Blaise Pascal was a French philosopher.
‘Pascal’s Wager’ summarises his position on religion.
Basically he takes the purely rationalist view.
The smart bet is to believe in God.
His reasoning is as follows.
If you are an atheist, you obviously don’t believe in God.
This can have two possible outcomes.
One: you are right, God doesn’t exist, and we all spend infinity in oblivion.
Two: you are wrong, God does exist, and (as a non-believer) you spend infinity in hell.
But suppose you are a believer.
This also has two possible outcomes.
One: you are wrong, God doesn’t exist, and we all spend infinity in oblivion.
Two: you are right, God does exist, and (as a believer) you spend infinity in Heaven.
So Pascal’s conclusion was that, if God doesn’t exist it doesn’t make any difference anyway.
Everyone spends infinity in oblivion.
But, in case God does exist, the smart bet is to believe.
The atheist can only lose, either way.
But the believer at least has a 50% chance of winning.
So by believing, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
It’s very similar with energy and talent.
If you choose to depend on talent over energy, there are two possible outcomes.
One: if you are right and you actually are talented, your complacency and laziness could prevent you being successful.
Two: if you’re wrong and you’re not actually talented, you don’t even have hard work to fall back on.
You are guaranteed to fail.
But, if you choose to depend on energy rather than talent, there are two very different outcomes.
One: if you are right and you aren’t actually talented, hard work will certainly make you more successful than you would have been otherwise.
Two: if you are wrong and you are talented, but act as if you aren’t, hard work will make you doubly successful.
So the smart bet is to believe that you aren’t talented, and to act as if you have to rely on hard work.
You win at least one way, and possibly two.
Which is why energy beats talent.