World Champions were Beginners Once!

Yoshiharu Habu should know something about talent. He is one of the greatest shogi (Japanese chess) players of all time. Let us consider what he had to say about talent:

“”If you are guaranteed to succeed by challenging yourself to achieve something, no doubt anyone would do it. But persisting with the same passion, energy and motivation somewhere where there is no guarantee of success – is extremely difficult, and this is what I believe talent to be.”

I would slightly disagree with the definition he arrives at. Instead I would position the attitude he describes as making the most of talent.

The point, nevertheless, is well made. For example, non-native speakers who end up learning a language fluently – at one point in their lives did not know a word. They needed motivation and determination to get to their level of proficiency.

Athletes who go on to achieve greatness had to start from scratch. What separates them from the rest of us is adding the application to the talent.

Josh Waitkin, whom I cite in my book, What Are Days For? puts it well:

” …successful people shoot for the stars, put their hearts on the line in every battle and ultimately discover that the lessons learned from the pursuit of excellence mean very much more than the immediate trophies and glories. In the long run painful losses may prove much more valuable than wins … the real challenge is to stay in range of this long-term perspective when you are under fire and hurting in the middle of the war. This maybe our biggest hurdle is at the core of the art of learning.”

It is very unlikely that the path to success will be a smooth one. We all need to examine how we react to adversity.


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