Natural Talent

When I think about anything, there are those who are naturally gifted, and then there are those who have to work hard to be successful.

I admire the naturally gifted types. I say this because I don’t think I’m naturally gifted at many things. I think I’m a natural leader, but I still had to work hard to be that person. I am naturally joyful. That’s something you can’t fake. Otherwise, I don’t think I have natural gifts at sports or fishing or any of my hobbies.

The problem with natural giftedness is that these people don’t often excel in things where you actually have to study or learn your craft. When I first started running 5 and 10K races in about the 6th grade, I would actually train for them. Yet, I’d run a race with my brother and he’d stay right there with me. He later did well in other track events and especially soccer. He could juggle and do lots of neat things. But it was all natural to him. Yes, he practiced, I’ll give him that. But he could basically do all those things because of his natural gifts.

Me, on the other hand, had to work for everything. I had all the books on everything. The older brothers and sisters to the kids I would guide would call me "Teach". And I mean that in the most derogatory way possible. They would make fun of me for setting up track & field events in the backyard. In fact, they made it a regular thing to come over and ruin my fun. But the kids would take to me. I would teach them how to sprint out of blocks and set their marks for the long jump. I had a discus that I would use to teach kids how to spin. I was always this way since I was a little kid.

So when I became a team captain for Wrestling, then an Army Drill Instructor, a University Professor, and eventually a Yoga Teacher, it all made sense. But I surely had to work for everything. None of this was natural. I still envy the naturally gifted. But I’m also proud of the sweat and tears I put into what I do.

I see a lot of similarities in the brothers in the movie "A River Runs Through It". My brother was the Brad Pitt and I was the geeky goodie two shoes of an older brother. I was the responsible and studious one while he got the girls and went to all the parties. And do you know what, its all OK. We both turned out to be pretty good people.

If you are naturally gifted in something, then play to your strengths. But never underestimate the value of a good education. Learn a craft. I’d even say learn something you struggle with. That’s where you true grit and determination shines through. Easy things come easy. But a difficult thing is a challenge worth accomplishing.

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