August 26, 2010

Talent Is Not Enough

I am in a foul mood and it is not the free throw shooting kind. If I wanted to I could provide a list of five reasons why I am still in the mood to defenestrate those who irritate me but I don't feel much like ranting. Part of it is because I am fighting to maintain a good attitude and part is because there are no words to properly express this.

Besides, I'd rather discuss why talent isn't enough and why I teach my children that effort is required for whatever endeavor they are participating in.

The classic example of talent not being enough is something that I relate to professional sports. Pick a league, NBA, NFL or MLB and you will find examples of players who have exceptional talent in their field. You will also find a list of "has-beens" and "never was" who had as much or talent as everyone else but never managed to put it together.

Unfulfilled potential. All that ability and they couldn't make it work. They prove that talent isn't enough to ensure success. You have to do more than just show up. But this isn't limited to sports. It is a life lesson another one of those teaching moments that I seek out.

It is a lesson that I am still working on for myself. During my school days I had a 'B' average but it could have been better. Could have run the table and averaged straight 'A's but I didn't put in the effort. I was always smart enough to get by without much work. With the exception of a few classes I could get it done by just showing up.

That is not good enough for me anymore. Hasn't been for a long time, but I haven't written it down before. The act of writing this down changes things. It makes it more concrete. It is a promise that I make to myself. A pledge whose upholding will only be noticeable to me. If I don't make it happen the only person who will know is me. Being accountable to myself is more important and harder than being accountable to others because when the lights go out at night I am alone with my thoughts.

So I find myself seeking the right and proper way to teach this to my children. Isn't that part of being a parent, teaching our children how not to make the mistakes we have made. The right and proper way of teaching this to my children means finding a way that is tailored to their personalities.

I am not going to be a drill sergeant. That doesn't work for any of us. I don't want them to remember me as a tyrant, but I am not their friend either. It is just a question of finding the right balance to push and motivate them to take that extra step that others don't take.

Sometimes success is measured in inches. All you need is one inch more than the next guy and good things will happen for you.

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