Greetings and salutations!
When it comes to academics, video games, and pretty much anything that you can improve on, there will most likely be some manner of a learning curve to overcome. Now when I mention learning curve, I suppose in this context I mean a hurdle to overcome in general, where it could be physical, mental, or some combination of both. Especially so when it comes to academics and learning specific things about your craft, there will be so many obstacles that get in the way, but the best way to succeed is to tackle these hurdles and approach them critically and well informed, that way when you make your attempts again, you know the best way to approach the problem at hand.
First and foremost, I'll start with video games, because they're the easiest to relate to in regards to these steep learning curves.
I've been playing a lot of Super Smash Bros. in my days, however there is a very clear distinction between normal play and what would be considered to be, professional play.
Now pictured in the GIF above is a snippet from a match between two 'gods' of the game, Mew2King & PPMD, and if you're confused about what is going on exactly, you have full reason to be. So in comparison of professional play to normal/casual play, the game flows so much quicker than one can reasonably believe, utilizing techniques to reduce lag with attacks and landing, traversing the stage significantly quicker, and attempting to abuse mechanics like air dodging and ledge grabbing to knock out the opponent.
Long story short, there are so many advanced techniques that separate the professional side versus casual that it makes the learning curve so excruciatingly steep that it can discourage others from playing the game.
Now when I look at a learning curve for any game or concept, I take it as a challenge and I thoroughly enjoy the thought process behind it. Personally, I don't believe that games are meant to cater to every single individual, especially when there are games that are built around a specific concept such as incredible difficulty (Dark Souls) or how the competitive/professional side is separated from the rest of the community. And it doesn't even really have to have a "professional" side, but rather just a combination of hurdles that you can overcome to become increasingly better at whatever it is that you do.
To me, it's even better if you can find someone who is better than you at whatever it is that you do, so you can learn off of them. When learning how to play Smash, or even in the professional industry in learning how to properly work in a Security Operations Center, I always looked to my peers, colleagues, and superiors for advice and improvement. I would see where I was falling behind, and work on catching back up or even surpassing those given the opportunity.
It's all a challenge, and it can be taken as a learning experience at how you can tackle a problem better, or how you can approach certain situations. In your industries, there are going to be other people that do what you do, but how you overcome these odds is by honing your craft and being the best at what you do. We can constantly improve - perhaps it could be learning a new language, picking up a new drawing medium, learning advanced techniques of a particular piece of software. There's a whole realm to explore of each and every subject.
My final piece of advice is to always challenge yourself. Taking the easy route is fine and dandy, however when it comes to looking back, seeing all of the accomplishments leading up to that point is the greatest feeling in the world. See where you can improve and take the opportunity to do so. Recognize your faults, and you'll be able to become even greater. Moreso than we already are!
Until next time,