Success largely boils down to a simple distinction. It’s glaringly obvious once you see it, but also easy to find ingenious ways of ignoring it: do the real thing and stop doing fake alternatives.
Consider one person who wrote to me saying she turned down a job working in French. She didn’t feel her French was good enough yet. So instead, she planned to listen to podcasts at home every day until she was ready.
You know what would have helped her get good at French? Working at the job in French.
Working at a job in the language she wanted to speak was the real thing for her. Listening to podcasts at home to prepare was the fake alternative she chose instead.
Or consider another person I spoke with who wanted to get better at writing music. He had come up with a complex analysis project. He was going to do a deep dive into past hits, figuring out what made them great. In all this complexity he ignored the obvious, real thing he should be doing: writing more songs. When I asked how many he had written so far, he said it was just three.