Bob finds himself among the candidates for his dream occupation. This is something he's wanted his entire life and dreams of becoming the best. Once he starts training at said job, it becomes quickly apparent that Bob... has zero talent for the job.

Still [[{{Determinator}} he keeps working at it]] (possibly undergoing TrainingFromHell)... and [[CantCatchUp it doesn't help]]. (After all, HardWorkHardlyWorks.) And what's more, there will be no AppliedPhlebotinum or MagicFeather to smooth the way toward Bob's goals. He can't do it and that's that. Not to say that Bob is completely worthless. He may have plenty of viable talents; just not the talent for what he desires to be.

Often, this character will find other ways to chase his dreams, and may even find happiness there (a bad pilot may get shunted to the flight crew or MissionControl), but he never really stops [[TragicDream wishing for that which he can't gain]].

Contrast with FakeUltimateHero, where the image is there, but the skills are not. A HeroicWannabe is likely to be this trope as well. Is the inverse of TheAce. Contrast the DeafComposer, who definitely ''does'' have talent. Compare and contrast IJustWantToBeSpecial, where the character desires to be something without necessarily being passionate about it.

Compare with DreamCrushingHandicap, where their lack of ability is due to a handicap, and the MinionWithAnFInEvil (if said minion actually wants to be a bad guy). Also compare the MuggleBornOfMages, who lacks the [[StockSuperpowers "talents"]] to follow in their superpowered parent's footsteps. The GiftedlyBad is oblivious to their lack of aptitude. Very much plays into HardWorkHardlyWorks. A subtrope of the TragicDream. Can lead to becoming TheResenter. Sometimes overlaps with Type Two of TheAmericanDream, or with JapaneseSpirit, depending on the work.


