Talent, luck, or hard work?

May 1, 2010

Why are some people successful and some people aren't where they want to be? Is it talent? Luck? Or hard work?

Talent?

I think I have a few talents now. But none of it came easy. I made lots of mistakes. I also had to work hard to get where I am. I worked long hours. I went back to school (while I worked full time). Maybe I am slow or just stubborn, but I did finally learn a thing or two. And I love my job.

And look at Outliers: The Story of Success; Malcolm Gladwell shows over and over these guys we believe "well, they are just really talented" really worked damn hard to get where they are.  Bill Gates, one of the smartest most talented guys you can think of (or at least one of the most successful), worked his rear end off for over 7 years BEFORE he dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft.  Mozart, depending on when you think he was a master worked for either 10 to 20 years to get there.  Most chess grand champions seem to take 10 years to reach that level (Bobby Fischer made it in 9). 

So, I don't think we can caulk it up to talent…

Luck?

I don't know about luck; I don't seem to be all that lucky. I have never won the lottery.  And I don't think luck has played much in my career path.  Any "luck" I had was based on me working hard to set it up.  I have worked hard at my network. I went back to school and have a Masters degree.  I read constantly.  I try to ask intelligent questions (ok, I said try…).  I try to come to most situations with an open mind.  I try to be generally pleasant and someone that people don't mind working with.  I learned long ago it might be better to work at the HQ of a company.  I learned to constantly look for opportunities, try to talk to the right people, and make sure your have the right skills so when the opportunity comes you are ready for it. 

Luck doesn't hurt, but I don't know if we can give it all the credit (or even most)…   

So, what does that leave?  Hard work!

Are you working hard to do what you love? Are you willing to work hard? Like working your ass off every minute of the day hard work?  Honestly, I don't think most people are…  How about you?


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