Is Natural Talent Overrated? Angela Duckworth Thinks So

It’s conflicting to think about what we need to do to be successful. Each of us is born with unique talents, so it feels as if some of us excel without really trying. Those of us who do seem to find success easily boast a good work ethic as the main factor. We try to downplay our efforts because we feel our natural talent does the talking for us.

What, then, of those of us who don’t have a natural talent?

We’ve been told all our lives that if you work hard, you too can succeed. We’ve also been told that natural talent gives you an advantage in a competitive market. So many of us have based our blueprint of success on these notions. But with the release of Angela Duckworth’s Grit, a new formula is giving us a new key to success, and this time it’s one that we can get behind.

“As much as talent counts, effort counts twice,” says Duckworth in Grit. She introduces a new concept that teaches us talent may be overrated, and if you want real success, what you need is this: grit. The perfect combination of passion and persistence. Even if you have natural talent, it’s nothing without grit.

Duckworth says grit is the difference between a person succeeding and a person failing. A person who has grit is more likely to succeed than a person who does not. When we think about attaining success — whether it’s landing that job or learning that new skill — our thoughts are immediately burdened by all the things we must first learn. If you want that new job, you have to learn the job skills, then the interview skills, then dress the part — and you must be perfect at all of them.

Grit is different because it tells us that perfection isn’t the goal.

Grit lifts the unreasonable expectations off our shoulders. Grit tells us that the door is open wider than we first thought possible. Grit allows us to redefine our goals. Think about it: what’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but gave up on because you “don’t have the skills for it”? What’s something you love but aren’t good at? Where in your life do you want to find success?

The Takeaway

The real workings of grit are to have sustainable passion and continue to try. Effort means more than your natural ability to do. Even if you haven’t mastered a skill, grit tells you that you can still succeed if you can transform your passion into action. In a way, Duckworth is giving new hope to people who already had shut the doors on their dreams. She is saying it is possible, that you can accomplish anything. After all, if at first you don’t succeed, then try, try again one more time with grit.

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