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Therefore I Am

Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.

You are unique. You have different talents and abilities. You don’t have to always follow in the footsteps of others. And most important, you should always remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing and have a responsibility to develop the talents you have been given. Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius. When you have wit of your own, it’s a pleasure to credit other people for theirs. Talent is a long patience, and originality an effort of will and intense observation.

It’s okay to disagree with the thoughts or opinions expressed by other people. That doesn’t give you the right to deny any sense they might make. Nor does it give you a right to accuse someone of poorly expressing their beliefs just because you don’t like what they are saying. Learn to recognize good writing when you read it, even if it means overcoming your pride and opening your mind beyond what is comfortable. Everybody is talented because everybody who is human has something to express. Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.

Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine. Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. Talent means nothing, while experience, acquired in humility and with hard work, means everything. If you ever find that you’re the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room. You can do something extraordinary, and something that a lot of people can’t do. And if you have the opportunity to work on your gifts, it seems like a crime not to. I mean, it’s just weakness to quit because something becomes too hard.

It takes people a long time to learn the difference between talent and genius, especially ambitious young men and women. Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield. The time you spend with your best is, quite simply, your most productive time. Human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them, they’re not just lying around on the surface. You have to create the circumstances where they show themselves. Talent is its own expectation, you either live up to it or it waves a hankie, receding forever.

Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it. Everyone has talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads. We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities but its own talents. If you’re waiting until you feel talented enough to make it, you’ll never make it. A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.

Talent is a wonderful thing, but it won’t carry a quitter.


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