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Josh Kaufman is the bestselling author of books on business, entrepreneurship, skill acquisition, productivity, creativity, applied psychology, and practical wisdom. About Josh »
Everyone's looking for a shortcut.
And yet: the overwhelming majority of people who accomplish meaningful things do it the hard way. 1
Focused effort. Training. Skill acquisition. Battling confusion, anxiety, uncertainty, doubt, and fear. Persistence. Work.
It's tempting to wait, to hope someone will come up with a simple and easy way for you to get what you want.
Usually, you wait in vain.
A quick personal example: I've wanted to use a very specific sort of online training system for a long time. As far as I can tell, that system doesn't exist.
I've waited for years for someone to create it for me. It hasn't happened yet. In all likelihood, it never will.
So, for the past few weeks, I've been creating it myself. It was one of the primary reasons I learned how to program a few years ago, and I'm finally skilled and experienced enough to make it happen.
It's not easy: much of the effort is complex, tedious, and anxiety-provoking. What if it doesn't work? What if I forget to add something important? What if it breaks? What if I don't do it right? What if I'm wasting my time?
It would certainly be easier to wait for someone to make it for me.
And yet, after two weeks of "doing it the hard way," the system is almost done.
That's the hidden downside of placing a high value on ideas like "efficiency": the wise-seeming impulse to avoid unnecessary investment often devolves into putting important things off in the hope that someone else will save you the effort.
What would happen if you decided to stop waiting for a miracle and finally committed to "doing it the hard way"?
The exceptions? Dumb luck. As a strategy, I don't recommend it. ↩