Underestimating Effort

 

runningstart

All of us are bombarded by a wave of expectations on a daily basis. Ranging from friends who want to hang out more often, to parents who threaten to disown you if you don’t manage to get at least a 3.9 GPA, the weight of expectations takes its place on the shoulders of many. Thus, the reach for excellence is a journey shared by many.

Remember running races in elementary school? Remember how, just before the race, a freakishly optimistic teacher would gather up the whole class and say, “Kids, I want you all to know that the most important thing is- say it with me- having a good time, not winning. Get out there and enjoy yourselves!” (or some other variation like- “It’s not whether you win that matters, it’s whether you tried your best”)? I remember how, at the end of a race, I was completely distraught because even though I tried my best, I didn’t win. I remember wanting to hate Miss Ella (bless her heart) because of her useless advice.

I find that the pursuit of excellence is almost exactly like elementary races: regardless of how many times we’re told that giving our all is what matters most, putting in effort isn’t enough for us. We aren’t content with putting in tremendous effort and getting something other than a win from it. The value of winning has been ingrained in our heads for the longest time, but perhaps we need to re-define what winning is or shift the value that we place in winning into the extent of our effort.

We are often told to “reach for the stars”. But what if the stars are guarded by undefeatable demonic, steak-eating moons? It’s all good and well to have a positive attitude, but there comes a time when we must realize that we can’t conquer everything. Not even the demonic moons. Excellence has a limit. There is a point at which the line between pursuing excellence and pursuing perfection blurs. I think that the world has wrongfully lumped excellence into a category similar to perfection. There is definitely a difference between the quest for excellence and that of perfection, and that is that excellence is actually attainable. We should be careful not to end up chasing perfection because it never satisfies.

Excellence is commonly defined as the state or quality of being exceptionally good or skilled in an area, however, I believe that we should define the pursuit of excellence as simply doing one’s best in whatever they’re doing. We regularly underestimate the significance of our effort and fail to see that it may signify an even greater sense of excellence than what society has deemed as “winning”. People may say that they know that trying their best does matter, but do they truly believe that? Do you?

– Angel

 

4 comments

  1. HMT · April 3, 2016

    “Excellence has a limit. There is a point at which the line between pursuing excellence and pursuing perfection blurs.”
    Angel,
    you did a really good job of emphasizing the struggle between striving for excellence and thinking that perfection and excellence are the same thing. Great job at finished your post with thought provoking questions, concluding with a “why does this matter to me?” Aspect is really good at making sure that what you’re saying sticks with your reader. One thing to work on maybe, would be to make sure that you fully develop your analogies as some aspects of them can seem a bit confusing when trying to tie them into what you’re saying.
    Great Job 🙂

    Like

  2. christianjpark · April 8, 2016

    Dear Angel, I really enjoyed reading this blog post. One thing that I liked is how much stress you put on the idea that excellence and perfection can’t be the same thing, although we tend to think that it is. I appreciate also how you want your audience to have a take-away from your blog post. You do this by asking profound questions that left me with that subtle “hmmmm.” One thing to improve upon is that I felt like your analogies, although they were good, can be expanded upon even more. If you had done this, the argument would’ve felt more holistic and well thought out. Other than that, great post. *DAB.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mesfiney · April 10, 2016

    Angel
    I loved how I could clearly hear your voice in this post, great job. Your use of humour throughout the post only makes it easier to follow along. I like how you also force your readers to think. This post feels like a conversation, rather than just one person talking. Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Karith Magnuson · May 17, 2016

    I love the way you end this post. Very effective, and convicting, use of a rhetorical question.

    Like

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