Just Like Bunko: Persistence Trumps Talent

Just Like Bunko: Persistence Trumps Talent

By: Yat Li | Co-op Multimedia Assistant, SFU Career Services
  11717 reads

The 49th NHL Entry Draft  was held at St. Paul, Minnesota. This is where young hockey prospects who have persisted through long practice hours, gym time, and diet changes realize their dreams when their names are announced. The draft is an important date for hockey clubs looking to inject young talent into their systems. More importantly, however, is the realization of the hard work and sacrifices these young individuals have made in their early careers.

History has shown us that not all prospects who were selected in the draft become regular NHL players. Even prospects selected in the first round are not guaranteed success in the NHL. A good example of this is Alexandre Daigle, who was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 1993. He was a highly touted prospect possessing uncanny hockey talent. Even critics at the time compared him to Wayne Gretzky. However, Daigle never measured up to his potential in the NHL.  Critics frequently criticized his lack of effort and motivation. Daigle was out of pro hockey by age 25.

Have you met people in your life that have ample talent but struggle with motivation? Back in middle school, I was never a bright student (from earlier posts, I didn’t realize my true skills until I reached post-secondary). Like Bunko, I put too much emphasis on thinking inwards and constantly exerting energy towards tasks that were not producing positive results. I was often deterred by Science and Mathematics courses, regularly delaying homework duties until the last day before the deadline. This was an ongoing issue until High School, when I realized I needed to pick up the slack and face my fears. It wasn’t an easy task, and my parents often worried my poor sleeping habits from the stress of catching up would eventually have a detrimental effect on my health.

Near the end of my senior year at Pinetree Secondary, I realized the potential to succeed with persistence.  I changed my study habits, asked questions, worked with peers, listened to advice, and became more open to new opportunities. Like an athlete and musician, I turned practice into a habit. However, my persistence did not translate into success in my early years of post-secondary. My first year at SFU was a struggle. Transition to second year wasn’t better but I never gave up. I joined student clubs, became an events director, took leadership in competitions and eventually, I realized my growth and potential as a student.

Intrinsic motivation is important in triumphing talent. This means doing things not to get an external reward like money or a promotion, but because you simply like doing it. The more intrinsic motivation you have, the more likely you are to persist. The more you persist, the more likely you are to succeed. For our hockey readers here, Alexandre Burrows was never drafted and his persistence in minor league hockey has triumphed notable first round picks like Alexandre Daigle who appeared to have more potential. In the end, it’s all about persistence.

The world is littered with talented people who didn’t persist, who didn’t put in the hours, who gave up too early, who thought they could ride on talent alone. Meanwhile, people who might have less talent like Burrows eventually pass them by. Flowers don’t grow without water and sunlight. Skills don’t develop without sharpening. Likewise, our careers don’t grow without persistence.

Where are you standing today? Do you have the talent but lack motivation? Do you have lots of motivation and are you looking for ways to get your name out there? Leave us a comment below and share your experience! Don’t forget, Career Services is open to advising to all SFU students and recent alumni. If you would like to make an appointment, contact us.

Bunko Quote of the Day: 

“When you’re stuck on a project, one of the best ways to achieve a breakthrough is to get some exercise.”

Images credti: here, here

Yat is a SFU alumni and former co-op Multimedia Assistant at SFU Career Services. You can find him on twitter at @yatli

Posted on June 24, 2011