Effortlessly Brilliant? Not Me

The ego is a puzzling phenomenon. When I was living overseas, every expat I encountered was richer and more fabulous than I could ever be. Every one was embarking on an amazing new business scheme (the specifics are a trade secret, sorry), was ex special forces (can't tell you too much, sorry), had friends in high places who owed them favours (better not say who, sorry), or was an ex professional sportsman (shouldn't say which teams because you might not believe me, sorry).

How to Simplify Your Bricklaying Duties

When I was writing my first book, suddenly people around me were also writing books, actually they were writing the best book ever, they just had to "type it up" first. They knew it was the best book ever because they had a family friend in publishing who said so.

When I was involved in the martial arts, everybody I met was more qualified than me or had won more tournaments than I had. Despite my 10+ years in the game and my two nationals and one European title, I was the lousiest performer around. Most had to give up winning international tournaments in exotic locations due to equally exotic circumstances, or had simply transcended the body and now just spread enlightenment among the patrons of ex pat pubs. None of them ever came to the dojo to demonstrate anything. Not once. They were simply too good for that, and they had already proven themselves.

When I started my PhD, I was assailed by similar stories: so many people seem to have given up research degrees due to boredom or the whole process being too confining for their brilliant minds and ceaseless creativity. Like the book-writers, they had done world-shaking, astounding work that would revolutionize such-and-such, but they just hadn't had the time to "type it up".

Oh, and the number of people who have told me that they dabbled in oriental languages once upon a time, were told they were naturals (by the guy in the local Chinese restaurant, a super talented best friend who worked as an English teacher in Japan, or someone they met on the plane who was a total genius), would have been completely fluent in a year, and would have been a world class interpreter two years later. But they gave it up because it wasn't a challenge/they had bigger fish to fry, and can't remember much at all now, after all it was a few years ago.

Why is everything I do hard work, when for so many others it is all so easy?
I must be the dumbest, least accomplished person I know.

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