Good Job! Good Effort!

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After the Celtics defeated the Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals in what will surely be remembered as a disastrous game for LeBron, Wade, and company something managed to distract the public from the actual game. As Shane Battier and Ronny Turiaf exited the court through the tunnel the very loud, high pitched voice of a child pierced through the depressing noise of the arena.

While millions of people were watching the dejected Heat hang their heads in shame, one young fan’s voice pierced through the airwaves with an inspirational message. “Good job!” Good effort!” he cried. His team had just suffered a horrible loss, he must have been in pain, but he rose above it all to give his favorite players a bit of hope and positive reinforcement as they left the court.

The young man’s name is Jack Meyer and he 9 years old. He has been a fan of the Heat since he was 3 or 4 years old and he must have been really upset after that loss. But he probably plays sports in a league and when his team loses or is getting outplayed his coaches probably shout out the same refrain. “Good job! Good effort!” I bet it lifts his spirits when he hears it and he just wanted to share the same inspiration to his favorite athletes.

The story is touching and absolutely adorable. You have to admire this kid’s positivity and his good job and good effort in inspiring his team.

Postivity is so important. We can accomplish so much when we feel good and when we feel like we are doing well. To be sure, pain and suffering can be excellent sources of inspiration as well. Perhaps necessity and anguish are even more effective motivators. But for the majority of us whose lives are not overloaded with pain and suffering, positive reinforcement is a great motivator and a great way to keep us from falling into melancholy or apathy.

But the truth is that sometimes a good job or a good effort is simply not enough. It could be argued that the Heat did not do a good a job and did not give their best effort. But let’s grant them a good effort and a good job for a moment. They still lost the game! And the game matters. Their job was to win. Their job was to give effort and do a good job but more than that, their goal was to win.

In life, effort matters. But results matter more. Effort matters. But achieving your goals matters more.

I am not trying to be a Grinch. I have a point. I think that we all have passions and responsibilities in our lives. And sometimes we neglect them. But we pat ourselves on the back and say “Good job! Good Effort! and think that is enough. It’s a start. But it’s not enough.

If we want to learn more Torah, give more charity, spend more time with our spouses and children, do more acts of lovingkindness, make a difference in our communities, we can’t be satisfied with good effort. We need to demand from ourselves action and results. We all want to do more than we are doing. We can each apply this to various areas of our lives.

Much of the talk on the Internet is effort and sometimes it’s a good job. But if we don’t actually accomplish anything, we are not maximizing our opportunities. So many great ideas and conversations happen on the blogs and Facebook and Twitter (notice I left out Google Plus…), we need to somehow channel all of that into actual change.

It can be done. It must be done. Let’s do it.

Your inspiration:

Link: NBC Miami

  • in competition you can only give your best. the other side gives their best. someone always loses. thats the lesson to take away from them. sometime, even doing your best isnt enough to win or accomplish, and you need to be OK with that.

    its like the line about prayer working. “God answers all prayers. Sometimes, he just says “No.”

    ours is to put forth our hishtadlus, hopefully we are successful. if not, we must still try…

  • Anonymous

    R’ E Fink – (notice I left out Google Plus…)

    Somehow I feel vaguely responsible for this comment 🙂

  • Sorry Rav Fink, but I absolutely disagree with you. This fascination with the end result is antithetical to Torah and just goes to show how much we have absorbed American mentality without any critique. As best we try, we have no control over the final outcome of any of our actions. All we can control is our hishtadlut (Good job and good effort). Syata dishmaya is what bridges our efforts with results. From “Lo alecha hamelacha ligmor” to the nikudat habechira of Rav Dessler Judaism is not about results, it’s about the process.

    Actually, I have found that when people can take their eyes of the prize and just concentrate on the effort, the results are so much better.

    • Say what? In America we give A’s for effort. In America we give trophies to the losers. I never said the process is not valuable. But in the end we are judged by man and by God based on what we have accomplished.

      • By man yes, but not by God.

      • Can you quote a source that shows that we are judged for result and not effort?

      • Anonymous

        @efink:disqus But in the end we are judged by man and by God based on what we have accomplished.

        So, are you saying that in the end God judges a man who gave $1,000,000 to tzedaka more favorably than a man who gave $100,000?

      • >In America we give A’s for effort. In America we give trophies to the losers.

        Don’t remind me.

  • Cali Girl

    Leah, I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, that the point R. Fink was making, is that all the frustration with the frum world expressed on the blogs needs to be channeled into making a real positive change, as opposed to just ranting. I don’t think he meant that in ALL cases effort doesn’t matter as much as result.

    • Thank you. I thought that was obvious.