[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* In ''Anime/RuneSoldierLouie'', the eponymous character a mage in training, who longs for adventure. The problem is, he sucks at spellcasting because [[BookDumb he doesn't keep up with his studies]]; preferring to solve his problems [[GoodOldFisticuffs with his fists]] instead. Except he's not very good at that either, since he hasn't had any formal training and usually [[LeeroyJenkins just rushes in without thinking.]] Which is what creates the friction between him and [[StopHavingFunGuys Jeanie.]]
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'':
** Saten Ruiko, like many others in Academy City, came to the city with the hopes of becoming an [[PsychicPowers esper]] through the city's power development programme. However, [[HardWorkHardlyWorks even after years of hard work]] she remains a Level 0 (an esper with [[RealityWarper reality warping]] capabilities too insignificant to be of note), and she feels that she is TheLoad, unable to assist her friends in any significant way. Along with many other Level 0's, [[IJustWantToBeSpecial her desire to become an esper]] and to be useful to her friends is what drives her to use the "[[MugglePower Level Upper]]".
---> '''Saten''': ''“I was so tired of not having any power. And finally it didn’t matter anymore what lengths I had to go to to get it.”''
** Skill Out are gangs of [[JapaneseDelinquent delinquent]] Level 0's who were never able to develop [[PsychicPowers esper abilities]] and therefore became [[TheResenter Resenters]] to those who were able to do so. They regularly attack other espers, whom they feel are oppressing them, though espers whom are innocent and even other Level 0s regularly fall target as well.
** Index mentions that [[FunctionalMagic magic]] was developed in the distant past by those who wanted to defy this trope and [[IJustWantToBeSpecial have powers like those whom naturally had them]], such as Gemstones (espers who've had their abilities from birth) and Saints (those naturally closer in nature to God).
* Louise [[OverlyLongName Francoise Le Blanc de La Valiere]] "[[MaliciousMisnaming the Zero]]" and everyone else initially thought she was this. Louise desperately desires to become a powerful mage worthy of [[TheMagocracy the noble Valliere family]] and [[TheAce her mother]], but every spell she casts blows up in her face, and she was only saved from expulsion when she summons an OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent as her familiar. Eventually subverted when [[spoiler: she is revealed to be a user of a powerful and lost type of magic]], and her success rate with some of the more mundane spells goes up later on.
* Kawachi's father in ''Manga/YakitateJapan'', who kept trying to become a baker at Pantasia until his death. This is revealed to be the driving force behind Kawachi's own determination.
* The ''[[Franchise/{{Nasuverse}} Nasuverse]]'':
** Waver Velvet in ''LightNovel/FateZero'' wants to be a great magus, but lacks the [[SuperpowerfulGenetics necessary heredity]]. You see, magical ability apart from a few freaks [[OurMagesAreDifferent tends to be something gained over the generations]] and Waver is a nobody. He enters the Grail War as a sort of revenge against a teacher that snubbed his work and mocked him in front of a class. Unfortunately, his paper stating hard work can make up for talent is both obvious and gibberish: Hard work will make you better at something, but with no aptitude from the start hard work can only get you so far, and it certainly won't grow you magical body parts that you weren't born with. However, it turns out that while he's rather bad at magic himself, he's quite good at educating others and helping them maximize their own potential. Which is something he has no interest in, even though it gives him a solid career and good social standing.
** [[JerkAss Shinji Matou]] is the latest heir from a long line of mages, but the Matou family magic capacity has been [[GenerationalMagicDecline declining with each generation]] until we reach Shinji, who [[MuggleBornOfMages wasn't born with any magic circuits, and therefore magical ability, at all]]. His wish upon the Holy Grail is to become a capable magus with magic circuits, and his [[TheResenter resentment]] of his [[spoiler: magically potent stepsister [[StepfordSmiler Sakura]] for being [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor selected heir]] of the [[BodyHorror Matou magecraft]] fuels his horrifically abusive treatment of her]].
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', Chopper's first mentor, Dr. Hiriluk was a well-intentioned doctor who genuinely wished to make others better, but was also a quack with no real medical knowledge who made cures that left his patients in even worse shape. After a mistake by Chopper hastened Hiriluk's death, Dr. Kureha told Chopper in no uncertain terms that he needs training, not just passion, and took him under her wing as an apprentice. As a result, Chopper inherited the best of his mentors- Dr. Hiriluk's passion and Dr. Kureha's skill.
* Melvin from the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' episode "The March of the Exeggutor Squad". He wanted to create a stage show big enough to make it to Las Vegas ("Broadway" in the original[[note]]Which is an even more impossible dream, 99% of Broadway shows are stage plays and musicals[[/note]]). But his show turned out to be boring with a capital "B." He also appeared to be rather dim (it never occurs to him to use his Exeggcute's hypnotic powers as the basis of a show in itself). At episode's end, it looks like he's simply going to try his show again, rather than try something new.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* In ''ComicBook/UntoldTalesOfSpiderMan,'' Peter Parker had to deal with an unwanted fangirl in the form of Sally Avril, who was inspired by Spider-Man to try and become a costumed heroine herself. Unfortunately, she simply didn't have the talent for it, and eventually got herself killed when she insisted on continuing despite Spidey's repeated attempts to talk her out of doing it.
* The original Jester, an archenemy of Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} dreamed of being a major Shakespearean actor, and trained himself in everything from acrobatics to boxing to swordplay to try and improve his chances. Unfortunately, he forgot to get the one kind of training he actually needed-namely, ''acting lessons''. He was such a bad actor that the only work he could get was as the the pie in the face guy for a two-bit comedian, and eventually he became so embittered he decided to take the skills he was actually good at and became a costumed criminal.
* In ''Comicbook/{{Asterix}} and the Normans'', Cacofonix, who is a good instrumentalist but a [[DreadfulMusician unspeakably awful singer]], is told off-the-cuff that his music is really good and he might do better in the city. Cacofonix becomes obsessed with this idea, and convinced that he will be a huge pop star there. He steals a horse and tries to ride there, singing for food. When he becomes needed as a HumanWeapon against HornyVikings, Obelix manages to locate him again, solely by following the trail of destruction caused by the pain and outrage of people exposed to his music. In particular, in one inn his voice caused a brawl so terrible the building was torn to pieces.


[[folder: Films -- Animated ]]

* In ''WesternAnimation/MonstersUniversity'', Mike Wazowski's dream is to become a scarer and despite being very well-read on the subject is stated to lack natural talent (IE, children find him adorable and funny rather than scary). Ultimately, his failure to achieve his dreams is a ForegoneConclusion considering his fate in ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'', but he still finds success in the scaring field with Sulley [[spoiler:and things get better for him after the events of ''Monsters Inc.'' marks the shift from scare power to laugh power]].
* Linguini of ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}'' wants to be a great chef, even more so when he discovers [[spoiler:he's Auguste Gusteau's son]]. Unfortunately for him, he's a total LethalChef. While discovering he's a bad chef (especially without Remy), he turns out to be an ace maître d'.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Robots}}'': Rodney's father has a lifelong dream to play trumpet in a band. In the end he gets to live out his dream, and... he sucks. Well he ''did'' say he was a little rusty. He's been out of practice for at least twenty years.


