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Life advice: You get what you put into it

“You get out of it what you put into it.” We have all heard our parents or teachers make this statement as it related to our studies, our hobbies, or our athletic aspirations. Whether in grade school, high school or occupational education, we understood that the greater the effort the greater the reward, but as we get older, we tend to forget this simple formula. The relationship of our efforts to our outcomes applies to so many aspects of our adult lives, and too often we get frustrated with what we view as minimal satisfaction, fulfillment or appreciation.


Just as it is difficult to watch a child struggle in their education, it is just as difficult to watch adults struggle in their chosen profession or their relationships. But in both scenarios, this same simple formula applies, you get out of it what you put into it.


I should clarify that I am not talking about financial outcomes, or elevated position titles but rather a far greater outcome of personal fulfillment. As I have explained to my own children many times; you search for your calling and when you find it, the financial gains become a secondary benefit to the personal fulfillment you derive from doing your best at what you love.

It is unfortunate that we connect success to what is immediately observable on the surface, rather than the less tangible rewards such as contentment, fulfillment or happiness.


The same can be said for our relationships. How often do we look to our friends’ co-workers or even loved ones and question why we don’t feel connected? Possibly a moment of inflection on our efforts in those relationships would provide some real answers. The concept of getting out of it what you put into it applies directly to relationships. It requires deliberate effort to sustain meaningful relationships as well as a commitment of time. In this age of social media where we gauge our relationships by likes, shares, or comments, we run the risk of starving those personal relationships rather than nurturing them.


I am guilty of these superficial interactions as much as the next person, and it was this past weekend’s fair that once again provided opportunities to re-connect with so many wonderful people that made me aware of it. To be able to share stories and experiences in person is what we were meant to do. We are by nature a communal species. We are built to interact and share in both our most joyous and tragic moments. We sustain each other many times without ever knowing it.


Life is a full contact event. It requires great effort, discomfort and yes even pain sometimes to fully derive the intended level of fulfillment, gratitude and joy. Life is not a spectator event. You can not sit on the sidelines and expect to get anywhere near the level of joy or fulfillment as those engaged in the event. You will in fact get out of it, what you put into it.


Whether it be in our relationships, studies or employment, let’s all try to avoid becoming merely spectators. Rather, let’s begin each day, each shift or each class with every ounce of purpose and energy that we can muster, even in the hard days. Let’s take the time to have real conversations rather than just passing comments. Let’s all remember that from the moment we wake up to the moment we lay our head back down, we will in fact get from life, what we put into it.

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