John Irving and Will Smith
John Irving is a great American storyteller. He has written many novels that have become best sellers and made into movies such as The Cider House Rules. Irving was not a natural when it came to writing. He earned a C- in his high school English class, and 475 out of 800 on his SAT test. He had to stay in high school an extra year in order to graduate and his teachers labeled him as "stupid" and "lazy".
"Irving was neither lazy or stupid. But he was severely dyslexic: 'I was an underdog....If my classmates could read our history assignment in an hour, I allowed myself two or three. If I couldn't learn to spell, I would keep a list of my most frequently misspelled words.' When his own son was diagnosed with dyslexia, Irving finally understood why he, himself, had been such a poor student. Irving's son read noticeably slower than his classmates, 'with his finger following the sentence--as I read, as I still read. Unless I've written it, I read whatever it was very slowly--and with my finger.'
...In my case, I learned that I just had to pay twice as much attention. I came to appreciate that in doing something over and over again, something that was never natural becomes second nature. You learn that you have the capacity for that, and that it doesn't come overnight."
Irving said the reason he has confidence in his writing is because he has confidence in his stamina! He can go over something again and again, to perfect it no matter how difficult it is! Wow! That is Grit! Duckworth said, with effort, Irving became one of the most masterful writers in history. "With effort, he became a master, and with effort his mastery produced stories that have touched millions of people."
In regards to talent, effort and skill, Will Smith, Oscar-nominated actor and Grammy Award winning musician said, "I've never really viewed myself as particularly talented. Where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic." He explained what attributed to his success in entertainment, "The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is: I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me. You might be all of those things...but if we get on the treadmill together, there's two things: you're getting off first, or I'm going to die. It's really that simple.
Will Continues, "The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, who have dreams, who want to do things. Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft." (Duckworth, 2016, pp. 44-51)
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