1. A common trait that people have is that they are prepared to
    invest a great deal of time and effort in a task only if they know
    that they will make a success of it. Unfortunately, such an
    attitude is a serious drawback for someone who wants to learn
    Torah. There are young students who do not think they are
    capable of becoming great Torah scholars. Some think they are
    not clever enough, others admit that they do have intelligence in
    other fields but claim that Gemara is too difficult for them to
    master. Still others feel that they will not be able to sit and learn
    diligently for any length of time. Most likely of all to fall into the
    trap of despair are those who think they have neither
    intellectual ability nor the innate nature conducive to sitting
    and learning.
  2. Know that this is a fallacy – for a variety of reasons.
    Numerous examples from personal experience have proven that
    this is not the case. Quite a number of famous Rabbis appeared
    to be limited by intellectual or behavioral handicaps in their
    youth. Yet they successfully overcame those limitations to
    become accomplished Torah scholars: Many had large followings
    of students and others published works of Torah which are still
    used today wherever people learn Torah.
  3. There are several ways to explain why it is possible to learn
    Torah successfully in spite of natural disadvantages. The Chazon
    Ish (based on the writings of the Arizal) elaborates on the
    subject: The reason that a person does not want, or is not able,
    to perform a particular element of Hashem’s service often
    derives from the fact that the root-source of his spiritual
    personality identifies more directly with certain facets of
    Hashem’s will and not with others.
    Nonetheless a person is still obliged to at least make an
    effort to serve Hashem in those areas as well. The result of his
    efforts will be that Hashem will reward him by adding extra
    elements to his spiritual make-up; the ones which he was lacking
    until then. He will then discover that he does have the
    inclination and the abilities to perform those tasks which
    beforehand did not appeal to him.
  4. There are other reasons too why a person can experience a
    radical spiritual change. It is axiomatic that Hashem can do
    everything; the term impossible does not exist for Him. When
    Hashem sees a man sincerely straining himself to do what He
    wants him to, He will take pity on him and give him all the tools
    he needs to perform His will in an exemplary manner.
  5. There is another suggestion in the Gemara ( ‫ב‬ ” ‫ע‬ ‫ט‬ ” ‫צ‬ ‫סנהדרין‬
    and Rashi ad loc) which helps explain the phenomenon of
    people who achieve far more that their apparent potential: Our
    Sages say that when a person exerts himself for Torah, the
    spiritual lights of the Torah go and beseech Hashem to help him
    to be successful in his learning.
  6. It is known that the Chazon Ish said that every bachur who is
    wholly committed to Torah has the potential to become one of
    the Torah leaders of the generation. There are no other
    conditions attached to becoming great in Torah learning. The
    only requirement is the basic one; to be constantly busy learning
    Torah and striving to be a true servant of Hashem. It is a
    condition that every individual can aspire for. It is dependent on
    no-one but himself, and no-one is able to prevent him fulfilling
  7. We have just explained that every student can be successful
    learning Torah and become a Torah scholar. At the same time,
    we do not want to detract from the merits of natural
    intelligence. For the truth is that someone who has been blessed
    with superior intelligence should know and appreciate that it is
    a gift from Hashem and was given to him to use in full for
    learning Torah.
    The Chofetz Chaim wrote that people who are born with an
    abundance of natural intelligence can go very far indeed and
    reach awe-inspiring heights if they exert themselves. The
    converse is also true; if ‫ו‬ ʺ ‫ח‬ they do not use their intelligence, or
    use it for other purposes, they will be very sorry indeed when
    their lives are over and they come to the next world. There they
    will realize the magnitude of what they could have accomplished
    in their lifetimes, including things which others of their
    generation could never have done. In the world-to-come they
    will understand that they were granted a very precious gift for a
    specific purpose, and will be filled with bitter remorse when
    they see the futility of the worldly vanities on which they wasted
    it instead. (Quoted from the Chofetz Chaim.)
  8. Therefore, someone who is naturally inclined to diligent
    study should make use of that characteristic for learning Torah,
    and his accomplishments will be truly impressive – and how
    much more impressive will they be if he has been blessed with a
    quick mind as well as being studiously inclined.
    Even in the later generations we know of famous Torah
    personalities who were not particularly gifted intellectually, nor
    were they all naturally studious, yet they persevered and the
    result was that they became very great Torah scholars.