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Talent Beats Hard Work: Is This The Truth Or A Lie?




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Real Hustle
talent beats hard work

They say that talent beats hard work, but I say your input determines your output.

When I think back to times in my life when my input was lousy, it makes perfect sense as to why the output was always a lackluster result.

You see a lack of effort never got anyone anywhere.  When you think of the most successful people in their respective industries/careers, it was the fact that they consistently gave a quality effort that allowed them to rise above their peers.

Extraordinary natural talent can get you to the dance, but that same talent does not guarantee you will be the alpha dog.

Talent Beats Hard Work Is What They Say

If two athletes are equal across the board, but one is more talented, the talented athlete will win every time.

If one athlete has supreme talent and no work ethic and another athlete has average talent, but supreme work ethic, the average athlete will win.

Talent beats hard work, but ONLY when that sublime talent works just as hard as the less talented hard worker.

There are many quarterbacks who have more raw talent than Tom Brady, but he outworks them all.  He has the hardware to prove it.

Usain Bolt had supreme talent, but he was blown away at the 2004 Olympics in Greece.

When his work ethic began to match his talent, he became one of the greatest sprinters (Jesse Owens is the greatest) and the fastest man (current) of all times.

A talented athlete who does not work hard will never achieve his or her maximum potential.  I have seen these sad stories all throughout pro sports.

A hard-working athlete, who does not have as much raw natural talent, can max out their athletic ability by continuing to work hard on a consistent basis.

Consistently giving your best effort, especially with the smaller details that most athletes ignore, will separate the pretenders from the contenders.

Even with that truth, some folks still think that talent beats hard work.


Let’s use professional basketball for an example of that thought process not being entirely true.

There are many players who are 6’6 with extreme athleticism.

These ballers can jump out of the gym.  But how come the only one we consistently talk about as the greatest of all time is Michael Jordan?

What is the difference between MJ and the rest of the guards?  He gave maximum effort not only on game day but also doing the little things every day that no one sees.

Let’s talk about football.

Think about how many wide receivers come into the NFL with unbelievable talent and physical attributes.

There are some guys running 4.3 in the 40-yard dash.

Some guys are jumping 40 inches in the air in the vertical jump.

Some guys are 6’5 and over.

But many of these guys flame out.  How come the only guy we talk about when we talk about the greatest of all time was only 6’2 and ran a comparably slow 4.71 in the 40-yard dash?

fitman jerry rice
Rice gave maximum effort in-season and in the offseason to become the G.O.A.T.

How did the man, whose last name rhymes with Ice, become the greatest of all time without having unreal athletic ability?

Jerry Rice gave maximum effort not only on Sundays but also in the off-season when most guys relax and take it easy.

It Comes Down To Effort

You cannot become great doing the things that average folks do.

When you begin to consistently give your best effort, you begin to separate yourself from the crowd.

When trainees talk to me about their lack of progress, my first question is, “Are you giving your best effort?”

The training program you are running does not matter if your effort is low.  Your progress will be at a snails pace at best.

The nutrition and recovery plan you are supposed to be following does not matter if you do not put in the effort to stick to it.

If you are not getting stronger, leaner, or more athletic, it will only take one look in the mirror to find out who is responsible.

It all comes down to you.  If you want to blame something, blame your lack of effort.

There are two principles that relate directly to giving your best effort.

1) Change Your Mindset

A negative mindset will end any hopes of success before you even get started.

When you enter the gym with a lousy attitude, your effort is going to be lousy too.

I have heard all the classic, fake hustle lines during my career:

“Oh, I’m tired!”

“Man, it’s cold!”

“Girl, this weight is too heavy!”

“Forget this, I’m not in the mood!”

“Why am I doing this, it’s too hard!”

There is a simple solution to this: stay home.

If you do not want to give the effort it takes to make real progress then stay home.

A toxic attitude is bad for positive development.

I’d rather have an athlete or a lifter stay home and give zero effort rather than to show up and give minimal effort accompanied by lame excuses as to why they are a lousy athlete.

You’ve got to train with purpose, passion, and intensity, or you are just wasting your time.

No one is forcing you to train, eat, or sleep correctly.  The benefits of living The Fit Life are well known, but at the end of the day it is your life.

Don’t bring others down with your negativity.  Keep your sorry butt home until you change your mindset.

2) Commit To The Process

When you are truly committed to the process, you understand that some days will be amazing and some days will be unremarkable.

When you are committed to the process, you also understand that despite how you are feeling, you still have 100 percent control over your effort.

There are days when I’m physically cooked prior to my workout.

There are days when I am mentally stressed from life.

fitman tired
Some days you do not have enough gas in the tank.  But you still need to give your best effort.

I have days when my back is tight from a bad night of sleep.

I have days when 315lbs in the deadlift feels like 450lbs.

Though I may feel down, I still give my best effort.

Maybe I have to decrease the weight being used and/or use different movements than what I have programmed.  But I still give my best effort.

You cannot let outside factors dictate how hard you work.

Who cares if it is cold?

Who cares if the weights feel heavy?

You can make adjustments, do what you need to do, and then go home.  Training correctly is not an all day process.

If you only give 40 percent effort, you will only get a 40 percent return.

If you want to have a remarkable physique, but you give an unremarkable effort, it will show.  Your body will stay the exact same and then inevitably get worse.

Maybe you want to see your abs.

Maybe my iron brothers want to build bigger arms.

Perhaps my iron sisters want to build a bigger butt.

In order to reach any of those goals, your effort has to be high.


If you want to be a great athlete, but you skip practice, avoid the weight room, and eat garbage, you will be exactly what I was early in my college track career: a bum.

When I learned the value of giving my best effort, I got better.  I am not supremely talented, but my work ethic is what has allowed me to continue to rise on my journey to be the best trainer in the iron game.

Your input determines your output.

I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer,

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