Views #1487 | Intermediate (B1)

Hard Work vs. Talent

Viyasan and Gyri discuss what trait is more important in order to succeed.

Gyri: Okay. So, Viyasan, what do you think is the most important, hard work or talent? Or what is more useful?

Viyasan: Hm. That's an interesting question, because I think they both play a role in whatever task that you're doing, but personally, I think that hard work is more important than talent. And I'll give you a couple examples of why I feel hard work is more important.

I think in order to master any skill, whether it's singing, whether it's dancing, whether it's performing well at a task, you need to stay focused on the task at hand. And some people are naturally good at that task. For example, if I'm really quick at typing on the computer, I'll be able to print out multiple spread sheets, complete a lot of work and finish my assignments faster.

However, I believe to really go above and beyond and master that skill, with that talent, hard work needs to be attributed as well. Without hard work, even if you're at typing on the computer, you might not want to feel like typing on a computer, you might be lazy and you just might not want to do that task.

But hard work trains you to become good at a task, and do it very well, master it, and become efficient with your time. And so, that's why I think hard work outweighs talent, because I think there's more dedication in hard work, there's regimen in the hard work, and once you've mastered hard work in a specific skill, I think you can master it a lot more easier than someone who is naturally talented at that task.

Gyri: Yeah. I definitely agree. I think you pretty much summed it up though.

Viyasan: Yeah.

Gyri: But yeah, I agree that hard work is more important than talent, and you could be very talented, but if you don't have the work ethic, then it doesn't really matter. Or especially if we're thinking about getting jobs. So, yeah, hard work definitely is more important.

Viyasan: Is there a task that you've spent a lot of time at and given that hard work to master?

Gyri: I started playing guitar three years ago, and I never played an instrument before. And usually I can be very lazy when learning new things. I get unmotivated very quickly. But one day I was just like, "Okay, I have a guitar lying around. I just really want to learn how to play now."

And I just put in a lot of work and hours and now I play the guitar and I am very proud of myself because I put that work into. And like maybe ... If I was born with a talent to just play guitar, that would be cool, but I wouldn't have the same satisfaction of putting my mind to it and getting good. Yeah, so ... I don't know what I was going to say.

Viyasan: Yeah, well that's a good example of using hard work and something that you like to do. That's amazing, yeah. So, do you think there's any exceptions where talent is more important than hard work?

Gyri: I think so. Like, maybe especially in the entertainment business. You could put in a lot of hours, but if you want to be really good, like a really famous actor or a really famous singer, they'll choose the more-talented ones and often the most-talented ones are the ones with the predisposed talent. If that makes sense. Like ... Oh, I don't know what I was going to say. Sorry.

Viyasan: Here's an example I have. So, one of my interests is basketball and usually the highest level of basketball is, I would say, the NBA, the National Basketball Association, which is run in America and Canada. And usually, lots of basketball players are very tall.

Gyri: Right, right.

Viyasan: For that reason, they're able to have longer limbs, they're able to do a lot more things with the basketball. For example, jump, shoot, run with the basketball and play the sport at a more higher level than someone who didn't have those natural, physical traits.

And so, I would say that, in that case, talent, if someone who's talented at basketball, would be at a slightly more advantageous position than someone who, for example, myself, I'm five, six, who puts a lot of hard work into basketball, but just can't beat someone who's six, four, and just runs extremely quick because they're talented.

Gyri: Right.

Viyasan: So, that might be one example of where talent, in some cases, beats hard work.

Gyri: Yeah. And I think the same goes for singing, for example. Like, you could practice singing, but if you're just born with a very beautiful voice, then maybe you're better off performing, for example.

Answer these questions about the interview.
Audio Lessons about Phrases and Vocabulary



In order to master any skill, you need to stay focused

When you master something, you become really good at it. Notice the following:

  1. She mastered chess at a really young age.
  2. She has mastered three languages.

task at hand


You need to stay focused on the task at hand.

The task at hand is the activity a person is focused on at the moment. Notice the following:

  1. Stay focused on the task at hand.
  2. He often goes away from the task at hand.

sum up


I think you pretty much summed it up though.

Here, to sum something up, means to discuss it thoroughly and explain it well. Notice the following:

  1. The article in the paper summed up the current economy really well.
  2. He summed up the lecture with a joke.

go above and beyond


I try to really go above and beyond

Here, to go above and beyond means to do things beyond what is expected. Notice the following:

  1. The movie went above and beyond my expectations.
  2. To excel at business, you must go above and beyond the competition..

put one's mind to something


I had the satisfaction of putting my mind to it and getting good.

When you put your mind to something, you focus on it and give it great effort to achieve success. Notice the following:

  1. If you want to learn a language, you really need to put your mind to it.
  2. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.

Vocabulary Quiz

master • task at hand • sum up
above and beyond • mind to it
  1. You can do it if you put your .
  2. He went with his work
  3. His comments kind of how I feel.
  4. You need to focus on the .
  5. It takes time to a new skill.

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Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
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