[[folder: Films -- Live-Action ]]

* Creator/EdWood--his [[Film/EdWood big-screen]] and RealLife versions--wanted to be a great movie director whose films would be remembered long after his death. [[SoBadItsGood Two out of three ain't bad, we suppose.]]
** ''Film/{{Birdemic}}'' director James Nguyen is one angora sweater away from following in Wood's exact footsteps.
* In ''Film/CitizenKane'', Susan Alexander, second wife of Charles Foster Kane, gets put out on a huge opera debut by her husband. While her voice may be pleasant for something singing in the shower, she is not cut out for opera in any way. Her vocal teacher loudly proclaims she is unteachable and more or less [[FacePalm facepalms]] every time she sings. [[SmallNameBigEgo Kane]] won't listen to Susan, the instructor, or every newspaper critic in America and insists she keeps going on stage.\\
Creator/OrsonWelles later regretted this part of the film, as people assumed she was based on screen actress and William Randolph Hearst's paramour Marion Davies, who Welles (and many others) felt was actually a fairly talented actress and a nice person. Marion Davies was well-suited to romantic comedies-- unfortunately, Hearst saw her as the second coming of Mary Pickford and kept putting her in lavish, sentimental dramas that didn't take advantage of her talents.
* In ''Film/TheDisasterArtist'', Creator/TommyWiseau is portrayed as this.

[[folder: Literature ]]

* The TropeCodifier is Rincewind of the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' series. Rincewind does have many actual skills (he's something of an {{Omniglot}}, for starters; he can scream for mercy in nineteen languages, and just scream in another forty-four) and he seems to be a reasonably competent librarian (a job one would think would be ideal for someone as [[DirtyCoward risk-adverse]] as Rincewind), but he dreams of being a real wizard. Unfortunately for him, he is [[ThisLoserIsYou "a natural wizard in the same way fish are natural mountaineers."]] He does have most of the traits of a wizard, including ones that are, well, magical (like seeing the Eighth Colour). The only ones he doesn't seem to have are the ability to ''do'' magic, and knowledge of when he is to die (and even ''Death'' doesn't know when Rincewind is to die, so that might not be a failure on his wizardiness per se). Usually wizards (and witches) learn when they're going to die a week or so in advance (barring accidents). But Rincewind ''assumes'' he's going to die on a daily basis, so the actual ''knowledge'' probably wouldn't register as anything different. Given that the main occupation of Discworld wizards is not doing magic, it could be argued that he's got too much talent.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' has ButtMonkey Neville Longbottom. When it comes to actually casting spells he's just not very good. However, the skilled-in-other-areas aspect applies to Neville as well, as he's a herbology prodigy and a major {{Determinator}}. In the end, most of his victories turn out to be [[PillarsOfMoralCharacter moral]] or [[CombatPragmatist physical]], making him one of the few people to bring fists to a magic fight and still win.
* Angel in the Literature/CharlieParkerSeries, a thief with enormous technical skills, but lacking the attention to detail to be a good thief. One particularly memorable flashback shows him walking into a room full of valuable - and portable - works of art, and attempting to steal the television. However, his lockpicking skills make him useful to the NYPD, which winds up saving his life and earning him a lifelong friend.
* Phil Baldwin in ''Son of Interflux'' by Creator/GordonKorman. He has "potential" for everything, but that potential never amounts to much.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Cookie from ''Series/NedsDeclassifiedSchoolSurvivalGuide'' really wants to be on the cheer squad. It... doesn't work out, to say the least.
* Joxer of ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'' wanted two things: To be a great heroic warrior, and Gabrielle's heart. [[ButtMonkey He never got either.]]
* ''Series/RedDwarf'': Arnold Judas Rimmer is desperate to become an Officer in the Space Corps, and yet failed his Astronavigation exam thirteen times. All in an attempt to [[WellDoneSonGuy win his mother's approval]]. The novel describes it best:
-->If Rimmer hadn't been such a dedicated anal retentive, he would have realised something. He wasn't cut out to be an officer. Wasn't cut ''out'' for it. He'd realise he wasn't the slightest bit interested in Astronavigation, or Quantum Mechanics, or any of the things you had to be interested in to be an officer.
** The novel then reveals that Rimmer's true talent lies in art and cartography.
** Later on, he also aspires to be a great general or leader, crippled in this desire by being a DirtyCoward of an [[ArmchairMilitary Armchair General]].
* In ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'', Doug is an incredibly incompetent doctor, but ends up causing so many deaths he is able to start a new career as a pathologist in the morgue identifying the cause of death of corpses that have other pathologists stumped... mostly by having inadvertently replicated said death somehow at some point in his medical career.
* ''Series/LizzieMcGuire'' has Miranda dreaming of becoming an actress. Unfortunately she's terrible and completely ruins the school play she's in. She later discovers a talent for singing instead.
* ''{{Series/Friends}}'' has an episode where Monica's boyfriend Pete decides he wants to compete in the UFC - specifically to become ''champion''. He's in a full body cast by the end of the episode.
* ''Film/BatesMotel1987'' has Alex West, a longtime friend of the now-deceased Norman Bates, inherit the titular motel on the condition that he restore it to being a working motel. Unfortunately, no matter how much he may want to genuinely honor Norman's wishes, Alex has absolutely no clue on how to run a motel, and only some BondVillainStupidity on the part of the MorallyBankruptBanker he took out a loan from stops him from being foreclosed on after ''one night''.

