“And if anything laborious, or pleasant or glorious or inglorious be present to you, remember that now is the contest, now are your Olympics, and they are not optional. It all comes down to one defeat, one concession that everything you have attained is forfeited or maintained.” – Epictetus
A strong position to be required to hold. Looking at everything as a compulsory contest in which all of our winnings, all of our progress is contingent on the results. But this is precisely the way we need to look at the things we really want to acquire or accomplish. Every little step takes our best effort. Maybe not maximum effort, because using more effort than necessary is a waste. But it requires our best effort, recognizing what we have to do to accomplish a task and then doing exactly that.
It works in the opposite direction as well. Every time that we stray off the path that we have set out for ourselves, we allow that moment of weakness to chip away at all of the progress we have made. If we have decided that we will wake up early to exercise and we decide to sleep in, what are the chances we fit that workout into the rest of our day. If we forget to listen more and spend a conversation talking about ourselves instead of learning about the other person, we can not get that back.
And so, yes. We need to approach everything we do as if it were a contest where everything is on the line and each task requires our best effort. By bringing our best effort to even the little things in life, we build a pattern of doing our best in everything, we build a habit. We make it a discipline.
virtus fortis vocat