Skill is not the same as talent

And that’s the good news.

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A simple word choice either puts us on the hook or gives us a place to hide

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).

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.

Written by

Founder of altMBA and Akimbo. Daily blogger, teacher, speaker, 20 bestsellers as well...

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