Natural Gift vs. Effort: A Lesson from Joao’s Story: “Joao, o Maestro” (Mauro Lima) (a movie based on a true story of Joao Carlos Martins)

I wrote this article in Japanese and translated it into English using ChatGPT. I also used ChatGPT to create the English article title. I did my best to correct any translation mistakes, but please let me know if you find any errors. By the way, I did not use ChatGPT when writing the Japanese article. The entire article was written from scratch by me, Saikawa Goto.



Movies and books covered in this article


I will write an article about this movie/book

What I want to convey in this article

We surely can’t fight in that field when we end up thinking, “I’m trying.”

Saikawa Goto

In the end, we cannot beat those who do not recognize effort as effort.

Three takeaways from this article

  1. There’s no use in envying the “natural gift” and we can’t fight with only the “natural gift.
  2. We have to find an area that we can keep doing without feeling like it’s an effort.
  3. Even if we feel like our path is blocked, if we develop a “talent being able to strive,” we can keep moving forward.
Saikawa Goto

From a story about a person who believed that “being able to play the piano was enough” suffered paralysis in his fingers, we can contemplate “what is effort?”

Self-introduction article


Please refer to the self-introduction article above to learn about the person writing this article. Be sure to check out the Kindle book linked below as well.

Published Kindle books(Free on Kindle Unlimited)

“The genius Einstein: An easy-to-understand book about interesting science advances that is not too simple based on his life and discoveries: Theory of Relativity, Cosmology and Quantum Theory”

“Why is “lack of imagination” called “communication skills”?: Japanese-specific”negative” communication”

The quotes used in this article are based on notes taken at the movie theater from movies in Japanese and are not direct quotes from the foreign language original movies, even if they exist.

Only Those Who do Not Consider Effort as Effort Can Achieve Something

“Talent Being Able to Strive” is More Important Than “Natural Gift”

Sometimes I can’t help but admire those who seem to have a “natural gift.” No matter what their field, those who are considered top-notch always seem like some kind of extraordinary beings who were born with something that the rest of us don’t have. As a result, we may make excuses for ourselves, saying that we don’t have any innate talent, and give up on various things.

But is that really true? Can top performers stay on top just because of their “natural gift”?

I haven’t had the opportunity to interact with top runners in society, so this is just my imagination, but I don’t think it’s just about natural talent.

Of course, external factors such as having money at home or a free educational environment are often involved in addition to innate talent. There are likely to be many other factors involved as well, but I believe that “talent being able to strive” is the most important.


People often say, “Nobody beat a genius who makes an effort.”

Saikawa Goto

I think that saying emphasizes effort more than natural talent.

Whether it’s historical figures, athletes, or entertainers, many people probably have relied too much on natural talent and failed to achieve great success because they didn’t put in the effort. Even if they can reach the top momentarily due to their natural talent, they will soon be overtaken if they don’t make an effort.

Having a “natural gift” can be seen as lucky in the sense that the starting line is closer to the finish line, but if we stay still on that starting line, we will eventually be passed by those who keep moving forward.

In today’s world, where trends and topics cycle through so quickly, even those who were in the spotlight just a year ago can quickly be forgotten. While the proliferation of social media has lowered the hurdle for getting that initial chance, it has also led to an enormous number of people lining up at the starting line, making it an era where “luck” and “natural gift” alone cannot ensure survival.


Even people who seem to be doing well can be forced to leave in an instant if they have a scandal or blowing up.

Saikawa Goto

Yeah, that’s definitely true, but it’s not really related to our discussion this time, is it?

In such a world, I feel that those who ultimately survive are those who have an “talent being able to strive.”

People with “Talent Being Able to Strive” Don’t Think of Their Efforts as Efforts

First, let me write about myself. I don’t have a “natural gift,” but I consider myself to have a “talent being able to strive.”

At this “Lushiluna” site, I post my thoughts on books and movies every day, and I’ve been doing like this for about 15 years now. Since that time, I’ve imposed a rule on myself that I must write my thoughts after finishing a book or watching a movie. Rather than saying “imposed,” I thought of it as part of my “reading” or “movie-watching” experience.

