struggling despite being talented

Nothing is more soul-wrenching than seeing others shining or succeeding, or simply having a big stage to express themselves, while you’re struggling, in areas where you have obvious abundance of talent.

You have tried, toiled, and cried; yet, you are not making any headway with all your ability.

You’re watching your favorite dance-show on TV but, in stead of feeling entertained, you feel empty because you sense strongly that you might even be better than the winner of the show.

Why, then, is your talent not making way for you? What is holding you back?

I’ve asked myself this question at times in my life, too, and I would like to share some of the things, from my own experiences and those that others have shared with me, that could be responsible for struggling despite being talented..

You don’t turn up

The bible (proverbs 18-16) says a man’s talent will make way for him and bring him before great men, right?

“So, if this most revered and widely accepted literature says that, why am I still struggling in spite of my talents?”, you might ask.

Well, see what the same book has to say about that:

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
Mathew 5:15

So, the answer is simple: no matter how talented you are, you have to put your talent out there.

Showcasing your talent could be that, for example, regardless of your shyness, you turn up for talent auditions.

It could also mean that you are creating your own platform and showcasing your work. And the internet gives everyone an opportunity to do that these days. There is Youtube, blogging, or podcasting for you to showcase your talent or creations; whether you’re a doctor, singer, or architect.

You can take advantage of opportunities or platforms when they are offered. Otherwise, create your own platform.

No excuse, really!

Eighty percent of success is showing up
Woody Allen


Whenever you have an idea, don’t assume you’re the only one with that same lightbulb moment; start working on that idea immediately. Otherwise, you risk playing catch up if someone else executes and starts succeeding with the idea, or even being paralyzed by fear of comparative failure.

Similarly, the slower we are in executing an idea, the more obscure it becomes. As a result, that idea becomes more complicated to realize.

Business Daily captures it perfectly:

“One of the leading causes of failure in business is a lack of urgency in executing plans or making decisions.”


This is similar to procrastination; or it might lead to procrastinating – the idea that something should not be showcased until it is perfect in all ramifications.

However, the truth is, sometimes, we will even need people’s feedback to improve an existing product.

Arguably, the only aspect of a product that should be perfect, or close to perfection, is its functionality. As long as a product is functioning properly, is comfortable, and is not injurious to people, we can unveil or release it for consumption, while improving the aesthetics (branding) with time.

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
George Patton

Fear of failure

The fear of failing is good to the extent that it motivates us to put our best into whatever we do. If, however, it’s stops us from even venturing, never mind succeeding, then, we have to overcome it.

Failure is not a destination; rather, it’s part of the journey to success.

There is a long list of celebs and very successful people who failed several times before finally succeeding.

Oprah Winfrey was publicly fired as an anchor, from her first television job, in Baltimore for getting “too emotionally invested in her stories.”

Nonetheless, she has since bounced back and become the undisputed queen of talk-shows, while also building a global media empire that has made her one of the richest people alive, with a fortune of $3 billion, according to Forbes.

Lack of mentorship

No matter how talented we are, our journey to the top will be full of many obstacles.

However, if we follow the guide of those who have gone before us and succeeded (after making mistakes and failing), we stand a better chance of overcoming, or even avoiding, those obstacles.

To succeed in any field of endeavor, we need knowledge, guidance, and encouragement, and a mentor can easily offer us all these things. They can help us succeed – and fast, too.

You don’t network (enough)

The world’s most influential and successful business leaders are remarkably good at building relationships, and even science has proven that.

One can actually submit that success in most aspects of our personal and professional lives depends largely on the ability to build meaningful relationships.

To network is to market one’s abilities, uniqueness, and values.

See what renowned success and finance thought leader Robert Kiyosaki said:

You are not making sacrifices

For your talent to propel you to succeed, you will always need to make sacrifices along the way.

Whether you are self-denying, leaving your place of comfort, or delaying gratification, you have to be prepared to make sacrifices.

For example, if you live in a place where your talent or services are not in high demand, you might need to relocate to place where they are, even if you’re less familiar with the new environment.

You are a budding Saxophonist, but are you willing to not buy an iPhone so that you can afford your first saxophone?

Let the rest do whatever, while you do whatever it takes.
Grant Cardone

Lack of talent development

For your talent to help you succeed, you need to develop it to its maximum capacity, and that takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

In fact, everyone has their unique talent; making a success of it is only a question discovering and honing it to its fullest potentials.

Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
Kevin Durant

More on Self Improvement


    • This is an interesting angle to it. And I can see how pride can be an impediment to success, Kenneth.
      For example, it can stop one from seeking help, or mentorship, when necessary.

  1. Procrastination and perfectionism go hand in hand for me. I procrastinate because I don’t feel like what I am doing is good enough.

  2. I am such an introvert and networking is not something i want to do ever! will prob put it on my list of things to work on in 2021

  3. Learning from mentors who are great at their skill is really important and networking is key to getting out there and being known. Thanks for these ideas.

  4. The one about not networking enough really hits me. I feel like I have such a hard time making work related connections with people. However, people are vital in succeeding in life and I really need to get on top of it. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. Sometimes having a high ego is not good. You might have a great talent, but not having the right attitude at work, then you won’t success (or sometimes success isn’t enough).

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