Chicken or the Egg?

You may have heard the expression “chicken or the egg” But do you know the question it asks? Some similar queries are “talent or drive” and “motivation or action.” The conundrum here is which begets what.

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At a panel discussion I asked one of the venture capitalists if he thought talent or drive was more important with regard to gathering a team for a startup. From what I recall, he hemmed and hawed then replied that I asked a good question. But I don’t recall him giving me a substantive response. Perhaps causality cannot be empirically proven in this case. Maybe it resides in opinion.

Is it possible that—like for so many other things—the answer changes with time and space? Could some have so much talent that it seeps out of their pores while others exhibit a less than modicum amount of talent and somehow they excel?

Some people wallow in their misery, some may exist in a type of hypermisery (think hypermania as in bipolar disorder) or mild depression because they are unable to muster the motivation to clean the house, exercise, or even run household errands.

Often we think we need to be motivated in order to do some action. However, it seems more appropriate to think about it as motivation follows action. Think about it this way. There is a gigantic boulder sitting on the ground (when I write gigantic I mean it towers over you). Try to push it. Does it move? Probably not. But once you get it to start moving isn’t it easier? That’s is momentum—something akin to motivation.

It might help to remind ourselves of Newton’s First Law of Motion. “Newton’s First Law states that an object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force.”1 Think back to a time when you “had” to do something. It could have been something that you did not want to deal with for some reason or another; maybe cleaning the house. Haven’t you noticed that when you start picking up a couple of things around the house you end up picking up all the stuff around your place? You might then vacuum, then clean the bathroom(s).

The point I am getting at here is that when you start to move, you want to move. Of course there are other important factors when it comes to the talent vs. drive argument. Some people with little talent are able to become famous for no other reason than tenacity.

There is another important aspect to consider especially with a startup or project—team matters. In fact, one of the most important things you can do in order to get an idea up and running is to get the proper team together. Some folks who have little talent have simply surrounded themselves with competent driven individuals.

Being a slug won’t get you anywhere—well not at any discernable speed. But taking action—even if it is at a snail’s pace will result in movement. It is important to move at your own pace, get your feet then momentum will take over. Get help from those you trust. Build a team of support; whether it is for a startup or for proceeding through the steps to take care of you.


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