There is nothing special about you being talented. You know why? Tens of thousands of people probably have the same talent. Your talent is not as special as you think, after all.

Talent is all over the place. It’s cheap. That’s the bad news no one wants to tell you, my friend.

Yes, you’re talented. But so is everyone else. Sorry to break it to you, but it’s the unpleasant truth you must hear.

Think of any special talent you think you have. I can guarantee you that at least a hundred thousand people out there have it too. And that’s me being conservative.

Talent does not make the difference

What stands you out is not your talent. Never has been, never will be. After all, what is common is not unique.

Some people might say otherwise but they are not telling the whole truth. Anybody that tells you talent is what makes the difference is not showing you the whole picture. There’s more.

Think about any excellent person you know in any career from sports to entertainment. What makes them stand out? If your answer is talent, you’re wrong.

It’s not talent that put Lionel Messi at the pinnacle of footballing success, neither is it the sheer talent that put Adele atop music charts. It was not talent that took Muhammad Ali and George Clooney to legendary status.

It’s not talent that separates them from the rest. Because there were many just as talented as them that didn’t even cut it at all, much less make the cut for greatness.

Don’t get me wrong, talent forms part of success. But it doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. It’s just one of those things. Yes, one of those things.

A good many folks consider talent as the one key that magically opens the doors leading to success. After all, it’s often sold as the philosopher’s stone―the hypothetical substance that alchemists believed to be capable of changing base metals into gold.

Well, it’s not.

Talent is overrated. Criminally overrated in fact. It’s just a basic requirement, yet some quarters make it sound like it’s all you need.

I like how Scott Fitzgerald, one of the finest American writers ever, put it: “You have talentwhich is the equivalent of a soldier having the right physical qualifications for entering West Point.

Fitzgerald’s words are a reminder that talent is just a basic requirement. Flowing from his analogy, a soldier getting into West Point doesn’t automatically guarantee his graduation with distinction.

And what’s more? You can make up for a deficiency of natural abilities or qualities with skill―an ability that has been acquired by training. Yes, you can. So much so people start referring to your skill as talent.

The real often-overlooked difference-makers

I know the question on your mind and probably on your lips: if talent doesn’t make the difference, then what does?

It’s not about what you have; it’s about what you do with it. And it’s always being like this since time immemorial. It’s one thing to be talented, it’s another thing to maximise the talent.

Attaining success goes beyond talent

If you’ve followed up to this point, then you know by now that talent can only take you so far. The best it can do is to put you on the right path―get your foot in the door.

From there, you need something stronger―some more sustainable stuff. To keep you going till you reach your destination and even go past it, you need something that will last.

And that’s no other than a strong belief coupled with a burning desire to attain success. These two factors will take you farther than any talent ever will. They will ferry you to unimaginable heights far beyond even your wildest thoughts.

You only need to scrutinise the stories of the greats I’ve mentioned earlier to see for yourself. Right from the start of their journey to greatness, they believed they are made for the top and had a burning desire to get there.

At different points on their journey, you could see them reiterate this belief and act out the desire. The proof of desire is strategic, relentless pursuit. It’s what separates the great from the good and the best from the rest.

It’s convenient to assume things will fall in your laps just because you are talented. Only that they won’t. Why should they? There are scores just as talented as you, and only those who desire it the most get it.  Period.

If you feel you have the talent, even if you truly do, there’s still substantial work to be done. And nothing facilitates the work so well as the twin factors of belief and desire.

An unyielding belief propels you to try out new methods, weather storms, scale hurdles and stay the path when quitting seems a wise option. It keeps you going before the world knows who you are.

A burning desire makes you seek out coaches and mentors, cultivate discipline, take calculated risks and form strategic relationships. The fiery desire pushes you to continue training and improving long before anybody knows your name

Regardless of where you are on the talent scale, you can attain great success―even beyond those above you. What determines your level of accomplishment is the depth of your desire and the strength of your belief.

My friend, how strong is your belief and how deep is your desire?


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