Last night I dreamt of my brother's Godmother who was the best friend of Elli Lampeti, a magnificent Greek actress know for her subtle but awesome mannerisms, her finesse and her venerable aura. I woke up and decided to watch an episode of a tv series depicting her life, called The Last Performance. As I watched the protagonist- a tantamountly graceful actress named Marina Kalogirou in the role of Elli- tap the picturesque pavements of center Athens with her heels and sit at a local coffee shop to meet her sister, Antigoni, I heard her apologize for her tardy arrival which was due to the fact that she had gone to the bookstore to buy a book about learning Italian. She was going to be playing in an Italian movie of American production and she had to learn how to speak the language.
Now, it is in the early hours of the morning that the brain is hyper-associative so I was inspired by this scene, to write about the value of effort on its own. Not as a means to an end and not as a fragmented reaction to occasional lust or opportunity. Lampeti had done it all and had seen it all in Greece, so she decided to excellerate. She decided to dive into unexplored waters and to test her survival skills. She decided to shatter her comfort zone as to where she was going, there was no comfort to become attached to.
Watching her persist and succeed in her dicey venture, I couldn't help but wonder how- if at all- do I challenge myself, what I know and what I am capable of? Do I try or have I given up on effort all-together, settling down exactly where I am? And if I do spread roots within places, diplomas, skills or even relationships, is this all that life has to offer me? Should I be looking forward to a perpetual and if I am lucky to a trouble free repetition of scenes and heroes, actors around me?
If life feels ok, then one might decide to stay put and for good reason. I know that with this blog I will not persuade someone who is not a risk-taker to put everything or even something at stake and make a bet on themselves. Because in bets there is always something to win but there is also something to lose. So I will not try to proselytize anyone into a more uncertain lifestyle because my arguments for effort lack the science and the experience to back them.
With this article I choose to address those who have already grasped a glimpse of self-redefinition-famine inside their bodies. You know who you are. I am writing this for you, my fellow compatriots of the land of exploration of uncharted regions of possibility. Reinvention devouts should stick together so here are four points I crafted about effort that help me tap my own heels on the pavements I slide on during my days of being.
1) Effort is a lifestyle. Don't underestimate trying as a stepping stone but rather choose to live a life of trying. Instead of viewing effort as an occasional necessity and an unavoidable burden and goals as a constant eye catcher, try looking at the former as a consciously decided state of living and the latter as occasional rewards or letdowns that will come and go inescapably, as a given of everyone's life.
2) Blindly trust effort. Try without a specific goal in mind. Just get up and try. Pick it up from where you left it and try. Effort has an encoded way of nourishing one's life and it doesn't care what that person had in mind when they started. As in literary pieces of art, everyone can find a part of themselves in another person's words and suddenly make sense of what they are saying, effort will one day make sense to them who are trying. No further explanations needed.
3) Effort is a value. Make effort your core value and your motto in your life. Make it your choice that is indicative of who you are. You may not know what you have accomplished or what the future holds for you but you can choose to identify as someone who is working towards finding that out. So try.
4) Forget about succeeding or failing. Just start moving towards a general direction and even if you don't find yourself where you wanted, you will still be in a whole new place that you have never been before. Once you try, you have bought a ticket to a new destination so you are still traveling somewhere.
No matter how old you are or feel, effort isn't an exclusive right of the young, the artsy or the passionate· No matter how many days you have left on this world, they are all you have. Especially if you do not believe in afterlife or if you are a skepticist, all you know is that for now, this is your time. This is game time. So get up and play.
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