Most “Naturals” Are Made, Not Born

Some people are just naturally good at things. They excel at whatever they do, and they seem to do it effortlessly.

Swedish golf dynamo Annika Sorenstam, unarguably the best woman golfer in the world today, is a case in point.

According to her website bio she is:

"…the most dominant player in women’s golf. Throughout her storied career, she has rewritten the LPGA and Ladies European Tour record books, won countless awards and events, and brought unprecedented attention to women’s golf.

Her success has changed how women’s golf is played, covered and viewed, and in her rise to mainstream athlete and celebrity, she has had a positive impact on all women’s sports."

The bio goes on to describe how Annika started playing golf at the age of 12, joined the Swedish national golf team in 1987, won seven titles in her collegiate career at the University of Arizona, and went on to an astounding professional career that began in 1994 and ended last week.

No doubt she worked hard to get to the top – that kind of achievement takes lots of practice, commitment and focus.

But my guess is that her success is probably rooted in raw talent. She’s one of those people that others call "a natural.”

In my business (teaching people how to become better speakers), I rarely run into “naturals.” People who take to public speaking and presenting like ducks take to water are few and far between. (Lucky for me – it's a pleasure to help people find their voice, and earn a living at the same time!)

In fact, most of us are terrified of public speaking. We’re afraid of making fools of ourselves when we stand up to talk in front of a group. (If you’re one of those people, you can download some tips on how to beat the fear here.)

When I show people in my workshops video clips of excellent speakers, such as Bill Clinton or Steve Jobs for example, they say: “Yes, but he’s a natural. I can’t do that.” My answer to that is “No he’s not. And yes you can.”

I believe people can do just about anything to which they devote the full power of their attention, intention and will. It’s not always easy. To be honest, it can be excruciatingly difficult. Still, I believe most things are possible.

I've observed that what often appears to be "natural," in many cases is the result of a whole lot of hard work and dedication. In my experience, most “naturals” are made, not born.

So when I come across someone who is a REAL natural, someone who was truly born to do what they do, in whatever discipline, well, to me it’s special.  

Yang-May Ooi is one of those people – a natural storyteller and writer whose prose, regardless of the topic about which she writes, is a delight to read.

I’ve talked about Yang-May before (here and here), and I’ve been pestering her for months to write something for AWR. She finally found the time in between running her own business, blogging on her immensely successful FusionView blog, and writing books, to post an AWR tribute to her grandmother.

In typical Yang-May fashion she’s made her post much more than a simple tribute. It’s a joyful read, well worth the one click it takes to get there, if for no other reason than to find out how to make her grandmother’s Soy Sauce Chicken.