I will begin my post with a true story that carries a powerful lesson so that if you don't have time to read this entire post, you can walk away having absorbed the most important part of it.
The African doctor: About 20 years ago, in a poor African country, a student enrolled in med school. For this student, med school was not a way out of poverty because he was one of the lucky few who had phenomenally rich parents. In a material sense, the student wanted for nothing. Anything he yearned for that money could buy, his father would purchase. However, his father had one wish and that was for the son to become a doctor. Now the son was never passionate about medicine - in fact, he wasn't passionate about anything. He got decent grades in school to please his father and when the courses got too difficult, his father would of course hire a tutor in order that his son may move past any academic obstacle. Ultimately, the son ended up in med school where, after so many years of trying to please his father, he was all burnt out. Due to his lack of drive, the student did not study for his exams, but, lucky for him, he had the same teacher for most of his courses due to his area of specialization in the medicine field. When it came time to write the exams, the student wrote naught but his name on the exam booklet, and stuffed wads of cash in between the pages as a "gift" to the teacher. Obviously the money came from the student's father, but money is money. The teacher accepted the gift and gave the student a passing grade. This went on every semester until the end of med school. The student graduated, got a job at a big hospital in the country (because he $hook the right hand$) and worked as a surgeon. About 5 years ago, the teacher's wife had an emergency and she was rushed to the ER, the teacher by her side. Once there, the surgeon who needed to operate was none other than the student who had never written a single word on his exams. It probably won't come as a shock to know that the teacher's wife died right then and there because the surgeon failed to save her. In one fell swoop, karma dealt with both the surgeon and the former teacher.
Do not take shortcuts in life, gentlemen. They will only lead you to your doom. The surgeon may have been born into the elite class, his turds may have been worth more than my house, but he still had to work on himself as a man. You can be born rich, you can be born privileged, you can be born genetically gifted, but you cannot be born a man. Because men are made. And they are made by walking the long and arduous and thorny path of hard work and sacrifice. No matter what circumstances you were born in, you still have to strive for self-improvement. No man is ever born at the finish line. As Nietzsche said, "What is great in a man is that he is a bridge and not an end."
That being said, do not waste your mindpower on the end. Focus on the present and tackle the obstacle directly in front of you. Don't worry about looking like Arnold - just finish your set. Don't let your mind wander to the moment you receive the Nobel Prize - just finish publishing your science experiment.
So what can you do from now on? Embrace the pain. The reason we attempt to take shortcuts in the first place is to avoid pain. But pain is an amazing teacher. It's a sharpening stone and you are the blade. So from now on, expose yourself to it. Make a conscious effort to move towards it. Push past your comfort zone and understand that it's a horizon that compels you rather than a frontier that contains you.