My wife and I went snorkelling on our recent holiday and marvelled at how the instructors seemed to move so easily through the water. We splashed around like fury and they seemed to make hardly any movement at all but zoomed around all over the place. Less effort and more effect.
That’s true for many sports. As I have become a more proficient skier I use much less energy because I know when to apply the pressure to get maximum effect, so I can ski much more for the same effort.
It’s also true in golf (although I have yet to master it!). Ernie Els is know as ‘The Big Easy’ because he appears to put hardly any effort into his shots but he hits them further than most. He is able to apply his power at exactly the right moment and place to get the maximum distance.
When we begin something we thrash around in an inefficient and ineffective way. Gradually, we realise what works and what doesn’t and refine our actions. We might get some advice, some coaching to help us. Maybe, eventually, we achieve mastery.
Sometimes, though, we just keep thrashing around. It may be we’re just no good at it (and should get someone else to do it), or we get obsessed with the money or the glory, and get distracted. We stop looking at the results, we forget to learn and refine our actions. The problem is that just thrashing won’t get us where we want, , no matter how much we want it.
Instead of trying harder and harder, we should looking to put in less effort. Because that shows we’re learning, developing and growing. So we’re more likely to achieve our goal.
Effortless doesn’t mean easy. Quite the opposite, you need to apply yourself and work at it. It just means what it says.