Friday, October 15, 2010

Talent vs. Attitude, the Eternal Debate

I was listening to Harsha Bogle talk of Sachin Tendulkar's (the cricket player's) talent and his attitude and what he did with his talent. Now, I haven't been clear in my mind about this. He compared Sachin with his friend Kambli, who – though he was as talented (some say more so) – failed. So what is this talent? How can talent fail? I thought talent can never fail, it was that fibre of which genius is made, isn't it so? Talent is a developed brain, talent is eye body co-ordination, talent is quickness of reaction. It's… I could go on. And on.

Guess, application and how one takes failure also counts a lot. A lot of writers fail because they give up. They grow lazy to even write a few words, they lose the fire; they lose their attitude to keep writing. That's my profession, one I am passionate about, which involves a lot of stroking of the keyboard as if it is the curves of a sensuous beauty. For Sachin it was stroking the ball to all parts of the pitch.

Agree talent can't take you to much great heights once it plateaus. Then it could go on a steady decline. Guess the problem is Sisyphean. Talent can get you into the best colleges but it can't make a success of your career. I see a lot of young people being casual about their career. I thought being an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) graduate was the ultimate thing. A sure way to be a success in life and career. But then I saw Ashish (not his real name), a former colleague, an IIT, but a total failure in life, deserted by wife and family. What went wrong? Do you ignore the few betrayals – they are quite natural – of a near one or do you drown yourself in drinks and stop shaving? Reason says you should go ahead, but some people lose their focus on their lives and genius prevents them from being conscious of their faults. You will find such types everywhere, total failures when it comes to reconciling with their own geniuses.

So where should talent end and attitude begin. Agreed some talent is required to stand out. Let's say 10 per cent. Then attitude, application and hard work takes over. Or, it doesn't and talent is lost to television, viewing soapy serials, reading 10 newspapers, and idle chatter. Or, to eating. Oh, how some people eat. Gluttony and guzzling are the worst for talent because gluttony and guzzling can be devastating. Many are the talents lost to guzzling. Man can't get back after he gets the drinking habit. Can he?

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