Tiger Woods & The Talent Myth

Tiger Woods had one heck of a victory over the weekend. Whether you’re a golf fan or not, you can appreciate — and more importantly learn from — what happened Sunday in Augusta.  

The Masters tournament is a big deal. I don’t really even like golf but I keep up with the Masters. Tiger Woods had won this tournament four times previously. But his last victory was 14 years ago. That’s the longest spell between Masters wins for any player.  

Mr. Woods hadn’t won a major golf tournament in over a decade. At 43 years old, most people thought Tiger was done dominating the links. The man has endured a lot in the last few years: four back surgeries, drug abuse brought on by excruciating pain, and a tabloid -fodder failed marriage.  

For years there’s been sports talk about the tremendous talent that is Tiger Woods. But what transpired this weekend is a testament to Tiger’s tenacity — a stubbornness, a persistence, and a refusal to quit. It was tenacity, not talent that allowed Tiger to prevail. Which brings me to the Talent Myth.   

The Talent Myth: The misguided belief that success is based solely on natural talent.  

To clarify, there is a thing called natural talent. Some people disagree with me on this, such as Geoff Colvin, author of Talent is Overrated. He says there’s no such thing as natural talent. Success, according to him, is all based on deliberate practice. 

I disagree with his stance because I’ve been a professional comedian. Have you ever seen an unfunny person attempt humor? It’s painful. Toss a ball to a person with no God-given athleticism and tell me there’s no such thing as natural talent. Trust me, there is.

The problem arises when people chalk up their failures to a lack of natural talent. Talent only gets you so far. 

Tiger didn’t win because he’s the most talented player on the PGA tour. He won because he was the most determined to win. He won because he has worked as though his life depended on it. Maybe it did. The man couldn’t even golf a few years ago due to the pain. Yet there he was slipping on the green jacket Sunday. Not because of talent, but because of his drive and determination.  

Now you’re asking, “What’s the takeaway for me, Damian?” So here it is: There are people who possess more talent than you. But you needn’t be the most talented, sometimes you just need to be the most determined at applying what talent you do have. When that happens, the results are Masterful.  

Damian Mason is an author, speaker, podcaster, farmer, and businessman. His new book, Do Business Better, released April of 2019.  www.damianmason.com 

Angie Carel