The trick is that the more we’ve had, the harder they become to achieve.
When you start running every new distance marker is a personal best. The second time you run most of those distances, you will improve and set a new personal best. It creates a hyperbolic expectation. By extrapolation, this would make everyone who started running an Olympian with a few months.
The reality is not hyperbolic. Simply because we improve on the easy things first. We grow in strength and fitness. These improvements filter through to performance quickly. Then we run out of quick fixes. We hot a plateau and discover that our ability to harness more fitness and strength requires better technique.
We are faced with improvements ever increasing in complexity. Each new improvement takes longer. Each one harder to execute.
The thrill of steep learning curves that translate quickly gets us hooked. The patience to develop great technique distinguishes Olympians from everybody else.
Mediocrity is reserved for those who chase steep learning curves.