The world has been full of talented people. There is talent in everyone, but the simple fact is that most people never realize their talents, and those talents go to waste. These are people who knew what their talents were, but for one reason or another, their talents were wasted or their lives cut short before fully utilizing their potential.
1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – He is perhaps the most brilliant human to have ever lived. He played the piano at age one, composed music at age five and wrote full symphonies at age seven. His premature death at age 35 deprived the world of countless more symphonies. Although he wasn’t as appreciated during his life as he was after his death, no one doubted that he was talented.
2. James Dean – Considered by some to be the best actor of his generation, but because of his untimely death at 22, he never fulfilled his potential. He starred in three films – Giant, East Of Eden and Rebel Without A Cause – with only East Of Eden being released during his life.
3. Mike Tyson – Being the youngest world heavyweight boxing champion ever, many believed Tyson was bound for great things. But his anger and personality clashed (maybe combined) to created many problems. A troubled marriage and a rape conviction halted Tyson’s rise to boxing greatness. Although many say his performances in the ring were tainted by the fact that he faced inferior opponents, the fact that he had so many hiatuses from the ring really hurt any real or accurate evaluation of his true skill. But that is Tyson’s fault. He not only deprived us of great fights, but he deprived himself of possible greatness.
4. Albert Einstein – Try me on this one. As the most popular scientist to have ever lived, this man might have achieved more and discovered more had he not had to fear for his life during the onset of World War II. As a Jew, he had to worry about being captured by the Nazis and being sent to concentration camps like the millions of other Jews in Europe at the time. Seeking refuge, Einstein fled to the United States along with a few other Jewish scientists, and were sought by the U.S. government to create the atomic bomb. Although the bomb itself helped usher in a new age of technological discovery, Einstein himself regretted his involvement in the Manhattan Project. Had Einstein not had to redirect his life toward these endeavors, he might have discovered fusion (I think) or some other great discovery. Who knows?
5. Anna Kournikova – This lovable loser has never won a Grand Slam singles title – or a singles title in general – despite the overwhelming popularity she received from both the media and the fans. Although no one mentions the fact that Anna has two Grand Slam doubles titles with former No. 1 Martina Hingis, Anna was still a great doubles player. To her credit, Anna still plays tennis, and she does constant charity events. Could she have won a title if she didn’t have all of the media attention and dozens of cameras flashing at her? I sure like to think so.
Honorable mention: Jennifer Capriati, Ted Williams, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Bobby Fischer, River Phoenix, Dwight “Doc” Gooden, anyone lost in war…