Nineteen ninety-four, in a typical American suburban community, a few of my buddies and I were sitting around a kitchen table in a home down the street from where I lived. As we sat, joking and laughing, my best friend’s dad tried schooling us in the ins and outs of how the world works. He was our scout leader, and we were less than attentive. Thinking back to that experience (and countless others, similar in nature), I have developed a profound appreciation for any patience that our scout leaders demonstrated as they selflessly imparted of their wisdom to the rising generation.
As Jon (my buddy’s dad) delivered his instructions to us, often having to raise his voice over our senseless and disrespectful running commentary, he produced for each of us an object. He handed each of us a part of a treasure. He gave us each a special coin. It wasn’t an American Gold Eagle and it wasn’t recovered from any maritime shipwrecks–it wasn’t even something a numismatist would look at. Rather than calling it a coin, I should more accurately describe it as a token. On one side of the token was the Penske logo (Penske the transportation company, not Penske the file George Costanza worked on), while the reverse displayed the simple phrase:
“Effort equals Results”
The statement is basic. But the statement is one of the most valuable three-word declarations that exists in the human experience. Effort equals Results. It is a universal truth. We get out what we put in. It doesn’t matter if it is school, a project at work or playing a particular sport, there is a direct correlation linking our diligence to our outcome. Anywhere in society, the best people we know are diligent. They are constantly striving to be one of the best people. Successful business owners would never achieve success if they refused to work hard. Great athletes would never excel without constant training. The kindest among us would not be very pleasant if they effortlessly submitted to the negativity that is so pervasive in modern society.
All people are valuable. We each have traits and talents that set us apart from one another. Not one individual is the same as another, relating to potential. If we desire to develop our talents and fulfil our various potentials, we are required to reason and to put forth a conscientious effort toward attaining our goals. If we just don’t care, the results will match our efforts. Aristotle declared that the ability to reason is what distinguishes mankind from the rest of the animal kingdom. If he is right, and I believe that he is, when we demonstrate a lack of effort or fail to reason, we act illogically and irrationally. We are then just another variety of animal. We become the sad vessels of wasted opportunity. You are better than that and so am I.
Ladies and gentlemen, strive for excellence in all you do. Set your goals and then achieve them!