10
Feb
11

The only thing you really have is your effort!

The only thing you really have is your effort!

I wish that were original, but it’s not.  My brother-in-law wrote it on his Facebook page last night.  Given that he is a working musician, I give him his due as it is never easy.

Similar to professional musicians, professional athletes, talented amateurs and even the rest of us mere mortals on the ground —  can usually only be sure of something based on the effort we’ve put in to achieve it.  For this 50-something body that means I am truly *earning* the increasing tautness of my upper body from all those pre-dawn downward facing dog poses.

Yep, the effort does pay dividends — although I will admit to mornings where the seemingly endless long haul feels a bit discouraging.

And sometimes — the plateau is just that.  The top of where you are going to go — say my ability to do a hand stand!  To use the vernacular – that ain’t never gonna happen – but, it doesn’t mean I don’t stop the effort to get there.

Okay, I know I’m being Pollyanna-ish again, but this notion that what we have is our effort resonated with me.  Perhaps it’s because when the effort is honest and truly your best the outcome is not the issue.  In other words, it’s the doing that matters, and while it is great to have a goal — and in fact often the most motivating part of getting yourself to the piano, the potter’s wheel or the gym in the first place, after a while the goal tends to slip away in favor of the doing.  We often find that the mere fact of following the path we’ve put in place whether its reps on a machine, rounds on the double-ended bag, or practicing the first four measures of a song for the 15th time, means finding the chance to discover beauty and serenity in that effort.  Well, okay, the beauty part might seem a little bit funny in a funky boxing gym — but the point is to not forget the journey, ’cause it might just be what you are seeking to achieve in the first place.


5 Responses to “The only thing you really have is your effort!”


  1. February 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    In some ways I totally agree with what you are saying. Exercise started out as a goal kind of thing for me and then became something I looked forward to. In that moment when I’m in the flow, I’m not thinking about goals. However, there have been a couple of things I’ve undertaken in life for which I set goals, worked my butt off, and failed. And I can honestly say, I don’t look back fondly on those journeys. I find them confusing and disheartening. The thing I strove for was very much desired, and I was serious and thorough in my approach. But I could not avoid the failure nor figure out what I had done wrong. So what happens when the effort does not pay dividends or just highlights the fact that you suck really bad at something? 🙂 Please advise, GirlBoxing.

    • February 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm

      Hey Margaret, Thanks as always for your comment. I guess if I can give advise at all it is to say that while there are experiences that are bitterly disappointing — and goodness knows I have felt that way in my life at times — there’s also a perspective that says we can never control the outcome. The truth is you can be the most recognized athlete in your sport or to particularize it a hugely successful writer on your way to pick up the Pulitzer and boom, get hit by a bus on your way to the dinner. That’s not to say that life is lived in such extremes, but sometimes it is. And, it is at that point when one has to start find the stuff inside that says, “I’m only here now anyway.” And yes while there may be things that you’ll suck at — no matter your effort, there’s also a moment in time when you have to face that truth and move on knowing that you *did* do you best. And that further, that best, your best, may be due to a host of circumstances not the least of which are genetics, training, hand to eye coordination and so on. It’s that last component, the “I did do my best,” that you should feel pride in — and then after having shed the tears because your best didn’t bring you to your dream, you have to get up, and as my very wise Grandmother used to say, “wash your face and do.” In other words, get on with your life as an active process, and “do.” While this might not exactly fit the bill, think of the Marvelettes singing, “There’s too many fish in the sea” and have a laugh at all the things we felt tremendously serious about at the time, but manage to find ourselves free of — say dating in the 1970’s, pahhhhllllease!

  2. February 11, 2011 at 9:50 am

    We can all only be as good as our individual talent allows, we might want to move like Suger Ray Leonard, but the plain fact is most of us never will, we must strive to be the best we can, and if you can come close to that, then you’ve done a good job.
    I get all levels of talent in the gym, and i can tell pretty quickly who is likly to fly and who will struggle, the point is both need to work as hard as each other, their level’s may be diffrent but the goal is the same….To always be the best you can, never get down on your self if you know your doing your best you can.

    • February 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      Thanks for saying that. Part of the challenge is recognizing our limitations and then enjoying the parts that we can do. Heck, I’ll never be a brilliant boxer, but it doesn’t stop me from hauling my butt to Gleason’s week after week, if anything, the chance for the small successes makes the process an even more exciting experience. Thanks again.


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