Do You Believe “Talent” Brings Success?

Mon, Mar 12, 2007

Fun Corner, Success Secrets

Today I read a comment on Eric Holmlund’s blog from a gentleman named Dan Krueger, about Eric’s article about my success story.

In short, he said he disagreed with Eric’s point that “if this girl can do it, so can you.”

Dan thinks “talent” is a very important must for success in any field. In other words, he thinks only “talented” people can reach big success – not ordinary people.

So what do YOU think? Do you agree with him?

I replied to his comment of his blog and decided to post it here too. Here’s my reply…


To add more controversy to Eric’s blog, here’s what I believe…

There is NO such a thing as “talent” or “intelligence”.

Quite controversial, isn’t it? OK, let me explain why I think it’s true…

You see, a few years ago, one day I got an interest in learning to play piano. But I knew I couldn’t afford the expensive piano classes to learn it, so I decided to learn in myself.

Early in the morning the next day, I went to Google and searched for free piano lessons, articles, sheet music, and so on. I found several good websites and started reading the material. Since I didn’t know even the smallest thing about reading sheet music, I had to learn all it all from scratch what those “cute” symbols meant.

To make a long story short, I learned how to play some basic piano notes by the end of the day. So I could slowly play some music from Yanni (the great musician) with my small synthesizer that night.

So do you think I was talented in music?

No, definitely not. I hadn’t played piano in my whole life.

I was just an ordinary person – just like you and people who commented here – who just believed in myself and knew I could do it. And I really believe you and everyone else can do it too – only if you believe you can.

That’s why I say there is NO such a thing as “talent” or “intelligence”.

It’s YOU who choose how “talented” or “intelligent” you want to be.

It’s just a matter of choice. If you think you are talented in marketing, you will be. If you think you are talented in singing, you will be. The same goes for playing piano, dancing, acting, playing golf, and so on.

I understand and respect your thoughts about talent and intelligence and their effect on a person’s success. On the other hand, do you really think “talent” is what makes a person successful?

If so, you are really limiting your success by putting this “not-talented-enough” label on you.

When we look at highly successful people throughout the history, how many of them have reached there because they were just “talented”? Really, how many?

Wasn’t their success all because of their determination and their desire to reach their goals?

Actually when I think about people around me, I see many of them are very talented in specific things, but they are rarely successful because they don’t try enough and give up way soon.

Some people may say Ladan has been successful because she was intelligent. I could go on and say, “Yes, I am the most intelligent person in the world so no one could reach my level of success.”

But I DON’T.

I do belive I am intelligent and talented, but so is every single one of you who are reading this article, and also are the billions of other people around the world.

To the day that everyone really sees what a gigantic power they have inside – just if they believe in themselves!


Well, that was the comment I left on Eric’s blog.

So what do YOU think about this?

Do you believe “talent” is what makes a person successful – or are there more important things involved?

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19 Comments For This Post

  1. Dennis Main Says:

    Hi Laden,

    What delight to find you! I’m a member Eric’s list and have been following the posts here and there (and buying some of your products). Here are a couple thoughts:

    I do agree with your belief that … “There is NO such a thing as [talent] or [intelligence]”. Laden, you have discovered a fundamental truth to happiness, and that is if you follow your “passion” or “bliss” you will “find” your “talent” and “intelligence” to fulfill that passion! I sure wish I had discovered that universal law before I was 20! (I found it when about 40 … I am now 68 and happy!). Many of us don’t figure this out until at least half of our life is gone.

    In your case, the task of “following your passion/bliss” is and was particularly difficult. To YOU this was not a life stopper. You found your internal ‘engine’ of passion/bliss to propel you to your desires. Well, so much for the philosophy bit. I’m just very encouraged to see and hear of your successes Laden … what an inspiration.

    Dennis Main
    Wichita, KS USA

  2. Dennis Main Says:

    I have sent you an email with a P.S. to this message too.


  3. Ladan Lashkari Says:

    Hi Dennis,

    Thanks for your email and comment.

    Best wishes,

    P.S. Yes, I read the P.S. in your email. I’ll reply to you as soon as I have time. 🙂

  4. Brian Lee Says:

    Hi Laden,

    Talent is defined as “a superior inborn capacity for a special field” and Intelligence is defined as “capacity for reasoning, understanding, and for similar forms of mental activity” (yes, I looked them up in my somewhat-outdated Random House Dictionary). So both would be at least partially a result of inherited characteristics.

    But before you think I’m disagreeing with your reply to Dan, I do agree that both talent and intelligence can be DEVELOPED, which is what I think you were trying to illustrate. In other words, we are born with a certain level of intelligence and talents, but how we apply and develop them can have a profound effect upon our success.

