I get this phrase from one of my favorite articles from the internet of all time: How the Karate Kid Ruined the Modern World. Movies teach that a couple minute training montage is all that is necessary to go from loser to the best in the profession. The article is funny…but the joke is sort of on us.
We have a vague idea in our head of the “price” of certain accomplishments, how difficult it should be to get a degree, or succeed at a job, or stay in shape, or raise a kid, or build a house. And that vague idea is almost always catastrophically wrong.
Accomplishing worthwhile things isn’t just a little harder than people think; it’s 10 or 20 times harder.–David Wong
This is exacerbated when at first things come easy to you…or the child you’d like to inculcate against Effort Shock.
School systems that should be making these hurdles ever more clear more often than not obfuscate through the over-validation of any effort. It’s tough to draw a line between teaching grit and obsessiveness.
This is one of the saving graces of sports – the hierarchy of excellence is clear. Even better: kids see the effort required to get there is more clear for children than other fields.
In the real world, the winners of the All Valley Karate Championship in The Karate Kid would be the kids who had been at it since they were in elementary school. The kids who act like douchebags because their parents made them skip video games and days out with their friends and birthday parties so they could practice, practice, practice. And that’s just what it takes to get “pretty good” at it. Want to know how long it takes to become an expert at something? About 10,000 hours, according to research.