Do You Have Enough Talent to Succeed?

Yuja Wang

To explain their failures, some people say,

“I don’t have a head for business which is why my scrapbook store went bankrupt.”

“Leaders are born to lead. I was born to follow. I’ll just be a good soldier.”

“She inherited her musical skill from her father, but my dad is a truck driver which is why I can’t play the piano.”

If you believe you need to be born with a talent or inherit a talent to be successful, you are one step closer to failure. Yet if you realize you can find the talent you need to succeed at anything you wish, you are one step closer to success.

So if talent is not something you are born with, where do you get it?

How did Michael Jordan become the greatest basketball player of all time? What made Luciano Pavarotti such an incredible opera singer? Why is Warren Buffet a brilliant investor?

Are these professionals born with their skills?

The fact is this. Successful athletes, musicians, investors, actors, managers and doctors do not get their skills at birth. They achieve their greatness through hard, intense practice.

Talent Vs. Practice

“In any activity, quite a bit of what passes for ‘talent’ is really just practice.”

“One can train one’s body, one’s eyes, one’s hands and feet until, with practice, they sort of ‘get to know.’ One no longer has to ‘think’ to set up the stove or park the car: one just DOES it.”

“The same principle applies to crafts and professions which mainly use the mind. The lawyer who has not drilled, drilled, drilled on courtroom procedure may not have learned to shift his mental gears fast enough to counter new turns of a case and loses it. An undrilled new stockbroker could lose a fortune in minutes. A green salesman who has not rehearsed selling can starve for lack of sales.

“The right answer is to practice, practice and practice!” — L. Ron Hubbard from The Way to Happiness


Winston Churchill, one of the world’s greatest speakers, practiced his speeches compulsively, over and over.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team which proves his talent was not natural. After he was cut, he practiced his basketball moves for more hours every day than anyone else in the game. He then became the best basketball player of all time.

Pop music’s superstar singer and composer Ed Sheeran says he practiced singing for 30,000 hours, starting on the side of roads.

Even though she earns up to $1M per year as one of the world’s best concert pianists, Yuja Wang still practices 2-3 hours per day. She might practice an entire concerto in that time, or just one page of a difficult piece, over and over, in those daily practice sessions. As a result, she plays faster, more beautifully and more accurately than anyone else.

The best writers, actors, surgeons, managers, programmers, artists, politicians, dentists, musicians, chefs, pilots and electricians all become the best through hours and hours and hours of practice. And their practice is intense.

For example, hitting a bucket of golf balls for fun is not practice, which is why most golfers don’t improve. As Tiger Woods proved, practice means you hit 300 balls, with the same club, with the goal of dropping the ball within 20 feet of the same spot. And you do this every day.

For an accomplished musician, like Adele, practice means you play or sing the same piece of music 1000 times, each time slightly better than the last, until you make people cry during a performance.

For an artist, like Monet, practice means you paint the same flower 300 times until people gasp when they look at it.

For an author, like Earnest Hemmingway, practice means you re-write the same book at least 100 times until your readers can’t put it down.

Role-playing or drilling is how you practice to become a great lawyer, a great doctor or a great speaker. Much of this practice can be done with a coach, as well as on the job.

To succeed as a manager, you need to spend many hours bringing out the best performance possible from each of your employees. For example, sales managers should practice with their sales people. “I’ll pretend I’m afraid to buy a new car and you sell it to me anyway. Here we go. ‘Oh, I’m just too nervous to buy this car . . . .'” The more practicing the sales managers conduct, the more cars they sell.

Every skill can be practiced and improved: negotiating business deals, explaining financial statements, giving speeches, desiging a logo, driving race cars, using computers, writing reports, teaching students, managing money, fixing engines, writing apps, building houses, everything.

No one is born with talent. Yet with practice, everyone, including you, can become talented at anything!


1. Write down a talent you wish to gain.

2. Break down the talent into all of its skills. Make a thorough list.

For example, to be a great soccer player, you need to master 50 different types of kicks. To be a great accountant, you need to master math, financial laws and accounting software as well as many people skills. You might have a list of 100 individual skills.

3. Work out how to practice each individual skill. Some skills you can practice on your own while others require study or research or a coach to help you master the skill.

4. Practice for as many hours as you can stand, each day, until each skill is perfect and you gain the talent you desire. If you get work done while you practice a skill, even better!

5. Every time you fail at something, look at it as mere practice. Turn the loss into an opportunity. Which of your skills need more work?

6. Constantly improve your skills. Everyone has room for improvement.

As a result of your constant improvement, you will gain all the skills and talent you need to succeed.