Long ago I heard a story that has stuck with me. It has been on my mind and I thought I would share it. The general theme of this blog is sustainability and this story is more motivational, but in my life, I need regular motivation to help me maintain my efforts. So I decided that I’ll have occasional motivational posts to help us sustain our sustainability.
I don’t know the source of this story. I don’t know whether it is true or not. I don’t even really care. It’s a good story, apply it accordingly.
There once was a graduate student with a major paper due. This student worked long hours to complete this paper. She had always gotten good grades and she felt good about this paper. Sure, she was rushed toward the end, but she that was typical. On the day the paper was due she took it to her adviser.
The next day the student went back to her adviser who returned the paper and asked her, “Is this the best that you can do?” The student was not expecting this. She took the paper, went over it and made changes. She made some grammatical corrections, found some better words and generally made it sound better. When she was done, she took it back to her adviser.
The next day the student went back to her adviser who returned her paper and asked, “Is this really the best that you can do?” The student was a bit deflated. She went through the paper another time and really dug into making major changes. She moved paragraphs around, changed the flow of the paper and felt that she had drastically improved her paper. When she was done, she took it back to her adviser.
The next day the student went back to her adviser who returned her paper and asked, “Is this really the BEST that you can do?” The girl was completely devastated. She broke into tears and responded, “Yes, it’s the best that I can do! I don’t know what you want, I have made every possible correction to this paper, I have no idea how I could possibly make this paper any better”.
The adviser seemed pleased. He smiled at her and said, “Good, now I’ll read it.”
Having been in graduate school, this scenario scares me because I know how vulnerable graduate students are and how eager advisers are to teach fun little lessons. What really scares me is that I needed this lesson and was afraid to receive it.
I love looking at examples of people who put their all into something. I love watching sports where I can see athletes who have given their absolute best efforts. Here are some videos of people giving their all. I go to these videos for inspiration.
That final leg is so intense. I could watch it over and over.
I think you have to understand cycling tactics to truly comprehend the effort that took. Tactically, physically, and mentally this was one of the greatest finishes in bike racing history. I only wonder how he kept his tongue out of his spokes for the last hundred meters.
I have never seen a better example of ‘leaving it all on the field’. If I remember correctly, this was a race for 3rd or 4th place, these weren’t the ‘winners’. I have no doubt that these women could look back without a doubt and say that, “yes, this was the best that they could possibly have done”.