Good Job! Good Effort!

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good job

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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 loving kindness, 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.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.