The title of this post is the last line of a 60-Second Science podcast. [Update: looks like the link went away.] The podcast announces a recent study that says we tend to over-estimate our abilities before we start something new, but under-estimate our abilities once we get started. Sounds true to me.

This phrase is really very interesting.

Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

Quite true, the second bit can be perhaps explained with the fact linear projections are easier to do than exponential ones: we tend to imagine our performance will be proportional to our

currentlevel of competence for all the time of our activity, but in fact we learn a lot and improve our efficiency while progressing in the work.So really… one best estimation should be based on a derivative function of our original guess. :)

You can also say that we underestimate difficulty before we start trying.