    Theoretically, everyone is capable of doing most anything, but in the real world there are a number of other factors that can influence the outcome, including personality, interests, circumstances beyond the person’s control, family considerations, etc. etc. Everyone can’t be an internet marketer any more than can everyone be a garbage collector, for a number of reasons. And we wouldn’t want everyone to be an internet marketer or nothing else would get done!

    Now, if I had a burning desire to be a garbage collector, I could start lifting weights, running laps, feverishly study for the civil service exam (or whatever test they have to pass), talk to every garbage collector I could find, maybe follow them around on their route, study garbageology 1,2,&3 (I just made that up), then yes, I’d probably have a pretty good shot at getting a garbage collector job the next time one came open.

    So you’re right, Ladan, a lot has to do with how you apply yourself and how strong your desire is to attain whatever it is you want, but there IS such a thing as talent and intelligence per se. I think we have to at least have a minimal base level to start with (try teaching a chimpanzee to play the piano), but how we develop that initial level can vary greatly.

    Best regards,


  5. The Anti-Christ(anti=not) Says:

    I’m sure everyone has seen this one however it deserves repeating.
    It does not matter if you say you can or you say you can’t,

  6. flwong Says:

    Hi Laden,

    I strongly agreed with you on the subjest “Talent” and Intelligence”

    If you are telented but you are lazy enough will not make yuu any futher. All of us have to work if he want to be success in what ever they are doing.

    Our great “Edison” is the example. If he doesn’t work hard, we will in a dark world.

    This my 2 cents. You keep it up.


  7. Sylvia Dickens Says:

    Hi Ladan,

    Your story is certainly inspirational. Starting out with inherent talent and intelligence might put some people ahead of others, but their success will be determined by how they use those skills.

    I’ve been struggling for years to succeed online – I’ve studied extensively since I turned 40 (20+ years ago) and have learned a great deal. But somehow I haven’t yet achieved the success you’ve managed so far.

    Clearly, you figured out early on how to bring everything together and make the right decisions about using that knowledge. I truly believe THAT is the real secret to success. Making that all-important connection between knowledge and action.

    If you can break that down for the rest of us, you’d have a best seller, I’m sure.

    Congratulations on your success. Continue on this path and you are sure to live a very successful life.


  8. Ladan Lashkari Says:

    Thank you very much Sylvia. 🙂


  9. Moshavnick Says:

    Hi Ladan,
    Couldn’t agree more…
    “What you believe to be true is true for you”
    Have a nice day,

  10. Michel Fortin Says:

    Well said, Ladan. Reminds me of the Calvin Coolidge quote:

    “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

  11. Ladan Lashkari Says:


    It’s good to see you here.

    Yes, I agree. This quote is one of my many favorite quotes about success that is on my quotes list.

    By the way, thanks for your blog post about my story.

    Best wishes,

  12. Jamie Davidson Says:

    Hi Ladan,

    Being a member of Michel’s list and Eric’s also, I suddenly came upon this story of a girl that is overcoming everything and soon should be taking over the world.:D

    And strangely enough, she is doing it with more drawbacks than an entire army of archers…

    Ya know, I have to say one thing. I agree that talent and intelligence have something to do with everything.

    But as Michel and you both pointed out, and I agree whole heartedly, they have little to do with success, financial or otherwise. Sometimes they make it easier…

    But as Brian up there pointed out, it’s all about application. I don’t have too many favourite quotes from anyone particular individual, but one that I state rather regularly, and maybe it comes down to my own personal tenacity…

    Only with consistent action will success be achieved…

    It’s all about the application. You’re example of piano lessons, to learn to be a pianist had illustrated this perfectly.

    You understood (was there talent? not likely, just knowledge) the tools available on the internet, and applied your own research tool (your mind) to seek out the information you wanted, then began to put the pieces together.

    Yes, intellect is a factor, and I believe you’re a very smart woman… But there’s something else here. It’s the willingness to act upon the given information and do something with it.

    More than that… And this is apparent no matter where you go, and that is that faith, either in oneself, or a higher being, or the universal truth, or whatever it is…

    Is more powerful than any army… You believe in yourself and have at least one very special person that believes in you too…

    As the poster of seagulls (a coastal bird indigenous to the US) on my math teachers wall in high school pointed out (which showed them flying)…

    … “They can, because they believe they can.”

    Believe in your capabilities folks… You are capable of by far more than you even imagine, if you only take action and give yourself that chance.

    It’s nice to meet you Ladan, and I’m really glad that I took the time from my schedule to finally check my e-mail, or I’d never have had the chance to pipe up here.

