Natural Talent Vs. Hard Work: Which Wins?

By David K.

Natural Talent vs. Hard Work is a topic that has been debated by educators and psychologists throughout history. Also known as Nature vs. Nurture, it’s the difference between innate ability and learned ability.

Remember that gifted student in school who got straight A’s with very little effort? Meanwhile, you struggled and studied hard, stayed up late in the library instead of going out with friends, and in the end, you were probably grateful for the B you received.

But it’s always the straight-A students who get noticed! The same is true in business. Did you know that when faced with a choice, 60% of hiring managers will choose the naturally talented worker over the hard worker, even if he or she costs more?

In many such situations, the drive and conscientiousness of hard-working “strivers” often goes unrecognized. In every walk of life, we give people with natural talent special attention. But do people with natural talent really make better employees?

Depending on the industry or profession, it may be hard work that wins out. When you think about it, the ability to work hard is a type of natural talent. Steady persistence is highly correlated with achievement. But not everyone is capable of hard work in the form of diligence, effort, and perseverance over an extended length of time.

On the other hand, cultivating natural talent can be hard work too. (Gifted athletes come to mind.) So maybe neither one nor the other is more effective; perhaps you need a little bit of both.

The team at Davitt Corporate Partners has created an infographic that investigates the relationship between hard work and natural talent. It lays out the respective benefits of both natural talent and hard work, and offers insights on how to nurture the best of both.

How about you? Do you think that success is based purely on hard work, do you think it depends on natural talent, or do you think there needs to be a balance between hard work plus natural talent? Study the infographic and then leave your comment below.


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