The one who won second place, just started getting into drawing two years ago. He used to watch us, the drawing kids’ club, scribbling nonsense doodles with spectacular result — though not something Picasso would be stressed over his grave.
Finally, he joined us with his paper and coloring set.
I watched him learn how to draw a woman’s nose, then a tree, and coloring those with improved shading and mixing. He can absorb and apply things fast. Really fast.
That scared me.
But there’s this thought that abated the growing insecurities: Even if he’ll become good, he won’t be able to surpass us, because we’re ‘naturals.’ He was not.
Four years later and he was being sent to compete in inter-school competitions. We can deny it all we want, but he’s surpassed everyone in the drawing kids’ club.
What went wrong? We got blinded by our ‘being a natural born.’
The reason you need to let go of this mantra is to not close your doors to the possibilities for self-improvement. Imagine if Apple didn’t refresh the iPhone 4. Or you with your haircut from before.
The irresistible association with ‘Being a natural’
Remember the immense satisfaction you and your friends feel when a former good-looking and promising classmate in high school, now look like they were with Tom Hanks in Cast Away?
Likewise, when that basic-looking classmate now looking hot?
Now that the former alpha lost the race, we turn to the latter who now inspire us, only to realize, after digging through their FaceBook posts, that they did not just magically blossom into this new persona.
They went through a lot of changes to be the person they are now. And we lose interest and move on to the next ‘Being a natural’ story.
‘Being a natural’ vs being a hard worker
Sometimes, already having the perfect skills can belittle the process, resulting to weak motivation, which leads to goals failing.
It was pure interest that got me started. Interest that triggered motivation, motivation that jump started action, action that resulted in something. This process required work. Lots of it.
But it wasn’t hard work at first. It was that blind confidence of not knowing what would happen, or whether it succeeds or not. I started stupid. But I started anyway.
Months pass by, and the reality of the responsibilities of maintaining a blog dawned upon me. If I continue with my messy writing, I will lose readers. To write with less mistakes and to deliver better topics, all required tough adjustments on my pedestrian writing.
In the end, having the same interest is a great starting point, but the hard worker will always, mostly, get the work done.
‘Being a natural’ is a result of Mother Nature’s favoritism
The hard worker’s challenge is to make up for the time when Mother Nature picked favorites, giving the ‘natural’ an early lead in life.
This window of opportunity happens in our early twenties when our physical and mental development is on their final push into adulthood.
The only time when the hard worker will surpass the ‘natural’ is when the latter stopped growing.
What about Mozzart, Whitney Houston or Einstein?
You don’t fuck with these people, because there’s just no amount of training a hard worker or a ‘natural’ could undergo to get to their level.
Think Batman. He is a combination of the hard worker and the ‘born natural.’ In his universe, Superman will be the genius. Superman was born super. Batman was born Bruce Wayne.
The best thing about geniuses is they are very rare. According to Mensa International, only 2% of the population is considered genius. And so, the real life battle is between the ‘natural born’ and the hard worker, because they make up the majority of the society.
But once in a while, when you encounter a genius not set in the DC comic universe, you'll be surprised to realize that most of them will be 60% hard worker and 40% ‘born natural.’
What made them who they are is a combination of the impact their environment had on them, and the actions they took to realize their choices.
Taking action is one of the qualities that make being the ‘hard worker’ a far realistic and fulfilling path, to reaching one’s full potential.
And in the quest for struggle, the hard worker will leapfrog the ‘born natural’ by sheer openness to change, criticism and new experiences.