"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." - a quote many of us have heard before and many can resonate with throughout various experiences in life.
But which should we really being focusing our efforts on the most?
Option #1 - Work hard at something we're not naturally talented at? OR
Option #2 - Discover our talents and work to improve them further?
What if I told you both were irrelevant from what you should really be focusing on?
Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't pursue the career of your dreams, attempt a marathon run without training, or even hang your washing without a little enthusiasm. I'm talking about what really matters most.
Let's strip the onion right back:
Who are you?
What defines you as your own unique self?
A one-in-seven-billion human being on this Earth...
Maybe you're an athlete. Maybe you're a mum. Or maybe you're a free spirit travelling the globe, whilst living off two minute noodles and other people's couches. True, all of those things might be relevant to the person you've lived and grown to be over the years, but it doesn't really define who you are.
"So then, how do I find out who I am, and what does this have to do with working hard and being talented?" - you might ask.
Well, once upon a time there was a young girl named Sarah, who's story many of us might be able to associate with. Sarah had a issue. An issue that's not often spoken about, but is a part of almost all women's lives in modern day society.
Sarah suffered from a case of identity crisis - the result of some serious approval addiction.
It all started in primary school - she wasn't too great at maths, she always came second in any school sports, and the only "friends" she had were really the friends of her younger sister. Sarah didn't know what she was naturally talented at, but she did know one thing; and that was she wanted the best. The best for herself. The best for her family and friends. The best for everyone and anything on this planet called Earth. But with that in mind there also came competitiveness, constant striving, failure to meet expectation, lack of balance and overall, un-fulfillment in her life. Sarah's thoughts were grossly distorted. Her drive to achieve and succeed were not motivated by healthy beliefs. As she grew over the years and entered into high school, Sarah became selfish. She was ignorant. And in Sarah's constant striving for the best, she always believed she knew best.
But what was it all for?
Why was Sarah still left feeling unfulfilled and unsatisfied despite all of her hard work and achievements?
All Sarah wanted her whole life was to fit in.
She was willing to work hard, get good, and do whatever it took to get the approval of others, but lost her identity under the label she was trying to be.
After leaving school, a shift began to take place in Sarah's life and her “perfectionist” mentality didn’t align with what she believed to be true anymore. Sarah had discovered that in striving for perfection and gaining the approval of others it had effected her own authenticity. Sarah would often question who she was, and why she so desperately wanted to be accepted. Sarah was trying to be something that wasn’t real. It wasn’t who she was born to be. So she decided to make a change.
No more striving to attain a certain title. No more striving to look a certain way. And no more worrying about what other people thought of her. Sarah made a deal with herself that she was just going to be... Sarah. Wow, what a load off! She gave herself full permission to just simply "be". As she let go and allowed herself the freedom to be her full natural self, something amazing happened. Sarah felt content. She got a job promotion. She became Captain of the netball team. And she made more friends than she could count on her own two hands. The things she once strived to attain, were instead now drawing close to her - and it was all because Sarah decided she was just going to work hard at being Sarah.
Sometimes we focus too much on the "human" - the label and name we place ourselves under, and not enough on just "being" - learning to love and grow as the person we were born to be.
Yes it's great to develop a natural talent, and I take my hat off to those who work hard to get to where they are today. But we don't measure people by how many hours they do at the office everyday.
People determine success by their performance and the amount of effort it took to get there. But how many of us really consider making the effort to succeed and perform at being our full best beautiful selves?
Many people work hard or are naturally gifted to get them somewhere, but they don't have enough character to keep them there when they do get there.
Let me ask you a question...
What happens to the "who" when you lose the "what" you've attached your identity under?
Wanting to look and do your best is good. But it's a big mistake to dwell on the appearance of outward things and neglect your character on the inside.
What is more important to you in your everyday life? Would you rather be identified as a "Successful Business Owner"? Or a "Game Changer" in the lives of others? - Made possible simply by just being yourself and setting the example for others to do the same. Find out who you are, pull up a seat, get comfortable with being your full beautiful self and everything else will come! But don't get lazy, because you were put on this Earth to live out your own unique purpose and you were born to do it courageously.
You were born for so much more.
What is your opinion on the "Hard Work vs Talent" debate?
Could you relate to Sarah's story?
Write your comments below.