Although some do not enjoy reading, I consider myself to develop a passion, and therefore a talent for reading.  Photo Credit: Jen Chiang

Although some do not enjoy reading, I consider myself to develop a passion, and therefore a talent for reading.
Photo Credit: Jen Chiang

My realization struck with a sharp TWANG! There is a fine line between hard work and actual talent. Here I was, in art class, my teacher’s voice was soaring through the environment, as he explained that a stick figure can be much more than just a stick figure. To start, he drew a shirt on his figure, then continued with pants, shoes, and a half-smirk on its face. I knew I was not the only student struck by the realization that there is, indeed, more to life than just your average stick figure.

Though I consider myself an artistic person, I do not mean this in a tangible way. I can write prose until my eyes grow heavy with the sleep I don’t normally have. I can write poems on the spot, and I’m not too shabby at reflective columns. However, I have always had a problem with the art of (tangible) creation. I have always been the jealous kid in the back of the class, watching my peers draw scenery on the spot.

Needless to say, the class period in which I learned that my stick figures can have smirks on their faces, can wear clothes, and can come alive on paper with the help of a few strokes of a pencil, was much needed. I realized that if I work hard enough, in art, and in any subject, really, I can succeed.

The class I have never had to try truly hard for is English. Somehow, someway, my skill in English has soared higher in the past years, regardless of it being my second language. Essays have always come naturally to me. Debates have always been events I want to curl my hair for. Simply put, I. Love. English.

Math, on the other hand, has been my weakest subject for as long as I can recall. I have tried, and tried, and tried to excel in the subject, but alas, most of my efforts have failed. However, I have been the kid that shines in their math class if they truly try (I was the first-place math winner in my eighth grade math class. Not sure how that happened).

It then started to occur to me that there is a huge difference between talent and hard work. Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers states: “extraordinary achievement is less about talent than it is about opportunity.” I disagree. I believe (and I have seen) tremendous amounts of success occurring when an individual actually enjoys engaging in said activity.

I agree with what Gladwell states about opportunity, as opportunity is the silver lining of success. Perhaps I will motivate myself to exceed in my future math classes in college. Luckily, I have discovered that English will be my career path. It is true that hard work will ultimately lead to success, but talent does not necessarily equate to working hard.

If one truly loves a subject, the hard work will come naturally.

I believe in hard work.
I believe in talent.
  • J Ogden

    Great article Alex. I am glad that you connected with that lesson. Creativity is sometimes viewed as some mystical force that only certain people possess. We are all creative in different ways. We often hide from it, out of the fear of rejection or disapproval of others. The love of something can generate creativity. If we truly enjoy something then we shouldn’t shy away from it because of unrealistic comparisons. Great job. I enjoyed the article. It’s very insightful.
    Hard work. Talent. I believe in both as well.