Talent versus Determination



Over the years I have observed that it isn’t always the most gifted or talented people that achieve success; it’s the ones who are the most determined.

Several years ago I took voice lessons. There were a range of students in the classes: those like me who were beginners, all the way to those who were preparing for their professional debut. Also, there was a range of talents. Most of us had to work to bring out our vocal qualities but there were a handful who were clearly gifted. Not only were their voices “touched by the gods” but they also possessed an innate sense of pacing, timing, and rhythm. When they sang, the rest us would get goosebumps. And when they came to the dramatic moments in the music, they were so naturally talented that it was guaranteed that the rest of us would feel ourselves levitating off our seats.

Two women in particular, who started about the same time as I did, stand out in my mind—both wanted professional singing careers. One was a decent singer, her voice was tuneful and pleasing, but the other woman had a voice with a shimmering, iridescent quality that marked hers as a divine gift.

Needless to say, Gifted Voice received all the attention and, at the end of each year when the school would have the voice students do sketches from Broadway musicals, Gifted Voice would get most of the choice songs. Decent Singer would also have a share of the choice songs but Gifted Voice was definitely featured.

I found it very interesting to observe these two women during the six years I took lessons. While each of them practiced and took private lessons along with group lessons, Gifted Voice was more casual about working at it and seemed to rely on her natural talents to give her the career she dreamed of.

Decent Singer, on the other hand, took a different route. She immersed herself in vocal training and, outside of class, would sing parts of songs over and over again working on the phrasing and nuances of the music and lyrics. She added acting lessons and diction classes; she took dance and movement instruction. While she never did have the Broadway Star singing career, now she makes a very nice living doing voice-over work, singing in commercials, and the occasional minor part in Broadway shows. Last I heard of Gifted Voice, she had become disillusioned and was no longer singing.

Please don’t get me wrong and think I’m saying that talented people are doomed or that they fritter away their gifts. You have only to look at the roles of Pulitzer Prize winners, Academy Award winners, Nobel Prize winners, Olympic athletes, professional athletes, scientists making significant breakthroughs in their fields, and the like, to see that talented people do indeed work very hard to hone their gifts and thus achieve the highest accolades

My point is, whether greatly or modestly endowed with gifts and talents, it’s determination that controls success. It’s getting up again and again after every fall; persevering and persisting no matter what others are saying or doing or thinking. And, no matter how bleak, unlikely, or impossible it seems, taking another shot at it.

Tell yourself that no matter what and no matter how long it takes, you WILL achieve your dream! 



You homework today is to take the next step, and the one after that, and the one after that. Keep taking step after step. Break them down into small pieces, tiny parts, and teeny bits if you need to but keep moving forward!

Also, get out your mirror and repeat these phrases:

Yes I can!

Yes I will!

I am on my way;

Good breaks and shortcuts are coming my way;

Nothing can or will hold me back;

I WILL achieve my dreams.

Yes I can!

Yes I will!


You can do it, I know you can!

I am so proud of you!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


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