The length of my writing varies depending on the occasion, but every time I read a book or watch a movie, I write an article of about the same length as the ones I post on this blog. When I tell someone about this, they often say, “Wow, I’m surprised you’ve been able to keep doing that.” However, I’m not forcing myself to do it. While there are certainly times when I have to push myself a bit, I never feel like “This is hard, I want to stop, but I have to keep going.”

To the average person, writing that amount of text every day must be crazy, and some may feel that it is “impossible even if I tried with an effort.” But from my point of view, I feel more like, “If I thought it was an effort, I wouldn’t be able to keep doing this.” It’s precisely because I don’t think of it as an “effort” that I’ve been able to keep it up for almost 15 years.


Were there about two years where you didn’t update your blog, right?

Saikawa Goto

Yes, that’s right. During that time, I was conducting experiments on “how many qualifications can I get in a year?” and “how much can I raise my TOEIC score without studying for TOEIC?”

Or when I think about “effort,” YouTubers often come to mind. I hardly ever watch Youtube (only occasionally when listening to music), and I don’t really know much about YouTubers. To be honest, I even find the job of “YouTuber” a little hard to accept (I won’t write the reasons here as they are off-topic).

However, I beliece that YouTubers who continue to be at the top must be people who are like a “mass of effort.” I don’t know him well since I’ve never watched his videos, but I’ve heard that famous HIKAKIN shoots and edits videos without sleeping. Other top YouTubers must be the same.

And I also feel like they don’t think “I’m making an effort.” Otherwise, there’s no way they could continue such an abnormal behavior as posting videos every day.

And I feel that in the future, it will become increasingly important to fight in the area of “doing what you love (without feeling it’s effort)” in order to survive. Therefore, if what you’re currently doing feels like “effort,” I think it’s better to give up on that area and approach it as something you do to earn money.

How does a Brilliant Pianist Who Can No Longer Move Their Fingers Live?

Now, I’ll finally talk about something related to the movie’s content. In this movie, the story is about a genius who has been called a prodigy since childhood and believes that as long as he can play the piano, nothing else matters. However, his fingers stop moving, which is like taking away his life for a pianist. The story depicts the decisions that such pianist makes after his fingers are taken away.

By the way, this movie is based on a true story. There is a real person who serves as a model for the movie, and the movie tells his life story.


It’s surprising to hear that this is a true story, right.

Saikawa Goto

If one knows the person who serves as the model, they might have already known the ending of the movie, but it was a shock to me. (I won’t touch on the ending in this article.)

He, too, was probably a person who didn’t feel playing the piano was an “effort” since childhood. He kept playing and playing and playing, and as a result, he achieved unbelievable evaluations at a young age.

In new fields such as YouTubers, there may be parts where they can win with “first-mover advantages.” With some “luck” and “decisions,” it would be possible to reach heights that are normally impossible if it is in a new field that has just started. However, the piano is a classical field with a long and continuous history. To gain overwhelming evaluations at a young age in that field, youhe would naturally need a “natural gift,” but also “effort bordering on madness” is essential.

And that “talent being able to strive” will end up saving his life after his fingers stop moving.

“No, I have to accept it. I can never play music again.”
“The doctor didn’t say that.”
“Then what did he say?”
“He said you can never play the piano again.”

From this exchange with his wife, the protagonist finds a glimmer of hope. And by putting in unbelievable amounts of effort, he ends up reaching a point that was previously thought impossible.

If he had relied only on his “natural gift,” he would not have been able to achieve great success as a pianist. Moreover, he would have spent the rest of his life in despair after his fingers stopped moving. However, he had an “talent being able to strive,” which enabled him to move forward even when he was on the brink of despair.

Instead of lamenting the absence of a “natural gift,” it is better to look for your own “talent being able to strive.” Perhaps you have not yet found a field in which you can continue to make efforts. That is why it is important not to have preconceptions and to challenge new things if there is an opportunity.

