Photo Credit: anshustock, sxc.hu

One afternoon, I heard a woman talk about students who got the honors. Just after few of her words, I’m already saddened. She said, “Is he really smart? Or just diligent? I mean, if he just study hard, stay up late at night or wake up early to review his notes, go to the library and make a sweat out of his education, he doesn’t deserve it. I think students who are gifted are the ones entitled for the medals, not the diligent ones.”

I’m tempted to blurt out and deliver a philosophical plus psychological oratory in front of her. I stopped myself and resumed my composure. But I didn't stop whispering to myself, "Is it really? Is talent greater than diligence?" Then I realized that I'm facing that kind of mentality almost every day. As I teach my students IT skills, I feel that I'm constantly facing a barrier of unbelief from some of them because they don’t believe that hard work makes a difference. They are unconsciously committed to the idea that inborn smarts are the only ones that counts in every field - finances, education, or morality ("This is just who I am, I can't be totally integral.").

One time, I demonstrated how to write a simple webpage from scratch, 90% of them scratched their head and said, "We can never do that! We're not destined to write those cryptic codes!” (Some are even using the name of God with their excuses.)

“No, all of you can do this too. It would just take time and effort to learn how to write these HTML, CSS and JQuery scripts. It’s like learning a human language, you cannot expect a foreigner to be fluent in our language after just two days of study. It would take months or even years of practice. There's a process. Faithful attendance to the process of learning and growth is required for anyone who wants to succeed in any endeavor."

But still, some of them just squinted their eyes, dismissed the growth idea and settled in fixed destiny.

In Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, Richard Arum writes that young people today have higher ideals than the previous generations. They want to have lots of money, awards and recognitions, fairy-tale like marriage, vibrant relationships and life that counts here and hereafter. But the paradoxical thing is they also have less tolerance for disappointments or frustrations. They fear failure like death and have a hypocritical love for patience, perseverance, and growth, because deep inside, they don't want any of those virtues. They don't want to wait or hustle, they always want the faster and easiest route to achievement, they are dreaming of success packaged in a delivery box. They cannot wrap their mind to the required process of getting something, getting somewhere, achieving something or building something. They are madly in-love with Ms. Instant.

Our generation is harvesting the fruit of the hard labor of the previous generations. We don’t have to tame horses and learn how to ride on them, we just need to learn how to drive a car or just pay a fare. We don’t have to write a letter with our own cursive, send it to the mail office and wait for eternity to receive a reply, we can just tap an app on our smartphone like Facebook Messenger or Viber, type the message and hit the send button. We don’t have to scout a vast library in order to find the name of Lincoln’s mother, just ask Google or Siri for it and the answer will be delivered to you in milliseconds. Want a ramen? No need to go to a crowded market to find the ingredients and follow a Japanese menu, just get a ramen pack, boil for 3 minutes, mix and enjoy. Instant!

But Ms. Instant can never charm her way in every area of our life. The fast and the easy way is not a universal formula, no matter how much we want it to be that way. Wisdom is not injected, it's accumulated one nugget at a time. Skills doesn't grow on trees, they grow with time and effort.

Beethoven is not a musical wizard in his early age, he learned every day and put thousands of hours to perfect his musical sensibilities and coordination. Bill Gates’ programming and business geniuses are not inborn, they are grown. In our culture of instant, talent is overrated and effort is underrated, it’s rising time to reverse that notion.

Let me be frank, I believe lazy people indolently want all things to be easy. That’s the reason they devote large sum of their life in front of TV, on bed, slobbering on the internet or tapping their smartphone finishing the 18th level of a game (while their real game of life is neglected big time). Why? Because they’re easy. Lazy loves easy.

Genius and success doesn’t come like a bucket meal ordered in a fast food restaurant, never. They’re intentionally planted, prayed for, attended to, waited on, and persistently fight for. Any serious student of success must embrace the process of learning, because the farmer’s mentality still reigns supreme – what you want to harvest are needed to be planted first. And if you’re faithful and persevering, you deserve to harvest the fruits with humility and gratefulness.

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.
-Zig Ziglar

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