“Whenever you see a successful person you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.”
—Vaibhav Shah

A common thread among those learning new skills is frustration and impatience. Simply put, the frustration stems from the impatience that the skill is not acquired quickly. You decide to become an artist; purchase the brushes, paints, and canvas; begin painting; and then scrap the whole idea when your first painting turns out to be terrible. Rather than consider the consequences of this behavior, it’s better to tear apart the reasoning underlying it: where did the idea come from that a skill could be acquired quickly? And make no mistake, this idea of immediate skills acquisition is not rare; it’s prevalent.

When you’re exposed to someone doing something incredible, what are your initial thoughts?

I used to teach yoga classes at a gym. In the beginning, when I first started introducing Crow to my classes, half the class would sit down. Two phrases were common: “I can’t do that,” and “that’s impossible!” Well, considering how Crow is a fairly popular arm balance posture, it is clearly not impossible. As for “I can’t,” well, an immediate judgement had been made in the minds of these practitioners. Never mind that the rest of the class was either holding Crow or actively working on it. Nay, these individuals had decided that they were unable to execute it, without ever having tried, and without ever having worked on it.

There are so many people like this. What these individuals all fail to understand is that finding success in anything is a matter of a great deal of work. When you see someone hold Crow, you’re looking at the tip of the iceberg, that small display of something much, much larger beneath. What you don’t see is how much practice went into developing the strength and then learning to balance to hold Crow. And for many, that’s a lot of work.

Maybe you were once one of these “I can’t” individuals. The fact that you’re reading this suggests that you’re either moving on or have moved on from that mindset. And as such, you recognize that anything worth doing is going to take work, and you’re willing to do it. The success you find and you share will be the tip of your iceberg that others see. But never discount the much larger part of that journey that lies below what’s visible. As you work, as you hit milestones, and as you draw others in to share in your success, be liberal with the story of your journey.

There is no immediate skills acquisition. There is no instant gratification. There are no shortcuts. There is only the work.

So do the work.

Get moving.
Keep moving.

Header and featured image background by:
unsplash-logotodd kent