What If Wednesday: Is it worth the effort?

What If what you are trying to do is worth the effort, despite the apparent “lack of progress”?

“It takes a long time to happen so fast.” -Lupe Fiasco

We are an instant society, aren’t we? We have everything at our fingertips in a matter of seconds on our phones or our tablets. We can gain instant fame through a viral video or social media. When a major event happens halfway around the world, we can be informed within the hour. We can even change our life with a 7-minute workout or a 4-day work week. Our society is about maximum results with minimal effort. Seriously, what is more fun than a nobody, from out of nowhere, becoming an overnight success?!

Most times though, there is no way to get what you want other than to go through the long, arduous process of putting in the work. There are no shortcuts, no easy paths. The way may have been laid out but it is still difficult and full of obstacles. When the barriers are encountered and the stumbles come, what makes a person get up and keep going? Could it be the final product is so appealing, so captivating, that the struggle to get there is irrelevant compared to the joy of achieving the goal? Is it possible that the “overnight success” often is years in the making?

As we work with children and young people, it’s easy to get the feeling there is no significant progress. We see the kids every day and they don’t seem to be getting “better” and, sometimes, they appear to be getting worse! It helps to remember that we are planting seeds in the students we work with. They will not learn all there is to know about math and reading and life by spending a couple of hours a day with us. But each day, we get to plant one more seed, one more idea, one more skill as we spend time with kids after school. Over time, we see the growth.

Whether you are chasing a dream, working on a project, working with people, or trying to improve your health, it is going to take time. There is work to be done. There will be progress and setbacks. Don’t get discouraged because you aren’t seeing immediate, drastic results. Most change and progress is achieved by incremental steps gained by determination and perseverance. Don’t despise the small beginnings. Hang on to the seemingly insignificant victories.

What If it does take a long time to happen so fast?

Brad Lademann

Afterschool Resource Coordinator
Missouri AfterSchool Network 

Brad Lademann is a dynamic youth speaker with 16 years of public speaking experience and 12 years of experience working with middle school and high school students. He has worked with teens in many capacities including teacher, youth pastor, coach, mentor, and afterschool program supervisor. He currently works with MASN as our Resource Coordinator and provides technical assistance to SAC and 21CCLC grantees.


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