Talent Vs Drive – Which One Is More Important?
In this article, I will be discussing about talent versus drive: Which one is more important and what can you do about it? This subject has been a part of my life for a very long time because it’s one of these chicken-and-egg scenarios. It’s one of these things wherein you wonder, what’s better, what can be better, which one is more important, talent or drive. And I’ve asked myself this question a lot because a lot of times I’ve wondered, “Has my talent gotten me where I’ve been, as well as getting the things done that I’ve gotten done. Or has it been my drive.” I struggled with it a long time because I wasn’t sure which one got me to where I am now.
My parents would always tell me that I was talented. They used that word. Like, “Tim you know computers, you’re good with computers, you do this stuff, you’re talented at that.” However, when you look up the definition of the word, talented means naturally gifted—it’s a natural skill that you’ve acquired. You just grow up better at it. For example, Michael Phelps has a unique body type for swimming. He has natural talent. I’m not saying he doesn’t have drive, but he has a natural talent. Same thing with certain basketball players. Some dudes are very tall and their body shape is just better than those of others.
There’s no use in saying that everybody is equal because they’re not. Some people are just better at certain things, that’s talent. Drive is something entirely different. Drive is the deep intrinsic desire to do something—-to make a difference in the world, to make your mark on whatever it is. It’s the, “I’m going to be something, I don’t care how long it takes, I don’t care what I have to do.” It’s that deep, internal urge to move forward. For a long time I had a little bit of talent but I didn’t have much drive. And I think that it didn’t get me anywhere, to be honest.
It doesn’t matter what I was capable of, I had no desire to pursue it, I had no desire to move beyond where I was at. I didn’t enjoy life back then because I had no compass guiding me where I was going, I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have any real purpose in life at the time, I was just wandering around. Yeah I could do some stuff, I was talented or whatever, but I didn’t see any use for it.
It wasn’t until I turned 18 that I started do something about it. I had moved to Los Angeles and started hanging around people that were much more successful than I was. I was like, “Whoa! I need this in my life, I need to be somebody, I need to make some shit happen, I need to create some shit, I need to show the world what I got.” I think that’s where my drive started. I have to say, seeing the effects on myself with talent and drive, I think drive wins hands down, every time.
I think the desire to be something, to complete something, or to achieve something, far outweighs the talent and the ability to do so every time.
Here’s the thing:
- The dude with talent is not going to progress if he doesn’t have any drive.
- The dude with drive is constantly improving his skill set.
He’s going to surpass the guy with talent eventually. Like I said, in sports for example, some people just have body types that are better. But not all of the best players have all the optimal body types. Some of them do, sure, but the drive is what seriously makes a difference between someone who’s just average and someone’s who’s excellent.
The ability to do something great is inside everybody, but it’s the people with the drive that really take that to the next step and they go full-scale on it.
I started observing this in others and I started looking at what other people did. A few times, I taught game development. I taught a lot of different technical skills to a lot of people over the years, and I noticed the difference between talent and drive. Some people are just talented. They’re just good at what they do. But the people that have the natural talent usually don’t have the same desire as the guys with drive do.
I realized that when I started hiring people, I had to make a choice. I had to figure out whether I was going to hire the people that have the natural talent or I was going to hire the people that had the drive. I decided to do a test. When I was working on a platform for a client—we were building out a web platform—and one of the things I decided to do was hire for the front-end part. I did all the back-end programming and I didn’t have time to do the front-end work. I decided to hire two different front-end designers and I was going to work with both of them. They were going to develop the entire front end for the platform.
I hired one with amazing talent. The dude seriously impressed me. I also I hired this other dude who he didn’t really have that impressive a portfolio, but he was emailing me almost every day and was like, “You know I want this job, please give me a chance, just give me a chance let me do this, let me do this.” I could tell he had the drive so I decided to hire them both to do the same job independently. They didn’t know the other one existed so there was no competition.
And I have to say that the dude with talent produced something cool up front. But there was no iteration, there was no follow-up after that. His work didn’t get any better and it ended with probably 70% of what we needed. But it was good up front, we just didn’t get anywhere with it and it stayed at 70%.
The dude that had drive submitted work that was about 50% of what we needed the work to be. But he kept iterating and kept working at it. He was like, “Yeah, oh you don’t like that, I’ll change that. Oh totally I got that for you, I’ll add that, I’ll fix that, I’ll do…whatever.” And the dude was on it! That to me was the ultimate proof that this isn’t something just in my mind anymore. It isn’t something that I just made up. Talent versus drive; drive wins every time.
If you don’t have the drive, you need to ask yourself, “What’s keeping me from doing this stuff? What are my goals? Where are you trying to get to?” The drive is the important thing. The consistent everyday grind of doing all the slow shitty work that no one wants to do. Doing the shit daily and keep on moving forward. That stuff gets you somewhere. That stuff got me somewhere. That stuff is what you need to do.
I started Game Dev Underground in 2013. That was 4 years ago. It’s ridiculous how long ago it was. And it was shut down and opened up so many times that people on the email list for that long know that there were gaps of up to a year when I would talk to them and I wouldn’t talk to them. There were months that I would just disappear.
Then I just got back to it, and consistently kept at it. The drive kept me at it. It was that desire, that ultimate desire to build this thing that helps developers. The drive has kept me connected to my mission, to my purpose to build the thing that connects me to people that I want to help.
Talent wouldn’t have gotten me here. Talent would help me build the site, would help me build the email list—maybe it would have enabled me to do a few videos, but it’s the drive that is the reason that I’m still here blogging about this stuff.
I hope this has helped you out. If you have the talent but not the drive, you need to look into how you can improve and get the things that you want. You need to set goals and set your sights on the future. If you have the drive but not the talent, don’t get discouraged man. Keep going. You’re going to surpass the dudes with talent. Just keep working at it and you’ll get there.
So that’s all my thoughts for today. If you have any comments, please leave them below, I’d love to hear from you guys.