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Effort and Result

February 20, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Not long ago in Vienna, I watched an amazing chef make strudel in his shop near the former Imperial Palace. While wolfing down my third helping, I had slowed down enough to recall something I read as a teenager.

A strudel fit for the gods!

Does effort alone have value? If someone tries hard, is that enough? No. A person must use the right skills on the right task. Thanks to author Robert Heinlein for the simple proof below.

Consider apple strudel and mud pies. Then consider a great chef and me, a truly awful cook.

So, we begin. Both of us have wonderful, fresh ingredients in front of us. In just a few minutes, the chef has her strudle ready for the oven. Much later, I have mine ready. Then we wait for the oven. And out comes… what?

My 3rd helping. Glad I walked 6 hours that day!

The chef has made a treat fit for the most avid mega-foodie, a thing far better than any of its ingredients, or even all of them taken together. I on the other hand have produced an almost inedible mess. Do these things have the same value? I put more honest effort into my strudle than the chef. Shouldn’t I get at least as much as the chef for my time? After all, I have the same needs as she does.

Now lets change to mud. The chef and I both have mud instead of flour with which to make our next batch of strudel. You already know the result: we both will have added in pure sugar and delicious apples plus other good things and produced garbage. And we did this with hard work, mine still being more than the chef’s.

So what’s the moral of the story?

Perhaps a great teacher will cause many more kids to learn what they should than a poor one. Perhaps no teacher could do that with the student equivalent of mud. Perhaps that student’s presence in the mix produces a class full of garbage. Or… well, you fill in the blank.

And this is about people who try hard. What of those who don’t try at all?

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