Talent plus passion with preparation equals excellence

December 19, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Posted in Blogroll, Out of my mind | 2 Comments

Haven’t we all come across cases where a person is put in a new role, may be because of his successful stint in another role, and slowly he starts struggling. It is assumed that a successful person would do well in any role. Even the person concerned himself never expected this outcome and feeling guilty struggles even harder. But alas!! Apparently he does not have what it takes to show results in his new assignment. Slowly his earlier successes are forgotten. Nobody wants to remember or care about a failure and he gets shunted out to the sidelines. The person himself feels isolated, especially if he does not have a support system either within the family or friends. He becomes an emotional wreck.

Should it be allowed to happen? Is it inevitable? I don’t think so. But why does it happen in the first place? At least I have seen enough cases to conclude that to be successful and maintain your success, the twin elements of talent and passion are essential. Talent is not skills or knowledge, though they help. Talents are what a person intrinsically possesses. We can endlessly debate whether a person is born with talents or he acquires them, without coming to a conclusion. What is more important is that either the person has the required talents or he does not. Some talents are easy to spot, others are not. But they no doubt matter.

Same is the case with passion. It is not just motivation or drive or enthusiasm. Without passion you can move forward under ordinary circumstances. But when the going gets tough, even the tough do not go far. It takes passion for what you are doing to really keep going without losing hope. Rather, when a person is passionate about something, he is not even aware of the obstacles. Some invisible force seems to keep driving him forward and he actually enjoys it. Here again, either a person has passion for something or he does not. You can’t fake it.

Only when we have both the talents and passion for what we do, can we ever think of or hope to move towards excellence. But excellence is not just flash in a pan. To continuously excel at anything, we need to be prepared. What does being prepared mean? Is it about being prepared or ready for certain specific situations? No, because life has such an endless variety that it is impossible to be prepared for all kinds of situations. And end result of any activity involves not just one or even few activities but a complex chain of interrelated actions & decisions. Any one of these steps can go wrong and take us in a wrong direction. We often talk of finding a weak link in the chain and working on it to make the whole chain stronger. It does work at a level. But reality is much more complex than that. I always remember of exits on a freeway in U.S., where you take one wrong exit and you had it. If you are lucky, you can come back on your original path soon enough. If you are not, you may go miles & miles before you are back on track. And God only can help if you were on your way to catch a flight back to India. So a small mistake or an error of judgment can have totally unexpected outcome. In short, it is impossible to be prepared for every single situation.

However, there is a way out. System thinking comes to our help here. At systems level, we are forced to look at a few fundamental concepts which are applicable to a wide variety of systems, and in turn to very large individual situations. At this level, being prepared really boils down to the four basic dimensions; namely information, communication, decision and action. There are a few basic principles in each of these dimensions. If we understand them and religiously put them in practice till they become a habit, then we can hope to achieve excellence.

We will go into each of these four dimensions in detail, in the future posts on this blog. For now, we can summarize the above, in a neat little mathematical formula,

(Talent + Passion) x preparation = Excellence



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  1. Karve Sir!

    Very apt and correct view 🙂


  2. Nice and inspiring….

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