When our children were growing up, we always told them, “We don’t expect you to be the best, but we do expect you to try your best.” Now, why would we tell them we didn’t expect them to be the best? Didn’t we want them to excel and succeed? Of course we did. But we knew that if we told them we expected them to be THE BEST, that was putting a lot of pressure on young shoulders. They might have gotten discouraged before they even started, and not put their entire effort into it, thinking there was no way they could achieve that goal. Or they might be afraid to try and possibly fail, thinking that if they didn’t become the best we would be disappointed, or even angry, with them.
But by only telling them to do their best—and if they actually did give 100% of their effort—we knew they might be surprised by what they could accomplish, maybe even becoming the best after all.
Denis Waitley, the best selling author of The Psychology of Winning: Ten Qualities of a Total Winner and Seeds of Greatness, once said, “The results you achieve will be in direct proportion to the effort you apply.” That’s a rather mathematical way of saying you get out what you put in. The more effort you put into chasing a dream, the more likely you are to have positive results.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that we will achieve our goals or realize our dreams, even if we put 100% of our efforts into going after them. But there is a definite guarantee that we won’t achieve our goals if we don’t put any effort at all into reaching them. The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, said it best when he said, “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Wise words from the Great Gretzky.
Even then, there’s more to it than just taking shots or not taking them. When Gretzky slapped the puck toward the goal, do you think he only put half his strength into it? Maybe a quarter? No. The less effort he put into hitting the puck, the more likely it would be that someone, either the goalie or another player, would end up blocking it or deflecting it so that he missed the shot.
It’s the same way when we’re trying to achieve something. The less effort we put into it, the more timid we are in our approach, the more likely something is going to cause our best laid plans to go off the rails. The less effort and determination we put out to reach for that golden ring, the more easy it will be for bumps in the road to discourage us, maybe even to the point where we just give up.
If you have a dream that fills your thoughts day and night, if you have a goal that you are determined to reach no matter what, then make up your mind right now to give nothing less than your very best effort to achieve it. Don’t tell yourself you’ll “give it a shot and see if it works out.” Anybody can “give it a shot.” I
believe know you can do more than that.
Make a conscious decision that you will go after that dream with everything you’ve got. If you’re willing to put your mind, body, and soul into the chase, and you’re willing to take a running jump into the deep end of the pool, you’ll have a much better chance to realize your dreams and achieve your goals than someone who just dips their toe in the water to see if it’s too cold.
Give it your best shot. You deserve it, and you can do it.