When I was a teenager and knew what times I’d be in during the evening I used to enjoy watching The Simpsons quite a lot. And one of the moments I remember is the episode in which Bart tries to learn the guitar. Tries, and doesn’t really get it straight away. So his Dad, Homer, responds like this:
If something is hard to do, then it’s not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your shortwave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we’ll go inside and watch TV.
And everyone laughs because we all know that giving up when something’s hard is not the honorable choice to make, but we’ve all got closets with unicycles in them, whether they’re physical or not so physical.
But in today’s society I’m getting more aware that putting effort in is actually seen as a Bad Thing, even if that view is more subconscious than we realise. A generation ago grocery shopping would have been done by someone physically walking around a shop and paying an actual person, whereas today we have unmanned checkouts and online shopping, all sold with the slogan that if it saves you time it must be a Good Thing.
This has been highlighted by the recent Pot Noodle advert, the catchphrase for which is: ‘Why Try Harder?’ – and the response is obvious – trying harder gives you, and everyone else, a better quality of life!
Don’t hear what I’m not saying: effort for the sake of effort really does my head in, but a lack of effort in the name of efficiency or (the dirty word) productivity is really a bit of a shame, particularly for men. Men don’t need telling to put less effort in, they’re perfectly capable of sitting around not doing anything all day on their own, thank you!
How’s about it? Shall we buck the trend and actually make society better by going the extra mile?