Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard

This is a quote I have used with all the teams which I have coached in multiple sports including rugby, volleyball and soccer. However, this quote applies not only to the sporting environment but also to education and life itself.

The majority of people in this world wish to become the best possible version of themselves. This is different for every individual as we all have different talents, abilities and circumstances. However, whether or not we do become the version of ourselves we strive to be is often determined by the amount of work we are willing to put in and our mindset.

Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, introduced two different mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Life provides us with constant challenges and obstacles. Individuals with a fixed mindset tend to avoid challenges and give up easily when faced by an obstacle. On the contrary, people with a growth mindset embrace challenge and persist when confronted by obstacles. As educators, it is our role to equip students with the necessary skill-set and character traits to embrace challenge and not fear failure. Once students can solve problems in familiar situations, we need to extend their learning to unfamiliar situations but in order to be successful, students must have a growth mindset.


Talent at a young age is a poor indicator of long term success if considered in isolation. Characteristics such as respect, integrity and discipline underpin success, as individuals with these attributes are driven, passionate, and committed. We all have different talents in different areas but the more we expose ourselves to challenging situations and put forth our best effort, the more we improve and talent becomes less of a determining factor.

If we can become comfortable being uncomfortable whether that be in sport, education, work or life, we are on the road to becoming the best version of ourselves. Coach John Wooden, winner of 10 NCAA Basketball championships, claimed it’s what we learn once we know everything that really counts. Hence, learning is a never ending process and the desire to improve is a vital ingredient for success. Talent may take you places, hard work will keep you there.


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