The Effort is enough.

I am indebted to author Ryan Holiday for this phrase, “The effort is enough’. Here is why this single sentence might just change your life.

We live in a goal orientated world. I write down goals, and I am sure you do too. However, there are two traps that we can fall into: 

Trap 1. Believing that it will happen if I write it down.
This is magical thinking and is wrong. Writing down a goal gives you direction, that’s all. Effort is required.

Trap 2. Getting down on myself if I miss the goal.
Let’s say you wrote down a goal last year: to lose 10kg. During the year you lost 4kg. What would your response be – get down on yourself?

So, let’s look at the sentence, “The effort is enough”.

I googled the word, “Success” under the image tab. Here is the first image that came up. A group of people who have climbed the mountain of success – fists raised. The implication is that you can celebrate when you have reached the top, goal fully achieved. But what happens if you don’t achieve the desired metric. What then? Do you go into a slump, give up, hate yourself?


Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting during his lifetime. It sold for just over 100 dollars or R 1500. He failed as a painter, or, did he? If we only look at the goal model, he failed. If we consider his effort and the beauty that he gifted to us, he succeeded!  This is my favorite painting – Starry Night by Vincent Van Gough.


Some examples:

  1. You wanted to lose 10 kg in 2016 and lost 4 kg. Choose one response:
    – I failed and so will return to my old habits.
    – Continue today and lose more weight. The effort is enough.
  2. You wanted to run a 10k in less than 60 minutes in 2016 but missed that by 5 minutes. Choose one response:
    – Give up running.
    – Continue running whether you ever do a sub 60 or not. The effort is enough.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote this, and it’s brilliant, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

The effort is enough. Never forget that.


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