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When I used to teach at university, I became more aware of certain thought patterns and how irrational they were.

A typical thought pattern many students had was the same one I used to have:

“Why did I only get a Pass/Credit/Distinction?? I put in SOOOO much TIME AND EFFORT into it!!”

Of course, many times this was just a student’s initial reaction, before they spent some time actually looking through their assignment feedback, and started to understand why they received the grade they received.

But this article isn’t about “grades”.

This article is about time and effort, and the inordinate emphasis we give to this combination of words.

Time and Effort

But I put in lots of time and effort into this!

Time and effort, in reality, is no guarantee of anything (besides wasting time and effort…):

  • It’s no guarantee that you’ll finish what you started (and sometimes that’s not a bad thing).
  • It’s no guarantee that what you just created will be any good.

Just like it’s not guaranteed that people will read this article just because I spent time and effort writing it.

And yet, in many ways, we feel that “time and effort” owes us something (at the very least an apology perhaps!).

Well, it doesn’t.

Time and effort are just that.

Time … and … effort.

Results aren’t necessarily connected to either of those words.

So by dropping these expectations, we can relieve some of that kind of stress.