One of the important lessons that I learned from my mother was to put my best effort into any challenge that I faced.
Like any youngster, it took a while for mother's advice to really mean anything to me. Certainly by the time I was a teenager and a Boy Scout, I was close to figuring it out. I know it was part of my character by the time I got through the first semester at McCallie, the military boarding school, I attended for high school.
When I got to college, no one told me, but I knew that I had to do well. I felt an obligation to my mother who had worked really hard to give me the opportunity to be the first of our family to attend college.
I certainly enjoyed college, but I also turned out good grades. It was just a matter of working harder than you played. After college, I learned a lot from the ten years that I farmed. One of the corollaries to mother's rule that I picked up on the farm was that it is easier to do something right the first time than to do it quickly and have to do it over.
But I also learned that it you have to do something two or three times to get it right, the effort is well worth it. Try doing a poor job of fencing with a large herd of cattle, and that lesson will become clear.
Interestingly it doesn't even matter if what you are doing is of great importance. Sometimes doing the small things in life with pride is what get us through the tough times. The feeling that I get from mowing my yard well is something that keeps me doing a great job with the mowing.
I would much rather expend the effort walking behind a small mower and doing a great job than do a poorer but easier job with a riding mower.
As we get older, most of us don't have the opportunity to apply a lot that we have learned to important projects, but there is nothing to say that we have been released from doing anything but the best at whatever we do.
I consider achieving the best that I can as a part of the way that I do things. I am not sure that I know how to give less than 110% to anything that I do.
When nothing else is going right, I still can stand proud of my efforts in the small things in life.