more talent, the better. But talent alone will not ensure success. It only determines the extreme upper limits of your success.

Grit can be enough to ensure success in all areas of life:

  1. Grit is enough to achieve your goals. If you have the ability to persist and maintain a positive attitude, you can be successful at almost anything.

  2. Anyone can have grit. Grit is the result of a way of thinking and viewing the world. You can choose your beliefs and your thoughts. Choose to have grit and persistence. Start today. Show up and do something you don’t want to do. Clean out your desk, purge your unneeded emails, start the self-improvement course you’ve been thinking about for so long. Be tough. Get it done!

  3. Grit begets grit. Developing grit is like building muscle. Your resolve grows with constant practice. Force yourself to do something each day, no matter how hard or difficult it may be, that takes you nearer to your goals.

  4. Grit is calming. When you are resolved you don’t have to make any other choices. You simply show up and keep moving forward. Constant self-questioning is stressful and exhausting. When you only have one choice, life is simpler. Too many options create anxiety.

Grit is among the most important attributes to possess. Grit can overcome a lack of talent in most situations.

Grit versus talent, which is better? The amount of grit you possess is more relevant than the amount of talent you possess. All the talent in the world is useless if it isn’t applied diligently.

The ability to persist during any challenge is the key to long-term success. Take control of your beliefs about success and your perspectives on life, and know that persistence is more important than talent.

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