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The All-Important Difference Between Effort and Effectiveness

The All-Important Difference Between Effort and Effectiveness
Don't confuse a strategy that works with one that is merely effortful. Good strategies are rarely easy, but a bad plan done furiously is still a bad plan.


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Confusing effective with effort

Confusing effective with effort

An effective strategy should not be confused with a merely effortful one.

The real thing is going to require some work. The real thing done slowly and patiently is still the real thing. A fake thing stays fake, regardless of the intensity.


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First Effectiveness, then Effort

Effectiveness is what you do. Effort is how much.

For example, when you study, active recall is most effective. Only looking at the information over and over requires effort, but is not effective. However, once you've chosen an effective method, the level of intensity is up to you.


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The Intensity of the Hard Way

The hard way is about effectiveness and effort.

Effectiveness is the part to be most careful about. Walking the hard way can often be done slowly and patiently. However, the fake path will go nowhere.

If a pursuit has a deadline or steep costs, going slowly won't do. The choice is not between easy and long versus hard and short. The way forward is often long and hard.



Failures of Ignorance and Irresoluteness

What works will depend on your destination. You may work hard on a path that may end up going nowhere. That's okay. Reduce the risk by talking to people who know the way, read a lot, and try stuff out. You won't fail for long.

Moreover, you may know the path, but ignore it and instead apply half efforts with the hope of reaching the same result. This attitude creates self-deception and will not self-correct.




Motivation is a complex process

Motivation is a complex process

Motivation is a complex process to explain or to realize fully.

Motives are internal experiences that can be categorized into needs, cognitions, and emotions that are influenced by envi...

Motivational strategies that show success

  • Teachers that plan lessons to be interesting, curiosity-provoking, and personally inspiring have better success in motivating their students to read.
  • Leaders have better success in motivating their employees when they take the employees' perspective and invite them to create their own self-endorsed work goals.
  • Parents are more successful when they try to truly understand why their children don't want to do something and then take the time to explain to them the benefits of the activity.

Most successful interventions do not try to change another person's motivation or emotion directly. Instead, they make changes to the person's environmental conditions and the quality of his or her relationships to encourage them to leave behind neglectful or abusive ones.

The basic psychological needs

According to Self-Determination Theory, there are three basic psychological needs which we want to satisfy:

  • Autonomy (self-determination). We are motivated when we have a choice in terms of tasks, time, team, and technique.
  • Competence (capability and effectiveness). Mastery is a mindset. When we strive toward something greater than ourselves, it demands effort.
  • Affiliation needs (association and belonging). We are motivated to form long-lasting positive relationships with others.

External rewards do not work because we don't do rule-based routine tasks. Instead, we need to create environments where intrinsic motivation thrives, where we can gain satisfaction from the activities themselves.

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Habits and behavior change

Building habits to change behavior the right way can be a wonderful tool to improve your life. But false notions about what habits are and what they can do can ...

Habits are a type of learning

They generate an impulse to do a behavior with little or no conscious thought.

By forming a habit, the brain frees the mind to do other things without deliberation. So behaviors that require concentration, deliberation, or extended effort, are not habits.

What drives motivation

Motivation is not driven by pleasure and pain, but rather by the desire to escape discomfort.

Our brains get our bodies to do what they want through discomfort. And the same rule applies to psychological discomfort. 

The Confusion Of Habit and Routine

The Confusion Of Habit and Routine

Habits are programmed human behaviors with little or zero conscious thought. Habits free our minds to other things, but our behavior isn’t always on autopilot. There are many tasks that require con...

Understanding Motivation

Neurologically speaking, motivation is the desire to escape psychological discomfort or a life situation that is not giving us any kind of ‘pleasure’.

Most behaviors are prompted by discomfort. If we are hungry, we eat. If we are lonely, we call up a friend. If we are bored, we turn on the TV.

The Test

If we are procrastinating instead of doing a certain task, telling ourselves that we would it later, it is a sure sign that the task isn’t a habit which can be done on autopilot but is, in fact, a routine.

Anything that requires effort is easy to forget or postpone.