I recently completed the book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. The research summarized in this book provides a very anti-deterministic view of talent, ability, skill…whatever you might call it.
Essentially, it states that those whom we perceive to be experts in their field - musicians, artists, doctors, scientists, chess grandmasters, gymnasts, memory whizzes, etc. - have developed their expertise. They were not necessarily “gifted” with a better ear for music, or a more developed right brain for artists or a more developed left brain for mathematicians. Instead, their circumstances and opportunities (and perhaps some innate temperament characteristics) have allowed them the time and practice necessary to become the expert we see them as.
What does this mean for us? It means that practice does truly make perfect (or better). It also most certainly means that our environment, those people, activities and inputs we surround ourselves with on a daily basis, play a massive role in our success or failure on any particular endeavor we may choose.
Seek out those who support you, who hold you accountable and who challenge you to evolve. Seek out activities that put your outside of your comfort zone or that make you nervous. Seek out spaces that inspire and amaze you.
And remember: old dogs can learn new tricks. They just have to practice them a lot.
Metcon - AMRAP 13:
30 Box jumps (24/20)
50 Wallballs (20/14)
30 Power snatches (75/55)*
*If athletes want to increase the snatch weight to 95/65, they may if their coach agrees.