I had a pretty good idea of how Noah felt hovering over the lip of the gully. Having been in similar situations at nearly the same age, I understood that he just didn’t want to be scared, didn’t want to feel all that tension in his body, no matter what the payoff might be. He wanted to have effortless fun – Crazy for the Storm (emphasis mine)

That’s one of the passages that most spoke to me in Crazy for the Storm (Amazon.ca) — specifically the “He wanted to have effortless fun” part.

Isn’t that what we all want? Big payoff for little input? It doesn’t help that social media perpetuates the idea (myth, really) that everyone else is getting huge reward for almost no effort. Viewing social streams we continually compare our actual life with the highlight reel of others.

Seriously, ask a social friend how they think you’re doing when you know you’re doing bad. I’m going to bet that 99% of the time they think that your business is awesome, your kids always behave, and your relationship with your partner is amazing. Life is pretty smooth sailing for you.

Sitting on the inside of that life though, you know that’s simply not the case. The kids were a terror last night then got up early. You could use some work to pay bills, and you and your partner had a decent argument last night, which may be your fault. Of course the only photo you posted was of the 30 seconds your kids were smiling — between tears.

Reward for Effort

When you really dig in with successful people you find out that most of them put in years of effort with little reward before they developed significant leverage. Only after all those years of toiling away do they get huge results from comparatively little effort.

Right now there are people (heck, even me) struggling along to get to that point where effort and reward invert. We write and write and write and make a few thousand dollars a year off the products we put out or the affiliate links we include in our writing. We put out huge effort for little financial reward.

But again, you don’t see that, because that’s not the image we project most of the time. So many of the ‘next great’ people that will be admired and held up as models aren’t even known at all — except by a small handful of people. That means the wider world will just suddenly ‘discover’ them in a few years and they’ll be the next overnight success.

[Tweet “How long does it take to become an overnight success?”]

Training yourself for effort

I work out five days a week at least, but more often six days a week. Due to this training I can go to a friend’s house and help them move an entire shipping container of PFDs (life jackets you’d call them) without really being sore the next day. I can go backpacking and put on 80 pounds and end up with a crying 50-pound toddler on top of my bag for 3 km — and while I’m tired the next day, I’m not really all that sore.

I get this ‘effortless exertion’ because I’ve trained myself to work hard. When I was just cycling I had a solid cardio system but a weak upper body so I started CrossFit to change that. I was sore — oh so sore — for weeks as I started and I was barely able to keep up with anyone at the local box.

My effortlessness in so many physical tasks only exists because I’ve put in training to try to ensure that I can effortlessly help a friend chop wood for a day.

How are you honing your skills? Do you dream of writing, or are you writing something daily?

Do you dream of being an amazing web developer? Are you pushing to learn new code daily?

Do you dream of being one of the great designers that you currently idolize? Are you posting stuff for critique regularly?

If you’re not doing any of those things, then it’s time to ask yourself if you’re just looking for effortless reward.

photo credit: julochka cc