Talent is critical, but a positive attitude is everything.
I have been lucky. I have met incredible athletes, brilliant scholars and talented people of all ilk at various times in my life. It amazes me and I often wonder where this (some would say God given) talent comes from. Could be luck, though luck is hard to wrap one’s mind around. Could be genes, though it begs a deeper dive into one’s lineage. I really do not know, but it is clearly evident that there are some otherworldly talents out there. Pervasive media serves them up for daily consumption for us average folks. I don’t think they do it to make us feel inadequate, but it sure drives the point home. There are always bigger, faster, stronger, smarter, wiser, funnier, more charismatic and better looking people out there. The world is awash in them. But give me a choice between someone with a positive attitude without world class talent (maybe just plain, solid, run-of-the-mill talent) and out-of-this-world, surreal talent without a positive attitude and I’ll choose the former every time.
Of course, great talent with positive attitude trumps all. Given that option it is an easy choice. And, though there are incredible people who do embody this wonderful blend, they are rare. Like an alien sighting, they are otherworldly and a blessing. Stellar talent is a relatively rare commodity even if the reality shows and pervasive media seems awash with them. But, people with the right attitude are everywhere and I will argue that point with the pessimist who boosts that the world has gone into the abyss with self-centered, wrong minded egoists all day long. No, I am not naïve. Miscreants and ne’re-do-wells are constant reminders warning us to remain on guard, but people with positive attitudes are everywhere, especially in the socials impact space.
It would be easy to write volumes about these folks, but this is a blog; meant to remain brief and focus on a single point. So, let me give you representative sampling.
Satyan Mishra leads a social enterprise in India called Drishtee which focuses on empowering the poor in third tier markets in India. His tenacity and goodwill are evident everywhere and over the years he has successfully started a rural banking business and a textile manufacturing business and now he is pushing to reinvent the construction industry while at the same time redefining how young men and women with no prior skills can succeed in the agricultural markets. Anyone who has spent time trying to empower the poor in the most rural of rural Indian villages knows that wherewithal is important but attitude is crucial. He is bright, thoughtful, patient and reverent; a talented guy with a great attitude.
Sanga Moses leads Eco-Fuel Africa, an organization who has developed an alternative “green” fuel to displace charcoal that at the same time employs farmers, empowers women and educates the young. I do not have to say more. Go to this you tube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nls2yCPxifI Sanga is a gift from God. His story from incredibly humble beginnings is otherworldly.
Sandra Caskey works with Food for the Poor, one of the largest Catholic charities in the world. She is relentless. As one of the organizations most successful fund raisers she never gives up, never stops searching for ways to convince those that can to donate to worthwhile causes whether it be building orphanages and housing for the displaced or seeking out solutions to funders challenges to eventually earn their support. What makes her so successful? Her attitude of course. She never gives up. She is always persistent. She is always diplomatic. She is nice. She has attitude.
Hard work trumps talent (almost always). Talent and hard work wins all of the time. At GIF we are always looking for that alchemy. When we discover it the long term result is gold.