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wundayatta's avatar

What skill have you tried to learn -- really practiced it a lot for years -- and still not gotten it?

Asked by wundayatta (58525points) May 7th, 2011

What I’m wondering is if it is possible to work at something for years and still not get any better at it. It seems to me that most people look at how good someone is, and tell them they have a remarkable talent for that thing. But no one points out that the person has been practicing for twenty years or more. They better be good at it!

So think about your life, and think about what you have spent the most time doing. Have you improved? Why did you choose this thing as the thing you wanted to spend so much time on? Do you remember all the work you’ve put into it when you demonstrate your skill? When people admire you, and tell you you have a talent, do you feel special—like you really are different based on something other than hard work?

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26 Answers

SABOTEUR's avatar


Berserker's avatar

It’s not really a skill, but for some reason I always thought being ambidextrous would be cool. I tried to train in the past using my left hand to do stuff that I do with my right hand. I don’t think I’ve made any progress whatsoever, but then I didn’t apply this as much as one might, if you can indeed make yourself ambidextrous.

crisw's avatar

Origami. I still love doing it, and I still suck at it. I started learning it because I wanted something to assist me in learning spatial/3D thought- it helped but I still suck :>)

Porifera's avatar

My favorite game on Earth. I have been playing for years and still have a very low rating on Backgammon :’(
I have kind of lost all hope by now, I guess I just don’t have what it takes, but it sure hurts not to.

KateTheGreat's avatar

Bull riding. I can ride up to 6 seconds and then I’m kicked off. I want to go for 8 seconds, damnit!

Berserker's avatar

You ride bulls? Damn, man. That’s hardcore.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Management, volleyball and the Rubix Cube.

KateTheGreat's avatar

@Symbeline When I moved to America, my adoptive mother got my involved with the rodeo. I liked barrel racing with horses, but it was just boring to me. I decided to try bull riding and it caught my interest greatly.

ddude1116's avatar

I’ve been trying to play guitar for years and can’t get much accomplished, not that I really try, but now that my hands are bigger I should put more effort into it…

CaptainHarley's avatar

I can’t think of any. Guess I just avoided those I knew would give me problems, eh? ; ))

Cruiser's avatar

Piano….I can read sheet music and play pretty much any song, but I can’t riff or jam on piano the way I can on guitar. Very very frustrating after 37 years of trying.!

KateTheGreat's avatar

@Cruiser I feel you on that one. I can play by the sheet music, but if I try to do some fancy jazz number, it doesn’t work right. I end up banging my head on the piano.

Cruiser's avatar

@KatetheGreat What cuts deeper is listening to my 14 year old jam and riff his heart out on the piano!! I am proud he can do it though!!

KateTheGreat's avatar

@Cruiser Wow! He’s lucky. If he’s 14 and he can already jam well, then he has a lot going for him!

Cruiser's avatar

@KatetheGreat He plays bass better and drums too but I can still out shred him on guitar but not for long! :)

KateTheGreat's avatar

@Cruiser And he’ll probably make it his goal to get better than you! Musical kids always have that will to out-do others! :) I know I do!

Cruiser's avatar

@KatetheGreat I wish I had that connection and drive to the piano to play better than my dad as he can play rag time and jazz like no tomorrow. But he couldn’t play guitar to save his life though!! XD

KateTheGreat's avatar

@Cruiser That drive is exactly what got me into opera singing. My aunt is a superb opera singer, but I wanted to do so much better than her. I ended up doing it and it feels great once you make that accomplishment.

woodcutter's avatar

Use a computer correctly. Probably because I’m an old fart in that we didn’t have them in school and I never had a job where using them was needed. Never cared enough to make time to get any kind of lessons. So I get this computer and sit down in front of it and start hitting buttons and believe you me I can jack up a computer so bad we gotta get professional help to untangle it. I get a lot of sighs from the wife when she hears me go wtf? But I can manage it well enough to do basic functions just enough to get by, and I suppose that’s good enough for me for now.

Earthgirl's avatar

Since I was about 8 years old I have been trying to learn to draw better. I need to practice more. I have improved greatly since I was in school and I have learned to paint in photoshop reasonably well but compared to how I wish I could draw I am not very good at all. It’s very frustrating. I have some days when it just flows onto the page and bad days when I can’t seem to get anything right and I just want to crumple up the paper and quit. I have stuck with it htough. I suppose I should be happy I have a small talent. Sometimes people see me drawing on the subway and they ask me about it and they are impressed. But in my own eyes I am not very good. I know how to judge that objectively. I just keep trying to improve and appreciate what is unique in my own creativity. I am glad that I can express my ideas somewhat even if it is not up to the level I’d like it to be..

ratboy's avatar

Keep my urine stream consistently inside the toilet bowl.

tedibear's avatar

Making fudge – I just can’t seem to get it right. And it seems rather pathetic for someone with a pastry arts diploma, don’t you think?! I’ve tried several recipes and somehow, I can’t get it. Cake, pie, mousse, custards, etc. – that I can do. But fudge stymies me every time.

ucme's avatar

How to make a MIL disappear without a single retrievable trace. Harder than it sounds, I know…i’ve tried. On several, as of yet, unsuccessful occasions.

crisw's avatar

um- does MIL=“mother in law?”

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Forgiveness. I’m still working at it, convinced it’ll come and finally make me whole.~

Sunny2's avatar

1.Skiing. 10 years trying and I never got off the bunny hill. Too afraid of falling.
2. Tap dancing. 10 years and I’m still in the beginning class. I can’t seem to group
movements together. I have no talent for absorbing patterns.
3. Sight reading music. 25 years and I still don’t read well, but I have a good ear and tone memory so I can keep up with the chorale I sing with. My reading has improved, just not 25 years worth.

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