Effort vs Success

Which one should we reward ?

“Results are all that matter” said Lex Luthor once to Clark Kent in Smallville ( The Superman “prequel” tv show).

We are definitely enamoured by “outcome” and get judged by that every day.

But what about effort or at least “genuine effort” where you put in your heart and soul ?

Why does that not “count” as much ?

If you turn to “spirituality” or focus inwards with awareness and sensitivity, the focus is really on the process or the effort and the results are the by-products of that effort.

But, the external world doesn’t seem to operate that way and in turn it has influenced our internal world as well.

Here’s what Carol Dweck ( the champion of the “growth mindset” talks about in “Self Theories” on the impact of this “self judgment” (via Brian Johnson’s Philosopher’s notes)

“In a sense, the person-oriented feedback seems to be instilling a sense of ‘contingent self-worth.’ When people have a sense of contingent self-worth, they feel like worthy people only when they have succeeded, and they feel deficient or worthless when they fail. This concept forms the core of several traditional personality theories, such as those of Carl Rogers (1961) and Karen Horney (1937, 1945, 1950). In these theories, some parents’ reactions to their children teach the children that the parents consider them worthy of love and respect only when they behave a certain way or meet a certain standard. Children then adopt the idea that they are persons of worth only under those circumstances.

It had struck us before that the helpless young children in our earlier studies were displaying a clear sense of contingent self-worth. They behaved very much as though they expected major rejection from their parents (and their teachers) for their failures. And they told us that they themselves felt as though they were not good kids as a result of making a mistake or receiving criticism.

Now we see that the person criticism and the person praise can actually create this by leading children to be proud and happy with themselves only when they succeeded and to be globally self-denigrating and unhappy with themselves when they erred.”

— Carol Dweck from Self-theories

The above points out that effort is good only if it results in success. Is that really what we would like to cultivate for ourselves ?

An interesting observation when I was about to publish this post and was choosing tags. Effort had 15 article tags and Success ? 3.4 k !! That’s the ratio in our world

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