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  • Traci Kanaan

"The Truth About Talent"


Yesterday, I got to wear a Halloween costume that I made. Doug and I came up with the theme, I tried to find a costume from the store but none of them fit. I ended up finding a sewing pattern for the costume I wanted, picked out the fabric, and made the costume to fit me. It took maybe 6-8 hours between shopping for fabric, cutting the fabric, and sewing the costume. The day of the event? I heard stuff like “You made your costume? You must be so talented.”


As a language enthusiast…I love breaking phrases like these down. “You must be so talented.” Am I? Maybe. Or perhaps I invested hours of my life learning how to sew.


My mother tried teaching me how to sew when I was in elementary school. To say the results of her efforts were an epic fail would be an understatement. For whatever reason, I was “domestically challenged.” I couldn’t cook very well either. Baking - that I could do - but by the age of 10, I was pretty much was destined to eat at restaurants for the rest of my life because I couldn’t make much beyond a bowl of oatmeal.


In my 30s, I decided I wanted to learn how to sew. My mother was excited that I FINALLY showed an interest in her lifelong hobby and bought me a sewing machine. I found a teacher who had an amazing passion for sewing and taught me a fun, creative sewing technique each week. I ended up loving sewing so much, I saved up and bought a top line sewing and embroidery machine so I could spend a few hours every day making vests, curtains, and quilts.


Am I talented? Maybe. But maybe I had a teacher that knew how to break things down very simply so I could learn the basics. If you saw the times I cut the fabric incorrectly, or sewed things together that shouldn’t have been sewn together, or made stuff that didn’t fit me because I forgot to measure…you’d be pretty darn sure I wasn’t talented at all. Did I learn from my mistakes? Yes. Did I invest time in my learning? Yes.


As a Hypnotist, much of what I do is examine people’s language choices, or NLP. NLP is Neuro Linguistic Programming. In the 1970s, Richard Bandler and John Grinder studied the thought and speech patterns of successful people vs unsuccessful people. Successful people think and say things that empower themselves; unsuccessful people think and say things that disempower themselves. Bandler and Grinder believed that by learning and emulating what successful people think and say, we too can be successful too. If you have a rough time learning something, it could be because you say things to yourself like “I never was good in English.” “I hate math.” “I’m just not creative.” You can learn things much easier simply by changing your language. Instead of “I hate math,” you could say “Math isn’t my strongest subject, but I could master it with some practice.” Change your words, change your thoughts, change your life!


Once you have the proper language (and attitude) in place, the next step is to take a task and break it down into bite size, digestible pieces. When you learned how to drive a car, you didn’t just jump in and drive. You learned how to steer, how to depress the brake pedal, and what happens when you “hit the gas.” You learned about the rear view mirror, how to drive forward, how to back up, the important of “not hitting people and things with the car,” and the rules of the road. Step by step, you learned how to drive the car until it just became automatic.


By applying these same “bite size” pieces, you can learn virtually anything if you break it down small enough. With sewing, I learned how to read the pattern, how to lay out the fabric before cutting it, how to cut the pattern, how to thread the sewing machine, how to wind the bobbin, how to pin the fabric, etc. I learned how to play the piano the same way…one note at a time. I can learn any task by simply breaking everything down into bite size pieces including writing a novel, learning calculus, or building a house. Do I want to learn calculus? Not really, but I could learn it. Whether you’re talented or not, you can indeed learn anything you desire with enough time and interest in what you’re learning.

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