We hear that advise all the time, but what does it actually mean? Probably something different to everyone of us.
Here is my experience.
Being a teenager I was never that “talented“ in sports and always looked up to my friends that were throwing backflips on their snowboards and ripping in local skate parks.
I always tried, but never really came to a point where I felt 100% confident in what I was doing. I never understood why I just wasn‘t able to do what I wanted to do.
Over the years it became a fascinating thing for me to observe: Why are some people “talented“ and others are not? Why does it click for some and not for others?
When I was teaching kids how to skate and longboard in my hometown for almost two years I learnt a lot about learning itself.
Some kids made incredible progress over time, but others struggled and some of them gave up after a while.
What I found very interesting was that the kids that seemed to be the least talented in the beginning often turned out to learn very quick, while the talented ones had a hard time integrating advise.
Some kids always seemed distracted by every squirrel that ran by, while others had determination to learn. I believe that is actually what makes the difference.
The level of being Focussed.
Let‘s take things to an more relatable level for most of us. Yoga.
Imagine you are in a yoga class and everyone is following the beautiful flow the teacher is offering. At the same time you are thinking about things such as:
am I doing it right?
do I look stupid right now?
What is the teacher thinking?
oh no I lost it, wait a second...oh no.. left or right?...I suck at Yoga...
Why can‘t I be as good as everyone else?
Just one of these thoughts, or any other distraction, will limit our ability to follow instructions given in class and disconnect us with what is happening in the present moment.
In my perspective our practice is not that much about reaching out for our toes or standing on one leg, it is more about the level of awareness and presence we can direct towards what we are actually doing.
After all we might find out that all the challenging yoga poses become much easier once we are able to focuss on what is happening in our body while doing them.
As long as we stress out while doing them we will have a hard time.
The same goes for activities like snowboarding and surfing as I found out over time.
Being able to focus and not being distracted is the main determinant for fun or injury.
I learnt the hard way.
In my early 20s I had a fracture in my lumbar spine because I came short on a jump with my snowboard being hung-over at a pracitce run.
When I was 31 I broke my ellbow longboarding while being distracted by my surroundings.
That was not fun. Both times doctors told me I should better let go of these “kind of activities“.
Why not find out what went wrong and do better next time?
Of course there is always the risk of hurting ourselves. As there is all day everyday whatever we do.
Yoga can be one of many wonderful ways to train our ability to get focussed.
For me it totally works and I can see it working for all the yogis and non-yogis around me.
Being present is the only thing that seperates failure from success.
Give it a try before labelling yourself as un-talented.