Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hard Work, Success

Readers of my blog who've clicked over to Gurney Journey will quickly see evidence of the connection between hard work and success. It's hard for me to imagine someone working more energetically in the art world.

Runs in the family, I guess.

Shortly after finishing my post about praising effort, I opened an email that had been waiting in my box. It was from my daughter in medical school. She wrote about the disappointment she feels in next year's rotation through the medical specialties. Twice in this one email she mentions how she'll handle the extra challenge of her difficult schedule. Here's an edited version with emphasis added by me:

Hi Mom and Dad,

"I had wanted to have surgery before OB, in order to be better prepared. But, I did have a lot of OR experience last summer; that, plus a good attitude and lots of hard work ought to get me through.

"What I'm most worried about is...getting all the important info way at the end. Again, I guess hard work (and studying when I get home at night) will be the key.


Culmom37 said...

What appropriate timing of receiving your daughter's email and the topic of your post!!!! I am still thinking about what I read regarding praising "effort" vs. "smart" and how I apply it to my children.

Connor has made this post very real for me recently with his current baseball activity. Connor has been playing baseball for many years and really enjoys the sport. This year in practies he has been hitting the ball extremely well and was really comfortable with the bat. During one of the last practices before the games were to start, he was hit by a machine pitched ball on his fingers where he was holding the bat. It was very painful for him and he was pretty shaken up. To be honest, it scared him. Well...Connor has not hit the ball since! Saturday night he had a game and he did not hit the ball again during all of his at bats, but I know he is trying and putting out a lot of effort.

I know Connor wants to get back the confidence he had, but just hasn't been able to find it yet. It is heartbreaking for me to watch him because I can see the hesitation and frustration he is feeling. With that said, I continually praise him for his effort and determination. I also tell him that if he continues to work hard the effort will pay off.

I honestly could not have read the post regarding praising effort at a more perfect time! Thank you for reminding me that effort is really what is important rather than obtaining a particular end result. I couldn't be more proud of Connor, hits or no hits!

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

Yes, I think the helpfulness of focusing on effort would apply to athletics as well as classroom learning.

I hope Connor's back to swinging the bat without fear. In my experience it was pretty rare to get hit by a machine pitched ball.

Anonymous said...

Though agreed that the hard work and success equation you have presented produces results on the lower levels of creativity and human endeavor such as athletics, academics, economic, political, material, even social, and e&tc. success, one does run the risk of thru misguided, erroneous, or wrongful effort producing an even greater mistake than if they had done nothing at all. The concept of right effort applies here.
Such striving if motivated by greed, ignorance, or hatred is not a good thing.