Skill is not the same as talent
It’s good news because talent is immutable. Talent might be wasted, but it’s impossible to acquire. Because talent is something we’re born with. It’s hardwired into us.
Skill, on the other hand, can be learned.
And learning requires time and effort, both of which are available to each of us.
Unfortunately, learning also requires that we dance with fear and with incompetence. Because we can feel fine today, but as we learn something, we realize something important. In the moment before we acquire a skill, in that brief moment which can last for years, we realize that we’re not good (yet).
Back to the good news.
Once we refine our vocabulary and realize that the leverage we want isn’t due to talent but skill, we can start to tell ourselves the truth.
If we cared enough, we could learn.
If we cared enough, we would practice.
And if we cared enough, we’d show up again and again until the skill was ours.
“Talent” is an insult to anyone who has ever developed a skill. It’s yours if you want it.
Riding a bicycle, giving a speech, helping a patient, juggling three balls, writing a poem, leading a team, finding a way forward — these are all skills, not talents.
Yours if you want them.
[This is the first in a series of posts about The Practice and our opportunity to do work that makes a difference. If you like, please use the comments to start a conversation about how you’re leaning into the work and choosing your skills. When have you cared enough to show up and learn something? For more about The Creative’s Workshop and other Akimbo communities, visit akimbo.com — now a B corp.]