No, of course not. It just takes time for us to learn all the tricks of the trade and improve our performance. We may only notice it during a performance – or maybe just at the end of it, which is the way artists tend to react – but it would also seem to be true that they are all “normal”. They are all human. What we are concerned with here is performance. If that’s true, what other areas of your life are doing differently to be better? How would you explain it?
If performance is so important, why is it so difficult to improve? It’s not like a muscle just magically improved. We all work hard in our jobs and are not really getting the maximum out of our brain. You can certainly become more sensitive to certain things, just like you can improve your hand sensitivity and your motor coordination.
In fact, you can improve them with good coaching. But I would like you to understand why this is not always easy. What people often refer to as “tricks of the trade”, actually do not work. A skilled musician might work on a guitar until he is a completely different person, but how do they know if he is learning? If you ask a neuroscientist, they will say that that’s quite unlikely. What happens is that the brain actually adapts its behaviour to the person. A pianist does not suddenly become very good. He does not suddenly become faster. Instead his skills are already developed within himself, and the brain uses the piano’s built-in learning mechanisms to help him adapt to change. We use this mechanism at work a lot. In fact, it’s very important to do it – it’s the only way that we learn. We only use it to adapt our behaviour to situations. But there is a limit to what you can learn. Even if we were to change your ability to drive, your ability to get food for your kids, your ability to think clearly when you get a traffic light turning red – that’s not very useful. That’s quite enough for a person who needs to get to work in the morning.
Some skills – especially the ones that seem to be quite important – need to be completely ingrained so that it’s the only way to understand them. We’ve heard about memory, but what does that mean? Memories exist but when you want them back, you have to go through them in order to be able to relearn them. And what are they? You remember something but you don’t remember the exact
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