Give it all you've got.
Leave it all on the field.
All the above is the stuff of movie training montages, motivational books and inspiring songs. I would submit that it’s important to give 100% when you're striving for that big goal... few would argue with that. I would also say that it’s easier said than done.
Many times we hold back as an excuse in case we fail. “Well gosh, I know I would have made it had I given it my all. It’s not because I'm not good enough/ smart enough/ strong enough. I just wasn’t ready to give it my all. Maybe next time, though...”. It’s takes no small amount of courage to put your ego on the line, but in the end, you’ll have to do so if want to get where you want to go. This is something that I struggle with, but in the end I would rather have given it my best shot than to have to live out my days wallowing in regret.
The other piece of the puzzle is that sometimes it’s hard to identify what 100% actually means. I do know that, with regards to my writing career, it’s a matter of writing as much as possible along with becoming as marketing savvy as I can be. That’s pretty clear cut... it boils down to time, effort and willpower. Getting fit is similar in most respects... one must workout consistently, regularly and eat well in order to succeed.
Not every situation lends itself to that kind of full-bore, valiant effort, though. Take romance for example. Love will not bend to your will, in fact, pushing too hard will likely result in ending up in an unsatisfying relationship or, just as likely, scaring off your intended. Imagine, for example, being interested in someone who isn’t quite ready to “move forward”. Do you push forward relentlessly? Do you give everything you’ve got to the goal of getting together with this person? No... probably not your best move, unless you want to be marked as a pest or worse (and yes, I have been on the receiving end of this). Patience is actually the order of the day. Patience and time.
These two situations may on the surface seem to be on the opposite ends of the effort spectrum, but not really. Both require faith and discipline. I have to have faith that I will reach my writing goals, along with the discipline to keep up my efforts and forge ahead each day. As for that not-quite-there romance, one must have faith that the other person will eventually come around, along with the self-control to hang back a little and be patient (to say nothing of the intestinal fortitude to walk away if need be).