talent and skills are talent and skills… no matter how you acquire them.

Natural Talent vs. Learned Talent… is Still Talent

Sundays are house cleaning days for me. You will usually find me with the music turned up to an ear-blasting volume while I’m dancing around with the vacuum cleaner or a broom as I go through the house. I love to dance and I dance extremely well but just between you and me, I have a secret to share. I’m not a natural dancer. By that I mean, I’m not the type of person who can watch a video clip of a couple doing the Kizomba for a few minutes and then get on the dance floor and replicate their moves with expert skill.

I’m the type of dancer that needs an instructor to take time with me and slowly break all the moves down to me. Then I have to spend hours, weeks, months practicing what I have been taught over and over again. At some point, the moves morph into being a part of me, my rhythm and my body and I become pretty impressive to watch on the dance floor. Dancing for me is a learned talent and not a natural talent.

I’m comforted by the fact that: talent and skills are talent and skills… no matter how you acquire them.

Many of us have aspirations, dreams and goals and sometimes we get dismayed because our first few attempts fail miserably. It could be something as simple as cooking your first family meal for the holidays and we end up burning the roast. Maybe we are put in charge of a major project at work and end up wasting the company’s budget while producing minimal results.

It’s in those moments of failure that we sometimes just want to throw in the towel and call it quits. In our frustration, we don’t want to commit to the time and effort that it will take to perfect the mechanics of the craft.

A great example of the work ethic needed to master a skill set is the late Kobe Bryant when he missed a three point shot in the final minutes of the game against the Miami Heat causing his team a loss. After the game, Kobe spent over 75 minutes by himself on the court practicing. Over and over again, he was handed the ball and worked on his free throws and three-pointers. Kobe was committed to himself and the game.

I know plenty of people who can pick up new dance moves within ten minutes and I’m sure Kobe knew other players who could hit three pointers and free throws with their eyes closed. Kobe and I just understood that what is exceptional inside of us might need to be nurtured and groomed.

So how do you push past the frustration of failing while you are learning?

  • Watch the way you talk to yourself while learning a new skill. Ditch the “I’m never gonna get this” and “something must be wrong with me” kind of self talk.
  • Stay around people who motivate you while you are learning. From your instructor to your inner circle, make sure others encourage you in your journey.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away from it for a moment and come back. If you find yourself doubting that you will ever master the new skill and you are starting to get frustrated, put it away for a few days and come back to it with a fresh sense of ambition.
  • Pat yourself on the back for the small achievements. If one cupcake that you bake turns out perfect while all the others all burn, celebrate the one cupcake and get back in the kitchen and keep trying.

I don’t care how you get it, talent is still talent whether you come but it naturally or have to learn it. Just keep at it until you master it!


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