Effort: The Most Important Value

Effort: The Most Important Value

Without effort, there is nothing else.
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There are many qualities that I believe hat we, as people, should commonly strive to acquire. These qualities include honesty, integrity, kindness, tolerance, compassion, to name but a few. However, there is one value that I hold above all others and that value is effort. Why is effort so important? It's because without it, no other value would matter.

You see, we are each born and raised to have different traits. Some of us are athletic and others are academic. Some of us are introverted and some are extroverted. The simple fact of life is that it takes a combination of skills and attributes in order to survive and thrive. The wolf with the sharpest teeth would die of starvation if he was a slow runner. Thus, we find conflict. Some of us find it difficult to study for tests or to sit still in an office, while others can't bring themselves to lose a bad habit or exercise daily to better their health. Some of us couldn't care less about the hardships of others, while some of us worry so much about others' needs that we forget our own. It’s fine to have personal flaws – that’s what being human means – but if we do not put forth effort to better ourselves in such areas, we end up becoming one of those people. The introvert who makes no effort to make friends becomes the lonesome outcast. The extrovert who clings to friendship too tightly becomes the obsessive, needy child. The person who thinks little of others becomes the heartless jerk. The person who thinks only of others gets taken advantage of. It's a constant challenge to work on our weaknesses and it's one that we will never completely overcome, but that we must put forth effort into if we want to reach our potential.

That being said, we should also recognize the effort that others put into their lives, even if it’s in an area that seems trivial. We forget that, as individuals, we each excel and fail in different areas. As a result, we tend to judge people not based on the amount of effort that they put into something, but by the amount of effort that we would have to put into their struggles. "Why don't they do things the way I do things?" "How hard can it be to do this? I do this all the time!" "They're so cruel/weird/wrong. How could they be like that?" We like to assume that the people who aren’t as good as us at something are just lazy or thoughtless, rather than trying to help them. By "help," I don't mean to go and give them a lecture, I mean to lead by example, be there for them as friends, and put forth effort in your own life so that others can be inspired to put forth such effort into theirs.

Effort doesn't just apply to our weaknesses. Do you think any great person who we look back on in the history books was just born as incredible as they were? No, they poured their hearts and souls into what they did and they strove to be even better. They didn't settle with "I am good at this." They said, "I am good at this, but I will work to become great." Educators educated themselves, writers read, scientists studied, and warriors trained. These people worked to be more than what they were. This doesn't just apply to personal greatness. Mother Teresa, one of the most generous and charitable people to have ever lived, struggled with her religious beliefs for the majority of her life. Yet, she still worked to help others in need. Do you think that she was just so good at it that it was the easiest path for her to take? Likewise, did Martin Luther King Jr. protest the mistreatment of African Americans just because he was a good speaker? No, they both struggled both against internal and external forces so that they could make a difference and it was this kind of effort that allowed them to do so.

The thing about effort is that it applies to everything. Are you stuck in an unhappy relationship? You can choose the easy route of complacency and be miserable your whole life, you can put forth effort to fix what's broken, or, if that's just not possible, you can gather the courage to move on. Are you feeling lonely because no one seems to understand you? You have to work at making friends who will accept you for who you are, otherwise you'll be alone forever. Are you feeling as though your life has no meaning? You have to give it meaning. You have to discover yourself and then use that discovery to find your purpose. You have to work at putting that prejudice that you have to rest, to caring about the plights of others, to becoming the person who you want to be. You have to work at being kind, smart, strong, honest, loving, tolerant, honorable, and every other quality that a person should have. Without effort, you might end up being someone who you can live with. With effort, you will end up being someone who you can be proud of.

Cover Image Credit: stumbleuponlife.com

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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5 Struggles That Coming Home For The Summer Pose

Summer isn't always what you think it's going to be, especially when you're coming home.

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Summer break is amazing in so many ways: you're given countless hours to yourself, no daily stresses concerning school and assignments, and no overbearing pressures to go out every single night. However, coming home (usually) means you're back living with your parents and back to abiding by their rules, despite the fact that for around ten months, you were the only person making the rules in your own home. Despite the perks that come with summer, I have composited 10 reasons why summer can be hard to bear.

1. Having a set curfew.

I find it almost comical that I was able to "run free" for 10 months in Tallahassee with no regard for what time it was, but while at home I get the "it's time to come home" text from my parents as soon as 11 o'clock rolls around. For the entire school year, I was able to stay at friends' places until the sun came up, at walk out of clubs around closing time with no fear of getting punished for staying out too late, but now, I have to constantly plan around my curfew and ensure that I'm home before I get on my parents' bad side.

2. Having to get a summer job.

It was always a rule in my house that jobs were only meant for summer since my parents felt that getting good grades were our primary priority, so now that school's out, I'm working at my local Panera and dog-sitting for my neighbors, even though I absolutely hate dogs. Working isn't the worst thing I've had to do, but when I have to miss beach days and parties for a job that only pays $9 an hour, it sucks!

3. Countless days of boredom. 

College has made me accustomed to being surrounded by other people and activities 24/7. Sure, there were a couple of hours a day for alone time, but the majority of my day was spent hanging out with friends, going to my sorority, going out, and attending class. Now that I'm home and far away from my friends and the social aspect of FSU, I find myself bored and lonely.

4. Less freedom and independence. 

While away at school, I was able to do pretty much anything I wanted without my parents finding out. I was able to go get fast food in the middle of the night, go out to clubs, and sleep at my friends' place whenever I wanted. Sadly, now that I'm home, I can't just leave whenever I want or do whatever I want; I have to tell my parents when I'm going to places, where I'm going, who I'm meeting, and when exactly I'll be home.

5. Having to unpack and sort through your old clothes and the ones you brought to school.

Being the youngest has gifted me with an overabundance of hand-me-downs, everything from prom dresses to shoes to jewelry. However, over the years, the amount of clothes I have accumulated is insane; coming home has forced me to sort through the piles of old clothes and things I don't want anymore in order to make room for the multiple suitcases I brought back from school. My room looks like a tornado swept through it for three weeks now, despite the countless hours I have spent organizing, donating, and folding.

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