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Who will Succeed? Talent, Hard Work, and Success

Updated on September 1, 2011

“How do you do it?” he asked. “Year after year, you get this scholarship and I don’t. And no offense… but look at my work. Why are you more successful?”

I wasn’t offended. He was right. He had more talent in his little finger than I would ever hope to have. With little to no effort he could easily sketch out an incredible piece of artwork. What he could do in minutes would take me hours to accomplish. His question was valid. Why was I always awarded the scholarship while he was overlooked? Why was it that in the years we worked alongside each other that he felt that he had to keep up with me?

While this young man had talent, raw talent, the kind that you can’t produce or duplicate, I did something that he did not. I worked. I worked hard. I put effort into every project. I knew that if it was worth doing, it was worth doing well. Knowing that I could never hope to achieve his level of ability, I worked harder to make up for it. What I lacked in talent, I made up for in perseverance and determination. Going above and beyond my work would get noticed while his faded into the background.

Cruising through assignments, this young artist thought that he could get by on his gift alone. Once the minimum criterion was met, he was finished. He didn’t understand that talent will only go so far. Ability is only the beginning. Hard work and determination usually wins out over talent.

Whatever your goal. With hard work and determination, you can rise above the rest.
Whatever your goal. With hard work and determination, you can rise above the rest. | Source

Since my days in college, I’ve seen this same scenario played out in many different ways. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what the skill is, it’s the hard work behind it that makes the difference. Someone can be a talented speaker, writer, salesman, manager, accountant, assistant, or pastor and still never seem to get anywhere. There are others, however, who only have a minimal aptitude for those professions and succeed time and time again. When you take a moment and study each situation the difference can often be found in the work ethic.

Many successful people know this. They’ve learned that it isn’t the amount of talent that you possess; it’s what you do with the talent you have that matters. Determination, perseverance, hard work, practice, patience are all qualities that pay off in the long term. They know that they can go farther, climb higher, and achieve a greater level of success than many with twice as much talent and charisma.

I’ve even seen this on HubPages. Successful hubbers know that their success is due to their hard work, their research, their writing of quality content, and their time consuming promotion and marketing. They put in the time and reap the rewards. Others who come and go or complain at their lack of success and earnings are the ones who haven’t been willing to put in the time and effort. They may indeed be gifted writers, but without the hard work, they will not see the desired results.

You may have noticed this yourself in other situations. Often those who possess great abilities rise to a certain level of success very quickly only to stall in their succession or crash and burn within a short amount of time. Fast and easy success is rarely ever long term. This can leave the talent feeling bewildered and confused. How could this happen? They wonder. I’m so good. I have so many gifts.

Are you living up to your potential?

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Has this happened to you?

Are you an extremely talented person who can’t seem to rise above a certain level of success? Have you ever wondered why others with mediocre skills continue to get ahead and experience longevity in the workplace? If so, take a moment and consider these suggestions:

  • Set goals and define what success looks like to you. Typically we associate success with an achievement, attainment of a goal, or an accumulation of fame, wealth, or power. But what about other goals in life that are worth attaining? Love, peace, joy, hope, and faith are all worthwile attributes. Prioritize what’s important to you and dedicate yourself in those areas.
  • Think about the last time you put in a solid day’s work. Ask yourself when the last time was that you really put effort into a project or a task. How long has it been? What was it about the project that motivated you to work harder? Think about how you felt when it was accomplished.
  • Take a look at the projects you currently have on your plate. What would it take to motivate you to put effort into it? How can you utilize your talent for the work? Remember the sense of accomplishment you’ve felt before and try to duplicate it.
  • Ask yourself if you’re really just bored. Many talented people struggle with boredom. Everything comes so easily that they lack the motivation to strive for anything greater. Perhaps you’ve found that you don’t have enough work to do to keep you busy. Look around to see if there are more projects that you can take on.
  • Discipline yourself to create a schedule and manage your time effectively. Procrastination is a common problem among great talent. If you know that you’ll be able to easily pull it off at the end, you’ll be more likely to wait until the last moment. This practice will only work for so long. Eventually procrastination will be noticed and will frustrate those you work with.
  • Swallow your pride. A good dose of humility goes a long way. Roll up your sleeves, dig in, and get your hands dirty. Realize that even with your great talent, you are not too good to get in and get the job done. Just imagine the results. Talent plus hard work equals success.
  • Don’t worry about recognition, accolades, and rewards. Those things rely on the actions of others, actions that you cannot control. Just get to work and the rest will follow eventually. Remain focused on your goals and definition of success.

We all have strengths and talents. Successful people are the ones who have learned how to utilize their gifts and abilities to the fullest extent. Don’t get left behind. Whether it’s in your personal life or your career, hard work and determination will go a long way. Are you ready? Let’s get to work!


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    etharprencies 4 years ago

    u realy help me thanks@

  • wilsonljx profile image

    wilsonljx 5 years ago

    informative article!

  • peanutroaster profile image

    peanutroaster 6 years ago from New England

    Nice Hub!

  • lisabeaman profile image

    lisabeaman 6 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

    Hi slaffery! Thanks for the comment! You are right on to go that extra mile and I'm sure that your hard work and dedication shine through! Thanks for sharing this with your kids too! I'm sure they are very proud of you and the example that you show with your work ethic :)

  • slaffery profile image

    slaffery 6 years ago from Kansas, USA

    I appreciate this article and am going to show it to my kids. I can totally relate to this article in my own profession. There are many who are way smarter than I am and words come easily on cue. I have to think things out and process. What helps me is that everyone I know, knows that I will go the extra mile or 20 to make sure that everything I do is done right and with care. I always say if your going to do it half way, don't bother. Instead give it all you have and make it something you can be proud of. Voted up and useful

  • lisabeaman profile image

    lisabeaman 6 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

    Thanks Kenn! I appreciate the comment and you sharing it with others. I really like how your photo works as well!

    Thanks Julia! Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I appreciate your comment and encouragement!

  • profile image

    Kenn 6 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your talent and wisdom. As a long-time graphic designer, so much of this article rang true for me. I plan to share it with many others.

  • juliaeverheart profile image

    juliaeverheart 6 years ago from Kennesaw, GA

    I love common sense articles like this one. I wish more people weren't afraid to work hard!

  • lisabeaman profile image

    lisabeaman 7 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

    Thanks Scribenet! I'm working on the next one... hope to publish by the end of the week!

  • Scribenet profile image

    Scribenet 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Another great Hub and such good common sense! Looking forward to the next one!

  • lisabeaman profile image

    lisabeaman 7 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

    Thanks Miss_jkim! I really appreciate your kind words. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • miss_jkim profile image

    miss_jkim 7 years ago


    This is one of the best hubs I've read in a long time. Such true statements and encouragement. I feel like the problem, with so many people these days, is a lack of work ethic, something that was instilled in me as a young child.

    I think this hub should be required reading by all.