“Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.” Will Smith
We all know the quote by Tim Notke, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” but Will Smith takes it one step farther. Talent is your base level, it’s your, albeit gifted, starting point. When someone describes you as talented or gifted, it’s important to accept that as a starting point not an ending point. It simply means you are fortunate enough to get a head start, you didn’t win the race.
We also know the expression, “Don’t rest on your laurels,” but sometimes we forget. It’s comfortable when we are good at what we do. We don’t mean to “rest on our laurels,” but it happens. We get lazy, not intentionally, but we do. It’s arguably easier to be in 2nd place, than 1st, because there is someone or something to chase. And when there is someone to chase, we automatically have a fire inside to do just that. So being the talented one isn’t always a gift.
So today, there is work to be done. Are you the talented one or the one who is coming in 2nd place? Our God-given talent may have put us in this place, but “beating on your craft” is up to us. We get to develop our skill because we decided to put in the work and do more than is expected. Talent isn’t the end of the story—not by a long shot. And it can be argued that it’s a disadvantage. But skill is developed—by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft. It’s our choice.