This essay is more or less the articulation of a personal observation of mine. I think that I am better at hard things than easy things. What I mean by that is that I “tend to play to my level of competition.”
I play better basketball against great people than I do against bad people. I perform well in classes that everyone thinks are quite hard but I do relatively poorly in classes that most others think are easy. I get the small parts of problems wrong that everyone does really easily, but I answer the hard parts correct.
Why is this?
Well, for one, I think this maybe means my fundamentals are lacking. Perhaps I should have paid more attention in middle and high school.
Another thing it may mean is that I rush through details more than I should. This is obviously not generally a good thing, and something I need to work on.
On the flip side, though, “playing up to my competition” inspires me to find better and better competition. Of course, I do not mean I am great at all hard things. It is just a general tendency of mine to perform better on “the hard parts” and perform poorly on some of the little details that most people sail through.
Also published on Medium.