Talent vs Effort: Which Matters More?

When it comes to achieving success, we all have a hidden preference for those that are naturally talented over those who work hard...

Talent vs Effort: Which One Matters More?

Every single one of us has the desire to achieve success in our lives, no matter what our definition of success means to us personally.

This can be success in your career, education, or hobbies; and you can likely point to someone that you admire, or aspire to become like, who has achieved a certain level of success in that area.

But did you know that you have a "naturalness bias" when it comes to appreciating what that person has achieved?

Brett Jordan

The Naturalness Bias - Deep Down You Favour Talent More

As pointed out in research done by Angela Duckworth, author of "GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance", she shares that, while we all say that hard work and effort are admirable (and desirable), we actually place more value on natural talent.

She states: 

"The "naturalness bias" is a hidden prejudice against those who've achieved what they have because they have worked for it, and a hidden preference for those whom we think arrived at their place in life because they're naturally talented. We may not admit to others this bias for naturals; we may not even admit it to ourselves. But the bias is evident in the choices we make."

It's an interesting thing to think about, isn't it?

You say that you want hard working employees, team members, spouses, community members and children and this is a socially/culturally acceptable means of encouragement.

"Try harder", "don't quit", "just keep at it and you'll get there", are all things that you hear throughout your day, yet deep down you secretly admire or envy those that have natural talents for the very thing you are trying to do.


Why Do You Secretly Admire Talent Over Effort?

Here at Bare Slate we have a hypothesis about this finding, and it has to do with judgement and fear.

If you say that you prefer hard work and effort, yet deep down you are side-eyeing the 'talented' ones, could this in fact provide you with an ejector button to stop trying when things eventually get difficult?

Let's think about that one for just a moment....

You have undoubtedly experienced difficult situations, uncomfortable conversations, trauma, set-backs, rejection and more.

If someone else who has experienced the exact same situation as you has come through the other side and succeeded, isn't it easier on our 'effort ego' to say, "well, yes of course they were able to do it, they have a natural talent for it and I don't!"

So, is this simply an excuse that you are making that sounds great when you say it out loud?

In fact, you could never be judged for not being born with a particular talent, so the pressure is off! 

It's kind of genius, really...but is it helpful?

Karsten Winegear

What Can I Blame For Quitting?

It would seem like the easy-out when there is something to point to, outside of your control, to explain why you shouldn't keep trying...shouldn't stay uncomfortable...shouldn't face the fact that you haven't succeeded yet.

If this is true, then perhaps you can start to look at why you would place more value (deep deep deeeeep down) on talent, as opposed to effort, and consider why you may feel threatened by the efforts of others.

Their success has nothing to do with your own, which means you can shift from envy (or that pesky talent excuse) to a place of resilience, perseverance and passion.

After all, if they can do it, why can't you?


Want to listen/watch the conversation we had about Talent vs Effort? Click here to watch!


Categories: Personal Development