A recent Reflection message sparked a conversation between one of our readers, Carol, and a friend of hers, Erin.

Carol shared the conversation thread with us, and we loved reading their discussion of how hard and fruitless the early days of learning can be.

The entire exchange was a joy to read. We specifically wanted to share this quote from Erin:

"When you first start learning something, it is PAINFUL.

Everything is hard, all the decisions are difficult and fraught, there is no fluency.

So you have to work 10 times harder than someone who is fluent, and since we want to get paid in proportion to the pain and effort, you end up wanting a lot of recognition in order to compensate, like instant international artistic fame, thank you very much!

Later, after a lot of experience and practice, you get really fluent and you can pump out pretty good stuff all the time, and then, on a day when your push that fluency really hard, you produce a masterpiece."

I thought that was spot on.

Anyone who has put in the work to develop any level of mastery — whether it is as a painter, a coder or a yoga teacher — is aware of the practice needed to get there. Often the payoff does not feel equal to the work put in, especially in those beginning years.

Those early hardships rarely get Instagrammed or told publicly, but in our observations, putting in the work and working through the setbacks is the only repeatable path to produce anything worthy of being called a masterpiece.

Mike Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee

P.S. Take a look at our Creativity Guide, where we guide you in establishing a habit to power through the difficult first steps when starting something new.

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Creativity.

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Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.

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