Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Talent is Cheaper Than Table Salt

"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." – Stephen King

Hard work, unfortunately is very hard to come by, and a lot more worthy then any commodity that it can’t be priced. Every one of us is talented at something – whether it be a sport, an art, writing, etc. Hard work is what determines one’s greatness. Anyone can have talent and not do anything with it. It is what you do with your talent that matters, not how much talent and skill you have. Once you’ve discovered your talent, and begin working hard, diligence will then come into play – the discipline to maintain and continue excellence over a extended period of time. Tiger Woods anyone?

Every Olympic Hero, famous writer, inspiring leader, great business owner knows this without a doubt. They know it’s not luck, they know it’s not talent alone. Sure talent may have got them started, but it was hard work that took them to their true successes. Not many realize what goes into creating their own successes, and few are willing to sacrifice what’s needed after learning what it’s going to take. But for the few that believe in their dream, work at, stay disciplined and focused – through the good times and the bad, and never give up – personal greatness and satisfaction awaits.

Steve Prefontaine was a distance runner at the University of Oregon in the 70’s and displayed this concept perfectly. Pre was often accused of being overly brash and cocky, but that was an integral part of what made him so great. The only thing better than Pre running his mouth, was him backing up exactly what he had said on the track. Pre made running cool, he made the idea of going out and running extremely hard from the start something heroic, not stupid. But unfortunately this magic was short lived when his world came to an end the night of May 30, 1975, he died at the age of 24.

Pre would often state, "I am going to work so that it's a pure guts race. In the end, if it is, I'm the only one that can win it". Steve said that "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift." Pre gave us his gift, he ran every race as if it were his last.

Think if we were to do this with our days , with our talents and passions. If we lived every day with half as much passion, hard work, and personal fulfillment as some of the ‘great ones’ we’d be laughing. If we went out just as hard every day with all our endeavours – whether they be sport related, business related, or family related – there would be nothing we couldn’t accomplish. Think about that – how many of you are talented at something, and have everyone telling you ‘wow, you could be so good, you have a lot of potential’ – Basically they’re just waiting for you to realize the concept of working hard in order to bring your greatness out. One of the most frustrating things to witness is watching a talented individual piss away that talent because of laziness. We may think to ourselves ‘wow, if I had half the talent they did, what I would do with it...’

Find out what you’re talented at, find out what you’re passionate about - often the two are the same – and then work your ass off to do something with it. Don’t sit around long enough to have a chance to look back and think ‘what if..what if I dedicated more time, energy, focus, discipline, etc.’ The time is now to work hard, not to wait and see if your talent will magically take you to where you want to be – because it won’t and that’s a guarantee. And for every person you hear say ‘oh they’re just really gifted and talented at that, they’ve had lots of good luck’ – you’ll know differently. And if they say it to you, then you can take the opportunity to educate them on what exactly it took to be where you are.

Talent is cheaper than table salt – in athletics, in music, in art, in leading, in owning a business... in life. Work hard, prove your talent is worth something.

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