Monday, March 22, 2010

A Test of My Mettle

I attended my first Toastmaster's meeting last Wednesday and experienced special guest Ed Hearn deliver an inspirational thought provoking speech entitled: "The Courage to Try."

Mr. Hearn gave examples of individuals achieving seemingly impossible goals such as Wilma Rudolph winning three Olympic Gold medals despite having a severe physical disability as a child.  In each example the actors overcame daunting obstacles to realize fantastic goals.

During the speech I was thinking about people's opportunities in life, and how I did not have to struggle to complete High School, College, or get a professional job.  I've taken advantage of opportunities which were nearly given to me, but I haven't made my own opportunities.  Mr. Hearn's speech combined with some of my other experiences have made me realize the goals I attempt in life are low risk or low effort. When I take on large (1,000+ hours) personal projects I give up on the projects after investing a small (10-700 hours) amount of effort into them compared to the amount of effort required for completion.  I'm assuming I give up because I don't see results and overvalue the opportunity cost.  IE.  I think "Hmmmmmm...... I've spent 50 hours on this which I could have spent completing items x,y, and z on my todo list instead.  It may take another 500 hours to achieve my goal, or I may not even be able to achieve my goal," and sack the project.

I am not sure if this new thinking will bear fruit.  Unless I can talk myself into believing there is significant value in the act of trying I'm not sure I can justify the cost of the attempt.  Maybe because I plan for the worst and hope for the best.  Under this mentality I assume the 1000+ hours invested will not achieve the stated objective.

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