Talent, a commonly used word, is quite a strange concept when looked into closely. If we go by the lexicon, talent is a natural ability possessed by an individual in any activity.
At first glance, nothing seems wrong with this concept. However, if we look into the subject, we will discover how this notion of talent is rife with loopholes. When we say that ‘a person is talented’, we basically imply that the person being referred to will naturally be able to perform a particular activity better than others. What worries me most is that talent is thought of as synonymous with success so much so that it is thought of as a prerequisite for success. In simple words, one who does not possess ‘talent’, i.e. one who never displays the natural ability in one’s chosen field will never be successful. Now this notion about talent is a complete misnomer. Let’s take a common example. A boy joins a reputed school and happens to be below average in English language because of his family origins, in essence, he does not possess the ‘talent’ to speak fluently in English. Does that mean he can never improve upon his fluency and coherency by reading, writing, speaking and practicing English? No. Not at all. We have many, many examples of people around us who have picked up English at school, or perhaps later.
Talent, or God given gift, is just something you inherit from your birth, that can help you become better in a particular field, faster, but not without hard work. It is not at all a necessity to be the best. Striving and working hard are tried and tested methods of climbing the ladders of success.
The three P’s as described by many a great man stand for ‘Practice, Patience and Perseverance’ and talent is never a part of them. When an outsider views a supposedly ‘talented’ person, he does not realize that he is only viewing a final product, a product of continual practice which is never seen or known by the observer, leading him into believing that the individual is gifted.
Further delving into the topic we see that all successful individuals in any walk of life, obviously possessing the prerequisite ‘talent’ have, for some reason, almost always begun to strive towards their goals at an early age. Little do these outsiders know that they have begun practice in their chosen field much before the average people that surround them, giving them an edge over their opponents in every manner. To quote Michelangelo himself – “If you knew how much work it took to attain my mastery, it really would not seem beautiful at all.” The more depth into which one observes this situation the more obvious it becomes that it is true that some will possess a physical or genetic advantage, but the implementation of this advantage can be done only through one method- practice.
Let’s take another example – that of Andre Agassi. He was the personification of talent, wasn’t he? Let us take a look at his daily training routine. Agassi’s father was a man who believed in statistics and numbers, a concept which he applied obsessively when it came to his son’s training. Agassi’s father reasoned that anybody who served one million balls in a year would have an unstoppable serve. So Andre Agassi would serve a staggering 1,250 balls every day. Excellence requires grit, determination, focus and passion. Hopefully, this will dispel the notion of talent and re-emphasize the fact that champions aren’t born, but made.