Talent or Hard Work?

Stuck in traffic on the way home yesterday, I was listening to my favourite talk radio, Dubai Eye, discuss talent, practice and the right combination of each for success.  There are firmly divided camps on this: the ones that feel talent is way overrated, and the others who believe that without that seed of inborn talent, all the practice and hard work in the world will not make you any good at it – what it might be.

Coincidentally, I came across Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything, a Harvard Business Review post advocating the practice part of the equation.

Personally, I agree with the practice makes perfect concept, especially if we’re talking about something you like, but totally suck at (singing, anyone?).  You have to like it, otherwise there’s no way you would be there, day in, day out, working on your chosen craft to perfect it.

What do you think? Does natural talent trump hard work?

Let me put it another way: if you were selecting a person for desert island / team activity member  / new recruit, would you go for the talented one, or the one who works his fingers to the bone?



  1. The most successful people are those who are extremely talented and work really hard. In my opinion, if you can’t do both, pick one and focus. Being semi-talented and working hard 50% of the time is probably the worst way to go.

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