Whenever you start something new, for example, writing, coding, designing, or any other creative process, you are optimistic and excited about it in the beginning. You are full of positivity. You know you can finish what you started.
Then after some weeks or months, you start struggling. You start questioning your process and progress. You think you are not good enough. And it starts building frustration and anxiety. You reach a breaking point where you want to quit. Many people do quit at this point. And start with something else. I call them hobby hoppers. One year they start learning to play guitar. Next, they hop on to cooking and then painting and so on. But they cannot master any of it. I was also one of them 🙈.
But when it’s about up-skilling yourself like learning a new coding language, new design tool, writing, communicating, etc. Sometimes these skills can make or break your career. Then quitting is not an option.
But let me tell you that this is normal! This is just a phase that can be passed on by practicing your new skill. By being consistent and resilient. Let me tell you why and what exactly it is:
It’s an initial phase. This is the most stimulating one. Because you are doing nothing in this phase apart from building your taste for a new skill. For example, you want to start a YouTube channel. What do you do? You go to YouTube and start watching high-quality videos of some notable YouTubers. Fantastic lighting, camera setup, crisp audio, effortless speaking.
After watching hundreds of hours of content, you can distinctly tell the best quality videos because now you have developed the taste.
Now you’re highly motivated and start learning and creating your videos. You spend months sharpening your video production skills. You accurately follow the tutorials for color grading your videos, but it just doesn’t match. You record yourself talking in front of the camera, but you hate your voice (everyone hates their own voice, by the way). You start getting frustrated and start thinking of quitting. You think you will never be able to reach there. You never achieve that highest quality outcome. You know what you’re creating is not at all good. Do you know why this happens?
Taste <> Talent Gap
Because your taste knows your creation is not very good, you’re disappointed. This happens because of the gap between your taste and your talent.
A lot of people can’t pass this phase. Most of them quit. Everyone you know who is successful today has gone through this phase. They knew they were falling short. Their work was disappointing because it wasn’t matching with their taste. But they could only pass that phase by producing endless work. Keep practicing the craft. You will be able to reduce that gap between your taste and talent over a period of time.
If you’re going through this phase, please keep doing what you’re doing. The phase could last for weeks or months. But don’t quit. Keep producing the work. Keep publishing that article or a newsletter every week or month. Keep doing that #100daysofcode or #dailydesignchallenge. This will only make you better and better.
Ira Glass first tossed the taste-talent gap concept. He is a host and executive producer of the popular National Public Radio show, This American Life.
I highly recommend you to watch this video: