“I don’t understand… I gave it everything I had. I guess it wasn’t enough.” Have you ever had this conversation with yourself? Has someone ever had it with you?
I’m my biggest critic. The amount of times I have run this narrative through my mind is more than I’d care to admit. “Why didn’t I give that more effort? Why was all your effort not enough?” Recently I’ve been thinking: what if it was less a question of Effort and more a question of efficiency?
When we think about committing ourselves to something (whether that be our jobs, a sport, a relationship etc.) we often imagine, sometimes wrongly, how much or how little effort we will need to commit to said thing. But what about how efficient we will be with it? Will we use our time well to complete a task at our job? Will we train smarter instead of harder at the gym? Will we reach a compromise with a loved one rather than have a massive argument?
I think we need to think more about efficiency, maximizing the result whilst minimizing the effort.
I was a pretty lazy kid, an average student at school and a massive procrastinator or outright avoider of work at university. Once I found motivation, I would put immense amounts of effort in, but I would be extremely demoralized when my efforts yielded less than my expectations. Firstly, I hadn’t developed any discipline or resilience yet. But secondly, and more importantly here, I didn’t realize that I wasn’t practicing efficiency. A little bit of work every now and then leading up to an assignment was far more efficient than all the stress and effort that procrastinating caused when I had to complete an assignment with T-minus 24 hours.
This can be said for sport, for work, even relationships. Leverage the greatest results from the path of least resistance. Stay efficient and work smarter, not harder.