Saikawa Goto

And I believe it’s important for parents not to stop their children’s passion.


If one’s child is passionate about something, whether it be games, manga, or YouTube, I think it’s important not to stop them as long as they are not just killing time, but truly enthusiastic about it.

Content Introduction

João, who lives in Brazil, has been displaying exceptional talent in playing the piano since he was young. The first teacher he learned from, after teaching him a little, said, “This boy will soon be better than me,” and immediately referred him to another teacher. Although his father’s job made it difficult to afford lessons, João’s genius and hard work paid off. At the young age of 20, he made his debut performance at Carnegie Hall, known as the hall of classical music, which was an incredible start. He became known worldwide as “the greatest Bach performer of the 20th century.”

However, one day he injured his arm due to a minor mistake, and as a result, he was left with paralysis in three fingers of his right hand. He continued to play with a specialized cast on his fingers, bleeding on the keyboard, but he was no longer able to play as he once did. Eventually, he gave up playing the piano…


This movie portrays the life of a genius named João from his childhood to his last days. That’s why the film is structured in such a way that it skips the way, such as when they get married, but I think it was good that the movie was structured to develop quickly while using classical music as a motif.

João was definitely a person who believed that “as long as I could play the piano, that was enough” and he was not attached to money or fame, but the only thing he strongly interested in other than the piano was women. He frequently caused problems related to women. He was shot with a gun (fortunately not hit), almost late for a concert, and even hit on the head. Due to his involvement with women, major troubles frequently occurred.

While the overall theme of the movie tends to be heavy, I felt that the scenes of João’s woman troubles were depicted quite comically, so the movie was well balanced.


He always had many women around him, didn’t he?

Saikawa Goto

He must have been good with women, but his married life didn’t go well, it seems.

As I watched the movie, I began to wonder who was playing the piano music used in the film.

It’s not something that usually comes to mind. If the model of the character is alive, they could play it, and if not, they could find someone who can play it.

However, the pieces that João plays are not of an easy level of difficulty.

There was a situation where a pianist canceled a concert, and João was chosen to replace him. The reason for the cancellation was that the sheet music was too difficult. The original pianist declined, saying it was impossible to finish in just four weeks before the concert, but João accepted the challenge with only three weeks left and succeeded.

Other, there was also a scene where it was announced that João would take on a piece that many famous performers had attempted and failed. In other words, the piece João is playing is “so difficult that normal performers can’t handle it.”

Can a substitute who can play such a piece be found?

This was resolved by watching the film all the way through. It seems that all of the piano sounds were something recorded from João’s actual performances. I see.

Saikawa Goto

Well, even for a complete beginner, it’s a pretty shocking songs, isn’t it?


Did the classical composer think that humans have 8 fingers? (haha)

However, there’s still a problem. It’s a fingering.

Normally, when an actor plays a pianist in a movie, they would shoot separate scenes of “face shots” and “hand shots” to make it look like they’re playing. The actor might learn only a small part of the actual fingering to enhance the feeling of playing.

But in this movie, there are three actors who play João as a child, a young man, and an adult, and in many scenes, all of them are shown playing the piano with their faces visible. They can’t just randomly press keys (that would be immediately pointed out by knowledgeable audience members), so it seems that the actors must have worked hard to memorize the “extremely difficult piano fingering” (or maybe there was some computer-generated imagery involved?).

I don’t play the piano and I’m not into classical music, but considering the attention to detail in both the sound and the finger movements, I think this movie can be considered a high-level music film.


I believe I also have a “talent being able to strive,” but after watching this movie, I feel like I can’t work as hard as he does. It reminded me that there are people out there who are like monsters, breaking down the doors of impossibility through insane effort.

This movie is about believing that there is still something even when the path we believed we should take is closed.

Published Kindle books(Free on Kindle Unlimited)

“The genius Einstein: An easy-to-understand book about interesting science advances that is not too simple based on his life and discoveries: Theory of Relativity, Cosmology and Quantum Theory”

“Why is “lack of imagination” called “communication skills”?: Japanese-specific”negative” communication”

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