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Life takes effort – Editorial by Bryan Golden

Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 11:42 am

Life takes effort.  Success takes effort.  Suffering takes effort.  Failure takes effort.  Yet, “it takes too much effort,” is a constantly heard excuse for not even attempting something.  Effort is required for happiness and success.

However, just expending effort does not guarantee success, nor does more effort automatically accelerate your progress.  The effort you put into life must be focused toward one or more specific goals.  Otherwise your energy is scattered without producing any desired results.

Before you are ready to provide effort, you must know what goals you are working toward.  Next, you need a plan designed to attain your goals.  Now you can put in the effort required to implement each step in your plan.

Self-monitoring is used to ensure your effort is actually keeping you on track.  It’s essential to immediately detect if and when you drift off course. Then you are able to take whatever corrective action is required to get you back in the right direction.

Without effective self-monitoring, you run the risk of squandering effort by going in the wrong direction.  Effort without results is a waste of time.  But discovering something that doesn’t work as expected is not a waste of time, it is a learning experience which highlights what needs to be changed.

Understanding the difference between productivity and activity is necessary for evaluating the effectiveness of your effort.  You are productive whenever you are working toward a specific goal.  You are active when your are busy with no goal in mind.  The objective is devoting your efforts toward productive behavior.

Utilizing the 80/20 principle helps keep your efforts productive.  This principle states that 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results.  Analyze your behavior to determine cause and effect relationships.  Now focus on the efforts which generate the most results.  Keep this principle in mind as you utilize self-monitoring to maximize your productivity.

These strategies enable you to maximize the positive impact of your efforts.  You want to work smart first, and then work hard at it.  Intelligent application of focused effort accelerates your progress.  Conversely, effort dispersed without direction drains you without moving you forward.

Random effort scatters your energy.  Whereas you are working hard, you are not working smart.  Therefore, there are few, if any, results emanating from all of your hard work.  You are drained with little or nothing to show.  This scenario causes you measurable frustration leading to burnout.

Your attitude suffers when you feel burned out.  Since nothing has been accomplished, your outlook turns negative.  You are then more likely to give up because you see no point continuing to toil.  Once you give up, failure is ensured.

In a situation where your efforts are not yielding the desired results, your strategy needs to be reassessed.  Identifying what changes are required is essential.  You may need to adjust your focus.  Perhaps a different course of action is appropriate.  It’s even possible more effort is called for in order to overcome obstacles.

As tempting as it may be, giving up is never a solution.  The expenditure of effort is the basis for achievement.  There are no shortcuts.  You must be willing to do what is necessary, for as long as it takes to reach your objective.

Anything worthwhile takes effort.  The loftier your goals, the more effort you must devote.  Expecting something for nothing wastes time.  Keep your efforts concentrated on productive behavior.  Since life takes effort, apply your effort towards success.

NOW AVAILABLE:  “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book.  Visit or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at or write him c/o this paper. Ó 2015 Bryan Golden