It took me years to develop the skill of making the perfect omelette; I was not born with a talent for it. In fact, for years I couldn’t manage to fold my omelettes properly; neither could I manage to cook the contents all the way through without burning the bottom. (Personally, the smell of burned eggs ranks right up there on my list of “Detested Smells.”) But somehow, over 40 years of trial and error, I have managed to develop the omelette-making skill.
I was thinking about this as I made omelettes for my kids this morning. It got me wondering whether my beloved Italian grandmother – hands down the finest cook I ever knew – was born with a talent for cooking, or whether she (as I had) learned the skill of fine cooking over 80 years of trial and error? Interesting point to ponder, talent vs. skill.
My “Omelette Epiphany” easily translates to all other areas in life. Who is born with a talent for anything? Don’t we all develop the skill to do what we do well over time? Perhaps then, for lack of a better word or concept, people attribute our skill to talent. “Of course she’s successful – she’s so talented!” “He’s a natural at this!”
It’s an unfortunate word choice, talent vs. skill, because most folks don’t understand that it takes time and effort to learn a skill and that anyone with “supposed” talent is simply someone who has put in the time to learn, tweak and refine a skill. The idea that we are born to a talent rather than that we learn a skill keeps many people from enjoying life to its fullest, supposing that they lack the talent, since it hasn’t shown itself to them. How many people would be living a different dynamic if they understood that there is no talent; there is skill and skill can be learned by anyone willing to put in the effort?
As it would happen, I jumped on a training call with my business partner in ProElite, and he talked about talent vs. skill. Coincidence? I don’t believe in them!
Aaron talked about the fine compliments that he receives daily on his considerable talent and business acumen. He gracefully acknowledged the kind words and kudos, but pointed out that what he had was heart, not talent. That the successful techniques that he now employs to grow his business and that he uses to train others to duplicate his results stems not from talent, but from the diligent acquisition of skill; in a showdown between talent vs. skill, it’s skill every time, as few people are born talented!
Aaron pointed out that leadership skills (among all others) is a learned skill, not an innate talent. As he said, “We are all born followers, disciples – if you will. Leadership is a skill that we learn over years of trial and error.”
Who is born a musician, a poet, a writer, a mathematician, an athlete, a physician, a marketer? No one, that’s who! The skill that defines the musician, the poet, the writer, the mathematician, the athlete, the physician or the marketer is learned, and if it can be learned by anybody, it can be learned by you.
So, what is it that you want to do? What do you want to be better at? Figure it out and then take action to learn the skill required to improve. Remember as you set out on your journey that no one is born knowing how to do anything; everyone has to start at the beginning, and everyone “fails forward!” Don’t allow a fear of failure to hold you back; everyone fails as they learn something new! In fact, by understanding that failure has its benefits, that each failure is an unparalleled opportunity for growth, you take the power out of fear. Through trial and error, a consistent fixing and refining of actions, you’ll learn the skill necessary to achieve the results you desire.