Saturday, March 7, 2009

Innate Gift or Practice?

As I think about the various gifts, skills and tendencies people have, I can't help but wonder if these gifts are innate or learned.

In some cases such as the 4 year old virtuoso pianist, or the savant mathematician, evidence seems to clearly point to their talent being a part of them since birth. In other cases, people prove over and over that many talents are learned and improve to a significant degree simply with practice.

When I was a child, I spent hours playing with my Etch-A-Sketch. It's a toy still around today that the user can write or draw with one continuous line using two knobs, one that makes vertical lines and one for horizontal. I do not consider myself to have a strong natural artistic ability. On the other hand, when I enjoy something, I do it a lot and often get good at that particular skill.

Today, I can pick up an Etch-A-Sketch and write quickly and easily in cursive, or can draw pictures with detail, using the one continuous line. The feel of the two knobs in my fingers, moving in unison feels just like it did when I was eight years old.

So whether we see ourselves as being talented in a particular area, or not, isn't it possible to learn and even excel at something as long as we love doing it? I say "YES"! Our human minds are capable of more than we can imagine. We can always learn something new and feel the thrill of expanding our prior vision for ourselves. If we love it, we'll do it. If we believe it's possible, we can live the dream. We just have to practice.

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