By: D. A. Slinkard
I was recently listening to my daughters practice the piano and began reflecting on what the sounds were like when they first started playing the piano compared to that day. It was night-and-day difference between the sounds of the beginning days compared to the sounds that developed after countless hours that had been practiced since then. The level of difficulty in the songs being performed has steadily advanced as they have worked on their playing skills. Their fingers move much faster on the keyboard compared to the early days. I love listening to the sounds as they play their piano, and I cannot help but feel pride as I listen to my daughters make beautiful melodies.
As I was thinking back over the time that has passed, all the time they have put into their musical capabilities, it got me to thinking about life in general. I started thinking about the time and effort each daughter has put forth regarding their practice, and then realized immediately I had an article topic perfect for the Athens Now paper. When it comes to life, how much effort are you putting in to guarantee your success? I think back to the times in my life when I have struggled, and I understand I was not putting forth the needed effort.
Putting it point blank to you – what does your effort say about you when it comes to how you have been living your life? Are you happy with your life, or do you wish you could make some changes and do things differently? I remember back to my sports days and the coaches pounding in the idea: “You are going to play the way you practice.” If you practice at half-speed when it comes to the game, you are only going to be able to perform at the speed at which you practiced.
Too many people are going about life barely giving enough effort to survive let alone being able to thrive. If you want to find success, it is going to happen by going the extra mile. You must be willing to do what others are not willing to do; and when this happens, you will find a difference in your life. When you are going the extra mile, you will no longer have to worry about what kind of effort you are giving because the effort will be there. When it comes to your career, when was the last time you did something (effort) that would increase your skills?
I have seen too often where people work hard to get to a certain level, and once they achieve whatever level they have deemed necessary in their mind, their lives hit a plateau; and they never get better. Have you plateaued in your life? Going up in life takes effort, just like climbing to the top of the mountain top. Too many people, though, focus on climbing just enough to get to the smooth area; then their lives plateau and eventually so does their effort. The ones who reach the mountaintops do so because they have the right tenacity and the right effort to keep on climbing. They are willing to do what others are not willing to do in order to achieve the success which puts them on top.
Putting forth effort, having the right enthusiasm (last article), is a mental challenge, but life is a mental challenge for everyone. Every day you must make the mental decision to put forth the necessary effort required to achieve your goals. Every day you must make the mental decision to take the necessary actions required to achieve your goals. Every day you must make the mental decision to move forward. When you make these decisions on effort, on actions to take, on the decision to move forward, you will move the needle on your effort level.
Moving this needle is what we need to change the outcome of our lives. Becoming a better version of yourself is going to require discipline and the constant decision-making process that you will take the necessary efforts. When it comes to the piano, if my daughters decide not to practice the piano, they should not be surprised if the notes they play sound flat. Your life is no different in that if you decide not to put forth the effort, do not be surprised if the life you want escapes your grasp. Be willing to put in the time and effort, you will get the desired results thus changing your life.
By: D. A. Slinkard