The Illusion of Effort

Today, I wanted to share with you something I’ve been thinking about and noticing but it’s not well processed so far.

I’m sharing it as a way to start the conversation and see what ideas or perspectives come up as you read the post or watch the video.

I first share what I originally wrote. Then, expand on some of the concepts mentioned.

The Illusion of Effort

What I’m noticing as new is how effort is a concept I learned to describe how it feels to do things out of fear or obligation. Also, I’m noticing how I relate effort to the earner mentality and the hard work pays off mindset.

I create a need to put in a lot of effort to:

  • get things done right,
  • avoid mistakes,
  • build a reputation,
  • achieve success,
  • et cetera.

Effort is what my ego believes is needed to become the best version of myself, to increase self-worth, to prove I know what I’m talking about, to maintain credibility, to be a high achiever.

I’m seeing the difference between putting in the hours and putting in the effort. The former is part of mastery, the latter, an optional feeling and judgment.

It’s interesting to see that some of my most joyful and memorable experiences involved few hours of sleep, tons of activity, chaos, and unexpected challenges, but I never think of or refer to them as stressful, hard work, or effortful.

I didn’t need to be motivated or incentivized. I just showed up in full force and energy.

It’s becoming clear that if I let go of this thought that effort is required, I fall back into my natural ability to create, put in the hours and enjoy life altogether. Same outcomes, but a completely different experience of it all.

Effort is a unnecessary topping the ego adds to life’s adventures.

In peace, Juan.

Additional Commentary

It seems to me that effort has become more of an emotion and additional requisite for a specific outcome to be achieved.

It’s interesting how we use it because it’s almost like a weapon we can use against ourselves, or for motivation to do and feel better about accomplishing something we deemed difficult or challenging.

To me, effort seems unnecessary.

When I’m in the moment, when I’m fully present, I’m able to do what is required, put in the hours to practice, do the work, try new solutions, and continue to learn to get it done without thinking about how hard it was or how much effort was required.

Evidently, putting in the hours doesn’t guarantee I’ll succeed, but I definitely don’t need to add more pressure by believing that for something to be worthwhile, I need to earn it and feel effortful.

For the most part, I tend to relate “earning something” with feeling like I worked hard to get it done. Because if it was too easy for me to do, then I value it less.

This concept I hear a lot when people say things like:

  • All the things that are worthwhile are uphill,
  • All the things that are worthwhile are usually hard or challenging to do.
  • If it was easy, everyone would do it or everyone would have it

I appreciate where the statements come from, but I see how we use them to make things feel much more challenging than they need to be.

At the end of the day, we all know that to accomplish something, we’re gonna have to act on it. We’re gonna have to put in the hours, give it energy, and focus. That’s part of life and how things work.

It’s unnecessary to judge something as challenging or easy because the same actions need to be taken to go from idea, to execution, to outcome.

To me, believing effort is required is an additional pressure that tends generate a more negative experience of life.

There is no need to deem something worthwhile of your time and effort by making it feel like “hard work.

Let me know what you comes up for you.

This is something I’m pondering on. I’m not right or wrong. You don’t have to agree with me. I’d love to to hear what you have to say.

Thank you for watching or reading, and I’ll see you on the next one.


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