**Photo Model: Niko Lorraine, Musician & Amazing Person/New Orleans Street Performer**
“Do not think that what is hard for you to master is humanly impossible; and if it is humanly possible, consider it to be within your reach.”
― Marcus Aurelius,
A while back I had to ask myself this question. In fact, I sometimes still do to this day.
Less than 2 years ago the answers I have now for this question I really did not believe were possible. The deeper I dove into the rabbit hole of Self-Development material, the more I realized the skills I thought would be really useful were in fact learnable.
Our skills are not even remotely fixed, and I’m not sure people really know how much.
I don’t watch TV much anymore, but I remember when I was younger I use to always watch American Idle (which, most are 😉 ) and watching those people who were pretty shit at singing go up to the judges and be really hurt by what the judges had to say (particularly Simon).
It wasn’t until a lot more recently that I discovered a lot of the insights of that show are not only fake, but also pretty dumb, and here’s why:
Fixed VS. Growth Mindset
In Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she talks about how there are 2 primary mindsets that differentiate people who succeed and people who stagnate, which are the Fixed and the Growth mindsets.
People who have a fixed mindset see their talents, skills, outcomes, and abilities as static attributes that were set from birth and cannot be worked upon (i.e., you see parkour experts doing their thing, you get inspired and try a flip and bust your ass in the process. You give up forever because “it’s just not you’re thing lil Jimmy, what else do you like to do?”)
People who have a growth mindset see their talents, skills, outcomes, and abilities as malleable and fluid, meaning they can be worked on and improved upon through gathered and applied knowledge, training, and trial & error. You learn from your mistakes and keep improving (i.e., you see a parkour expert doing his or her thingy thang, you get inspired and try a flip and bust your ass in the process. You know you can improve, record yourself, see where you can improve upon, join a community of people who are already doing it, move to a place where other parkour practitioners [traceurs] exist, pay or find a mentor who can cut time off of your learning curve, and then you become an expert and experiment on your own until you’re a fucking master who has a “god given talent”… ya that’s horse shit)
Whether you want to be a musician, comedian, blogger, aerial yoga instructor, traceur, author, or just want to learn how to do better in certain areas of your life (i.e., dating, art, etc.), you can learn and master any skill. You just have to know you can, have a damn good reason why, and do what is necessary until you achieve the level of skill you desire.
It will take time, study, commitment, intelligence, and a lot of calculated risks (i.e., you don’t have to bust your ass on concrete and hurt yourself, there are mats and facilities that are a lot better and safer for that stuff. Maybe I need less parkour examples…)
How do you know what to do?
Well, I’ll tell you what worked for me.
I’ve always been someone whose acted more from feeling and “intuition” most of my life. More recently I’ve become more reflective, journaling my experiences day to day (or sometimes once in a while) in order to get a better grip on life to try to make sense out of it.
The most useful ideas for introspection I have received from books, specifically The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins, and Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday.
To combine the ideas I took from those and to combine them with my own (or something I might’ve heard from a podcast, video, or something else…), I’m going to share with you the exact thought process I did on my “Day of Full Evaluation” (that’s what I called that evernote note lol). It went like this, and I suggest you follow it when you do yours too.
With the belief that you can achieve anything you want in life, and transcending self-doubt, or any other form of self-sabotage, what do you really want in your life?
What are the character traits of the kind of people do you want to hang around?
What are the character traits of the kind of people do you not want to be around?
What are the traits of your ideal mate?
What do you want your living situation to be like?
What character traits do you want to have as a part of your identity?
What are your current understandings about life?
What skills do you want to acquire?
What do you want your contributions to be?”
Write out as much as you need to for each question, and remember, GO DEEP. The guidelines I wrote before it were designed to help bring me to my absolute core. Not thinking of what your friends, family, boss, spouse, etc. thinks, this is about you and your life.
Another one that helped me is in The Seven Habits (referenced above) where he tells you to mentally fast forward to the end of your life. Your family is there, your kids (current or future), your friends, all the people whose lives you touched. What do you want them to say about you? What contributions would you like to have made to the world? What were you like as a husband/wife? As a mother/father? As a friend? As a boss? As a stranger? As a person? (I added some of those but you get the just).
The idea I thought was most useful from Ego is the Enemy for this exercise was discovering your purpose over passion. What does the world actually need vs. what do you just love to do? (I suggest checking out all of the books I referenced)
Every one of the authors suggest you really get into your own introspection, and I agree.
See every part of your life as something that can be changed. You don’t have to be like those American Idle contestants who gave up on their dreams (Vocal lessons are a thing people…) The success you want to achieve is out there, and I know you, me, and everyone CAN achieve their wildest dreams, it just takes the right choices and actions to get us there.
I hope this post helps you find some clarity in your life. Let me know what you think in the comments section below!
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As always, thank you for reading! 😀
- Mastery by Robert Greene (where I gotthe quote from at the beginning)
- Awaken The Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday