Terrance's Playground

Making Things Look Easy is Hard

written on 19 December 2021

In this article, I share my view on why making things look easy is hard.

An experienced artist shows you how to draw a portrait in a matter of minutes. You say that is easy, try to recreate the artwork, and eventually give up at the mark of thirty minutes. An entrepreneur earns millions of dollars every year, most people see it as a matter of luck, yet they have no idea how to keep their wealth, not to mention creating more when they are given such an opportunity.

Making things look easy is hard. Like really hard. It takes practices, determination, passion, luck and even much more than one can imagine.

Let’s go through the process of how a person can make a job looks easy. Say a comedian. In order to make a joke sounds funny, the comedian must first have a full understanding of the stage and his audiences. What is the audiences’ preference? How do the audiences react? These alone can already take lots of effort and time. Then, he or she has to master and refine the jokes more than enough. A great comedian does not simply walk up the stage with a dozen of jokes. In fact, it can take up to a hundred trials to refine a joke. When the audiences burst out their laughter, a tightly choreographed 30-minute-show is then translated into ‘The Comedian is Natural in Telling Jokes’.

There is never a ‘natural’ comedian. It is just pure effort.

However, we as human usually underestimate the difficulty of mastering a new skill, while at the same time overestimating our own abilities to do things right. After all, it is right in our DNA. We rely on our ‘overconfidence’ in the past to survive from all kinds of hardships. Without the ‘overconfidence’, there is no way we can work past the impossible, and live this long and prosperous as a species. Yet this ‘overconfidence’ has started to come back and bite us. When one thinks he himself is smart enough, that is when the danger of ignorance lurks around him.

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.” - Albert Einstein.

This is a famous quote from the great physicist Albert Einstein. The quote implies that, the more we learn, the more we get to understand of our lack of knowledge. When we are confined in our limitation of knowledge, there will be no way we can know how less we know. Instead, when we truly commit into learning something, we will realize that there are lots of new things waiting for us to be learned. Plus, there is always an unlimited supply of knowledge, as knowledge is regularly explored and updated, and we can never master all of them.

To always carry a humble attitude and stay curious towards learning, is an extremely rare quality we can find in people these days. If only people can start to understand how knowledge can empower us, and respect each other for their works and effort. And if only people can learn to appreciate the beauty of refining a skill, or of the craftmanship. Then all the effort and time will be paid off than they are now.