[[folder: Music ]]

* The song ''Hollywood'' is about a talentless would-be actress who dreams of being a Hollywood superstar.


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has a few examples:
** The [[PrestigiousPlayerTitle planeswalker]] Chandra Nalaar is the daughter of two renowned artificers on her home plane of [[SteamPunk Kaladesh]]. Chandra didn't have the patience for it. She eventually finds her talent in [[PlayingWithFire pyromancy]].
** The planeswalker Tibalt hails from the plane of [[GothicHorror Innistrad]], where he wanted to become a skabaren, a MadScientist specializing in [[FrankensteinsMonster stitching together zombies out of body parts]]. His failure in this field caused him to shift his focus to the pain of living beings.


[[folder: Theatre ]]

* [[TheDitz Kitty]] from ''Theatre/TheDrowsyChaperone'' desperately wants to be a glamorous showgirl, but completely lacks the talent to do so.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Detective Dick Gumshoe from the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series is all heart and no deductive skills. That being said, he's not all that bad at fighting and has a wasted talent at engineering.


[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* Brisbane Adams in ''Webcomic/YouSayItFirst's'' predecessor comic, ''Unlike Minerva''. Brisbane wanted all his life to be a part of a real-life Vaudeville theater. And he didn't let things like not being able to sing, dance, act, tell jokes or do magic tricks stop him.
* Christian Weston Chandler's great dream in life is to be a famous comic book artist who writes and draws his own property for a major publisher like Franchise/ArchieComics, Creator/DarkHorseComics, or what have you. Unfortunately, his magnum opus is ''Webcomic/{{Sonichu}}''.
* Cherry in WebComic/CherrysCure believes this about herself, and so do most other people.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'''s version of Basil Karlo could have been a world-famous actor...except for the fact that he didn't have the slightest bit of talent. The only work he could get was in cheesy low-rent horror movies, and he turned out to be far more effective at {{supervillain}}y as [[VoluntaryShapeshifting Clayface]] than he ever was as a legitimate actor.
* In ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'', one of Dale Gribble's dreams is to learn basket weaving and has the opportunity to on a "vocation vacation". He's absolutely horrible at it, which causes him a lot of angst. Things get worse when Hank's handiness and attention to detail put him top of the class, driving Dale into a [[GreenEyedMonster jealous rage.]]
* Squidward in ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' fashions himself as great artist and musician. But his art is unremarkable and are merely images of himself ([[StrawLoser which is not much]]). And his music is dreadful and sounds like a dying animal.
* The Pulverizer in ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012'' wants to be a ninja like the turtles, but he is terrible at it, and can't make a simple move right. He decides to let himself get doused in mutagen hoping to be mutant like the turtles; instead he becomes a shapeless blob monster.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Lisa meets a boy named Lucas who is determined to be a competitive eater. He puts a lot of thought on his persona, but can't master the part of actually eating food quickly.