Talent does exist, but hard work makes it valuable.

We’re in a new era for looking at the talent vs. hard work debate.

For a long time talent was what people though made the difference between elite performers and average Joes.

Now people are switching over the camp of hard work. It’s a better camp to be in overall. However, the hard work camp has created the idea in some people that talent doesn’t even exist.

Talent does exist. Talent is all of the intangibles and things that cannot be taught. No one learns how to become seven feet tall. That’s talent.

Talent can also be attached to where you grow up and what behaviors and customs are practiced that you will inevitably accept it just because you don’t know not to.

This one can be a little grey, because some would say customs and beliefs in the end are stuff that individuals can decide to incorporate or not. But think about how every person in America learns the phonetic alphabet. Though it is taught and learned, it becomes an innate part of being an American.

Also, the ability to speak English is very powerful. It’s been said that English will become the business language if it isn’t already. Yet at the same time, it’s an insanely difficult language to learn if it doesn’t come naturally to you due to all of the inconsistent rules. (For instance, why is the contraction of “will” and “not” not wiln’t?) So yeah, it’s a talent to speak it natively.

And there’s one more that gets incredibly grey, but I believe it’s talent even though it’s a learned behavior. I don’t what it’s called, but it’s the ability to instinctively to dive onto the floor for a ball, or any way you sacrifice your body for your team or for other people.

It’s not a talent just to do this, but it’s a talent to do this instinctively. I play basketball, and it’s very noticeable that people who are first to hit the floor are wired very differently. They’re wired to be ultimate competitors.

It’s not a talent to learn how to shoot a basketball or to learn how to throw a baseball, because you can actually forget how to do those things. (Trust me, I’m a good shooter with NBA range, but if I get out of the gym for a while, then I lose the ability and have to relearn it. And it sucks.)

But it is a talent when the intangibles become second nature. For instance, it probably takes hard work to become resilient, but once you’ve achieved it, it’s hard to forget how to be resilient.

In the end, hard work is still the golden ticket. Never hold out hope that you will be seven feet tall only to find out you grow to be 5'6", and now you’re like “what do I do?”

And if you do become seven feet tall, you still need a skill that you can perform. An impressive body without a skill is useless. I remember in high school the biggest football player on our team never played because he wasn’t a good football player. And I thought “what a waste of space!”

But within your body, whatever the size, there are innate strengths that should help you achieve skills that require hard work to learn. And that’s how talent and hard work should work together.