I listened to James Beshara interview Eric Ries on his podcast Below the Line this morning.

Eric said being a startup founder isn’t fun. In the movie version, you’ve got three stages. Stage one is the epiphany. A mythical, spiritual moment where the idea pops into mind. Stage three is the cover of magazines, suing each other, high status high-drama stage. What’s stage two? How did the company go from idea to success? That’s usually a two minute montage.

This imbalanced story arc can lull us into thinking it’s how life works. You set out to pursue a dream and it begins with a big stage one moment. Then after a while you’re wondering where the hell stage three will come. After a longer while you really begin to despair. The thing is, in real life, stage two is the longest by far. And the most important. And the hardest. And the least exciting or fun.

You’re probably in that second stage right now. The crap you’re wading through today and tomorrow and the next several years is likely to get collapsed into a two-minute montage in the movie version of your life.