When I apply myself I expect to see a return for my effort. None of us want to do something for nothing. We want some sort of return. A reward of sort for energy used. Some gain for all the pain we might have gone through.

At different times, for different reasons the results will vary. Sometimes we will see a great return. Perhaps an exponential one. At other times we get what we expected. Then there are those times we seem to get less than what we hoped for. Even worse, we get nothing.

Somehow we’ve all come up with a scale. A certain amount of effort and input should have corresponding output. After all, the reason we do something is to see some particular thing happen.

Things we never anticipated can rob us of the result we sought. We get blindsided by many things. Our own biases mislead us. A miscalculation can take us off course. Such things will happen.

When we don’t get the results we wanted it is easy to write off our efforts and resources. We can see our effort and other resources as wasted.

Well, there is no such things as wasted effort. Besides what we sought to see happen there are many other benefits we can be oblivious to.


There is always something to learn from your experiences. When you feel you have wasted effort, ask yourself, “What did I learn?”

Sometimes what we learn can be more valuable that what we were trying to achieve (Click to Tweet)

Some helpful questions include:

  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What did you learn about your team or teammates?
  • Where did I / we feel most challenged?
  • Were there any new discoveries I made that I haven’t on any other endeavour?
  • Is there anything to salvage as a foundation for another enterprise or endeavour?
Not Obvious

Every gain from from any endeavour is not always obvious. You have learned some things you aren’t aware of. It is possible you have already learned some significant lessons and skills. Remember: we learn from both success and failure.

The thing is you haven’t realised it yet. Some lessons we learn but only realise what we learnt in hindsight. It can be years before you grasp the importance of your lessons. The present can be bad for evaluating every detail.

Be comfortable with being unaware of the detail. Some of details will emerge later. You might have just ‘learned forward’.

Watch Out

Failure is also bait. If taken you could wallow in self-defeating self-pity. It can take your eyes off what you intended to achieve and cause you to tear yourself down. This could cause you to lose the value of your experience. (More on this later)

Some significant things can come from colossal failure (Click to Tweet)


There’s no such thing as wasted effort. It becomes wasted when you don’t glean anything from it. Now that is true waste. A shame. If you’re diligent enough, there is no such thing as wasted effort.


Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

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