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May 18, 2021

Making It Look Easy

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Today I want to talk a bit about the difference between how things appear to be, and how they are. It’s natural to look at the professionals, whether it’s someone playing a professional sport, delivering an inspirational speech, or someone simply doing their job, and admire the effortlessness of their work. They do it so naturally, so perfectly, and they make it look easy. But there’s an important differentiator here - Making it look easy is very different than making it easy to do, and ultimately that’s more of what we want.

When someone makes something look easy they seem to be in a flow state. They operate with a technical precision that makes them extremely good at what they do, and they don’t seem to be straining at all to do it. It’s an incredible accomplishment to reach that level, but it’s not the whole story because you’re only looking at their act narrowly within that moment, without not acknowledging how they became capable of making it look easy.

And that’s where you need to think about the process. How do you make it easy to do? The paradox to it all is that you need to put in a lot of hard work to make anything easy. It’s the preparation, learnings, and trials and errors that allow someone to cultivate to such a skill that they can do it so easily. Similar to how it’s very difficult to simplify things, it’s also difficult to make things look easy to do.

So the point being here, this is an important awareness to have. When you see a colleague, or a celebrity, or a friend do something with so much ease, don’t be critical on yourself and jealous that you don’t have the same capabilities because you’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg to a lot of their hard work. Even naturals need to cultivate their skills, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”, and I’m yet to find an exception to that rule.

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