Stop Waiting and Choose Your Own Talent

Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.

We are often held back by common misperceptions about the nature of talent and ability. We are taught that talent is a natural gift; that we have no more control over our talents than the color of our eyes. For many years I waited for my talent to manifest itself so I could reach my potential. Eventually I realized that waiting is useless, that talent is a choice not a gift, and that passion is stronger than any God given ability.

The primary source of confusion is equating talent with natural ability. By making this mistake we discourage ourselves from pursuing what we want. If we aren’t blessed with natural ability then trying seems pointless. But talent is much more than natural ability. Natural ability will get you in the door but not much further. For example, there are thousands of people with great athleticism, but there is only one Michael Jordan. Jordan became the best because he loved basketball to the point of obsession. The true source of his greatness is not natural ability but love.

Love is what motivates people to endure the hours of practice and countless failures that develop skill. Natural ability is insignificant compared to years of hard work and experience. If you really love something, don’t be discouraged by a lack of natural ability. Just work hard to improve, study your trade, learn from experience, and before long you’ll surpass those relying on natural ability alone.

The point I’m trying to make is that love, passion, desire, whatever you call it, is much more important to success than having a natural aptitude. We shouldn’t rely on our natural abilities to guide our lives. For a long time I expected my natural ability to expose itself and put me on the path to success. I assumed I’d come across it by accident and everything would fall into place. I guess I didn’t want to choose or didn’t know how to choose what I really wanted.

Long story short, this passive strategy didn’t work. If you wait for the world to find a place for you, you will be put in a group that really doesn’t fit. You lose your individuality. The truth is the world doesn’t care about finding your passion or reaching your potential. The world sees you as a means of production to be used as efficiently as possible. It is our personal responsibility to pursue our own happiness.

The beauty of it all, is that the key to success and the key to happiness are one and the same. The same love that makes you want to dedicate your life to something also motivates you to practice and develop your skills. So stop waiting for your greatness to appear out of thin air. Decide what you really love and start pursuing it today. No one else is going to do it for you.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

21 Responses to Stop Waiting and Choose Your Own Talent

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