Is a person's passion for what he or she does more important than giftedness for success?
People strive to succeed in different spheres. But I sometimes wonder whether or not their passion for what they do, is a greater factor for their success than their talents and abilities.
Talent or intelligence won't get you far if you're not motivated. Highly motivated people, however, can accomplish amazing things even if they are not naturally gifted. I think sometimes when things are too easy for people they never learn how to persevere.
I think that a good part of the time people most often tend to be most passionate about something (of things) that they're naturally good at. Being naturally good at something isn't always enough for success, because sometimes people are "naturally good at" but still not quite skilled/polished enough to really become successful. I'd use, say, learning to play an instrument or drawing as examples. People often have natural leanings and even natural talent, but some things can require additional training. Sometimes a person is SO good at something he doesn't really need training, but I don't think that kind of ability is anywhere near as common as the kind that people have who are "naturally good" but, maybe, not "phenomenal".
Of course, someone with only average talent can be trained and become reasonably (even very) successful; but those who are most successful are most often (I think) either naturals-with-training or else those rare "phenomenals-without-training" (provided its an area like medicine, which requires training in order to work at it in the first place). I think, too, that it can depend on what the area/field is when it comes to how important natural ability is. Using medicine as an example, I really think there are plenty of perfectly successful but not particularly gifted physicians. In a field like that, I having natural ability is very important if a person is to be among the best in his field.
There are other factors in success, though: How confident a person is in dealing with other people (because there can be a lot of "scrapping" required to "take one's show on the road". Whether a person's circumstances/life support, or hinder, his chances of success are also factors.
I suppose my answer to your question is that passion alone can certainly bring a certain amount of success. Giftedness, itself, tends to naturally combine with passion and lead to an even better degree of success. Natural talent without interest in the area generally leads to "having a nifty skill that comes in handy in one's other, preferred, field".
I think they're both important. Sometimes a person's passion can make up for their lack of skill. Sometimes it cannot. American Idol auditions prove the latter continually! Having said that, it's inspiring to see people with less than stellar talent rise above because of their passion.
Both passion and giftedness are required to gain success. Simply having a passion for something without knowing anything about it won't help us in any way. In the same way if we are gifted with an ability and don't have a passion for it also won't help us succeed. So it's very necessary that both these qualities should be seen in a person who would like to succeed in something.
Woe beholds those who are passionate in a line or field in which they are not gifted. Imagine a person who tries to be an actor or a singer without being gifted. You can try and try but you will never succeed. If anything, you will merely succeed in living out your passion without any recognition, and at the cost of a miserable life, filled with deep frustration.
Having said that, I think most people are pragmatic. Sooner or later, they discover what their true abilities are and they learn to develop a passion for it, treating their other passions as a hobby.
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