If you are trying harder than the most naturally talented person, will you ever be better than them?
Research, based on numbers and actual athletes, seems to say yes. Logically if two people training regularly - and with the same effort - are compared, the more talented of the two will be better than the other. But that's not how the world works.
For example, in the area of martial arts I remember the students when I was a green belt. Some seemed to pick up techniques faster but they were the first to drop out. My frustration drove me to try harder and longer. The dividends paid off later.
Take my son for example. This is a video is of him when he wanted to get better at basketball. He was a late bloomer in basketball terms when he started in his mid teens. He was coordinated but not incredibly gifted. Effort however, was one thing that he possessed. Total focus to the exclusion of other areas of life he possessed.
Here is the video:
Tell that to your students. Every single one of them will smile on the inside because they know you are talking about them.
Running a martial art's school.
The great Mas Oyama once refuted the quote that you need to train in the martial arts for 1000 hours to achieve a standard of quality. 1000 hours at 3 two hour sessions a week is just under 4 years.
Oyama said it would actually take 10,000 hours.
There is no difference in the creation of a quality martial arts academy. Think about it. Daily mundane effort.
Finally, some advice from a man that is famous in the world of entertainment. Will Smith. Will has won awards for his musical talents and of course his talents in front of the camera. Surely he must have at least a baseline of raw skill that he has built on.
Not so, he says.
"The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all those things. You got it on me in 9 categories out of 10. But if we get on a treadmill together there's only two things that will happen. Either you're getting off first or I'm gonna die. Its really that simple."
To summarise all this "enthusiasm is common, endurance is rare". I wish you equal measures of both.
And now for the punchline. If you knew all of this, you are just the person to be explaining it to your students. We all understand that the attainment of excellence is an incremental thing over many, many training sessions. The only problem is that when a white belt is crushed at the bottom of the food chain, he only sees the performance level of the black belt. He must be reminded that a ladder is strong because it is made up of many steps.
Not just one at the bottom and one at the top.
P.S. To my son. Well done my boy.