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Everyone started on zero in skill-building

We look at others who have mastered the skills we desire and wish we had similar skills. It could be singing, dancing, public speaking, teaching, athletics or any other activity. Some of us will feel inspired and train for that skill. A few others will be dejected when they see someone with that skillset and the inner talk is, “I can never reach that level of the skill.” We need to understand that even the masters today started one day at zero. Someone had to teach Sachin Tendulkar how to hold a bat, take a stance and handle a different kind of bowling. Years back MS Subbalakshmi had to learn the sarali varse (the beginning lessons) in Carnatic music. Vishwanath Anand, decades ago had to be taught how to place the pieces on a chessboard.

Everyone starts at zero on skill at some point in their life. Everyone who has mastered a skill has put in years of practice into it. Mastering any skill is hours of grinding work. Regular routines for practice. If you have a coach the job becomes easier. Having a mentor helps get a neutral perspective and guidance for correcting the errors. We cannot fully see the mistakes in our current level of skill. We need to chip away at the errors and what is left will be the pure skill at that level.

Although for some of the skills there may be age factor, for many of them age is never a limiting issue. Some of the skills can be learnt at any age. While some of the skills are learnt to compete with others there are many skills which are learned because the person wanted that skill. Nothing to do with others. Nothing to do with competition. You may have wanted to learn a public speaking skill because you wanted to go on stage and speak not to become the best public speaker in the world. You wanted to learn swimming/singing/dancing because you wanted that skill not be an Olympic champion or win prizes on a TV reality show.

Learning skills are for different reasons for each of us. We should never look at someone who has mastered it or is a world champ and become dejected. There is nothing to stop us from learning a skill, starting at zero and seeing where we can finish it. There need not be a fixed target while learning a skill.

Learning a skill can be for the sheer pleasure of learning and not for any other use. Zero is a very good place to begin it. Everyone did.

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