Determination: More Important to Success Than Talent

Now that I’m a full-time teacher, one of the greatest pleasures I have is supporting the talent of my students.

When I was in college, I often wondered if my writing professors could tell which students would “make it.” I thought it was connected to raw talent—and that professors could see the shape and size of this talent.

I was wrong.

I can’t tell which students have more talent than others. In fact, I suspect that a few of my most talented students aren’t putting in the effort required to succeed. They’ve succumbed to the demons of ambivalence and apathy. I don’t really know why that happens, it just does.

I can tell which students have determination and persistence, and that speaks more to me of success than anything.

Do other students have as much talent and promise as them? Sure. But I see these three putting in the work, day in and day out.

Recently I was contacted by a graduating high school senior, Rachel Geisel. I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone so young with the amount of determination and focus that she has. She already has a tagline, professional business cards, and a book that she completed for her senior capstone.

She currently has an innovative Kickstarter project to self-publish that book, The Wonder of Writing, that runs through April 30. She’s 21% funded so far.

I hope you’ll consider supporting her effort, even if only with a $1. If every reader of this blog gave $1, she’d be funded 25x over!

Even if Rachel doesn’t meet her Kickstarter goal, I know her determination will win out, and her book will be produced one way or another. We could all learn a few things from these students—something about attitude, enthusiasm, and innovative thinking about our careers.

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One thought on “Determination: More Important to Success Than Talent

  1. Judy Croome

    Yes, I think endurance, persistence and determination are gifts that are often overlooked. Here’s an inspiring quote from the great Sophia Loren:

    "Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent."

    I wish your students well!