Tej Shah

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Which out of talent and hard work makes a person more successful and how?

There always are these two kinds of successful people - the talented and the hard workers. What makes a person more successful out of the two- is it talent or is it hard work? or is it a right balance of both? Which one gives long-term success? Who is happier out of both and why? Answers to all these would support to answer the main question.

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    Nov 7 2013: hard work
    • Dec 4 2013: Personally I know of no exceptions. All the people alive or dead that I study and look up to are talented beyond belief and everyone contributes their so called talent to hard work.
      The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work.Thomas A. Edison
      There is no substitute for hard work.Thomas A. Edison
      Leaders aren't born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.Vince Lombardi
      Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.Stephen King
      Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.Horace
      “Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work...”― Albert Einstein
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    Nov 16 2013: Talented wins out over working hard almost every time. Consider the synonyms: flair, aptitude, facility, gift, knack, technique, touch, bent, ability, expertise, capacity, power, faculty and so on. While hard work is simply that. Sweat, diligence, perseverance, industrious and requires enormous amounts of energy to sustain.

    Of course there are those who excel at both, but for sheer efficiency of energy and time, talent will probably produce far more personal benefits and returns than hard work ever did.
  • Nov 11 2013: Talent without hard work is wasted talent. I have seen people with less talent through hard work succeed while others with more talent but a lot less work not succeed.
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    Nov 10 2013: Tej, I find it hard to separate these two. As a coach I cannot teach speed. Some are fast some are not. I can teach technique which may improve your overall time. However, none of these come easy ... some say it is luck ... it has been my experience that the hardest workers are "luckier" than those who do not put forth the effort.

    You may be the fastest in your class at arriving at the correct math answer. But the student that can apply that formula will be the long term winner. S/he has worked to understand not only the mechanics but under what circumstances they can be applied ... that last step taken by the student put s/he in the drivers seat.

    Thomas Edison once said ... success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. That would infer that a combination is the key to success.

    I can play notes on the guitar ... my kids can play music with feelings and emotion. I can draw .. and someone will say is that a tree????? My wife can draw a picture that makes you think of the aroma, sunshine, and sounds that are depicted. In those cases I try hard but lack the talent ... again a combination is required.

    As to which is happier .... I know people with tons of talent who are miserable ... and folks who have no discernible talent who are blissfully happy. Happiness is different for all of us and a result of many factors.

    The beginning of being happy is .... to know and accept who you are ... and be content with that person.

    In the end it is still all about the person .... there is not standard measuring stick.

    For a sure thing be born to the companies founder and start off as a Vice President and work your way up.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Nov 16 2013: Really, very well explained. Very helpful!
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    Lejan .

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    Nov 8 2013: None, as both are myths of a given system by its standard definition of success.

    It may help if you become clear what success means to you and then start your way to find it in case you don't already have it. Endurance will help and so does luck.
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      Nov 10 2013: I never thought about this difference as a child and till the time when I was supposed to make choice of career. When I entered my field, as a student, which I still am, I had not found what I was good at or what pleased me as there were innumerable options and I had considered just a few of them. With time I have realized that this difference does exist and it's effect is of considerable magnitude in how good you are at what you're doing. Also, if we further look into it, It's not only about success but also about happiness, satisfaction and most importantly, the time that you're spending in whatever you're doing. However, I've also learnt, which might be against the popular opinion though, that interest can be developed over a period of time.
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        Lejan .

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        Nov 10 2013: It was the same with me when I was a student, and often we find that our imagination about a career is different from usual realities in those careers. Happiness and satisfaction can be part of your definition of success, if this is important for you to have in a career. To me it is.

        Interest can develop over a period of time, that is not unusual, yet it can also decrease over time and than it is time for a change.
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    Nov 8 2013: I prefer hard work with your interest.
  • Nov 14 2013: Do you mean to say that those who have talents should not work hard, and those who work hard are morons ? As far as success is concerned it is the product of both the talent and hard work . But talent and hard work won't go far to make anyone successfull other things also come into play to make a person successful.

    Every living creature who has visited on this planet earth and who is currently on the journey of this planet and who will visit this planet earth all are born with unique talents .

    Take for example of Bees:

    Bees are born with unique and natural talent of production of Honey and Honey comb.Bees have to work hard in finding the flowers so that they can suck nectar from the flowers and deposit it in their honey comb. In search of flowers the bees fly to far flung areas.

    What if he bees think that "Oh we have a great talent to produce Honey and Honey Comb" ,

    "Why should we work hard?"

    Bees produce such a delicious and tasty honey without recruiting any arrogant MBA's , Engineers as Techno Coolies , or Setting up a pollution generating factory with lot of waste going into the air and water.

    Can any human being produce honey and honey comb with the quality the bees produce it ?

