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Welcome to Innovate Africa With Dotun Adeoye

Infinite, sustainable growth ideas and examples for strategic thinking executives every Sunday


Innovate Africa With Dotun Adeoye Every Sunday

Infinite, sustainable growth ideas and examples for strategic thinking executives every Sunday

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Talent Is overrated

Talent is overrated.

We’ve been told that talent is the key to success, but it’s not true.

I’m sure you’ve heard the story of David Beckham, whose coaches said he didn’t have the skills to make it as a professional soccer player. He became one of the world’s best players and won multiple trophies with Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Or what about Michael Jordan? He got cut from his high school basketball team because he was too short. And yet he became one of the best basketball players ever known!

These are extreme examples, but they illustrate a point: talent isn’t everything. Anyone can become great at something if they work and learn from their mistakes.

Talent is less important than you think

Talent is not a significant factor in success.

It seems obvious, but it’s worth repeating: talent isn’t as influential as you think. There are many examples throughout history of highly talented people, but because they didn’t have the hard work ethic to back up their natural abilities, they went nowhere. Conversely, there are tons of successful people who were less talented than their peers (and even some who were truly terrible at what they did) but had the money to learn from their mistakes and keep pushing forward until they succeeded.

You can make up for a lack of talent through hard work—even if your goal is “genius” level mastery! The only way to achieve world-class expertise is through years and years of practice; no one gets there without first putting thousands of hours into honing their craft (and even then, there’s always room for improvement). Malcolm Gladwell says in Outliers: The Story Of Success: “Ten thousand hours is required to achieve expertise—but that number has nothing to do with natural ability.”

Michael Jordan is a great example.

Michael Jordan is an excellent example of someone who worked hard and achieved success despite his talents. He was not the most talented player, but he trained harder than anyone else, and it showed on the court. Jordan could do things that other players could not because of his work ethic, which you can emulate in your own life if you put in the effort.

David Beckham has been called overrated.

We’re all guilty of overrating talent. The people who are successful in life must be blessed with some unique ability or gift that sets them apart from us.

But here’s the thing: it’s not true. Success is often achieved through hard work rather than natural talent, and many examples throughout history prove this idea.

One such example is David Beckham, one of the most famous football players in the world. Though he was a great player, many said he wasn’t very talented when compared to some other players who were better at soccer but less famous than Beckham became after his career ended.

These men are examples of how hard work triumphs over talent

You can’t just be born with talent; you must work for it. Talent is not a substitute for hard work, and any successful person will tell you that they worked their asses off before they got to where they are today.

  • Warren Buffett started reading at age three, became an investment prodigy by age 11, and was worth $6 billion at 40. But his success didn’t come from being naturally bright; he had to work hard to get where he is today. Buffett has said that the most critical investment he ever made was in himself: He studied under Benjamin Graham at Columbia University, then took over his mentor’s firm after graduating from Columbia Business School (a move which helped him build up his net worth).
  • Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group. He started his business with a record shop and created an empire from music to aviation, transportation to finance. Branson’s first challenge was getting his business off the ground. His first business, Student Magazine, was a success in its early days but failed soon after. He later learned that he had been duped by his partner, who used his money for personal expenses instead of investing it in the business. After failing with Student Magazine, Branson opened a record store called Virgin Records. It became successful quickly due to its focus on providing customers with what they wanted rather than what was popular at the time. The company grew rapidly and eventually expanded into other areas, such as financial services, mobile phones and airlines.

Hard work can make up for what you lack in talent.

Hard work can make up for what you lack in talent.

That’s the takeaway from author Geoff Colvin’s book Talent Is Overrated: What Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else. The key to success, he says, is not some innate ability or gift: it’s putting in hours of hard work to become the best at what you do.

Hard work isn’t just an excellent way of saying “work hard.” It’s a mindset that drives your actions and gives them meaning and purpose–a meaningful sense that often goes beyond revenue generation or profit making. Playing music or sports may be something other than a financially lucrative career. Still, they’re rewarding in their own right because they are fun activities that help define us as people. They provide an outlet where we can express our individuality through creative expression and physical performance on stage or the field.


It’s time to stop emphasising talent and start focusing on the hard work it takes to succeed. Talented people are often sabotaged by their mindset, while those who work hard can accomplish great things despite not being as gifted. The lesson here is clear: when faced with a difficult task, don’t focus on how talented you are or how much work it will take, but focus on how hard you are willing to work until you reach your goal!

Who am I?

I am Dotun Adeoye, a Business Growth Strategist & Author of the 5 Pillars of Business Growth.

I’ve built up my experience via serial entrepreneurship, consulting leadership roles in business growth, business development and product innovation in large companies worldwide in the last 29 years.

Today, I consult with large businesses on how to sustainably grow their businesses, sustain infinite growth, ensure business continuity and achieve a legacy.

Hire Dotun Adeoye to Speak Virtually or In – Person at your company’s event to cover this or other topics. You can also get in touch via +44 203 097 1718



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 Teaching business leaders how to grow their businesses & leave their legacy.