Why People Over-Complicate What They’re Good At

When inquiring into what others are good at, their methodology for doing what they do quickly becomes hard to follow.

What are subjectively minute tasks for some, are overly complicated ones for those who’ve not yet grown accustomed to the same level of expertise. If the average person were to attend an NBA team’s practice, they would be blown away. The sheer percentage of shots going in the basket would astound them, and the low rate of error would be rather impressive. Upon being exposed to that level of proficiency, they may inquire into proper shooting form, or various drills that they can do. Professional athletes aren’t the only ones an average person would be impressed by. Any math wiz, prolific writer, or influential speaker can take our breath away.

Though some people’s expertise within a specified field may seem to be astonishing, be wary of those same people exaggerating the true level of difficulty to what they do. People enjoy others marveling at their level of proficiency in a certain domain. Because of this, there is a tendency for them to over-complicate their description of what they do whilst teaching others how to do it.

This article will attempt to shed some light onto why people who are proficient in their chosen ventures put up a faux barrier of difficulty when asked about what they do.


Being Prideful of Their Work

Most of the things we do day-to-day aren’t rewarded. We get up in the morning, get ourselves ready for the world, then take it on the best we could. Those who’ve perfected a craft or skill are no different. Their days consist of strenuous hard work, and what you perceive as a masterful performance by another, is typically a normal happening from their standpoint. Imagine yourself in the position of impressing others by the work you do. How would you feel if someone came by your desk at work and was marveled by what you do? People tend to remain humble under obvious praise, but will also tend to exaggerate the details of what they actually do when asked about in-depth.

Once someone begins asking in-depth questions into what we do, the story we tell them carries with it pride. It’s difficult to escape the tendency of tagging what we tell others about our work with pride. The more hours someone’s spent perfecting a certain skill, the prouder of it they’ll be. This pride is expressed through making it seem that what we do is harder than it really is. People may over-complicate concepts you inquire into for the sake of making them seem difficult to understand. If it’s difficult to understand for you, then they’ must’ve overcome difficulty on their journey towards mastering that domain. The desire to be perceived as a person who has overcome barriers is a strong one.


Competitive Traits of Those Who’ve Mastered Their Craft

Pride and competition are somewhat related traits, as our competitive tendencies are partly fueled by pride. They’re also fueled by fear, and the deeper you inquire into what someone else holds value in, the more fearful they will be of losing it. This is not a fear which makes a person visibly exhibit it, but rather exists as a simple doubt inside their mind. Imagine the person who has come up to your desk at work begins digging a little too deep into what you do. Imagine they begin asking for secrets of your trade, and the shortcuts that you’ve discovered for yourself. Would you instantly tell them what they want to know with absolute clarity? The thought of losing your secrets and shortcuts to a potential competitor should scare you just a little bit if you’re a person who’s driven by competition. We can never be too sure about who may pose a potential threat.

These same feelings will play a factor whenever you inquire into learning from somebody whose skills you respect in a particular domain. Stayed tuned into some people’s tendency to present the steps they take seem harder than they actually are. Always remember the fact that even seemingly complicated concepts are simpler to grasp once you sit down and take your time going through every nuance and crevice. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged from participating and practicing any skill of your choosing because of what you hear.

Remember the forces that make people over-complicate what they tell you about their work. People who you may consider as mentors can be working to hurt you without intending to. Their prideful and competitive desires surrounding the work they do can work to complicate their answers, make the steps you need to take seem harder than they actually are, and generally demotivate you from tackling tasks to the best of your ability.

Do not blame the people who do this, as these are simply tendencies to prolong their own success in the field they’re in. They don’t want to make what they do seem easy to the eyes of another, even if what they do is actually simpler than it seems. Surround yourself with the people who simplify the lessons that they teach. These reasons are why those who speak with clarity, make things simpler than they actually are, and genuinely care for the understanding of others should be respected. Seek these people out on your journey to learn the skills of your choosing, as they will keep your level of motivation where it needs to be in the face of adversity.

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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims. Please critically analyze all claims made and independently decide on its validity.