The Effort Deficiency
July 12, 2016
There are lots of people who say they want to be the best; they say they want to achieve. These people appear as if they would proudly stand upon a chair and bellow that they will be successful - nothing could possibly stand in their way! The words they spew are all the right things to say. The problem is most people don't realize that winning comes at a cost. Success is far from easy. In fact it's exhausting. Most people want to be successful and they have the purest of intentions, they just don't realize the significant amount of effort that it takes to achieve what we desire. Most people fail to succeed for no other reason than they don't put in enough effort.
Of course effort isn't the only thing you need to be successful, but it is an unquestionable necessity. Often it is the people with less obvious talent, experience and skill that achieve more through pure grit and determination. Effort is the number one reason most of us don't achieve all that we want. That's difficult to learn because it ultimately means that when we don't achieve all that we want, it's in large part due to ourselves and not others. It means we simply didn't try hard enough. We didn't put in all that was needed. We came up short because of our own choices.
Working with talent in the media, it has quickly became apparent to me that what separates those who are successful from those who don't quite make it isn't an innate talent but rather how much effort the talent chooses to put in. Yes, sometimes people are separated by experience and a lack of skill, but when two people have similar experience and skill, it's the amount of effort one puts in that sees them glide past their rival.
Many people waste opportunities by not digging in and doing what it takes. They aren't prepared to work hard enough, to practice, to learn, to grow. They throw it away not because they can't do it but because it is not easy. Investing effort drains our energy reserves and depletes our mental capacity. Some people would rather not make that investment, or at least they convince themselves they just can't make the investment. That's the problem with effort; it's not infinite. We have to make decisions about when and where to invest our effort. Everything that you want to achieve - big or small - has a price tag on it. Everything requires effort from us, so investing enough effort to make a difference in one area means we have to stop investing in something else. Those who achieve success decide to put in the effort. They make a decision about what's most important and direct their effort toward that. They commit.
It's simple really: If you want to achieve something, you have to be willing to put in the effort. Success comes from effort. You have to work harder than everyone else. You have to be more disciplined. You must make it a priority. You have to be deliberate with your focus and actions. Think about that person who one day wakes up and decides she wants to become a world class swimmer. In that moment, she makes a conscious decision to funnel all her effort into that singular activity. She is prepared to do whatever it's going to take. No matter what. She commits to relentless and grueling practices. She pushes herself to be fitter and faster. She spends hours in the pool. Every day. Even when she doesn't want to. That's not talent or skill that drives her to do that - its effort!
If you're not achieving what you want, if you're not finding success, then you're not putting in enough effort. The only way you're going to get what you truly desire is to invest more effort. Give up the other things in your life that are serving as distractions and get committed to the goals and activities that really matter to you.
Will Smith says "The person who works the hardest wins. While the other guy's sleeping, I'm working. While the other guy's eating, I'm working. While the other guys making love... I mean, I'm making love, but I'm working hard at it!" Will Smith doesn't claim to be the best at what he does. In fact, he openly admits he is not the best, but he is adamant... he works harder than anyone else. It is the effort that he puts in that made him successful.
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden who said "focus on effort and not the result." Wooden was obsessed with effort and commitment. He understood - and instilled in his players - that success was a product of constant effort. Effort gave his players the ultimate edge.
The reason for so much sub-par performance is not a lack of talent but a lack of effort. People expect things to be easy. They're not willing to put in more work. They are not willing to sacrifice some things in order to focus on one really important thing. They're just not willing.
If you want to be successful... If you want to feel what it's like to make achievements that really matter to you, stop making excuses and put in more effort. It's going to be more effort than you can imagine, but if you really want something enough, surely it's worth that effort!