Being a great writer was never going to be possible, my life has been too stress-free. Songwriter, artist, these were also out of the question. How could I achieve greatness in these fields if I had nothing to rebel or get angry at. Nobody ever created great art when content and happy.
This is why the idea of “no pain, no gain” is so interesting to me. It suggests that the only way to obtain anything of worth is to suffer or struggle beforehand, it is not the destination but it is the journey. That just seems a bit too much…well effort.
Why does everything have to be hard? Why can’t things come naturally and be easy to do?
Things have to be hard because then they are worth it, just as those who inherit wealth never seem to appreciate it so it is with abilities. How many times have you heard of those with innate talents then proceeding to waste what they have been given (not that anyone gave them it other than a genetic or cultural lottery).
When you have to put the effort in your achievements gain value; the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell suggests you need can be quantified in terms of that which you could have done had you not been practising, studying or working. Just like the ant you are working ready for the harvest of your labours rather than coasting like a grasshopper.
Aragorn becomes a great king because of the trials he had endured beforehand, it is Hermoine who is the most essential of the trio of wizards and even the Avatar has to work at mastering all four elements. Where someone doesn’t have to work at their ability they tend to fall, take Anakin let’s his natural ability develop his sense of entitlement and finding the less lit path.
The pain is needed upfront because with any gain it will be there. It is just better for it to be frontloaded.