Commitment is the complement of talent, not its replacement
A contemporary debate centers on the source of genius: Do geniuses become geniuses because of their inborn talent? Or can hard work make anyone a genius?
Certainly, hard work is essential for achieving anything outstanding. Still, can hard work alone make any aspiring cricketer the next Sachin Tendulkar? Thousands of such cricketers work just as hard as he did, but can’t replicate his sustained batting brilliance.
Gita wisdom explains that we all are souls on a multi-life journey, a journey that is meant to culminate in eternal ecstatic love for God. In each lifetime, we start with a certain psychophysical nature acquired from our previous lives, based on the way we have lived and the choices we have made. This nature, with its constellation of talents and interests, is different for different people. Some people are born with phenomenal talent that serves as a powerful launching pad for extraordinary achievement. But what propels them towards achievement is their commitment, their hard work in training and practice for honing that talent.
Can commitment help the untalented improve? Certainly. But commitment alone can’t replace talent; it can’t make a tone-deaf person the next Mozart. The Bhagavad-gita (03.35) points to this innate diversity of talent when it recommends that we not seek success in areas where we don’t have the requisite talents, even if such areas seem easy, lucrative or glamorous.
This synergy of talent and commitment points to an underlying human-divine synergy in life at large. By giving due recognition to people’s talent, we acknowledge the role of divine arrangement. By giving due recognition to people’s commitment, we acknowledge their hard work.
Overall, by internalizing Gita wisdom, we can both introspect better to discover our hidden God-given talents and commit more firmly for tapping those talents in a mood of service and contribution.
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