    Success also depends on the ecosystem. What if there would be no flowers then how would the bees produce the honey and honey Comb.
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      Nov 16 2013: Firstly, hard workers are not morons and the question I've posted definitely doesn't mean that. It's just that there are few people who are in field which they're not comfortable with or have to work more than others, as they're not naturally good in that particular field. They might be excellent in certain thing which they don't know about yet or are forced by circumstances. So such people can put more efforts and do well. There are, of course, a number of factors on which determines success. Question isn't at all related with all of them. It's only about how much does the natural talent contribute towards making people successful.
      And as far as your question is concerned.. can human being produce honey of the same qualities as bees? answer is probably yes, but we've to do it the harder way which is not really feasible. So we'd rather prefer bees to do that. Here, question could have been.. can butterflies produce honey? even they suck nectar! No. because butterflies were not made to produce honey! Plus, here the question isn't about every other animal or insect on earth, it is completely limited to us, humans. Everyone knows that you can't train a fish to walk or a crocodile to climb a tree.. but human beings can do both. One can't just compare nay animal with human being! Now coming back to 'talent'- Everybody can run, but some are better runners than others. Some learnt running better than others the hard way, by putting in more efforts, while others are naturally skilled and have nice muscles naturally which help them to run faster... So obviously, if winning a marathon race is success for these 'better' runners, natural runners would've edge over the others in the race. I hope you get the point.
  • Nov 13 2013: To be truely successful in a field, you'll need to work hard regardless of talent. Those with talent and no effort don't get far.

    Also, it's not so 2-dimentional as hard work vs talent. If you think about it that way, you leave out those who are talented learners, who are not talented at a given field/discipline/skill initially, but improves constantly and eventually become the masters of their field. The late peakers.

    Remember also, there are those who are talented at working hard, and there are those who have to work hard at working hard. Even though passion helps, there are those who are natrually born with the ability to put their whole heart into everything they do and show true committment, which I think is a talent all by itself.
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    Nov 10 2013: Hi Tej,
    There are probably many elements which contribute to success, and each person may focus more or less on some of the elements. I do not agree that there are "two kinds of successful people - talented and the hard workers". In my life adventure, and others I am aware of, it is balance. I agree with Lejan, that it is important to be clear with what success means to you....KNOW THYSELF....believe in yourself....take the steps toward your idea of success.

    Have you checked out any of the other conversations on this topic?
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/topics
  • Nov 8 2013: It's a false dichotomy. There is no reason I can see to say that people are either successful because of talent or because of hard work, but not both.

    Let's assume that success is broadly defined as achieving one's goals. But even if you want to limit it to money and earning power, then there are plenty of people working very hard for low wages; some because low wage jobs are often back-breakingly hard, and some because they are doing what they love in jobs that society doesn't value very highly. Others make a lot of money by simply turning over inherited money to others to use it to make more money.

    My observation would be that the most successful people are those who work hard at something they have a particular talent for achieve their life goals in ways that are rewarding and satisfying on many levels.
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    Nov 8 2013: On average, you'll get farther with hard work then you will with talent or genius. The ability to work hard and consistantly is far more valued than the brain flashes or whatever....However, you'll often see that the most successful "Talented" people also were willing to work their butts off...The 10,000 hour rule still applies.
  • Nov 8 2013: It depends on how you define success. If success is measured by money earned, I think talent can generate cash far quicker than hard work. The recent rise of millionaire internet entrepreneurs demonstrates the power of an idea. This is not to say it didn't require work to capitalize on the idea...but I'm suggesting the return on their sweat equity is much higher.

    If success is measured by the contributions you've made to society, then hard work makes a person more successful.

    It's a question of whether you value... money or people (not that you can't value both...but the latter is a better compass).
    • Nov 8 2013: But I know a lot of talented people without a penny because they're unable to put it into work. Many were expecting that their talent would make people come running for them, but how if they don;t show enough output? I take a person who will work until the job is done and take one week, over one who has the talent to do the job in one day, but will not attempt to work more than one hour in the project.

      Work ethics is the very main thing.
      • Nov 8 2013: True. And the inverse is true as well. There are many hard working people who either are in the wrong profession, are self defeating or simply believe their way is the best way and refuse to adapt. They work hard all their lives and never understand why they don't get ahead.

        I think an underlying jealousy has perpetuated the stereotype of lazy talented people. Sometimes nose to the grindstone is just a case of poor posture.
    • Nov 8 2013: Well, I think it is not a stereotype. I have had the experience. But agreed. The opposite is also a problem. People who work hard but don't know where or how to do it. Working hard needs direction before it can lead you to some success. But I have had talented people working for me who don;t finish what they start, while less talented people who recognize the need for work go on and on and progress. Then the talented but not hard-working become bitter and do even less. Sad but true in my own experience. Of course, the best combo is lots of talent and energy. There's some. I have had that experience too. Fortunately!