Hard Work Beats Talent! How Can This Adage Help You Achieve Career Goals?

7 min readJun 8, 2021


Athletes at finishing point
There is no alternative to working hard.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. -Tim Notke, basketball coach

There are always people who have more talent. It can be in anything from sports, studies, and so on. Complex skills are kind of natural to them. What if you are not one of them? Should you give up? No, you must remember, hard work beats talent!

Yes, we see many examples of hard-working people succeeding. They achieve their goals even when they face tough challenges. But what does hard work mean? Can it help you achieve your biggest goals?

In various fields, hard work can mean many things. Some people champion what they call “smart work” over hard work. Is this something you should believe in?

And if you want to be an entrepreneur or an athlete, people must have given you reminders about working hard. But it all seems a bit vague, doesn’t it? Don’t worry; we are here to help you clear the clutter.

In this article, we will talk about how hard work beats talent. We will also talk about why hard work is vital for your career. And we will share real-life examples where hard work came up trumps against pure talent!

Let’s hope you never give up on hard work once you read through. So, let’s jump right into it!

Why Is Hard Work Important For Your Career?

How hard work beats talent and helps you have a successful career.
The importance of working hard in your career

What is success in terms of your career? It is setting the right goals and achieving them. The more obstacles you cross, the more successful you become.

It is like a constant quest for improvement. And it takes a lot of hard work to do that. It doesn’t matter how you define a successful career.

You can say it is all about the paycheck. Or you might say it is about the skills you acquire. One thing remains the same, hard work is essential for you to have a successful career! Hard work beats talent, and it helps you cross every obstacle in your way!

Work Hard If You Aim High

Do you want to be among the best? Then you have no option but to work hard. Most people will agree with this statement. But there are still those who prefer to look for shortcuts. It is unfortunate for them, but there are no shortcuts out there.

It takes a lot of practice to master something. The most prominent business personalities always talk about the importance of working hard. So, if you aim for their level of greatness in your field, can you achieve it without working hard? No, it is not possible.

Working hard is vital in whatever you want to pursue as your career. Why? Because as you read these words, countless others are dreaming the same dream as you. And guess what? There are more who have started working days and nights to achieve them.

Some of those might have more talent than you. And you need your hard work to beat them!

Stay Obsessed To Become Successful

When you are working on something for hours every day, what does it mean? It suggests that you are obsessed with achieving something. And this healthy obsession is vital for success in every field.

There is a connection between hard work and the drive to achieve your goals. If you really want to get that job or start that business, you will work hard to make it a reality. So, hard work simplifies things for you.

Have you set yourself a goal? Then the harder you work, the more driven you are to reach it. And the more driven you are to achieve it, the more likely you are to get there! Hard work can be the difference between being good and becoming the best.

Working hard in today’s competitive world is necessary if you wish to reach the next level. And for the obsessed ones, it is not an option but a necessity! So, are you among the obsessed ones?

Working Hard Fills You With Positivity

When you work hard, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You wake up every day to your alarm, and your work is the first thing in your mind. And after a hard day’s work, you retire for bed. It is tiresome, but it is fulfilling.

When you are working hard, you feel confident about yourself. There is a sense of self-belief that can make a big difference. Imagine turning up for an interview knowing that you have prepared well.

Despite the competition, you will be optimistic about your chances. So, hard work beats talent, but it not only does that. It also defeats the inner voice that asks you to doubt your abilities!

Because It’s The Key To Success

It doesn’t matter what someone tells you; working hard is the only way you can succeed. It becomes even more critical when you dream big. Even people who we consider geniuses will tell you how important hard work is. They did not reach the top on their natural skill alone. Check these examples of great leaders in our strategic leadership article.

People keep saying how crucial smart work. Some even go on to say you should replace hard work with smart work or productive work. Don’t make the mistake of believing in such claims. Even if you are incredibly talented, never underestimate the importance of working hard.

Hard work is the only way to be successful. Do not let anyone give you suggestions about taking shortcuts in life. Be it chasing your dream job or breaking an Olympic record; success will always follow hard work!

Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard Enough

It is good to be talented. Think of that kid in school who was the apple to everyone’s eyes. He was good in sports and got better grades than anyone else. But not everybody has that amount of talent. And the most important thing, even that amount of skill is not enough.

We are not saying that having natural skills is not important. It is helpful and can get you through your early education without having to work too hard. But in the long run, you cannot get by on talent alone when it comes to having a successful career!

Because in the long run, hard work beats talent every time.

When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard Enough

Hard Work Beats Talent? Image showing lazy athlete sleeping to represent the opposite
You have to keep trying, keep consistent at what you think you do the best.

Let’s take some examples from the world of sports. Every sport has a bunch of “what could have been” stories. Think of athletes who arrive on to the scene and take the world by storm. But as the years pass, they fail to live up to their potential.

In some of these cases, injuries are a significant factor. But in others, there is something else. The talent of these breakthrough athletes makes them complacent. They reach a particular stage in their career and stop working as hard as they did.

These athletes forget how they made it this far. They think that talent alone will take them to the next level. And those that are still sweating it out on the training pitch continue to improve.

As a result, some talented athletes fail to live up to the expectations. It is a typical “hard work beats talent” example that we come across in every field!

When hard work pushes you to achieve the impossible

Impossible to it's possible concept on wooden blocks
Obstacles can’t stop you if you work hard enough.

There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits. -Michael Phelps, Olympic swimmer

It has been the subject of numerous books and movies. People always want to know, is hard work enough? Can one compete with the best on hard work alone? It might seem far-fetched, but there is truth to this statement.

There have been many examples in history. Hard work has not only left talent behind, but it has also taken people to the very pinnacle of their field. Cristiano Ronaldo is a living legend in the world of soccer.

Soccer fans worldwide consider him to be among the greatest of all time. And in his own words, hard work is crucial to what he has accomplished.

You often see most outstanding personalities reiterating the importance of hard work. These people serve as inspiration for those working hard to achieve something. It doesn’t matter what it is you want to achieve.

It may sound near impossible to other people’s ears, but you can achieve it. All you need to do is replace the self-doubt with sheer hard work!

Hard Work Can Make The Difference

A female employee working hard
Make your heart smile by doing your best.

As we discussed above, hard work can often is the difference between the good and the best. It is all about doing your bit every day. And it is not just about the results. When you work hard, it makes you happy. It makes you feel good about yourself!

For those who aim high, working hard is the only way to reach their goals. It is something you keep hearing all the time. But it is time that you start thinking about it mindfully. After all, it proves that reaching your dream is in your hands!

So, do you believe that hard work beats talent? If you don’t, you should start believing in it now! And if you do, it is time to start following this adage! Because hard work can make all the difference for you!




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