Many high school locker rooms are decorated for the sports they serve. My tennis locker room is no exception.
Our decorations include tennis art in addition to a year round Christmas tree, a pinata named Paul, and an inspirational quote by Taras Brown:
“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard,” it says. I read that quote every day.
I’m a firm and proud believer in hard work, and so is my tennis coach. He often reminds us that we’re the hardest working team in our district, even if we’re not the most talented. He typically says this while making us work out in the heat of the Texas sun.
That hard work definitely pays off, because even when my opponent has strokes like Roger Federer, if she can’t work hard, her talent is a waste. Life involves a lot of endurance, and if you don’t have the willpower, it’ll probably be a little harder on you than you’d like.
It is true that people with naturally born talents are here to bless us in this life. Talents are a way God shows Himself through us. But in the end, He cares much more about what we do with what we were given.
I have known people born with amazing talents, and often they do excel, but not as well as they could. I have a friend who is naturally talented in both tennis and academics. However, in her free time, she doesn’t practice or study. It’s interesting, because she could easily be in the top ten of her class and #1 on her team. As it sits, she is rather average in both and also quite unhappy in her life. I’ve found that not only does hard work help me to succeed, it also gives me a measure of happiness and peace.
It’s heartbreaking to see people settle for good, when with just some extra studying or practice, they could easily reach great.
Don’t get me wrong. I love and support talents; such as the ability to play violin, or to speak eloquently, or to dance well. But all the greatest people in history that had outstanding talents held one other thing in common: they worked as hard as they could.
There is certainly something divine about the ability to persevere. People who are “tough as nails” or “live by the sweat of their brow” have a special kind of talent. This isn’t the kind of talent you can watch videos about on Youtube. This kind of talent is called willpower.
My father once told us, “As long as you’re walking around on this planet, you might as well put everything you’ve got into it.”
I love playing the piano. Truth be told, I’m not very talented. Now that I’m in high school and have no time for lessons, however, I find myself playing every day. It takes me a lot of practice to get a song down. I’m not much of a sight-reader. I spend weeks preparing accompaniment when I perform with my sister on violin. But I still love it. I don’t mind working harder, when I know the end result will be beautiful. Who cares if it takes me longer to get there?
Currently, AP Physics class is one of the places where my ability to work hard is paying off. My physics teacher knows we are mostly relying on work over talent, and has all four walls of his classroom covered in inspirational quotes.
One of these is simple, but illustrates an ideal we can use to our advantage in life: “It isn’t what happens to you. It’s what you make of it.”
In the final judgement, what the Lord is going to take into account most is your actions. He doesn’t judge you by what talents you were given. What matters is what you do with them, and how you prove yourself.
After all, the only thing that is truly ours is our agency, so the best way we can use it is to work hard.