6

I've come across with the sentence below?

Old tasks become easier the second time around, but it doesn’t get easier overall because now you’re pouring your energy into the next challenge.

I don't know what the reference of "it" is here. The tasks? the process? or anything else? So could you please tell me what the reference of "it" is here?

The full text is:

Usually, this minor dip in performance is no cause for worry. [...] The less energy you spend on trivial choices, the more you can spend it on what really matters. However, when you want to maximize your potential and achieve elite levels of performance, you need a more nuanced approach. You can’t repeat the same things blindly and expect to become exceptional. Habits are necessary, but not sufficient for mastery. What you need is a combination of automatic habits and deliberate practice. Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery To become great, certain skills do need to become automatic. Basketball players need to be able to dribble without thinking before they can move on to mastering layups with their nondominant hand. [...] But after one habit has been mastered, you have to return to the effortful part of the work and begin building the next habit. Mastery is the process of narrowing your focus to a tiny element of success, repeating it until you have internalized the skill, and then using this new habit as the foundation to advance to the next frontier of your development. Old tasks become easier the second time around, but it doesn’t get easier overall because now you’re pouring your energy into the next challenge. Each habit unlocks the next level of performance. It’s an endless cycle.

Atomic habits by James Clear

11

That is rather like a "weather it". The sentence requires a subject and "it" is used without a definite reference.

You could interpret "it" to mean "The process of developing mastery", ie the subject discussed in this paragraph.

7

Let's say a teen is complaining to a parent about how difficult high-school is.

The bus comes so early, at 6:15AM. I've got late lunch, so I'm starving by then. And Mr Jones is so boring.

The parent might say "I've got news for you: it doesn't get any easier". There "it" alludes vaguely to "what is expected of you" or "life in general" or "things".

It does not always refer to a specific noun. It can refer to the topic of conversation, the context. Using it in this way is conversational.

  • Likewise one could say, "Things don't get any easier" – user151841 Dec 19 '18 at 17:21
  • Not sure what you mean by "conversational". I might write "It is difficult to overstate the importance of the preceding point" in a formal document. – Michael Harvey Dec 19 '18 at 18:24
  • 1
    @Michael Harvey That is a somewhat different construction. The infinitive clause acts as the subject of that sentence (To overstate the importance of the preceding point is difficult) but it is extraposed out of that slot and so-called dummy "it" takes its place at the head of the sentence. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 19 '18 at 20:10
3

This paragraph refers to becoming great at some type of activity (they give the example of Basketball, but it can be anything). To excel in some activity, you have to learn how to excel in many small tasks. But each time you master some aspect of that activity, becoming great at that activity doesn't get easier, since there is always the next aspects of the activity to put your efforts in mastering.

The "it" in "it doesn’t get easier overall" refers to becoming great in the field.

0

That sentence demonstrates the use of an impersonal verb in English. English is strict about always requiring a syntactic subject, even if semantically none is required; the pronoun it fills that need.

-1

Your "full text" starts with "Usually, this minor dip in performance is no cause for worry. " What is this "minor dip", and what in what is the performance? Almost certainly, there is more to the text, so the answer to your question depends on that text. Let's say the text says:

When you're learning a new skill, you continuously master more tasks. Old tasks become easier the second time around, but it doesn’t get easier overall because now you’re pouring your energy into the next challenge.

Then "it" refers to "new skill".

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