Getting Good at Anything is Hard


I've been talking a lot about this recent post by Austin Kleon (and the related one by David Wong) about how hard it is to actually get good at something and how we've been essentially poisoned by the "training montage" of movies like the Karate Kid and Rocky films.

Movies (for the sake of story) often simplify the numerous ups-and-downs, mishaps, successes, mistakes, reversals, giant leaps and (figurative) brickwalls that any pursuit of mastery really entails and shows a quick, linear process in a matter of minutes. What has happened is that normal people expect a “montage” for real life, a fast-forward through all the challenges. Instead, they are greeted by what Wong calls “Effort-shock”. You are not going to be a karate master in two-months with a handful of work projects presented by a plucky, wise-beyond-his-years teacher. You will not be the world’s best pianist with a half-hour, surly practice session.

To quote Wong, “The world demands more. So, so much more.”

Ultimately, you are only going to get good at something you enjoy practicing, because you have to practice a lot to really get good at anything.