What You Do Is Not Easy

Misconception Month – Intensive, not Easy. An article about disparaging ourselves, and giving yourself a little more credit for all the things you do.

Intensive, Not Easy | Misconception Month

“Even a monkey could do it.” Have you ever heard that line? It’s used to indicate how easy a job is. Often, an unfulfilled employee will say it about their own profile. It’s not a very encouraging phrase.

However, what you do requires effort. A monkey cannot do it. If you think about it for a moment, you will realize how absurd that is. And then you will realize the absurdity of other negative statements we make.

The things that you do are not easy, they’re intensive. They take training and patience and fortitude to do. So why is it that it’s so easy for us to think otherwise?

Negative Reinforcement

The world tells you you are not good enough. People profit off it. They cannot persuade you to buy more things if you are satisfied. The most profitable products are the ones that created their own need, like Listerine.

We are constantly bombarded with messages saying “not good enough”. It’s been ingrained so much in our collective psyche that we actively seek it out for ourselves. Young people today are absolutely smoked with negative messaging. This leads to higher anxiety and lower self-esteem across many regions and cultures.

We begin to tell ourselves that if we can do something, it is easy enough for anyone else to do. “Anyone can do it.”

That sort of negative reinforcement becomes self-sustaining very quickly, and it makes you miserable. I personally thought I had “no skills” until March 2016, when an interaction with someone else led me to finally see that I have actual, professional-level writing and editing skills. It was a pivotal moment of my young life.

Intensive Skill Development

Consider your position. Is it mundane? How mundane is it?

Let’s say it is Data Entry. That means you speak the English language, you understand how two dimensional data structures work, you’re able to operate a computer, and you’re able to remain persistent and organized. Those skills alone put you in the top 10% of people in the world.

Say you are a car mechanic. That means you have dexterity with tools, you understand the complex build systems of automobiles, you have patience, and you are able to conduct business – brokering deals for part replacements.

Skills | Intensive, Not Easy
Skills are built, day by day, and are not easy or cheap.

Translator? Speaks at least two languages with fluency, understanding the difference in structure and meaning. Manual laborer? Strength and stamina. Janitor? Patience and persistence, along with a high tolerance to dirt and grime.

No job is easy enough for a monkey to do with expertise. All careers that exist today require some skill or another. Accounting for experience, for every thousand people that can do the same as you, there are hundreds of thousands who cannot.

Recognizing Effort

All too often, we are quick to put down celebrities and athletes, giving them no credit whatsoever. If some people are to be believed, every athlete or actor in shape uses performance enhancing substances (STEROIDS! THEY ON DEM ‘ROIDS!), and every celebrity is talent-less.

The Effort of Appearance

Consider the example of Kim Kardashian. She’s often given the unceremonious tag of “famous for being famous“, quickly dismissed as profiteering off her 2007 pornographic film and having no “real talent or skill”.

There are thousands upon thousands of pornographic films of professionals and amateurs alike. What makes Kim’s special? Nothing. But what launched her into the mainstream? Appearance and marketing, two very underappreciated skills.

We as a people just don’t understand or appreciate how much effort it takes to look good. It’s a combination of several skills and traits.

First of all, you have to be athletic and fit. You require determination and perseverance, both to train in the gym regularly and to maintain a healthy diet. If you’ve ever tried maintaining proper nutrition, you know how much it sucks. Even with a team of people helping you, you are miserable and hungry all the time. Want proof? Look at Chris Pratt’s satirical Instagram series What’s My Snack?

Secondly, you have to understand fashion – color theory and texture design. You have to understand accessorization and makeup, and you have to study body language and poise. That’s a LOT of work, and not all of it can come to you naturally.

THE EFFORT OF MARKETING

Kim Kardashian on Elle | Intensive, not Easy
You tell ’em, Elle magazine.

But for Kim, more important than her appearance is her marketing skill. She quickly turned her adult film notoriety into a reality show deal for her family, and made it successful. They then converted it into a multi-product line and a business empire. That’s what sets her apart from a bevy of celebrity sex tapes.

Fast forward a few years, and Forbes reported she made $52 million in 2016, putting her down as #42 in their Celebrity 100 list. Not bad for someone who has “no real talent or skill”.

The Steroids Excuse

Every obese guy’s (or girl’s, let’s be equal here) standard response to anybody with a shredded body is ROIDS! (with the exclamation mark). It’s the quickest way to dismiss effort.

A simple counterargument: Performance Enhancing Drugs are not Popeye’s Spinach.

They don’t just suddenly jack you up. You still have to work out like a madman.

PEDs make the process easier – boosting muscle recovery and hence gain. But they don’t make it easy. You’re not going to get shredded by sitting around. If one discounts the effort it still takes, they are deluding themselves to feel better.

PEDs are banned from professional athletics in the spirit of fair competition. But they’re not the devil. They have medicinal use for people who are debilitated or crippled by illness (whether physical, biological, or mental).

Takeaways

We are all conditioned to dismiss effort – whether it be someone else’s or our own. You don’t need many things if you feel fulfilled. So it is in the best interest of business that you remain miserable.

Take the time, every opportunity you get, to fairly acknowledge your effort and skill. Be aware of how much you’re stretching yourself in multiple directions. Take every chance to appreciate the good you do.

If you feel you are not doing enough, consider what are the things weighing you down. Physical or mental illness, financial burden, social responsibility – these are all big, heavy things. You cannot be faulted for being held back by them. Be fair to yourself.


This post is the fourth of four in a series called ‘Misconception Month’. Every Thursday in April (12 PM IST), I’ve released posts from the series, and they’re all about common misconceptions that we might not really give its due attention. I hope you enjoyed this read and found it worth thinking about.

Do you agree or disagree with the ideas in this article? Tell me below.

Also see:
1: The Key to Success is Persistence, not Competence
2: You do not Want to be Happy
3: Being Good is Not Your Default State