It seems to me that often times we limit ourselves by saying something to the effect of, “I am just not good at that.” This probably starts early in life to protect us from the vulnerability of failing. It, however, also blocks us from success. Natural talent is not the only way to achieve greatness or success.
The late Steve Jobs–a highly regarded innovator and founder of Apple Computers–was also nearly as famous for his ability to present and market. His keynote speeches for Apple became famous and often imitated. But, his public speaking skills were not always superb. A video of an interview he gave early in his career was uncovered decades later. He is visibly nervous and even verbalizes his fear of becoming sick. This is not the same Steve Jobs who entertained while unveiling his most recent product. So what gives?
Jobs put in hours and hours of practice. He honed and developed his presentation skills spending hundreds of hours on one presentation.
Dr. K. Anders Ericsonn published a research study that looked into this idea of hard work and practice. He said excellence depends on more than mere practice but deliberative practice. His definition of this is, “improving the skills you have and extending the reach and range of those skills.” So Dr. Ericsonn takes into account natural talent but suggests excellence does not rest there.
So, when we consider our personal well being are we focusing daily on improving our skills and extending them? In marriage, hone the abilities and strengths so that they cover a number of aspects in relationships. Parent in a way that sees possibility to attain skills rather than give up on that possibility.
The takeaway is this: because you view yourself as, “just not good” at something now, does not mean you can’t be proficient in that area. If you have skills in an area, they can always be improved.
Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT