Effort is the great equalizer

At this year’s DECA state competition (www.DECA.org), Lemonade Stand Economics led several breakout sessions teaching students how to juggle with lemons. Well, first we watched a video about a shirtless guy dancing and discussed the importance of leadership and being the first follower. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW8amMCVAJQ ) Then we juggled. Students have a lot going on in their lives with classes, homework, sports, friends, parents, siblings, a job, and for these particular students…DECA. Students today have a lot of balls…or should I say lemons… in the air. Our breakout session brought attention to the fact that managing all of this is literally juggling, and the better the juggler you are the smoother everything goes. It was also some fun and levity for these students that were pretty serious about competing the next day and really feeling the pressure.157052_512144798824539_508805066_n

In the first session, there was a girl in the front row who learned to juggle in ten minutes. I was there- I saw it. She was right in front of me. When we started – she could not juggle. She started with one lemon, then two, then three. Ten minutes later she could juggle three lemons consistently for two or three minutes. She picked it up that fast. She was a natural. I’d say everyone is a natural at something and hers was obviously juggling. Was it hand/eye coordination? Her friends encouraging her? I’m not sure, but she was very good, very quickly.

Later that day we were with another group of students. One young lady wanted to juggle in a bad way. She was not going to stop until she could juggle those three lemons. At her ten minute point, we were all ducking because she was chucking lemons around the room. She kept saying, “I’m going to get this. I’m going to do this,” more to herself than to us or the other students. She was progressing, getting better each time she tossed the lemons up and she had friends there encouraging her too. And laughing…boy, did they have a good time. It did not come as naturally to her. But she did it. Nearly 60 minutes in, we were all cheering when she kept those three lemons up for two minutes. She had learned to juggle! And she was loving it! And she was beaming with pride as they left.

Both ladies accomplished the juggling challenge set before them. One took ten minutes and one took an hour. Both had fun. Both had friends on the sidelines telling them they could do it. One got it very easily and one had to work harder, but in the end they both walked away jugglers.  The difference in how they got there was effort. The first girl had to use little effort. She literally picked up the lemons and juggled them. Once she got it, she started helping her friends get it too. The second girl exerted much more effort to achieve this lemony juggling pinnacle. She simply would not give up. Lots of kids quit before the third lemon, but she would not let it beat her.

Effort is the great equalizer. Anyone can pretty much accomplish anything with enough effort. I look back at my own personal shortcomings in life and most of them were because of the lack of effort on my part. I stopped before my third lemon.

Don’t be afraid to put in the effort. If something does come naturally to you, be grateful and move toward the next challenge.  I’m glad these two girls – and the hundreds of other students – learned how to juggle and I’m glad we were there to watch it, but I’m also grateful they had fun. That’s important too.

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One Response to “Effort is the great equalizer”

  1. Kyle Willkom says:

    I was there and witnessed the madness! Great post. A huge motivator for me during tough times has been thinking about how many people would give up in the same situation. Knowing that the average person would give up and refusing to settle with being an “average” person can come in handy when that third lemon gives you trouble!