Forgetting the Hard Path is Supposed to be Hard

by Mike Sententia on November 28, 2012

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

Today, I want to talk to other mages who intentionally choose the hard path.

As I wrote Monday’s post (about reactivating psychic intuitions), I started to write about the debugging involved, but I kept flinching away. I just didn’t want to talk about the problems I’d had to fix, even though that’s the most useful part for readers learning my style.

The basic reason was simple: No one else talks about these problems, at least not publicly, and I feel inferior for having them. Even though I solved them, I felt like I shouldn’t have had them in the first place.

Initially, I thought it was a matter of comparing my insides to someone else’s outsides. I mean, if I didn’t tell you about these problems, you wouldn’t know about them, right? So maybe other folks have the same problems but just don’t share.

That definitely happens, but it wasn’t what happened here. Because I realized, other mages don’t have these problems. At least, not the ones I was imagining and comparing myself to. But there’s a very good reason:

I intentionally chose the hard path.

That’s right. I said, “Let’s do this the hard way. The way with more problems, because I’ll learn more by solving them, and wind up with a more flexible technique that I can use to build even better techniques later. Yay for the hard way.”

And then, after winning, I felt bad for having had those problems.

The hard path is supposed to be hard. But sometimes, you forget. Something to watch out for.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

zach November 29, 2012 at 3:46 PM

For what it’s worth,
you should be comparing yourself to a wider sample set.
It’s occurred to me that this is the difference between learning the nuance of each brush stroke and simply applying a filter in photoshop. The difference between making something with your own hands and assembling something you got from Ikea. You are making and REmaking.
Also, this understanding is how people of like skill recognize each other by their simplest actions. Body language. Signature. Watch a Marine shoulder a pack. Watch a pro snowboarder settle on the snow. It’s the intimate understanding of cause and effect and of the properties of their world. They look at the uninitiated or less experienced and often think or say.. I DID THAT. So will you, and hopefully you will tell us how to lace our boots and where not to keep our dry socks and matches.. and WHY. ;)
Fear is the mind killer – and shame is its dirty cousin. Neither belongs here in the presence of exploration and understanding. I look forward to reading everything…

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Mike Sententia November 29, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Thanks, Zach. I like the way you put that. I hope other readers in a similar spot read your comment, too.

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