There are some people who say that they don’t care about results. What’s important to them is effort, hard work, the process and commitment. They say, “It’s okay if you fail but I won’t tolerate if you give anything less than your best”. While I understand the essence of their message, I wonder if this philosophy can be misused.

How can you know if someone is “giving her best”? If you talk about physical signs then it is deceptive. I can be in my room the whole day and have a book in front of me but that doesn’t prove that I’m studying. We cannot know what’s going on in a person’s mind and we cannot feel what he is feeling, so it’s nearly impossible to know if someone is “just being lazy”. Sometimes you know intuitively that someone is not working hard but you won’t be able to prove it. At the end of the day, only that person will know if she has worked hard. Only she knows what challenges she has to overcome. So, judging someone by their effort is dangerous because there is a lot of subjectivity. Moreover, talking about the ‘end goal’ or ‘destination’ is oversimplification because there are so many small goals that you need to achieve within the journey. For example: You may say that you don’t care about your child’s results in History and encourage him to “give his best”. However, your child would “produce results” at a small level: being disciplined, sacrificing the time devoted to the internet to finish a chapter, being passionate etc. When you are pressurizing someone to “put in 100 percent effort” then you are basically saying that he should have 100 percent control over his enthusiasm, energy levels and thoughts. Isn’t this another form of perfectionism?

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