Enthusiasm and passion (and the hard work it inspires) count for much more than simply having more natural athletic talent and ability. Talent will only get you so far, but preparation, discipline and commitment help transition good athletes to great ones.
I have had the opportunity to interview several successful head coaches and athletic directors and it started to become very clear that winning does not necessarily come to the teams with the most raw talent, nor to those who went to the best schools, nor even those who had the best guidance. Rather, lifelong drive and determination have been more influential in predicting ongoing success of athletes. Unless you are working on something you love, it is hard to find the discipline to exhibit drive and determination with consistent conviction. You can’t be a great athlete, if you don’t truly love the game.
Calvin Coolidge, said
“Nothing in the world can take place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Many athletes, when deciding if they have what it takes to make it to the next level, ask themselves what they are good at. However, as Coolidge pointed out, talents (or skills or strengths) are not the key issue, even if they are relevant. Rather, what is important is what inspires persistence and determination – in other words, what do you care about. Don’t worry about what you’re good at. If something turns you on, you’ll be good enough. If it doesn’t, you won’t.
Your strengths are irrelevant: What you like and enjoy doing is critical! Elite professional athletes always say they can’t believe that they get paid playing the game they love.
Success, in my humble opinion, comes from doing what you enjoy – at least that’s what I believe. If you don’t enjoy it, how can it be called success?
Do you agree? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.