People often say that a person who excels at something is gifted in that thing, but I wonder why does that person excel? Some would argue that genetics plays a large role, but I'm not so sure of that lately. Often people excel at things their parents didn't do. And sometimes are turned off by parents pushing too hard. I believe that what makes the most difference in how well a person is able to do something is how much they want to do that thing, and if they believe they can do it.
My experience working with kids with both autism and "neurotypical" kids is that positive reinforcement works a lot better than punishing them for doing things, or even pushing them to do something they would rather not. And the same can be said for adults. I never really liked having a job, but that's because I haven't been a fan of money being the motivation, even though I recognize money is essential for our survival to a certain extent, and certainly makes life more enjoyable in a lot of ways. But the best job, in my opinion, is one that nurtures your soul by giving a person a feeling of purpose. And that will hopefully provide the financial abundance that allows for the life you want. I'll write more about finding your purpose in a future blog article.
The best way to get good at something really fast is to love what you're doing, which makes you want to do it all the time. And it's fun for me too actually teasing the kids I work with about how doing chores is fun and that they should try it sometime. A lot better for both of us than me getting upset, and eventually they come around and actually want to help. Works like a charm ha. And then always praising them afterwards.
The same can be said for nurturing talents. If you want your child to try something new, introduce it to them in a fun way, and let them discover for them-self if it's something they enjoy. If they love it, nurture the love of that thing by encouraging them no matter what. And the same goes for yourself.
But what about those people who are just instantly good at everything. Well maybe the amount of time it takes to get good at something has been greatly exaggerated, and you just happen to believe it. Tell yourself "I'm the best" right from the very beginning and once you believe it, you will be.
I also believe that no one has a "genetic interest" in anything. In other words, if your dad was a good hockey player, it doesn't mean that you are too because you share some of the same genes. A lot more likely is that it was a combination of your life experiences, right from the time of conception; seeing your dad get excited about hockey, sharing in experiences surrounding playing hockey, and his positive reinforcement of your interest which resulted in your love of the sport that made you want to be a good player. The same can be said, in my opinion, for pretty much anything you enjoy or have a love of. Somewhere along the way you had an empowering experience that brought you joy, and that was motivation enough to keep you interested in it and wanting to do it more.
So can talent be learned? Most definitely. What is it that makes you happy? Do you love it enough to want to be the best at it? Do you believe that you can be the best at it? If you answered yes, then you will. There is no gift or talent that is not learned, it is all a matter of experience.