I love this video:
Yes, it’s a shoe commercial, but the message shared is powerful as heck to me. I revere Michael Jordan — no athlete has held such prominence in my life as him. Not even Rock (although Rock is not strictly an athlete). Jordan is the man. Jordan is Jordan.
What can be so tempting to assume with folks as otherworldly as Jordan is that effort played no role. God simply handed him unbelievable skills and that was all it took. That is simply never the case.
Michael Jordan didn’t become Michael Jordan on talent alone. Peyton Manning, same thing. Wayne Gretzky, same thing. Today’s superstars — LeBron James, Sidney Crosby, Mike Trout, Conor McGregor, etc — are who they are because the supremacy of their talent met the relentlessness of their work ethic. It takes both, and in fact, the greatest talent of them all is a work ethic.
If Jordan doesn’t lift all those weight, practice all those shots and spend all that time in the gym, he’s not Michael freaking Jordan.
Guess what? The same ideal applies to us. If I want to be lean and powerful, I must do things that make me lean and powerful. Period. This isn’t magic, guys. It’s simple, the same refrain as ever.
Do the work.
And lest we think the mesh of talent and effort only applies to sport, let us consider a few different scenarios. Did Stephen Hawking become the brilliant mind he is on talent alone? No. Absurd. Did my man Elon Musk become the visionary he is based on talent alone? Again, no.
It’s always both. Am I a talented painter? Nah, but if I worked hard enough, you better believe I could at least become competent. The target here isn’t to be the Michael Jordan of your trade or hobby, but rather to understand the principle that work begets everything else.
But you never know, either. Hard work unlocks the treasure chest of talent. It’s worth prying that sucker open to find what is inside.