TWO BITES AT THE CHERRY
‘NON PALMA SINE LABORE’
As I grew up in the Hostel, I came to appreciate the connecting link between achievement and process. I learnt that achievement was seldom automatic, and that one does need to exert some effort (physical, mental, and/or emotional) to reach a goal. Some targets often require hard work. You might remember at some time being told (perhaps by Grandma) that God helps those who help themselves. Well, helping yourself is the effort you must put into getting what you want. Sometimes we are reluctant to give the effort, forgetting that examples abound of people having already ‘been there, done that’…
At times we point to so-called geniuses who seem to get results easily. What we do not know is that these geniuses often supplement and sharpen their talents with hard work. The great athletes are dogged ‘practisers’, pushing the limits and often slogging through injury to health then to reward. They struggle with the process, and often enjoy ‘the ride’, the ‘getting there’.
As I grew older, I came to appreciate even more the importance of the process, and more particularly enjoying the process. Each step set challenges for the next. If I did something 20 times, the next time I tried 25, and so on. If I looked at an idea one way, I tried to find other ways to see meaning and implications.
The process is a necessity towards achievement for a number of reasons: (1) it helps one to appreciate the work necessary to reach targets; (2) it helps one to appreciate the uniqueness of one’s own efforts; and (3) it allows one to measure progress. Often you hear athletes say: “I’m close, but not quite there, I am working at it”.
Here is where the GBSS Motto –‘Non palma sine labore’ – takes on added meaning, as does the St. Joseph Convent’s Motto – ‘Laborare est orare’. These Latin phrases translate to ‘No reward without labor’ and ‘To work is to pray’, respectively. It’s a nice twist of the GBSS motto that backwards it can be interpreted as ‘labor is not without reward’; and for the Convent motto the implication is that praying is part of working towards a fulfillment. The key issue here is to appreciate that the process is unavoidable, so one might as well enjoy the process as well as the result. One way is to let yourself be challenged (not defeated) by the tasks involved. By enjoying the process as well as the result, you get two bites at the proverbial cherry.
In enjoying the process and measuring progress towards your target, I found that my confidence grew such that I developed a knowing sense of success. The Hostel prepared me in a way that my participation in University study and exams raised no questions about ‘whether I would pass’. I recognized and enjoyed the process which allowed me to ask instead ‘which top percentile I would be in?’ But I also found that the actual results had a downside – a feeling of anti-climax when academic or other success was achieved. In the quieter moments, that feeling almost always translated to a question “is that all that there is????”
But getting to that stage means that you have succeeded and now face the challenge arising -having attained, how does one sustain what follows in expectations, in confidence, and in performance. I would say that you are in a good place if all this seems like a never-ending story! Would this be the point where you finally learn how to ‘handle success’?