” There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” — Roger Staubach
Effort: An exertion of strength or power, whether physical or mental, in performing an act or aiming at an object; more or less strenuous endeavor; struggle directed to the accomplishment of an object; as, an effort to scale a wall.
Are there some things you do that you’re not giving 100 percent of your effort? Of course there are. To go full out all the time would be difficult at best, and most likely disastrous.
Are there some things which matter greatly to you that you have not given 100 percent effort? Yes, there probably are. However, these things which matter to us are where we should be concentrating our effort.
Example: Last night I was working out. My health is something which I value very much (although I didn’t always). My workout last night consisted of resistance training, specifically deadlifts and squats. After having recently taken a couple of weeks off from any kind of workout, I have been using lighter weights than I had been in the past. Last night was no different. The other difference this time was that I decided to conciously also work on making sure my form was right on as well. During the process of the squat exercise (weight on my shoulders, lowering to a squat position and then rising back up) I realized that all the times in the past when I have been doing this exercise, I have not been going low enough into my squat. In fact, I was only going about 80 percent of the way, or essentially only giving an 80 percent effort. No wonder I was using heavier weights before. It was because the greatest effort comes from the lower you get into the squat position. So, all this time, I’ve been fooling myself in thinking I’m doing well, when really I’ve only been giving about 80 percent of the effort I should.
And this happens in other areas of our (my) life as well. The key is to identify those things which matter the most to you. These are the areas you want to give 100 percent of your effort. If you give 80 percent (or 70, or so on), you’re still doing a good job. But to be really great, or really succeed, in those areas which are important to you — an 80 percent effort is mediocre. Going the extra mile, giving the extra effort, caring more deeply are the things that separate good from great.
So, you have to decide. Do you want to be good or great? Identify those things in your life that really matter, give your full effort, and move from good to great!