My art instructor used to tell us that we should get used to the fact that one's original idea and the way a finished piece will actually look will always be different.
After years of toil I can now say she was right.
And my journey in martial arts is now echoing this sentiment.
There was the original inspiration, followed by a presumed idea, of what my style and knowledge should be after a certain length of time. However, reality is such that each lesson, triumph, error, and analysis have led me to the spot where I stand right now: With a much different outlook and understanding than I could have imagined prior.
Now, the finished work is far off, but the nature of my progress indicates that this pattern will persist. In this process, it seems, one is influenced by those around them as much as one's personal goals. We may get pushed in areas we wouldn't want to be pushed; counters to our favourite techniques emerge; we may work with someone who is physically larger or smaller than average. You may spar with a boxer or a goju student, leading you to adapt your style. You may have beginners that help you re-evaluate finer details as you do your part to assist them in their journey. It goes on and on.
But mainly, it's the philosophical aspects that are different. These, too, are countless. But suffice it to say, the finished piece is going to look much different than the initial concept.