The concept of natural and acquired skills can be a confusing one. When I talk about building a life around natural skills instead of acquired ones I am always challenged by someone. The challenges come in various forms, but they are always something along two different lines: “You can’t just do the things you like to do and survive in this world.” and “There are lots of things that I do that I am not naturally gifted at doing, but I do them just fine!”

My unequivocal response to both challenges is “You are absolutely right!” But it doesn’t stop there of course. My counter challenge back to the first is “OK, but why not set a goal to have most of your activities based in your natural strengths?” To the second I say “Yeah, but do you enjoy doing them?”

There is something in the challenges that I have often pondered. It seems that there is something about the idea of enjoying what you do, of doing what comes easily, and building your life and/or career around it that feels wrong to many people. I could wax philosophically about where it comes from, but that doesn’t really matter. I have encountered the phenomenon so often to know it to be true. To a great extent we embrace the idea that if something is fun and easy it can’t have much value or that using it is some kind of cosmic “cheating.” We believe that if it is not “hard work” then it isn’t work at all.

The number of people I encounter daily that don’t like what they do always amazes me. Remember the important difference between natural and acquired skills is not that you can do one but not the other because you can do both – most of us do. The truth is we all have to take on a few acquired skills to function in the world. The important difference is that the innate capacity we have for our natural skills makes them easier to develop, more enjoyable to perform, and in the long run they provide more opportunity for meaning in your life.

I repeat this so often because it is apparently so hard for us to really hear and get. The truth is a constant diet of acquired skills will wear you out emotionally, psychologically, and physically. The good news is, a life built around your natural skills will open new opportunities that you cannot yet imagine.

When you practice and use your natural skills they develop with a subtle complexity that an acquired skill just can’t. When applying natural skills you perform with an unconscious ease that allows for creativity and inventiveness. On the other hand, facility with an acquired skill takes conscious effort that ultimately drains your creative energy.

So, yes, most of us have to acquire some skills that are not innate and with enough training we can learn to do them just fine. But no amount of facility and training will help us learn to love them. You can build your life around acquired skills, but why would you want to when you can build it around natural skills that are already an expression of who you are?

Author's Bio: 

Lynda-Ross Vega: A partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd., Lynda-Ross specializes in helping entrepreneurs and coaches build dynamite teams and systems that WORK. She is co-creator of a revolutionary psychological assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their deepest potentials for success. For free information on how to succeed as an entrepreneur or coach, create a thriving business and build your bottom line doing more of what you love, visit www.ACIforCoaches.com