How Does Effort = Using Your Potential?
Effort is your choice!
Why is it that some people apply so much effort to what they do? I visited the Buddy Holly museum in Lubbuck, Texas and was amazed by how much influence he had on other performers. Although you may not know who Buddy Holly was, you probably have seen and heard the results of his influence.
Buddy Holly died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959, at the age of twenty-two. During his short life, he was a dedicated musician. At the age of twelve he discovered a talent for playing the guitar. He was completely absorbed with playing and writing music and promoting rock ‘n roll.
He spent virtually every minute of every day on his music. The effort he put into music wasn’t a hardship or work, for he did it for the love of music. He applied his effort completely to his music.
Who was influenced by his music?
- He established the model for rock’n roll bands that has been used for the past fifty years.
- The first forty songs by the Beatles were heavily influenced by his work.
- The Rolling Stones, the Hollies, Peter and Gordon, and many other groups of the 1960s were influenced by him.
- Elton John, who is famous for wearing outlandish eye-glasses, first wore them to imitate Buddy Holly.
If we apply effort to our potential, we will have an influence way beyond anything that we can imagine. As we see with Buddy Holly, we don’t have to have a long career to influence people.
Applying Effort is Your Choice
I wasted my teenage years because I was filled with bitterness and resentment. For years I told myself that it wasn’t my fault. I believed it was my dad’s fault and that I was just an innocent bystander. But I’ve some to realize that my response to my home life was my responsibility. I chose to feel the way I did. That was a difficult truth to accept.
I grew up in a dysfunctional home with an alcoholic father and a mother who was distracted by my dad’s drinking. “Poor me, no one loves me” was my attitude in childhood, and it carried over into my adulthood also.
Out of that experience grew bitterness, and out of bitterness grew resentment. When I first started my personal growth, I looked back and realized that I never worried about the future. I wasn’t afraid of life. I didn’t have many of the fears that I saw in people around me. Instead, the predominant emotion of my life had been resentment toward my parents. During my teenage years, because of the pain I felt, I experienced two conflicting options for the future:
- Running away
Fortunately, I did not do either one.
Someone with this attitude doesn’t experience life positively. My bad attitude led me to not apply myself at school and to withdraw from friends and family and to develop bad habits. I wasn’t a discipline problem and rebellious, but I was the opposite – I withdrew from life and tried to be invisible.
This affected my development. I basically stopped growing emotionally at age fourteen and didn’t start again until I started therapy.
Please don’t be like me and waste a portion of your life. It’s important that we not waste one single day, one single hour, or one single minute living in he past because no matter how hard we try, we cannot change our past.
Use Your Effort Today…
One of the big breakthroughs in my therapy was forgiving my parents. I was living in the past by holding on to the anger and resentment that I felt or my parent’s dysfunctional behavior. I could never focus on the current events in my life because I was always stuck in the past. However, once I forgave my parents, I was freed from the past and was able to live more in the present moment. It was a huge change in my life.
How can we forgive someone? I worked at it in therapy and prayer. One day I suddenly saw the situation differently. Instead of focusing on me and my pain, I focused on my parents and their pain. Like me, they grew p in dysfunctional homes and were doing the best job that they could. Their bad parenting wasn’t malicious, just a product of their own childhoods. This made forgiving them much easier. Forgiving is truly freeing.
The only time we have power is the present. We can’t change the past or what we experienced. We can’t live in the future because it is not guaranteed to anyone. We can only live in the present.
We need to live today to the maximum. We must completely apply ourselves to everything we do. When I get up in the morning I often exercise first thing while listening to a motivational CD. I’m fully present and experience my exercise as exhilarating. It sets a great tone for the day. When I run, I love the time. I enjoy feeling the strain, managing my breathing, watching the sky and the weather, and just being alone in God’s wonderful creation.
Whatever I do during the day, whether it is work, volunteering, spending time with friends or hiking in nature, I try to be 100% present and aware of my life every minute. I don’t want to waste one more day of my life with a bad attitude.
Despite how we may feel, life on earth is short so we must learn to live every moment to the fullest.
In a future article, I’ll discuss how goals play an important part of effort.
This is an excerpt from Bruce’s book “Attitude Determines Destiny”.
As a motivational speaker, he conducts seminars and workshops based upon the ideas in his book. He entertains and inspires audiences wherever he goes.