A lot of people believe that talent is a natural ‘gift’ that a few lucky individuals receive at birth. However, neuroscience research is now uncovering the truth about talent and how we develop our skills.

Our brains are made up of over 100 billion specialized cells called neurons.

When you decide to wiggle your big toe, neurons in your brain fire electrical signals that travel through your nervous system to reach the muscles in your toe and tell them to wiggle.

In this simple example, the process of wiggling your toe can be seen to be the equivalent of an electrical circuit that is activated by your mind.

At a higher level, any skill that you want to develop is in fact just a more complex neural circuit. For example learning to play the piano involves creating a circuit that involves your eyes, your brain and your fingers.

The most amazing thing about the neural circuits of our body is that they are made up of living tissue, which means they have the ability to grow and improve.

The first time you fire a particular neural circuit it is usually weak and poorly connected.

However, the more you fire the same circuit, the stronger it becomes. Not only do the connections between your neurons improve, but you also activate special cells that wrap your neural pathways in a substance called myelin, which improves the conduction of the electrical signals.

So what does all this actually mean?

It means that talent is not something you receive at birth, but rather, something that you develop through the creation and reinforcement of particular neural pathways.

Once you adopt this view of talent, you will quickly realise that you really can do anything that you put your mind to.

All you have to do is:

(1) Make a definite decision to develop a particular skill
(2) Start doing it immediately no matter how bad you initially are
(3) Push through the awkward stage by understanding it takes time to build a neural circuit
(4) Continue to perform the skill regularly in order to strengthen your neural pathways

Understand that it takes time to strengthen the neural pathways required to perform any skill and be prepared to feel a little uncomfortable when you first begin.

If you can push through this initial awkward stage, you will gradually develop the neural circuits you need and eventually people will marvel at your amazing ‘natural’ talent.