Munster Rugby legend Paul O’Connell has warned against the notion of ‘God-given talent’ or ‘born naturals’ in sport and life.
Success comes through hard graft and dedication.
You hear a lot about a person having a God-given talent. I hate that phrase.
It’s a dangerous saying.
You hear about somebody having an ear for music, a born natural and inheriting a talent for a game in their DNA. There are a whole load of sayings like this that permeate our conversation:
That excellence is somehow pre-ordained.
It is not.
This belief denies the incentive to practice and make that huge effort needed to reach your goal. There is this myth and I don’t buy into it. Beware of this talk about God-given talent and don’t let anybody put their dreams of success aside because they might feel they don’t have the same talent as others.
Everybody has the same opportunity to work and practice. People who are excellent at what they do have practiced more and often fail more but work harder and bounce back. It’s about being prepared to work and graft very hard.
After Tiger Woods became the youngest winner of the Masters in Augusta he was written about as being the most natural golf talent ever seen.
But if you dig into his past you see the real story of his father working on his golf game even before he was a year old. It was relentless hard work and dedication and did not come to him naturally.
The Beatles were hailed an overnight success, but the group had put in enormous time, often working in seedy nightclubs across Europe, developing their music. In one 18-month period they did more than 270 concerts before they hit the charts. Their success was not about a God-given talent, but sheer dedication and hard work.