“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” – Kevin Durant
Talent is everywhere. We all know incredibly talented people that are vastly underperforming, usually because with talent often comes ego and an unwillingness to invest time and meticulous effort into maximizing that talent. In a world where being pretty good can be enough to get fame and fortune, having the mindset to go beyond good to great and ultimately excellence is rare.
Someone with that mindset though can unlock more of their capabilities. A hard worker that unlocks 98% of their potential is a better player (and teammate usually) than someone with twice as much talent that is only at 40%. Yes, the latter will have more highlight reel moments, but their entire body of work will not be as impressive as the lower draft pick (or undrafted free agent) that does the work in the gym and weight room and film room to be the best that they can be.
There is a reason why so many Major League Baseball managers played but were not stars, often barely making it to The Big Show. Their work ethic and understanding took them further than their physical tools, and that feel for the game and grind translates into coaching better than raw talent ever could. Coaches and managers recognize and value work ethic more than talent, because they want the reliable “give it all in practice and game” over the inconsistent diva that has flashes of brilliance but is more hassle than their production because they don’t commit to the details and routines and value practice and hard work.
Be the hardest worker and you’ll never go hungry.