For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.
And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.
And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal.
And again, verily I say unto you, to some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom.
To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.
And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed;
And to others it is given to have faith to heal.
And again, to some is given the working of miracles;
And to others it is given to prophesy;
And to others the discerning of spirits.
And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues;
And to another is given the interpretation of tongues.
And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.
(from The Book of Mormon's Doctrine and Covenants section 46)
And so there was this attitude that some people were blessed with really great talents, while I was always consoled with "Ashley, yours is the talent to be a kind person," or "nice friend" or something that always felt like a Miss Congeniality Prize, when all you wanted was the talent of being able to speak in tongues or work miracles, or even, for some lucky few- all of the above! And so when I would loose all my tennis matches in Jr. High, or not make the drill team in High School, even though I had never taken a dance lesson, I chalked it up to "I wasn't blessed with that gift". But dagnabit, I did get that "sweet-spirit"gift...lucky me! And so it was this fatalistic attitude of "why try because if you were meant to excel at something God would have just blessed you to be naturally amazing.
And that is where Outliers comes in. There are some people who pick stuff up quicker than others, but to get to the point of being REALLY, REALLY good at something, EVERYONE needs to practice! It blew my mind. He shows several examples of people who are considered prodigies in their field, be it music or math, sports or science, and EVERY SINGLE ONE spent 10,000 hours of practicing!! There were ZERO exceptions. Not one person who was just a natural genius. And looking back, that makes sense. The people whom I admired in High School, as great athletes or academics, did practice a lot. I, on the other hand, would have been the one "practicing" my shopping skills at the local mall....sad. But, another great insight was that IT'S NOT TOO LATE. I still have a lot of hours left in my life (hopefully) and so there is still time for me to gain new skills, try new things and become downright talented!
And so, to make a long story short, I went skiing with Gavin and Dalton last Sunday. I am not a great...make that good.. skier. I can get down the mountain but it aint pretty. And all my life I've thought, "Well, I am not a talented skier. It's just not my thing." Not realizing that maybe the reason that "it's just not my thing" is because I have only done it a hand full of times in my entire life. And with a few of them as a child being downright terrifying, not-to-mention not having the money growing up to afford it as it is an expensive sport, not-to-mention the fact that I had lived back east with no access to skiing, not-to-mention being pregnant/nursing, on and off for the past ten years- it makes sense why I hadn't picked it up.
But, it's never too late. So, Gavin bought me a cheap pair of used skies that fit well and I went skiing with the boys. Dalton was bummed because he said "Mom skies so slow." (sad) But I was determined to keep up. And I did!!!! And it was fun!!!!!!!! And pretty soon I was weaving through the trees, doing these tiny little jumps with Dalton, and screaming with joy! I didn't wipe out, although I came mighty close a few times, but I was never scared. I looked pretty ridiculous, I am sure. In fact, people who passed me said "Man, I thought that you were going to eat it on that last jump!" And I was like, "Yeah, me too!" And I didn't give a hoot.
It was like the earth had shifted on it's axis for Dalton. Here is his mother, the one who is always slathering sunblock, checking for brushed teeth, making sure his helmet is secure, and now I am doing something Cool...something Fun? What the?? A few times he would just stare at me, his mouth gaping open, wondering who had hijacked his mother's body and replaced it with this different, not-so-lame person. Of course I had to cement my new cool image with chili, hot chai and brownies at Alf's Lodge afterwards. It was a good day.
And maybe in a couple more weeks, months, heck-even years, I will be a really good skier and look back at this and think "Good for me....for not being scared of how I look, or what other people think, or giving in to all of my self-doubt. Good for me."