In the MLC Drop-In Centre, it sometimes happens that students succeed quite well at their maths, and yet somehow they manage to actually feel bad about it. They say that they only succeeded because they worked hard, and not because they are “good at maths”, implying that somehow natural talent is more worthy of praise. Well I’m here to say this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.
If you did well at maths because of your hard work, then you should feel proud! You should feel proud because that outcome is the result of your own personal effort — you were the one personally responsible for your own success.
On the other hand, if you were born with a natural talent for learning maths concepts, if you always found it easy to solve maths problems and if you don’t have to work to get high grades in maths, then the best you can feel is lucky. If you really were born with a talent, then none of that success is really your fault at all, and you have no right to feel proud about it. You might as well feel proud of the colour of your eyes.
Even in the TV show “Australia’s Got Talent”, if you listen closely you’ll find that the finalists are not there because of their so-called talent. No, the judges are giving them praise because of their bravery and hard work and in fact they deal out criticism for simply riding on raw talent. In short, perhaps a more accurate title for the show would be “Australia’s Got Dedication.”
So start giving yourself some credit and stop beating yourself up for not being “naturally good at” maths! You’ve got something you can legitimately feel proud of — you’ve got dedication!