Several recent studies and books have focused on the science of skill acquisition. (𝘚𝘬𝘪𝘭𝘭 – 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮 𝘢 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘧𝘪𝘤 𝘵𝘢𝘴𝘬 𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘢 𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩 𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘺) As it turns out, we are born with few natural talents and skills. Excellence is borne not of any innate ability but practice. In other words, you can be good at whatever you want.
If it’s possible for anyone to acquire any skill, why don’t more people do it? Why don’t they improve or get good at things they’ve always wanted, like cooking, sports, or playing the piano?
The first answer, of course, is that it’s difficult, much harder than people realize, and requires incredible discipline. It just takes time and effort, which most people don’t have or aren’t willing to give.
Ed Sheeran shares this concept and demonstrates that not all artists are born with natural talent by playing an early recording of himself when he was younger trying to sing:
“𝘚𝘰, 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘮𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘨𝘰… ‘𝘰𝘩, 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘰 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘣𝘰𝘳𝘯 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵. 𝘐’𝘮 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦… 𝘮𝘮𝘮, 𝘯𝘰. 𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘺, 𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘣𝘰𝘳𝘯 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵. 𝘠𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦.” - Ed Sheeran
So, if you're bad at golf or snowboarding — and you know you are — take a chance and let go of your fear of embarrassment. It’s possible to acquire and hone skills to perfection (or near‑perfection) through practice and dedication.
Kobe Bryant can also teach us about how he improved his basketball skills. After each game, he would call people and ask for feedback on how his game went. He'd try to understand what he did wrong and what he could do to improve the next game.
"You can also learn a lot by asking yourself questions, watching others or reading a book. The benefit of asking questions is that it will encourage you to think about what you can do to improve and what makes others so good at what they do." - Kobe Bryant.
In this interview, Kobe Bryant offers vital advice on a growth mindset and his systematic approach to improving his game.
I genuinely appreciate his words when he tells us how we must take embarrassment less personally in the extended scheme of our ultimate final goal. Here's what he said:
"You gotta get over yourself. It's not about you, man. Like, OK. You feel embarrassed. You're not that important, like, get over yourself. You're worried about how people may perceive you and, like, you're walking around, and it's embarrassing because you shot five air balls. Get over yourself. (Instead,) Ask yourself, 'why did those air balls happen?'" - Kobe Bryant
You can watch the interview here: https://youtu.be/VSceuiPBpxY
The bottom line is you mustn't be embarrassed about how bad your English may be. Instead, consider that you must be first 𝘣𝘢𝘥 𝘢𝘵 something to improve and become 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘢𝘵 it.
If you are an independent learner, please download my Guide to Self-Study and ensure you're doing *active* learning activities to help you grow.