Commitment Versus Talent In A World That Values The Best

Uncategorized Apr 20, 2022

Commitment is a far more favourable trait than talent. There, I said it.

I have been itching to write about this topic for a while but it didn't seem to fit in anywhere. So, since I have been away and haven't written in a couple of weeks I thought this would be the perfect fit.

I do a lot of activities... Like a lot. And not just little hobbies like reading (yes, I'm an avid reader too) but like big activities that you pay for and depend on a lot of other people doing in order to do.

And while that might seem like it would make it difficult to commit it's actually not as hard as you might think.

My two biggest hobbies are field hockey and pipe band.

I have a great system worked out. I never miss a field hockey game for a band practice and I never miss a band gig for a field hockey practice. But, I don't generally have an issue with the two overlapping, thankfully.

This topic is fairly near and dear to my heart. I tend to have a very high commitment to things. People have often found it odd but I cannot understand when people say yes to doing something and then only come when it's convenient.

This issue came up a lot this year during field hockey.

We had a roster of 20 but somehow continuously played short or with no subs. We heard a lot of "I can't make it I have a soccer game," or "I can't make it my kid has a soccer game."

And don't get me wrong, I am not bringing anyone down for these things. We all make choices and we do live in a society where, especially for women, our worth comes from what we do for others, especially our children. We are judged and guilted into having to do everything for our kids and never for us, which to me doesn't make any sense because eventually you'll run out of steam and that's when patience gets lower and frustration gets higher and kids don't deserve to be on the other end of their parent's stress. Society just needs to take a step back and leave parents and people in general alone.

But here's the thing...

As someone who commits hard to things it was so frustrating to hear "sorry, I have a soccer game" as the excuse to not come to field hockey.

Field hockey isn't a cheap sport. You pay $200 a season (just for the registration fee) to play and if I'm going to cough up that kind of money you better believe I'll be at every game... I also genuinely love to play so any chance I get I'll be there.

BUT... I am not a top-skilled player.

If I'm being honest, I'm barely a mid-skilled player. But I show up. I am always there.

And for me, it's not always the easiest to get to the games but I do get there.

I think team sports are a brilliant example of commitment versus talent.

What I loved about this year (which you rarely see in sports or any industry where they value direct output and winning) is closer to the end of the year, after I had mentioned my frustrations, it was noted who had come to lots of games versus who hadn't.

One of the players that consistently missed games because she wasn't committed to the team but was more committed to other things was a very talented player but the team captain chose to have the players who'd played the least amount of games get the least amount of playing time in that particular game, including her.

They started off and whenever they subbed someone off they were the first player to come back off the field.

I think this is brilliant. It's a brilliant lesson for the younger players on the team and for anyone in a position to make decisions like my team captain.

Let's think about it in terms of business.

Say you have a business where sales are a huge part. You have two employees. One who is the best salesperson you've ever seen, can close sales in their sleep but doesn't clock that many hours. The other is an average salesperson but is highly committed, clocks a lot of hours and has actually made more sales than the best salesperson.

You have a big potential client and a choice needs to be made about who is going to do the pitch. Who do you choose?

A lot of people would choose the best salesperson. Duh, they can close any deal with no problem.

But if you do that what do you think will happen to the average but highly committed salesperson?

Chances are, they will feel completely ripped off and like their hard work and dedication are not valued and they will probably end up leaving for another company. But remember, because of their commitment, they actually had more sales than the best salesperson. So now, because you chose talent over commitment, your company is in fact, losing a lot of business.

When we choose to value committed people over the most talented people we end up coming up more favourably and have a higher chance of success.

Thinking back to the field hockey game I told you about above, we ended up winning that game.

What happened is the most committed players were on the field and we had played together for months. We knew how each other played, we knew everyone's strengths and weaknesses, we could anticipate how they would react on the field and we played very well together.

The talented but not as committed player, while she was fast and great on her own, struggled to anticipate the movements and playing styles of the other teammates and needed to work much harder to accomplish that. It was more disjointed. But individual performance in a team sport doesn't always mean the team is going to win or be the best.

We live in a world that values the best. We want the best workers, the most productive people, the most qualified, the highest educated, the person with the best resume or track record.

But imagine what would happen if instead of only looking at those traits we chose to value the commitment levels of people. The people who would win the perfect attendance award, the person who had the most playing time, the person who was the most enthusiastic, the most consistent.

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