June 2nd 2016
Today I played a round of Football Golf with a friend of mine. If you’ve not heard of that, then, yes, it is literally what you imagine it to be. You play golf with footballs. (never try it the other way around) I won, naturally. Just call me Tiger Beckham.
We were having a discussion about talent vs hard work. As we fumbled around the course we laughed at our own sporting deficiencies. We spoke about how as kids we played football in junior teams, and how we were probably better then than we are now because we played more. And how every kid we knew wanted to be a professional footballer but no one ever did (technically untrue – I went to school with a kid who plays professionally in the fourth tier of Swedish football.) My friend said that if we had carried on playing every day we would’ve been good enough. Because that’s all it takes right, hard work? That’s what they always tell you. Work hard and you’ll achieve your dreams. But I’m a too much of a realist to accept that. You don’t just need hard work, you need talent. Natural, God/Parent-given talent.
I posed a question to him, and for context, Jordan Spieth is a professional golfer.
I asked “If you and Jordan Spieth started playing golf on the exact same day, and you played every round of golf beside him, and attended every single practice session that he ever did, would you be as good as he is?”
And the answer, of course, is no. Because somewhere, somehow, when Jordan Spieth was born he was born with the ability to play golf and excel at it. And I wholeheartedly believe that. Jordan Spieth is 3 months older than I am and he has won the Masters Championship, the highest prize in golf, and he won it at 21. If I somehow ended up as Spieth’s playing partner when he took up golf at 9 years old, and we played every single round together, I would be at no where near his level. I do not deny that the almost complete and entire majority of ‘it’ is hard work, but ‘it’ is at least some parts talent. And I don’t know where that talent comes from.
It’s depressing, really. Knowing that I could commit 12 hours a day to a sport and know that I would never be good enough. I’m a pretty handy golfer, I could probably get really good if I played every day. But I’d never be good enough.
“You can be anything you want to be if you work hard enough” that’s a saying, right?
Well it’s crap. Because I wasn’t born with the talent or aptitude for golf, or football, and it’s not just sports. If I underwent 12 hours of singing practice a day I would never sell an album. Most of the people reading this are fortunate enough to have never had to hear me sing, but believe me when I tell you that I could work my ass off every day of my life and I’d never sing professionally. Unless there’s some kind of niche Siberian throat singing, yak-calling cat in a garbage disposal tribute band that need a new front man.
I’ll never be a recording artist, I’ll never a professional sportsman. But I’m okay with that. And the reason for that is that I was born without talent in those specific areas. It’s nothing to do with hard work. But it’s not all bad news. Maybe I have an as yet undiscovered talent that will set me up for life. Maybe I’ve already discovered my talent but I’m too afraid of the next step – the hard work. Hard work isn’t everything, but it’s most of it. Any idiot can be born with a talent, any idiot can have an inbuilt aptitude for something. But how many idiots do something with it?
Until tomorrow, not this idiot, not yet.