…when talent fails to work hard.
Rumor has it this was a slogan posted in the University of Arizona football team's locker room. (I cannot confirm the rumor is true, but I love the slogan whether it's true or not.)
Obviously, if both teams prepare & play their hardest, the team with the most talent should win. But that's not what happens; that's why they play the games. It's why a team of 'smaller' players from the middle of nowhere in Idaho (Boise State) is consistently ranked in the top 10, and why a small school in Indiana with an enrollment of less than 5,000 students (Butler University) has played in the National Championship game two years in a row. And we've all seen the clip of coach Jim Valvano running around the court like a crazy man after his little team from North Carolina State beat the Phi Slamma Jamma giants to become National Champions in 1983.
The story about the tortoise and the hare is a corollary to this slogan. If the hare doesn't get distracted, he wins, and by a large margin! But focus and hard work mean a lot, and it's why the tortoise has a chance.
It doesn't matter how much talent you have; if you're not working hard with laser-like focus, you're giving your opponent the advantage.