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NO LAUGHING MATTER: Fed up with talent

Mac Fingall

NO LAUGHING MATTER: Fed up with talent

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ALMOST EVERY DAY I hear of some extremely talented person here in Barbados in one field or another. I keep hearing how talented we are as a people.
Talent, talent, talent – that’s all I hear. But where does it go from there? I am fed up with just talent. Talent by itself is a waste.
It seems that most of us feel that talent is the sole requirement for success. We demonstrate or display our talent and then sit back and wait for the great results which we hear of in the outside world.
Even those who report on these talented individuals often comment in such a way that makes them feel that they have “made it”.
Talent means nothing without commitment, dedication, discipline, fitness of mind and body, hard work, the right attitude, proper guidance and self-confidence.
The ingredients demand the results, and talent should really be a plus rather than the main ingredient. Can you imagine if you had all the attributes mentioned above and then you were also very talented? The world would have no choice but to embrace you as a champion.
We hear of the great athletes and entertainers of the world, and want to be like them. We talk like them, dress like them, even walk like them, but do we work like them?
We all wanted to be like Michael Jordan, but were we willing to work like him – working out four times daily and taking nearly a thousand shots at the basket all by himself?
We have footballers praising, admiring, and idolizing football stars Ronaldo and Messi. They even name themselves after them. But are they willing to put in the work like these great athletes?
I met a man who told me that he watched Usain Bolt working out and it made him (the watcher) exhausted.
We all know that Barbados has better singers than Rihanna but if given the opportunity, would they be willing to practise a dance routine for six hours a day? Are they willing and able, mentally and physically, to make the type of sacrifice that she makes?
Nothing of worth has ever been achieved without sacrifice. Today’s world demands great sacrifice.
Red Plastic Bag, who is one of the world’s top calypsonians, met Jack Kallis – the South African cricketer – who is one of the world’s top cricketers.
Bag told him that he is a fan and that he admires how he plays. Kallis told Plastic Bag thanks but that he stopped playing cricket eleven years ago.
Bag was now confused. How can he mistake this man for Kallis! Then Kallis allayed his fears by saying “I go to work”.
How many of our paid cricketers in the Caribbean have you heard saying “I am going to work tomorrow?” I am sure that you have heard them saying “I got to play tomorrow.” We seem to be so afraid of work that we can’t even mention the word.
When are we going to understand that “sports” is a business – a serious business? How come the rest of the world seems to understand this and we don’t?
You don’t get paid for having a brain; you get paid for using it.
When I think of someone among us who has benefited from hard work rather than talent, I think of Shivnarine Chanderpaul. I hardly hear “talent” mentioned with Chanderpaul’s name.
I have heard him described as having great patience and concentration; being committed; hard-working; loving to practise; boring; durable; physically fit; being focused; having self-confidence.
Surely with Chanderpaul, talent becomes a plus rather than the main ingredient. Yet he is one of the most successful cricketers in the world, having had No. 1 ratings, and is considered the West Indies’ most dependable batsman.
Of all the ingredients mentioned, attitude is the most crucial for having satisfied all of the other requirements for success, your attitude can make them all a waste of time.
My research on attitude shows that “it colours every aspect of your life. It is like the mind’s paintbrush. It can paint everything in bright, vibrant colours – creating a masterpiece – or it can make everything dark and dreary.
“It can be your best friend or worst enemy. It is what draws people to you or repels them.
“It is the librarian of your past and the speaker of your present. It is the prophet of your future.”
I often wonder if talent were not the apparent main focus what would have happened to Pat Nurse, Janelle Inniss, Shirlene Williams, Wilan Louis, Sade Green, Patrick Browne and many others.
Oh how I wish we had a different attitude.
We treat mediocrity as if it is gold and we cash in on it every time.
I am so tired of just talent.
• Mac Fingall is an entertainer and retired secondary schoolteacher.