Tonight, as I was watching my Oklahoma City Thunder square off against the L.A. Clippers, I couldn't help but think of this quote. "Hard work defeats talent when talent fails to work hard." It's by my favorite player, Kevin Durant. It's significant that a guy like him would say that because when it come to basketball, that man has all the God given talent and ability anyone could ask for.
I enjoy quotes. Quotes taken from history are the usually the significant portion of the speech. If they were a song, they would be the hook or the chorus. Quotes can inspire, give hope, and motivate. Quotes are easily memorized and when you find ones that you like, they usually stick with you. This particular quote, "Hard work defeats talent when talent fails to work hard," has been one of many that has really stuck with me.
Not to get a big head or anything, but I find myself pretty talented at just about everything I do, usually better than a majority of most people. I like to think of this talent level as my base talent level. It's how good I am at something without any real practice. When you practice at something you raise those talents. I don't believe there's a ceiling for your potential, but there's definitely a floor. Those that immensely good at something are usually naturally talented and work to push their talents even further.
Now, when I got my first DSLR camera, I was off and making some pretty good images within the first week. I did this day to day and by the end of the month they just kept getting better. If you were to compare my first few images to that of what I had accomplished by the end of the month, you'd have to say the first few were pretty amateurish. A year goes by, and it's really like night and day, no comparison whatsoever. Photography is interesting as you can always look back and easily see
how far you've came. I can look back now on what I shot a few weeks ago
and see progress. And, when I look back on those early images, the ones I thought those images were incredible and awesome, all I can think was, "What was I doing!?"
About last April or so I kept waiting to plateau and hit my ceiling, it just never happened. There is no definitive talent one can achieve. It was about this time that I said, "I wonder how good I'll be in a year?" Well, I think I'm OK with where I stand and if you ask me or tell me that I'm great at anything that will always be my answer. I'm OK with being just OK, because there is always that next level up that I can work towards. There's always one skill that you have that isn't as good as the rest, and most people would never notice that in you. But, in all honesty, if I was perfect, I would be bored. I would have nothing to work towards, no reason to set goals, and nothing to look forward to.
If you aren't uncomfortable doing something than you're not progressing, you're just going through the motions. When I played football in high school I got by on speed and quickness alone. I had no desire to learn the proper techniques or fundamentals and was therefore a mediocre player who could only do a few things well. If I could go back in time, I would like to smack myself upside the head for having that kind of lackadaisical attitude towards not just that, but everything. That's what you call being ten years older and having ten year's more worth of life experiences. You see the error of your ways and you try as best you can to fix them. You care more about who you are, what you can become, and what lies ahead in your future. You make those preparations for what lies ahead by hard work, not talent.
We all have potential to be great. So don't just practice, don't cheat yourself on what you can truly become. Work hard, work hard at every single aspect of you life. Don't ever settle. When life throws you a curve ball (another thing I was terrible at and didn't work towards,) be thankful for the opportunity and the challenge. When you lose and fail, learn from it and practice where you messed up. Push yourself to your limitless potentials. Looking back on what you've accomplished is one of the greatest feeling in life, so don't miss out on what could be. And, remember, when you're sitting in wait, there is somebody somewhere working their butt off to take your spot. "Hard work defeats talent when talent fails to work hard."