When we have a worthy undertaking, we must make a sincere effort and must never go only half way through. Only then God will come to our help.
Right effort is important for one who is aiming at spiritual enlightenment. It is part of the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path.
The Bible stresses on industriousness in different words: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard and observe its ways and be wise.” Somerset Maugham wrote a short story criticising this teaching of the Bible and emphasised on chance, among other factors. But chance generally favours those who make an effort.
The Gita stresses on effort and not the reward presumably because such an attitude enables us to perform a task better. What are the driving forces for effort? Most people are driven by the desires for sex, money and power, while a few are interested in the pursuit of knowledge or philanthropy. Or people have these different motivations in different proportions.
Putting it differently, psychologists say that man is motivated by the desires for love and sex, achievement or power. For creative work, the motivation comes from within. One has an urge to express oneself by say writing or painting and cannot rest till it is done.
According to Khushwant Singh, a man becomes a writer when he has a compelling passion to become one and he is not primarily driven by the desire for wealth or fame.
One’s own efforts are necessary for learning the major lessons in life in the form of say reading books. As Oscar Wilde said: “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is wor-th knowing can be taught.”
While making an effort, one needs to believe in oneself and the value of the undertaking. A person trying to give up tobacco must have the faith that if he abstains for a week, the craving will die out almost completely.
When we face odds, it is important to keep on trying, for as someone said: “There is no failure except in no longer trying.”