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  • Dan Cooke

Talent lessons

No week goes by without several business publications devoting space to talent, how to find it, manage it, nurture it and keep it. Inspire to Innovate turned to the world of football for some talent inspiration as last week marked a couple of milestones, as Lionel Messi scored his 500th goal for Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo with his 400th Real Madrid goal.

Now for those of you out there who aren't football fans or in fact actively despise the sport, then don’t worry, because even though I could go on for ages about the finer points of each player and delve into tactics and stats, I’m not going to. What I am going to do is use the two players as examples and hopefully by the end, as inspiration.

For the past 10 years people have been arguing over which one of the two is better and there’s not right answer to that question, it’s entirely subjective. However I saw one person answer the question very nicely which was to say ‘You can’t compare these two, one is the most naturally gifted player ever, and the other is the hardest working player ever’ and this is where I’d like to use these two as an example.

Lionel Messi the most naturally talented player this world has probably seen, and Ronaldo the hardest working. They both have shared the spoils when in comes to trophies over the past decade, so what can be learnt from that. I think the obvious place to start is with Ronaldo, he’s someone who's career I’ve followed very closely and because of that, in my opinion this man is the ultimate role model. He got thrown into a situation at a very young age, a situation that was out of his comfort zone and at the start, he found it bloody hard. But he knuckled down, he was first to training and he stayed long after training ended, he was in the gym, he was doing everything he could to improve himself. Of course, he had natural talent, but without the mental strength and drive that man has, he would never have made it to where he was today. His story can be implemented into anyones life, all of us have been in situations where we felt out of our depth, like things weren’t going to work out, and I think a high proportion of us will have chosen to run at those times but Mr.Ronaldo has demonstrated why you should push yourself, because one day it might all be worth it.

Now on to Messi, you're probably wondering what could I possibly learn from a man who's just been incredibly lucky and been given this ability to be the best in the world at something. Well it’s not that easy, natural talent is all well and good, but there are stories from all walks of life where a gifted person has never achieved what they promised, and that’s mainly due to laziness, complacency and arrogance. It still required Messi to push himself to the limit to reach where he is now. In my opinion, his humbleness is a massive contributing factor to why he didn't fall by the wayside. A very shy, quiet, softly spoken Argentinian, he doesn't have the glamour of Ronaldo, which I think has helped him massively, he never let anything get to his head, he knew he had to utilise what he'd been given to its true potential. Now I think this might be a story that’s familiar to a lot of folk too. Can you think of something you just seemed to have a knack for, a natural ability, but never really pursued it? For the majority of you, the answer will be yes. That’s what Mr.Messi has shown the world that you should never take for granted your abilities as with some nurturing they can take you to the top.

So, I’m not saying that follow their lead and you’ll become Ronaldo and you'll earn £300,000 a week, but by learning from them, you can most certainly become the Cristiano Ronaldo or the Lionel Messi of your field. Whether it be in business, in exams, or at tiddlywinks, if you nurture your talent, or if you work your arse of for something that you’re currently finding difficult, there’s no reason why you can’t reach the top.

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