The Power of Effort
Written by Laura Prather on February 21, 2018
Some days I feel like a massive failure. I look at my bank account, hair, body, home, business….everything and then I see what other people are doing in and with their lives and how they look. And I feel seriously lacking in my life. I know I’m not the only one who does this. Every day we look at each other and compare. No matter how much we tell ourselves not to – we just do. Some of us laugh it off on the surface, others truly don’t care, and some see it as motivation.
For me, today I had an “Aha!” moment pondering life in general while fixing my hair. (It’s interesting how the most profound thoughts or ideas come to me during mundane tasks.) Earlier today I was standing in front of the mirror hating everything about me. Especially my hair. A few hours later, I decided to just bite the bullet, get out of my cozy clothes, get dressed and fix my hair. As I was pulling my hair through the hot iron I started thinking about what a huge difference this little effort was making. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks…this is the Power of Effort.
I admire women like Marie Forleo, Terri Savelle Foy, and many other ladies that I know from my college years who are rocking their bodies and their businesses. They look amazing! I am nowhere close to being at their level, however, they have worked hard to get to where they are and look the way they do.
I know this sounds simplistic, but bear with me.
Just as I was thinking, “yea, I don’t have time to fix my hair or workout every morning”, I thought about how I spend many mornings in my own La-La land as I decide what I should do first. (Yes, I have a morning routine, but it seems that part of it has become fading off into nowhere land. Gotta fix that.) That’s probably 20-30 minutes right there I could put towards something more productive (like opening that exercise book I bought or blow drying my hair instead of throwing it in a bun).
To be fair, I do put some effort into both of these things every day, but I wouldn’t count it as real effort. I’d say it’s more a haphazard, “let’s get this over with” attitude and I’m looking at the clock every 30 seconds to see if I can quit and still feel like I accomplished something. (you know you do it, too!)
THAT’s when my “Aha!” moment hit. I could see the difference between doing something “to get it done” versus putting real EFFORT into it. There’s POWER in EFFORT. And it doesn’t take much.
We all have SOMETHING we put effort into.
I thought about areas in my life that others have told me they admire. We all have something that we’re good at to which other’s comment, “I wish I could do that/look like that/be that way”. For me, people often come to me when it has to do with something spiritual or understanding God’s Word. I put lots of effort into my studies. I guess you could say that I exercise my spiritual muscles far more than other things. Because I WANT to. Certainly, I have other aspects of my life that I put effort into as well that I rock at, including motherhood and certain aspects of business.
But I think what struck me most today was how LITTLE effort was needed to make a big difference.
Ok, this sounds silly, but let me go back to my hair revelation. I’ve never learned how to have great hair. I’d love to have great hair but then I think about all the money, time, and hair products I’d have to get and so I’d rather throw on a hat or wear a bun. But today, I was lost in another world. I decided to get out a flat iron and just see if I could do anything with my drab, frizzy, mess.
Normally, I run my hair through quickly because I’m thinking, “hurry up. I’ve got things to do!” As a result, my hair usually looks just as bad after 10 or so minutes of frustration, and then up it goes into a messy bun again. However, since I was in La-La Land today, I was unknowingly taking time to iron my hair properly. I wasn’t in any hurry and was blindly watching the hair pull through the iron. Suddenly I noticed my hair was smooth and shiny – and looked decent.
Huh. Who knew.
That’s when the Power of Effort idea hit me. (duh) But the OTHER revelation was this: it didn’t take any more time to do it right than when I try to work on my hair in a frenzy, but the results were completely different! Seriously, the only difference was my thinking.
Perhaps it is possible to change our lives without giving up time in other things, but rather, using time purposefully, with thought, and effort.