The teacher looked at his class on Monday morning and announced that on Friday afternoon there would be a 2 kilometre race in which everyone was expected to participate.
Ben looked across the room and knew that he could beat anyone in the class. His only challenger was the slightly younger and smaller Eddie who had never defeated him, but consistently came second.
In fact, Ben was a very talented athlete who hadn’t been beaten in a race for four years.
Ben got home from school and told his parents about the race. With Friday so far away, he took it easy and didn’t go for a run that night.
Eddie got home, told his parents about the race. They asked him if he thought that he could win. Eddie shrugged his shoulders and expressed his doubts, knowing that Ben was a formidable opponent with much more natural running ability.
His parents responded, “He may seem more talented, but are you willing to train harder than him?”
Eddie immediately put his running shoes on and went out for a 2 kilometre run.
On Tuesday evening, when Ben got home it was raining, so he didn’t train.
Eddie got home and went for a run despite the rain.
On Wednesday evening, it was hot, so Ben decided not to train again.
Eddie got home and went for a run despite the heat.
On Thursday evening, Ben knew that the race was coming the next day, so he decided not to go for a run as he wanted to make sure that he didn’t tire himself out.
Eddie got home and went for a run anyway.
Friday came and the class went to the starting line.
Ben looked down the line and knew that he had the talent to beat everyone else.
Eddie looked down the line and was confident that he had done the work to get his first ever win.
Ben looked at Eddie and winked arrogantly.
Disconcertingly, Eddie confidently winked back.
The race started and Ben immediately went to the front with Eddie close behind him.
Halfway through the race, Ben surged and tried to speed up and Eddie stayed on his shoulder.
With only 500 metres to go, Ben tried to speed up again, but he didn’t have the pace to burn off his classmate and with only 200 metres to go, Eddie sprinted past and won comfortably.
As they slowly regained their breath, Ben looked at Eddie and remarked, “I don’t understand how you won, I’ve always been faster than you.”
Eddie beamed and replied, “Yes, but I worked harder.”
I believe that everyone is talented at something and that includes you.
There is something that you’re naturally good at and have an affinity for.
But don’t fall for the trap of relying on your natural ability to be successful, because talent can only get you so far.
Writer Stephen King once said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
I’ve seen too many people stand out from the crowd because they have a certain skill that they were born with, but come back to the pack because they didn’t do the work to fully develop their God-given gifts.
If you really want to maximise your potential, you need to do the grunt work behind closed doors to turn your capabilities into elite level skill.
Why should you bother?
Because as Leo Buscaglia said, “Our talents are the gift that God gives to us… What we make of our talents is our gift back to God!”