“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.”
Skepticism is a great source of excuses.
I should know, I’m a natural skeptic.
Being skeptical is generally very helpful. It’s important to think for yourself and not be easily manipulated.
However, skepticism often gets in the way of fully appreciating things. The overly skeptic will critique something to the point that it’s completely broken down. As if taking something apart is somehow as valuable of a skill as building it in the first place.
I’ve been guilty of this before and there’s a chance you have as well.
I think simply understanding how someone pulled off a great feat gives us a small sense of accomplishment. Not that we think we have actually accomplished anything, but we get a feeling that we could.
I see a different form of skepticism far too often. It sounds like this:
Sure, but that’s easy for you…
You’ve just always been lucky with…
You’re just naturally gifted/talented…
It sounds so easy, what’s the catch?
The catch is that it’s never as easy as it sounds and it’s our responsibility to expect that.
Do you find yourself thinking that other people make their successes look so easy?
Wonder why you are having a hard time?
It’s so tempting to think this way, but doing so is actually a disservice to yourself.
Now consider why this happens.
Hindsight Vision is 20/20
It’s so much easier to explain the journey after it’s been completed. Why wouldn’t it be?
All you have to do is look back at each step, explaining what went right or wrong.
The questions have all been answered.
The person telling the story has found the silver lining that ties everything together. After all, it’s their life so they want to give meaning to their story. Everything will appear to have worked out as if it was planned all along.
Of course it looks easy, you’re seeing the absolute most optimistic view of the journey!
They take joy in explaining the challenges, because of how rewarding it feels to have passed them. That joy makes those challenges seem easier.
Plus, they skip a lot of details that they either have forgotten, don’t care to mention, or simply think don’t matter. You’re not getting the full story.
Not to mention, it’s so easy to be distracted by their current state. Like the millionaire who tells you they started with only $50 to their name. Your brain is automatically making the leap from $50 to $50 million, without considering the ups and downs in between.
We are distracted by NOW.
They are successful now. 10 years ago doesn’t exist in our mind. That’s the past.
So how do I adjust my perspective?
Don’t get mesmerized by the end result or too caught up in the inspirational aspect of their journey.
And remember that their story is more than a bunch of words that sound nice in theory. Those words are based on real life actions.
Once you start putting their words into action, you’ll find that their story doesn’t sound as easy anymore.
Obstacles Look Bigger Up Close
Our problems hold higher priority than the problems of others.
We take our problems personally.
When others talk about the obstacles they’ve had to overcome, it’s so easy for us to write them off in our mind.
That is, until we are face to face with those same obstacles.
We all face resistance, but only few fight through it.
You always hear the stories of authors who were turned down hundreds of times by publishers before finally being accepted, and their book becomes a hit. Or musicians who were turned down by label after label. Championship athletes who were never drafted or got cut from multiple teams.
Once they become successful they are validated. It’s easy to write off their story.
Of course you kept going, you knew what talent you had. All those who turned you down were just stupid.
You’re different. You’re special.
That’s such an insult.
No matter who you are, rejection hurts. How many rejections would it take to make you quit? Be honest.
One hundred? Twenty? Five?
Think about what it takes to go through that. Each meeting/tryout/pitch requires its own preparation. Imagine preparing for weeks and traveling for hours, on your own dime, only to get rejected again.
That’s just an example. There are countless obstacles that we write off as easy.
How can I prevent obstacles from stopping me?
Learn to anticipate the biggest obstacles you might face.
Successful people get interviewed a lot and everyone wants to know how they did it. So they end up telling the same story over and over again.
Each time they mention the same problems and breakthroughs they had along the way. While they might brush them off now, those problems they mention over and over are the ones they likely struggled with the most.
Identify those common obstacles of people in your field and prepare for them early.
When you hit the same wall, just remember – this is normal. This is expected.
Consider it a right of passage. There’s a certain amount of pain you must endure before achieving anything great.
Here’s the thing you might not want to hear – for some people, it is easy.
We all have different talents and skills.
That’s just the way it goes. Life isn’t fair.
But you’re not going to let that stop you. You welcome the extra challenge.
Because the more adversity you overcome, the stronger you will become.
You might envy those who have it easier than you at first. But over time they will stagnate and you will keep progressing.
Before long, they will envy you.
Until Next Time,
What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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