It is so easy to see other people succeed and think they are geniuses or have magical powers. The fact is we are all born with the same DNA that doesn’t vary by more than 4%. We are certainly born under different circumstances and good and not so good parents, but mankind has shown the ability to overcome all obstacles.
What we do have in common is the ability to learn, exercise, and practice. One study has shown that children who began specializing in something before six years of age like Mozart, have a greater ability to become child prodigies. After that, learning and practicing can still take anyone to a state of mastery and sometimes get labeled genius.
Humans have a few secret traits that are not secret to those who engage. When we work hard on a project and start developing skills or knowledge we can get support from our brain pumping dopamine, a happiness chemical. Getting into flow where we engage in an activity in which we have competence, we can move into the blissful state of flow and achieve peak performances.
As we learn our brain grows to accommodate new information. If the engagement is challenging our brain thrives on trying to conquer our new endeavor. After, maybe, years of engagement, the whole field becomes internalized and our whole brain works on solutions and progress. We reach a new level of understanding and feelings of unity with our subject matter.
Extreme athletes are a great example of those who pursue mastery through learning and practice. They achieve levels of competence we laymen could never duplicate. They ascend to death defying feats which for them are just an extension of what they already know. They are expressing themselves and showing others what is possible.
This is why we are told to pursue our passions or be passionate about our work. The long trail and trials to mastery would deflect our efforts if we were not fully committed to succeed. We have to enjoy the engagement, called autotelic, and the results will eventually speak for themselves. People fully engaged in their pursuits will often receive money, fame, and fortune along the way but those aren’t the motivation for people who can engage for a lifetime.
It isn’t always clear what comes first with our pursuits: interest, practice, dedication, passion, expertise. We can enter at any point. I have often found that engagement and practice opens the vista to the opportunities. I realize that having achieved some skills, my opportunities and pleasure become greater with engagement. I then want to share my experiences.
In the natural order of the Universe, particles are engaged in creating energy and information and sharing to make the whole better. That is how I see our role on earth.