That’s a very cynical viewpoint.

You can learn to become really, really good in almost anything you decide to do.

Let’s look at actual research instead of gut feeling. Is a talent how good you are at doing something? Then it is a function of training time. Is it how fast you move forward? Then you likely already learned from other tasks many of the things you need for your task at hand.

If you’re not competing in top sports or pitting your skills against others every day in objectively measurable competitions where the winner takes it all (so you would have to be the best to earn anything), you can learn to be really good at most everything, if you put your mind to it. Research showed that even the level of skill top athletes and musicians possess is a direct function of the amount of training they put in (on logarithmic scale: double the training to become better by one measurable unit).

That’s why I consider your viewpoint to be the cynical one, though disguised as trying to help people find happiness. To paraphrase: “You are born with fixed talents. Your only choice in life is to use these or to be unhappy.”

That’s also why I chose the very harsh wording.

You can learn to become really, really good in almost anything you decide to do. It’s unlikely that you’ll become world champion if you start into a new skill at the age of 40, but you can come pretty close to the champions with a tenth of the training they put in. If you always did what (others said) you were good at till the age of 40, when you reach 50 you can be very good at something you chose, or world class at something others chose for you.

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