Talent is underrated. Hard work is overrated. Plan accordingly.


                                   If I have any choice in the matter I will choose a medical specialty that I  am good at. I don’t care if it makes no money at all. My over bearing parents are hinting that I should focus on the so called ROAD specialties ( the high paying lifestyle ones) if i get the opportunity. This is ridiculous. I could not imagine spending my life doing something I am not particularly good at. I don’t care how much money it makes.

                                   Medical school has taught me that pursuing activities that you have a natural aptitude towards is the greatest element to being successful. Being an underdog is not cool or glamorous.  It’s overrated and inefficient.  Good things do come easy. Do you think Michael Jordan really had to struggle to play basketball? Yes he worked hard to enhance his already amazing talent level, but the foundation was already set by his genetics. There are many people in the NBA  that work harder than Jordan and will never even smell an NBA championship.

                                     Allen Iverson is one of the best NBA players of all time. He was a league MVP and an All Star player. He will probably be in the NBA hall of fame soon. This guy is a perfect example of raw talent trumping foolish determination. This man did not even practice. He hated practice. Yet he single-handedly lead his team to multiple victories. Talent is essential to success. You may achieve success without talent but it is a hard horrible journey.  That time could have been spent perfecting your talent. I know this first hand. I have no talent for clinical medicine.

                                    Hard work is important. But hard work without talent is foolish. Why waste your time trying to master something that you were never meant to be good at. There is a movie about an underdog called Rudy. This guy worked very hard to make the college football team but he was never good. He was undersized and not athletic. This guy persevered, and persevered and persevered and still did not make it. The closest he came to playing was a moment of pity the coach had for him. They reluctantly let him in the game for a few minutes. With all his dedication Rudy never amounted to anything more than just an admired charity case. He could have put that time into something he was half decent at and become a master. What an idiot. For as much heart that Rudy had….he never made the NFL.   I have realized medicine is not my talent so I must work hard as heck at it. The problem is that nobody cares if you work hard. They just want to see results.

7 Replies to “Talent is underrated. Hard work is overrated. Plan accordingly.”

  1. >>>but it is a hard horrible journey.

    Any hard work is a hard horrible journey, boosted by talent or not. Some people (maybe the ones like Allen Iverson) have it coming to them naturally with ease, I would prefer to call it “genius” rather than “talent”. But most don’t. Maybe every one of us has some “talent”, but being just “talented” is not enough. I may have a talent for foreign languages, because I was learning them faster and understood them better than my fellow students, and many things cam to me with ease and I succeeded at it more than many others. Does it mean I could skip the “hard work” part? Absolutely not. I studied till I had bruises on my ass and beyond. Talent may be underrated, but hard work is never overrated. Talent is like a bicycle, which allows you to move faster, but if you don’t work hard to push the pedals – you will not outrun a person that has to run on foot instead.

    1. Hey higstaker thanks for the comment. I agree with you. Hard work is still a necessary component to achieving success for most people. I dont deny that. What i want to explain is that the degree of hard work is less when you are gifted at something. In fact, the hard work is in an odd way enjoyable. It is similar to people that have a talent for running. Yes training for a marathon is hard work, but it is enjoyable work to them because they have a natural affinity for it. When the journey is extremely difficult and soul crushing maybe it is time to rethink whether or not you should be doing it. This is a very interesting idea and i am open to other opinions on this topic. I don’t know if anyone knows the answer to the question of ” when is hard work a sign that you need to do something else”. What is the threshold for directing your efforts elsewhere? Who knows.

      1. Yeah, that’s a terribly difficult question. I’m afraid there could be no universal answer. Maybe one should quit when they don’t enjoy what they’re doing any more, when it becomes a pure frustration and nothing else. Not to mention, I’ve been asking myself lately: is there any relation between your degree of enjoyment in some activity and your talent in that activity? I have a feeling that there is, because it comes to you much easier when you enjoy something and you learn way faster (like it has been for me with learning foreign languages and software development, and in the meantime, chemistry, which is my profession… well, I am outrun by so many colleagues in it, because I’ve lost my passion in it. Tbh, I’ve never had it burning in me.), but again, it could be my subjective experience.

  2. Rudy reminds me a lot of Eddie the Eagle.

    I think if you reach the point where more hard work becomes meaningless for you, then you should probably redirect your efforts elsewhere. It’s up to you to decide what is meaningful. Meaning could come from growth, learning, enjoyment, being the best, and so many other places. If you still find meaning and still find it rewarding, then your hard work won’t seem so hard.

      1. I think he does! They made a movie about him, which is actually pretty good–I recommend it. The movie portrayed him as not being athletic, yet his dream was to become an Olympic athlete. He tried his hand at various sports, but never could quite make the cut. Then he found that England had never had a ski jumper in years, so the bar to get into that was set pretty low. He eventually made it and achieved his dream even though he was terrible at ski jumping.

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