Hard work always beats talent if talent won't work hard enough
Some years ago I gave a presentation to a group of young under-16 Leinster hurlers in Croke Park with such stars as Eddie Brennan, Jackie Tyrrell (both Kilkenny) and Damien Fitzhenry.
Afterwards there were questions from the floor for the three hurling stars.
One young hurler asked Jackie; "What is the secret of your success?"
The Allstar Kilkenny corner-back recalled what his father has told him when he was a young hurler aspiring to play on the great Kilkenny team. 'Hard work will always beat talent when talent won't work hard,' he recalled.
Hard work is at the heart of all great achievements. Every day, through our work, we get to invent and build and use our resources to create a world that our grandparents could never have imagined.
Because people work, we have modern medicine, nutritious food and we can talk to and see people at the other side of the planet.
There is tremendous dignity in human effort, in hard work and it brings its own rewards in terms of how you feel after making a supreme effort.
At the moment I'm on a train in France on my way to Paris coming home from the Alltech FEI World Equestrian games in Normandy.
I was speaking to a former equestrian world champion and I asked her the secret of her success. She told me there a number of things that contributed to her becoming a world champion:
1) You must have an inspiring vision to see yourself as a champion. A clear and focused vision helps you to create reality. Without a goal you cannot score.
2) You must put the work in. You cannot cheat the training routines or the horse won't consistently deliver peak performances.
3) You must work smart work. What's giving you your greatest training leverage?
4) Build in time for rest and recovery for both your horse and yourself.
5) Make sure that you are both eating nourishing, nutritious and healthy food. Both you and your horse have two 'engines' that both need top class fuel.
6) Keep your thoughts and self-talk positive and uplifting at all times. Have rhythmic inspiring mantras that you repeat to yourself.
7) Chemistry. You're a team like any team. You must trust your horse and your horse must trust you.
8) Confidence comes from your competence. And your competence comes from your hard work - your smart work.
9) There's a beautiful natural tiredness that comes from a hard day's work in the paddocks from doing the training. A feeling of utter fulfilment.
When you do what you love and love what you do, when you do what makes your heart sing you'll never work a day in your life.
Your work makes a huge contribution to this small planet. In some small way, each of us contributes our energy, our talent and our skills to making life better for everyone.
If hard work will always beat talent when talent won't work hard, imagine what happens when you work hard and smart with your natural talent.
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