Effort

Dear Terrence,

There’s really only one thing that’s required to pass my class: effort. There’s really only one thing required to be successful in life: effort. There’s really only one thing necessary for happiness: effort. There’s really only one recipe for healthy relationships: effort. There’s really only one path to riches of any sort, be they fiscal, emotional, intrapersonal: effort.

Yet you don’t tend to put forth any at all. I have to fight with you to keep your head up. I have to fight with you to keep a pencil in your hand. I have to fight with you some days even to look at the paper you’re working on.

“You won’t be able to do this in high school and pass,” I explain one day. “Certainly not college. And you won’t last a second on any job with this level of effort.”

“I know,” you respond. You say you’ll put forth effort in high school.

But you’ve created for yourself a habit that will be difficult to break. You certainly won’t be able to do it all at once, “cold turkey.” You’ll need to set milestones and achieve them, moving the goal line a little further back each time. And you have to begin now: high school will be too late. You’ll get so far behind so quickly, and you’ll reach an age at which you can make the decision for yourself about continuing your education, that I’m afraid you’ll just drop out.

And then what?

Concerned,
Your Teacher in Room 302

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