Honestly I don’t think I’m a super talented person. Every ounce of success I’ve been able to achieve has been because of my work ethic. I got my full-tuition scholarship to college because I worked tirelessly, not because I was the smartest person in my class or because I had the best test scores. I had to understand that working hard is much different than working smart. Once I grasped this concept, everything started falling into place.
WORKING HARD VS. WORKING SMART
I think both are needed to be successful but smart work yields more productivity. Being strategic with your time, energy and resources is much more beneficial than working until the crack of dawn. I remember the nights I would stay up all night working on a project when I should have been sleeping. If I was working smart, I would have had the project done way in advance or at least had the guts to ask my teacher for an extension. I learned my lesson and aim to work smarter, not harder.
USE YOUR LACK OF TALENT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
One of the best recommendations I’ve ever received, was from a teacher who said I showed tremendous progress throughout the year. I struggled in some of my classes but because I knew I wasn’t grasping the material, I would raise my hand all the time, go to office hours, attend tutoring sessions, attempt every extra credit assignment I could, etc. I looked like a model student because I continuously tried and ended up shining more than the person who aced every exam. In my work life I’m the same way. I don’t think I’m the best journalist but I ask questions and work on my skills every chance I get.
DO THE EXTRA WORK WITHOUT BEING ASKED
Some people are content with doing the bare minimum. I am not. I’ve learned that naturally talented don’t always finish first and they aren’t always picked for promotions. I’ve met people who are super intelligent, yet they do the least amount of work. Your talent isn’t something to fall back on, it’s something that should drive you to do more. I’m very generous with my time because in the long run it will produce a better result. If someone pings me to research something for them, I’m going to go beyond just looking at the first page on Google. I’ll make the phone calls, look in the databases and skim through old newspapers. Do the extra work that you wish someone would do for you.