“Genius consists of equal parts of natural aptitude and hard work.”
– Andre Maurois
Typically, I write on topics which are reasonably clear-cut and universally applicable. Aptitude, then, is an oddball. I believe that everyone possesses a certain level of aptitude for something. What, of course, is a matter of considerable self-exploration and life experience. None of us is equal in our areas of ability nor our level of potential – it’s what makes the world such a fascinating amalgam of persons and personalities.
Firstly, to the matter of what aptitude actually means. In all fairness, there are a number of useful synonyms: talent, natural ability, in-born potential, and similar derivatives of the same. Aptitude is your head-start in life. A person with a high aptitude for technology, for example, will learn faster initially. If you take a Biology 101 class with a friend who has a natural talent for it, you’ll find your friend may make considerable strides in the beginning. That, however, is not to suggest you’ll never catch up.
An interesting thought on the matter: When searching for quotes for today’s post, it seems nearly every great mind speaking on the topic turned to equations and ratios to explain the value of aptitude. In most cases, it was valued the lesser of two ingredients; most commonly, the other component mentioned is hard work.
Before I change tracks, I want to make one last point to aptitude. The significance here is in finding your intrinsic abilities. Each of us seems to be advantaged in a certain direction and challenged in others. It’s worthwhile to improve your greatest weakness, but your success is most likely to come from your strengths. If your disabilities cause you failure again and again, then chase after them and force them back into line as they belong. Otherwise, leave them be. Instead, focus on what you do well. If there’s anything in your life that friends and family have told you, “You’re a natural”, you’ve got a starting point.
Perhaps you’re following along in your own mind right now trying to apply this. If you are, I appreciate the courtesy – I really do! Moreover, if you are, you’ve probably already come to the conclusion that your advantage in any particular part of life just isn’t enough to make you a shining success. No matter how gifted you are, I promise you that you’re right. You see, that’s the most important part of my message today: NOBODY has enough of a head start in anything that they can make it without hard work.
And that really is the crux of what I’m driving towards. There isn’t a single person that ever has or will live that can get by without hard work. All of the natural talent in the world cannot overcome someone with a strong commitment and ambition to succeed. Give me a “B” student with a hunger any day over an “A” student who is apathetic – these are the people that get things done, and these are the men and women that build the world around us all. Don’t ever be intimidated or discouraged for your aptitude relative to another. Instead, work harder, work smarter, and never give up.
Thank you for your time.