The fallacy of effortlessness

Behind every effortless act is... well, a ton of effort. The musical notes improvised with ease comes from years of trial -- and more importantly, error. The graceful tennis swing, years of practice. The divine meal comes after meals of burnt pasta and with much study (from books, people or flavors).

Even the effortless beginner has put in effort. The athlete? They surely worked on their balance and their fitness. The crazy intellect has years of reading and study behind them. The effortless beauty has doubtless perfected her makeup, fashion and hair over years (and has embarassing picture from her past to prove it!)

Where there is an effortless beginning, there is years of intense effort in an adjacent field.

Yes, their are geniuses. But often, the delta between genius and the rest of us comes from the gulf in effort, rather than a gulf in ability.

  • Einstein chose his entire career (at the patent office) based on what would be easy and allow him to ponder while seeing all kinds of inventions.
  • Mozart was forced to practice for hours upon hours everyday under the guidance of his father, a famous violin teacher.
  • Tiger Woods was playing golf before the age of two.

Before you stand in awe of effortlessness, deconstruct it. What would it take to be effortless at this skill? Hint, it's an internalized understanding of the system.

Effortlessness is an outcome of intensive effort.


ExcellenceRebecca Rapple