Your Piggy Bank of Effort

Something Michael Phelps said during the Olympics keeps popping up in my head these days.

"Bob has a saying about putting money in the bank. When we train, sometimes we have sets that I don't like, or don't want to do, and Bob says: 'This is putting money in the bank, and at the end of the year, you are able to withdraw everything'.

"I put a lot of money in the bank over the past four years, and we pretty much withdrew every penny so after Bob and I have a little break, it will be time to start re-depositing

The idea of working hard as if you are putting money in the bank applies to all kinds of trade. To me, I put money in the bank (not just metaphorically, but literally) by doing a great job at work and also studying and passing the exams.

On the same note of effort, Seth Godin had a great post on Effort vs. Luck.

My friend Socrates likes to say, "Only luck alone won't make you successful. A successful person has to be self-disciplined, down-to-earth and hard-working."

I particularly like this part:

Effort takes many forms. Showing up, certainly. Knowing stuff (being smart might be luck of the draw, but knowing stuff is the result of effort). Being kind when it's more fun not to. Paying forward when there's no hope of tangible reward. Doing the right thing....

And that's the key to the paradox of effort: While luck may be more appealing than effort, you don't get to choose luck. Effort, on the other hand, is totally available, all the time.