Last week my daughter came home from school and told me she didn’t think she’d ever be a very good singer.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Because I can’t find the tune as easily as everybody else does.” (I’m pretty sure she meant pitch here instead of tune.)
She’s ten, so I chuckled. “I think it’s a little early to give up just yet.”
It’s advice worth repeating over and over again. Just because something doesn’t come easy to you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. With work, anyone can improve on any skill they want to learn.
The perfect example of this is a young girl I met well over a decade ago. She joined the swim team as a freshman. Not because she knew how to swim, she wanted to hang out with her friends after school.
Day-after-day, I spent hours coaching her, breaking down the swim strokes. Unfortunately, competitive swimming did not come easy for her. For most of that first season she looked awkward, and was very slow in every event she competed.
To my amazement, she returned the next season. Again, we work on her stroke technique. Slowly things started to click for her, and she began shaving off time in every event.
What started as a way to hang out with friends became a passion for her. She began swimming before school, and even stayed in the pool long after the other athletes in the evening. It took all four years, but her hard work paid off. She took third or second in every event she swam as a senior. When I remember how awful she looked when she started, that accomplishment is amazing indeed. And proof that you don’t have to be a natural to become great at those things you love. Desire and work are powerful tools that can change anyone into what they want to be.