The Illusion of Ease

Aaron McHugh

Jackopierce-Jack O'Neill & Cary Pierce
Jackopierce-Jack O’Neill & Cary Pierce

When I see a pro at work I have to remind myself that the ease, perfection and polish that I am witnessing is an illusion.

Nothing this good comes easy.

Sure there are protégées but the truth is that they are extremely rare.  Most of them fizzle out and never reach full maturity in their craft, skill, or gifting.

The temptation is to be duped into believing that this perfect polish was achieved easily.  Let me give you a few examples to prime your senses.

Pick your favorite writer, your favorite band, your favorite photographer or painter.  How about the entrepreneur or public speaker, school teacher or professional athlete?

Made to look easy

When you experience them in their respective area of strength do you say to yourself

How did they get so good?
Man they make that look easy.

It is true.  It does look easy.

When the pros are doing their thing, they are absolutely inspiring to watch.

In the past few weeks I have felt a temptation to assume that the pros I have encountered somehow found a shortcut.

They must have found the magic pill, magic button, hidden road or seed to plant their money tree in their back yard.

I know better.

They must have found a shortcut

When we make the conclusion that someone got a free pass or got to cut to the front of the line and bypass all of the hard work, perseverance, disappointment, agony of setbacks and defeats then we create a dissonance between us and them.

We interpret the gap between them and us with a list of reasons for the gap being so wide.

  • We conclude that they didn’t have to work as hard as we do.
  • They didn’t have a tough start like we did.
  • They must have had a really good father, mentor, friend, grandfather, professor, boss, rich uncle, etc.
  • They are more naturally gifted.

When we conclude that the pros were the benefactors of a shortcut then we justify our current position as affirmation that we will likely never close the gap.

The truth is that the pros also waded through the same crap 
that we have to in order to achieve their dreams and desires.

Don’t preclude yourself from the pursuit of your desires.

Don’t embrace the temptation to believe the illusion of ease.

Show up and do the work and close the gap instead.

  • Bob Dailey

    Excellent perspective. There are no shortcuts. Most “overnight” successes take years, even decades to come to fruition… http://encuruj.com/2013/06/22/everything-looks-easy/

    • Good stuff Bob. Great post as well. I once read an article about how overnight successes (in company’s) take 5 years or more. agreed.

  • Man, thanks for breaking the spell for all of us. Something in me just sighed really deep. This puts me back in the game more, with a little more stomach for the suffering.

    Thanks Aaron!

    • Sam
      You turning Pro in your professional world gives off this same illusion . I’d gather that new comers to your world experience this miscalculation when they hear you speak. You’ve done the work , carried a job at REI while you got started with your practice . How easy that would be to miss.

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