Almost anyone can learn to fly an airplane, particularly when everything is working as it should. Even my grandson, when he was 4 years old and sitting in a car seat strapped in next to me, could safely manuever my Cessna 152 through the sky without much difficulty. It's when things don't go right that a pilot must rely on those long hours of studying, training and testing. What do you do when your engine begins to over heat, or you suddenly realize that you have no idea where you are, or the weather has changed unexpectedly and you find yourself and your passengers above a solid cloud layer and you're not an instrument rated pilot?
Being a pilot is NOT just learning to fly, but more importantly how to deal with unusual or even dangerous situations. Recognizing icing conditions, gusting crosswind approaches and landings, and knowing when to turn back because the situation is beyond your level of skill or training to deal with safely. These are the kinds of things that makes a pilot, not just knowing how to go from point A to point B.
There is a level of confidence that must be achieved when learning to fly, but it should never become a state of arrogance. Good judgement and a realistic understanding of ones limitations is essential to living beyond the next flight. It really does take a lot to become a pilot, whether you intend to some day fly with the big boys, or just puddle jump in a two seater, it begins with attitude and attention to detail. When things go wrong there is usually very little time to take positive, corrective action... and THAT'S what pilots train to do!