The right kind of effort

When something doesn’t turn out as planned it can be easy to feel hard done by, pack up our things, and go home. We can do this even before thinking about why something happened the way it did, what that means, or how we might put in effort to make things better if faced with a similar situation in the future.

Playing sport is an easy example of seeing different types of effort being put in. Some people run harder and try more and attempt to brute force their way to a better result. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. At any given time the opposition might simply be faster, stronger, or more technically competent at the sport. Some people identify parts of their game where they are lacking and for the immediate future practice to improve these areas of their game. This is often a more effective approach, but in the heat of the moment during a game we unintentionally cast aside this training and revert to our default action. This is especially likely if we have been doing things the old way for a long time. Another option, which is partially present in both previous strategies, is to improve our decision making under pressure. The payoff of putting in effort here can be huge, but it is difficult to emulate the stress we will feel  in real game situations. No matter how intense we make a training session it will not have the same consequences. There is no way to replicate the exact stresses that winning or losing a game might have attached to it.

In our lives we experience similar situations. And just like sport we can practice what we might do in particular situations but never know what we will do until we find ourselves having to make a choice for real. Starting a new job and learning the ropes. Just trying something over and over again with ‘brute force’ is less likely to be appropriate here, and there is usually someone we can ask for help. We just have to do it, sometimes swallowing our pride because we don’t know something we think we should. While flatting there might be things we believe we know should be done a certain way because it seems the most logical. Twice in the past week I have had conversations about remembering everyone has had different experiences while growing up so their expectations and actions maybe different to ours. This is absolutely ok. It is also ok to point out where we think others could do things better. On the flip side we must show humility to change our the way we do things if a logical explanation is made to us by someone else.

Next time someone answers a question and you don’t understand their answer, or you are disappointed by a given response, or someone does something in a seemingly illogical fashion, stop to think for a second. Accept the way you are feeling, but try to keep an open mind. If you are still unsure, as graciously as you can ask for an explanation. There is no obligation for one to be provided, but if we don’t ask there is no way we will get one. Sometimes we will help improve the way things are done simply by asking the question and provoking thought on the matter. Sometimes we will learn why the way something is done is actually more logical than the way we would do it. Sometimes applying effort in the right places, together, will improve something for a larger group of people than we thought.

The way to promote change is often through cooperation, not aggression. Each and every one of us is an expert at something, and hopelessly inept at something else. The key is to work out which things we want to get better at and finds ways to improve at them. We can also use our expertise to help others improve at things they want to. Practice, learn from others, try new ways of doing things.

What are some small things you are working on at the moment? Big things? Medium sized things? Go at them. Try different angles if you hit a roadblock. Ask for help when you need it.

Life is not easy, but with a bit of effort in the right place you will make amazing things happen.

Be good, keep good, and sleep good dear readers. Peace.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels

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