Are you born with “it” or can you develop “it?”

“It” is hard to describe. Of course, I’ll try my best to explain the concept, but “it” is one of those things that has a presence. Surely you have been exposed to or at least heard of the phenomenon before…someone walks into a room and something about them just clicks. They get “it.” 

“It” differs upon context, but, to me, “it” represents the understanding of “one can do anything in this world.” “It” is the naïveté that comes with being an optimist, but also the pragmatism that comes with being a realist. People who understand the nuance of that get me really excited. They not only internalize that balance, they indeed implement and execute. And above all else, they have conviction. 

This combination: optimism, realism, execution, and conviction is extremely powerful (in my opinion). And while it is really challenging to identify “it” from far away, or even after several interactions with someone, it is possible. 

I am not saying the “one way to be successful” is to have those characteristics. I am just trying to add color to that feeling when “you know” someone is somewhat different from the rest of the people you have interacted with in the past. They have a certain sparkle in their eyes or crack in their voices when they talk. They get excited more than others or have more unusual stories. 

That “it” feeling is really rare and special. 

I circle back to this question because I am trying to understand whether or not people are “born with it,” “raised with it,” or “it” is something you can actually purposefully aim for and develop. 

I have no conviction with this answer. And, just to add clarity, I am not here to say that I have “it” whereas others do not. I am not trying to say that I am a master judge of talent and I can discern others’ long term potential (though this is an interesting skill to gain). 

More and more, I have been convinced that “that tick” – that bolt of energy – is not something you can just learn. It is not something that comes in a textbook or from any resource…

But can you unlock it? 

I think that is the harder question. Perhaps everyone is born with “it” in some relevant context. 

Can you get that out of people is the hard part…Does everyone have something that they nerd out about? 

I would like to imagine, for the sake of humanity, that yes, we all have that thing that makes us sparkle.

But maybe I am wrong?

Also published on Medium.