A common analogy to academics would be climbing, not walking, up a staircase. Obviously I am implying that a series of stairs or a single stair can be an obstacle. I would prefer you visualized a single stair and its characteristics being morphed depending on the goal; for example a smaller series of stairs on a large stair.
So now that I have hopefully given you a ‘healthy’ visualization of what I am trying to articulate I can then continue with this analogy. Anyway, I question if analogy was applied to not just academics but the obstacles we face in everyday living – if someone was to fail at pursuing their goals then what? Would they fall of the stairs? Would they just stop climbing? Take a break? Pretty silly right? I am going in depth on this analogy just for my own amusement.