Toying with Talent
Michelangelo was only fourteen years old when he came to Bertoldo, but it was already obvious that he was enormously gifted. Bertoldo was wise enough to realize that gifted people are often tempted to coast rather than to grow, and therefore he kept trying to pressure his young prodigy to work seriously at his art. One day, he came into the studio to find Michelangelo toying with a piece of sculpture far beneath his abilities. Bertoldo grabbed a hammer, stomped across the room, and smashed the work into tiny pieces, shouting his unforgettable message: "Michelangelo, talent is cheap; dedication is costly!"
What separates people is not so much their innate abilities as their motivation. Few of us live up to our potential. Excellence does not always require great gifts so much as great commitment. - Gary Inrig, "A Call to Excellence"