What’s more important talent or hard work?

People who have talent without hard work are just more tragic in their failure. Maybe it’s not fair for me to think of my youngest son in this light, but when he reads a difficult novel and has brilliant insights, makes a painting, composes a poem, and write a piece of music, or when he sings in a choir and engages with us after going to the theater, I’m always impressed with his talents, and I wonder why he hasn’t been able to use these to find a path through college and into life. My wife laughs when I say I’m impressed and says that his talents just make his life that much more tragic. So that’s where my first sentence comes from. I will say — about my son and others — to just be a hard worker without talent is even worse, it seems to me. But then, “talent” what is that? Isn’t it about applying hard work to a spark of an ability over time? So maybe the two things aren’t so different.

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Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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