I’d like to share my understanding of skill with you. It’s a very simple breakdown. The way I see it, a skill is nothing but a reflection of a very specific habit of responding to a certain stimulus in a certain way. Language, sports, dance, singing…any and every skill is included. When I want to say hello while speaking English, my mind is stimulated by the external stimulus of someone’s presence combined with the internal stimulus of my desire to greet them. When someone throws a fist at me from a certain angle, my mind is externally stimulated by the fist coming at me combined with my internal desire to avoid or deflect that fist. When I hear a certain rhythm or sound within a song, my mind is stimulated by the external sound and my internal desire to dance within the structure of the beat. When I want to express a thought or emotion in a very passionate way with a melody complementing it, I respond to the external stimulus of the music and the internal stimulus of my thoughts and emotions.

This means that if I can speak one word of a foreign language perfectly, then I can master it. If I can kick with great form a single time, then I can master that movement. If I can dance with great rhythm for just a brief moment, then I can dance with great rhythm throughout an entire song. If I can hold a single note in tune with the melody behind it, then I can learn to sing an entire song. How much “skill” I have in any given area is nothing more than a reflection of how often my brain has been stimulated by that exact same combination of external and internal stimulus along with how focused I was while I was doing it. In other words, any skill I have is nothing more than a reflection of how often I’ve practiced at something with the focused intent of responding to specific stimulus in a specific way. It’s nothing more glamorous than that.

It’s not about talent. It’s not about intelligence. It’s not about genetics or physical makeup or anything else like that. If you can do something once…just ONCE, then you have the potential to become a master at it, whatever it is. A “skill” is nothing more than something you’ve practiced so much that your mind and body responds to a specific scenario without you having to consciously think about it. Once habit is so familiar that you don’t have to consciously think about it, you will get to enjoy the exquisite reward of expressing that skill with the freedom of being able to let go while still holding the pattern of thought or movement with your unconscious mind.

The defining message in this post is to PRACTICE. Let go of wondering if you have the talent or ability to do what you see others do after they’ve worked at something for years. If you dream of having a certain skill, break it down to a single movement and see if you are able to do that movement ONCE. If you can do it once, celebrate! That means you have the “talent” and potential to become as amazing at it as you have only dared to believe in the privacy of your imagination.

By: Michael Verdun

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