First of all, I think the featured image is a slight giveaway to my answer. Nevertheless, I’ll write my response anyway!
I believe there is a need for both talent and hard work. They both serve their own roles and you cannot have one without the other. I think though, that talent can be a by-product of hard work. Unfortunately though, you can’t really get hard work from talent. Think of it, if you’re talented already, you basically can bypass the hard work. I know you have talented people that work at their crafts meticulously but I think that’s more into the realm of dedication TO the talent, instead of just hard work itself.
From my experience in the real world, it seems to me that leaders, administrators, bosses, etc. seem to have a preference for a hard working individual versus a talented individual. Not to mention, the hard worker will usually be more loyal. If you want to look beneath the surface, you can exploit a hard worker easier than a talented worker. The talent usually comes with a by-product we can call ego.
As I stated earlier, I do believe that hard work can change someone into a talented individual. Let’s use a guy named Clyde for example. I don’t know a person named Clyde but he is perfect for my metaphor. Clyde entered the culinary field as a dish washer for a premium eatery at a young age. As he proved to be reliable whereas some of his co-workers were less reliable, his boss decides to try Clyde out in other positions. Everything goes well because Clyde is a hard worker and he made his mistakes and learned from them quickly and eventually got real good at his other tasks. By that point, you had a well-rounded worker.
So one night in the kitchen, all hell breaks loose and they need someone to start cooking. It turns out Clyde cooks most of his meals at home and he’s seen enough of the kitchen at work, he just needs a little guidance to learn. So, he takes the challenge in stride and it turns out, he’s great at it! So his boss keeps him in that role and slowly works Clyde up the ladder as Clyde learns more about the kitchen. Eventually, the main chef finds a new job and then the boss has an interesting dilemma.
He’s got a few good resume’s on his desk. Some of the individuals are qualified but either they have given sketchy interviews or had some other question marks. Clyde enters the room and throws his hat in the ring. Eventually, his reputation lands him the job.
So you have a guy that put in a lot of hard work while things happened behind the scenes to open doors. By this point, Clyde is a talented chef and could go work anywhere.
Honestly, I have went a similar route in my own industry. I went from a guy that did basic spreadsheets and let different doors open for me behind the scenes and worked my way to being a team leader. Of course right now I’m fine with my role even if nothing else opens. My job is quite satisfying. However, if that time comes, I’ll be ready to step up once again.
Hard work trumps talent in my eyes. Another key reason is that because it’s widely adaptable and you can have a lot of hard workers be worthy in more areas of life versus individuals that operate on pure talent. Think of a professional athlete. They might can sling the ball as a college quarterback but when they hit the pros, everyone is a talented quarterback. You will get shuffled out quickly.