I tried out for a part in a musical once. I was one of the last to audition. While waiting, I heard the same lines sung over and over and over. I had those lines down cold! Yet, when it was finally my turn, I reversed the first two lines. I never sang in that musical—or any other.
Back then I thought such a failure was confirmation that I was flawed and couldn’t learn. One attempt. One blunder. Game over. How silly is that! No one is born knowing how to beast an audition. Even experienced performers sometimes fumble.
If I had known then what I know now—I could have laughed at my mistake and pondered ways to improve at the next audition. Instead I took that setback as proof positive that I was flawed and could never change.
Lack of skill does not mean a door is forever closed. It just means you lack skill. And here’s the good part—you have learned all kinds of skills in your life so far. Chances are good you can walk, talk, feed yourself, and a thousand other things you didn’t know how to do when you were born.
For a while I was influenced by the idea that “smart” or “talented” people don’t have to learn; doors swing open automatically for them. Don’t be misled by this wrong idea. What we call talent can be traced to a learning curve traveled well. (If you don’t believe me, check out the research in The Talent Code or Talent is Overrated or Mindset.) Perhaps some ways of learning have failed you in the past. I’m not saying to keep trying what doesn’t work. I’m not saying “Just try harder.” There are different approaches to learning. We can find them if we understand that we are specially designed to learn. We may learn differently, but different is not defective. We’re not flawed; we’re learners.
What doors do you think are closed to you? Is it time to take up drawing or dancing, karate or cooking? Time to learn skills in communication that could transform a struggling relationship? Time to improve your handwriting or homemaking? Time to stop saying “I just don’t do well with names” and start learning the skills necessary to do well with names?
Not all the closed doors have to be opened. I’m not pining for the opportunity to sing in a musical. But there are benefits to learning things you have considered impossible. Worlds of opportunities to grow and help others await you!
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