Why Being Talented Doesn't Guarantee Success

by Paul Hudson

Most of us value ourselves very highly. It is most definitely warranted since we really are the coolest people we will ever meet. But as important as it is to have self-appreciation and feel a high level of self-worth, valuing ourselves highly can come to harm us more than helps us.

People always speak of talent: Oh, he’s very talented at singing… She’s very talented at drawing… She’s got some talent… He’s got a talented tongue… What exactly is talent?

The way that people talk about it, you’d think that it was some sort of body cream that you can pick up at your local beauty shop- you just rub some on and voilà! You can now write the next best-selling novel. While we can all agree that that’s not quite how it works, many of us would rather argue that it nevertheless is something that we are born with.

I believe that to be complete poppycock (always wanted to use that word in an article). Sure, we are all born with different mental processing capabilities, and surely we can’t develop our skills at being 7 foot 6, but talent itself is nothing more than how much value or credit you give to your natural abilities.

Why are the most talented people usually the cockiest? Because they give themselves a ton of self-worth- probably too much in fact.

Overlooking the humbleness that many talented-elite lack, I believe that the failure most talented people experience worth taking a closer look at. Talent does not guarantee success- it only helps it along. Talent only being your level of self-appreciation means that all that talent really does is give you the confidence to succeed. Those with talent that end up failures are not victims of anything more than their own laziness and ignorance.

It happens all the time; those with talent are constantly failing. Yes, people said that you were talented when you were 20… but now you’re 50 and they are saying that you must have lost your talent seeing as how you have been in the same place, at the same job, doing the same things, for the last 30 years. And they’re right- you did lose your talent.

You gave yourself a very high appraisal when you were young, but as time passed and your trophy shelf never became in need of an expansion, your confidence fell, your self-worth crumbled, and you no longer considered yourself to be talented.

Talent, by no means, guarantees success- it only gives you the confidence to get there. So the question now is: Why do so many talented-elite end up failing miserably when at first glance their prospects seemed so fruitful? Well, there can be many different reasons that you fail, but the most common by far, for Generation-Yers at least, is failure due to inaction. We just don’t do.

Because we believe ourselves to be so talented and give ourselves such high self-value we either believe that something will fall into our laps, or we end up waiting and holding out for the perfect opportunity. In most cases, something grand will not fall into your lap- and since the “perfect” opportunity, in reality, doesn’t exist, failure is imminent.

The most talented people in the world are not able to experience their full potential simply because they fail to act. Not developing your skills and yourself as a person is the worst possible way to spend your life; in fact, I will go as far as to say that if you, by the time you are on your death bed, have not spent the majority of your life developing yourself and improving, then you have most definitely wasted the most precious thing in existence: life itself.

“I know only that a life without cause is a life without effect.”- Paulo Coehlo

Can’t find the job that you dreamed of or assumed that you would land post-college because when the time came around the job market was stripped bare? Taking an extended vacation from self-improvement because you’ve hit a rough patch and you’d rather wallow in your sorrows?

Is doing that sort of job beneath you? Just waiting for your dream job or career to magically make itself available for you? Listen, and listen closely: Shit will not just happen on its own accord. Without action you only have inaction, stagnancy, and changelessness. Life is a game of cause and effects; if you don’t cause, there will be no effect.

Stop waiting. Stop being bored. There is always- always- something that you can be working on and improving. Your career and lifestyle can wait- you have more than enough character flaws, inefficient practices, and spiritual growth worth exploring that you could literally focus your entire life on self-improvement without ever attaining perfection.

Perfection is not the goal. The goal is not the goal. It’s the actions you take towards sculpting your perfect vision of yourself, the road that you travel and all the experiences along the way, which in the end will give you the satisfaction you’re searching for.

Waiting for the ideal opportunity or situation will result in failure. You cannot just sit and wait- or what usually ends up being the case, wait and party in the meantime.

You should always be focusing on improving yourself; if you work on strengthening your strengths and minimizing you weaknesses, you won’t need the ‘perfect opportunity’- you’ll just need ‘an opportunity’ and more importantly, you’ll have the confidence to grab that opportunity when it makes itself available to you.

Generation-Y: you need to stop complaining, stop creating excuses, stop wasting away. Get up and get to work; the world and its endless opportunities await you. Do you have the imperturbability to succeed?

Paul Hudson | Elite. 

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