What amount of effort is enough?

image of 2 boston terriers, eddy and roscoe.
The Boys, Eddy (top) and Roscoe (bottom)

I ask myself almost every day, am I doing enough?

A friend said he enjoyed the way I process things. Here I will explain the concepts I draw from when trying to understand myself.

Ambition or a desire to be dutiful is a trait of conscientiousness.

In psychology, conscientiousness is individual differences in the propensity to follow socially prescribed norms for impulse control, goal-directed work, being planful, delaying gratification, and following standards and rules.

So, conscientious people, you would identify with quality standards, having a goal, and getting things done.

The level at which you relate or do not relate to those markers would determine your score of trait conscientious.

Conscientiousness is one of the Big Five personality traits. This article explains this in simple terms.

What Are the Big 5 Personality Traits?
Many in psychology believe there are five primary personality traits. Learn about the “Big 5” personality traits, as well as what it means to be high or low in each.
The fact that conscientiousness grades how well you follow social norms shows there is competition and comparison internally.

Going off my above understanding, I think, why is it, I wonder, could I do more?

The question then is, where is the problem? It could be in three places.

  1. My lack of effort is causing issues with my work.
  2. My understanding of social norms is causing me to expect too much.
  3. I'm comparing myself wrongly to others' capabilities.

Let's break this down further, and I'll get back to these thoughts a little later.

Is there a problem?

For me, no. I don't think so. People seem happy with my work and the timeline in which I deliver.

If anything, I judge myself on the quality of my work and the possible results I hope it produces.

I never cut corners, so it seems I'm judging myself now on where I want to be tomorrow.

I'm doing the best possible and striving for more. I will conclude, that's enough effort for me.

Where is the Problem?

It's helpful to break down problems and detach them from yourself.

I remind myself that I'm not the problem, my situation has a problem, and I can fix the situation.

Lack of effort causing issues

Years ago, I found myself in this situation. Not because of laziness but inexperience.

Not knowing what to do, cancels effort's effectiveness. We think hard work is the answer, and we must push through. Figuring out what to do is hard work.

Even if you're not sure, you'll figure it out. It's worth every minute.

Once you have a plan, you're completing the vision. Efficiency is a lack of wasted effort. Being laser-focused and making each step count is zen.

Expecting too much

A happy medium as skills grows, living happily in your abilities.

Pushing yourself to do things you're incapable of will cause you to underestimate problems.

When you underestimate something, you won't try very hard. Once you finish, you won't be happy with what you accomplished.

Comparing yourself incorrectly

Results rarely match effort 1:1. If that were the case, everyone would do it.

You never get to see the complete picture. Most people that are successful can't fully explain their journey to success.

They generalize and say, "I followed my passion and worked my butt off."

People that create consistent successful ventures have found something that fits the world's needs right now. It would be great if there were a timeless formula that equals success, but Midas' touch is a myth.

Comparisons are proper when reviewing past versions of yourself. See that you're better today than yesterday.


I found my issue, all of the above. I hope you found this helpful also.

Life is hard enough out there. We owe it to ourselves to take a break now and then. Take care friends.

Written by Cody Tucker

Eternal optimist, thinking my way through life, sharing confusing and sometimes helpful thoughts. Wanna go deeper? Join the Convo


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