> Most people believe that you can learn a skill if you work at it hard enough.
Most people unaffected by a specific limitation believe that you (i.e. someone else) can learn a skill if you work at it hard enough.
This is a very dangerous maxim and as a general policy, it has already ruined the life of millions: Instead of encouraging people to play on their strengths, it pecks on their weaknesses, stigmatizes them as lazy and turns fate into failure and failure into fault.
> it's the attitude of pretty much all of western society.
I would say it's mostly a protestant thing and much less pronounced in the catholic part of the West.
> how many times have we heard of people overcoming their own limits to do something they really wanted to?
Not often, but yes there are exceptions and usually they involve coming up with new ways of doing things to somehow circumvent the original limitation - human creativity is indeed unlimited! However, the thousands of failures for each one beating the odds don't get nearly as much press ...