    Keep up the good work… And rest assured… Not everyone in America believes that everyone from Iran or anywhere in the middle east are terrorists… Some of us do understand the difference between you and your government and the fanatics.

    I wish you the best of success in all of your efforts Ladan, and hope that one day you’ll make it to a locale that is more compatible to your goals. Peace.:)

  13. Renincy Says:

    Dear Ladan,

    About intelligence, I’ve heard Donald Trump speak about this. He is highly educated but says that he definitely wasn’t the smartest one from class. Of the ones who were, many have never become a success. Why? Not because they weren’t smart or talented enough! It was because they never took the necessary steps: they never took ACTION. According to Donald Trump this is what distinguishes successful people from people that are not. “Taking action” therefore is the reply he gives when somebody asks him what to do to become a success.

    However, in my opinion it is important to take the RIGHT kind of action. And to find out what is right, you can look at people that already are successful. “Do what they do and you will get what they got”
    Successful people often didn’t invent the wheel all by themselves but learned from the best as well.

    I agree with you that being good at something is a choice. What you truly believe in is what will manifest. If you believe you’re not smart or talented enough, you will never take the ACTION that will take you to achieving any goal.

    Even if intelligence and talent exists, it is far less determining for success than just taking action is. And is that not one thing that all of us can do? It is so easy to do that it’s also easy not to do. And the fact it’s easy not to take action is an important reason why many people who could have been successful are still living mediocre lives today.

    For example: how many people that are spending a great deal of money on books and still aren’t as successful as they wish, just haven’t implied a lot of things the books said? Or, to make it worse, never even got beyond reading the first chapter of it? How many people that read personal development books have been amazed by the wisdom they found in the book, but never made it theirs and forgot?
    Another painful fact: a university once sent out a questionnaire to its students. It asked about the goals they had in life. I believe that about 80% said that they hadn’t and 17% said they had but never wrote them down. Only 3% of the students that had goals had also written them down. Thirty years later the university sent out another questionnaire to the same group of students, asking how they were doing in life at that point. It appeared that the 3% of old students who had their goals written down also earned about 97% of the total amount of money that was made by the entire group of students. This is a widely known story, and despite that: how many ‘ambitious’ people have never written down their goals or visualised how it would be if they achieved their goals?
    In short: how many of us had the chance to learn from great teachers, but never really listened to what they said?

    True power comes from within. Motivation almost always follows action, but seldom precedes it. If we never take action, we will never make the feeling of ‘I can’ a part of our thinking, we will never experience the things that prove this feeling to our mind and so we will never be a success.

    We need to shift our thinking to become a success. Like you said, lack of intelligence or talent shouldn’t be something to blame for not having success. It’s always what we have done, the action we took, what determines the outcome. Those people who are saying that it’s all just because they aren’t as smart or talented as you are, were just (unconsciously) looking for an excuse to justify to themselves the fact they didn’t take the required action to achieve the same.


  14. Ladan Lashkari Says:

    Hi Renincy,

    Valuable points shared in your comment. Thank you!


  15. Ladan Lashkari Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    Thanks for your inspiring comment. 🙂

    Yes, it’s good to see not all Americans have a negative reaction toward Iranians. I have many friends in the US and they are all open-minded and understand the difference between Iranian people and the government.

    Have a nice day,

  16. Rian Says:

    Hello Ladan, I just found your blog from Eric’s post. A new fan!

    I agree whole heartedly with what you say. The recipe for success seems to be “burning desire + taking action”, no matter what it is. Talent and intelligence are ingredients, not the final product.

    And talent and success really can be totally different things. There are plenty of musicians or bands out there right now who frankly aren’t very talented, but they are successful. On the other hand, there are extremely talented musicians who most have never heard of, who aren’t “successful” in monetary terms, but they’re great at what they do. (and thats ok too)

    Talent can be gained…it can be learned. Intelligence can be gained…(we forget even Einstein had to learn)

    Its unfortunate that many define success by how much money you’ve made. Success is reaching ones goals…not just monetary goals.

  17. Arash Says:

    Salam Ladan,

    Wonderful to read about your story. I am currently finishing university and my final paper is about online marketing in Iran. I was wondering if it is possible to get in touch and ask you some questions.

    Kind regards,


  18. Ladan Lashkari Says:

    Hi Arash,

    Actually I’m in Singapore right now and will be quite busy during the first week after I come back to Iran.

    So maybe you can contact me 10 days later to see how I can help you, OK? 🙂


  19. Arash Says:

    Thank you Ladan,

    I’ll be in touch in 10 days.

    Enjoy Singapore

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