Wile E. Coyote runs off a cliff but gravity doesn’t seem to work on him. He just keeps on running, suspended in air, a supernatural feat. But here’s the tragedy: he is capable of this feat only because he doesn’t know he’s doing it. And it’s exactly the moment he realizes there is no ground beneath his feet that he comes crashing down into the canyon below. There is never an instant where he is both flying and aware that he is flying.

It’s the fearless who succeed. But take two people who are equally talented and ask which one is more likely to be fearless. It’s the one who is less worried about failure. But if we turn that around then what it says is that the guy for whom failure hurts the most is the one that’s going to fail.

Everyone has gone through something like this:  you take on some new challenge like playing chess or the piano. You work hard at it because initially two things are true: a) when you see other people who do it well you sense the feeling of pride and satisfaction you would have if you could do it well too, and b) at the beginning you cannot yet do it well. Then after lots of hard work finally you can do it too. But somewhere along the way something changed. Mastering it meant discovering that it’s not such an impressive feat after all. Now that you can do it you see that there is a method to it, it’s not magic like you thought.

Could it be that the causality actually works in the opposite direction:  those skills that you eventually do master, you master them because you stop thinking of them as magic as start to think of them as routine methodical tricks.

Is it even possible for someone to be great at something and be in as much awe of himself as the rest of us failures are of him?

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