Most worthwhile things aren't easy
It's taken a lot of time (and blood, sweat and tears) to get this book published and out in the market. And we're not done yet. Not that I mind the hard work and long hours at all - because this is something that I think is very worthwhile and very valuable. My point is simply this: there are very few things in life worth having that are easy. Be it a successful career, a successful marriage, winning the big game, or creating something beautiful, none of them are "just-throw-it-together-last-second-on-pure-skill-and-luck" type of things. Real experts can make it look easy, but don't be fooled for a second. Those experts became experts through time, practice and a whole lot of hard work. Oh sure, innate skill helps tremendously, but it'll only get you so far if you don't work to develop it. And as for luck? Yes, it can play a factor - but only if you can take advantage of it. I've heard a wonderful quote that says: "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity."
I worry that in our comfortable, instant-gratification society, some folks have forgotten the reality that success doesn't come easy. If you really want something, you have to work hard at it. If you're not willing to work hard, ask whether you really want it that bad. Could I have earned an Engineering degree instead of an Arts degree? Maybe, if I'd really wanted it. But the idea of doing uber-math for four years didn't really appeal, and thus neither did an Engineering degree. I just didn't want it bad enough to take on that challenge. My 57% in first-year physics was also a strong indicator...
And I think it's okay to try something and then figure out that you don't want it bad enough to put in the effort. At least you tried (which is more than a lot of people did) and you've enriched yourself with some more knowledge and experience. And now you know how to get started, so when something comes along that you really want, it'll be that much easier to get off the couch and go after it.
As a society, we achieve great things through daring, through brilliance, but most of all through sheer hard work. If we as a society forget about the necessity of the hard work part - or just don't want to do it - we stand to lose a great deal, both as a society and as individuals. So let's get out there and do it! Yee-hah!
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