What is talent?

Talent is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as being a natural aptitude or skill, however, how far can we take this principle of talent being something we are born with? Surely it also has to be something that we learn and develop?

Whilst undeniably a significant part of being deemed talented is because you show a natural flair and ability, many individual talents are ones that we can learn and progress upon over time. This proves that achievements come as a result of consistent hard work and dedication, rather than it being something you can only obtain if you are born with it. When looking at the realm of sports and sporting achievements, it can be critiqued whether a field that requires such constant graft can only be broken into if you are naturally good at it already. In that sense, sports can be compared inextricably to the world of business, and whilst natural flair can be a component in achieving success, learning and progressing are equally significant factors. 

When looking at sporting talent in comparison to professional talent, many examples can be given of people renowned in their field who not only had natural abilities but also the vigour and motivation to set themselves apart from the masses. Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are notorious footballers, who, at around the age of twelve left their families for a place in the European Youth Football Academy, with Ronaldo going to Sporting Lisbon and Messi going to FC Barcelona. As young boys they must have shown enough unique talent to warrant earning a spot at these prestigious Academy’s, however, it was their shared desire to become professional footballers and their determination and motivation that led them to maintain their careers. Ronaldo even stated that his mother would never have pinned him as being a footballer, stating that she would never have guessed he would have been a star when he was young. Therefore, proving that Ronaldo would never have been so renowned if it was just based on his natural talent, but instead, it is his persistence that pushed him to the top. According to psychologists, you need 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert in that field, and so you cannot just depend upon the natural ability to put you on the pedestal of being the best of the best. As a businessman, much like Ronaldo and Messi, you need to be consistent and always strive to learn. Without devotion to what you love, you will not be an expert, as there is only so much that natural talent can do for you. 

Relating sportsmanship to the world of business is actually a very comparable link, much like how sportsmen and women rely on learning their talents, businessmen and women have to be taught things too. For example, when looking at PR, you can be naturally gifted within your abilities to find different angles and ways to make things happen. Being born with these pragmatic abilities makes you automatically talented, however, everything else in regards to the PR industry has to be learnt. Even if you naturally excel in your strategic and problem-solving abilities, you need to be taught the foundations of PR, through learning about different sorts of media and different outlets. Henceforth, much like Ronaldo and Messi, whilst you can have a natural flair for business, you still need to put in the work and prove yourself to be a dedicated student. You’ve heard the expression practice makes perfect, well, you can only become the master when you have dedicated the time to practice and develop your craft. Perfection isn’t easy and you do not earn the greatest titles after only a few days of work. 

Henceforth, it can be said that true talent is the simultaneous marriage of both natural ability and constant learning and growth. Whilst foundations can be set by someone’s natural talent, their excellence and achievements can only truly reach the top of their game when you work hard and grow upon what you already have. By combining the teaching of those who are equally talented, you will become far more multifaceted. In the realm of business, you need to have personal talent but you need to want to progress, showing that you can seize every available opportunity to succeed.

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