My piano teacher once shared with me what it was like to watch a former champion of The International Chopin Piano Competition prepare for their performance.
For 6–8 hours each day in the week leading up to the competition, the competitor would pick apart different sections of music from their repertoire — playing each section in what felt like slow motion so as to perfect every last detail.
This is the amount of effort that someone, who by most people’s standards would already be considered a world-class pianist, was putting in in preparation for a 45- to 55-minute performance.
As spectators, we often only see the performance itself — the concert, the brilliant painting, the legendary marketer, the perfectly captured photo, the amazing novel.
It’s easy to be subdued in awe by these amazing feats and say ‘I want to be like that!’ all while failing to fully appreciate that behind each performance are often thousands of hours of preparation — of trial and error, of getting rejected and getting back up, of focusing on the smallest of details that most people wouldn’t bother with.
For anything you strive to perform well in, there is no replacement for putting in the work.