Bits of Life Missed Worth Exploring

The Difference Between Ability and Skill


I have been struggling recently with trying to reconcile knowledge with ability and skill. Where you read about something and then are having difficulty doing it. Or where an obstacle presents itself, and after many months of trying different things you haven’t found a way either through or around it.

I have read a lot, understand a lot, yet have had trouble gaining traction in a specific area. When looking up the definitions of ability and skill they are portrayed as being synonymous. I would argue they are not.

I am not tall enough, nor can I jump high enough to be able to dunk a basketball. Therefore, I don’t have the ability to dunk a basketball. I could practice on a shorter height rim to learn how to hold a basketball and how far away I should start my approach to the basket in order to dunk. So i could develop, to a degree, the skill of dunking but because I don’t have the ability or the capacity to dunk it won’t happen.

Lots of people who are successful at things, have something about them, that reinforces the effectiveness of what skills they use successfully. If you are good at detail, you may make a good accountant if you want to develop that skill. Or you could be a good repairman or handyman and could learn the skills of measuring and fixing things. I would say that if this is the case, you have the ability to gain these certain skills and use them effectively.

If I am afraid of heights, than probably, when I learn the skills of being a fireman, I most likely will not be effective.  In this case, I don’t have the ability to become a fireman. And, my being scared of heights will keep me from being a good one.

Ability is so hard to discover within ourselves. Even if you feel you are self-aware. The effective use of a skill is always tied to paying attention to the small details that others miss.  Without having the ability to do something, you most likely will never be good at doing it.

It sounds cold to say but is true. Being interested and somewhat knowledgeable is never enough.

I wish I could share, how to discern more clearly, if you have the ability to be effective when you learn a new skill. but I can’t. Trial and error will give you some clues.

And it just could be, that you could get further and gain more traction, by finding someone who has both the ability and the skills to be more effective at the thing you are struggling with at this time.

Bits of Life Missed Worth Exploring


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