I think this myth about some unusual talent for language is one of the reasons so few Americans speak another language--almost everyone expects language learning to be a special gift he or she in particular does not have. That, and the challenge of finding someone to converse with. There is an unusual giftedness--rare individuals can learn a second language to native-speaker capability.
I completely agree. When I was studying Arabic, I was amazed at how many people commented that they could never learn a language like that. I always wanted to ask them if they had ever even tried. Is it possible that almost every American only has the ability to learn English, while many people around the world are conversant in several languages?
And why do we think near-native ability is the goal? It takes years for even gifted people to get to this point unless the second language was learned very early. I am far from fluent in Arabic (and I'm seriously out of practice) but if we lived in Cairo, I wouldn't be concerned about the language. There is a huge range in language ability and native ability is rarely necessary.
The truth is that learning a language takes a lot of work. If you've got a gift, great. Use it. You're still going to have to work; vocabulary won't magically appear in your brain. And if you're like the rest of us, study hard. I have experienced few things as satisfying has being able to converse with someone in a different language.
And to end, I'll quote Jane Austen like Johnna did:
My fingers do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women's do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault -- because I would not take the trouble of practising. It is not that I do not believe my fingers as capable as any other woman's of superior execution.