Go the extra mile

You must do more than the minimum amount of work if you really want to achieve the big goals you set. Said another way, it is not possible to reap the maximum when you sow the minimum. Strong students do their work to the best of their ability and then find ways to do even more. In my experience, the best students tend to go the extra mile to ask questions when needed.

In solving math problems, there is often a need to go the extra mile. Strong problem-solvers are the people who don’t focus on just getting the answer, but instead embrace the challenge and focus on the process rather than the result. They decide ahead of time that they will make as many attempts as necessary to find a solution. They make sure to check each solution for mistakes and also to think about ways of improving their solution. They really want to have a deep understanding and they would not be satisfied if someone just gave them the answer.

When you really care about your success and believe that you are in control of it, it will be natural for you to go the extra mile. Decide ahead of time that you will meet with temporary setbacks and that you will not give up when you do. How would you recognize success without ever experiencing defeat?

The road to success is paved in goals! Keep focused on where you want to end up and make your best effort every day to get a little closer to your goal. It is often much easier to stick to your plan when you break up a big goal into many small ones. Will Smith said, “If you want to build a wall, you start by laying one brick as perfectly as you can, and eventually you have a wall”. You can’t do everything today, but you can start by taking one small step.

In thinking about how I could go the extra mile as a teacher, I began first by writing e-mails to my students, much like the posts on this blog. As my biggest goal in life is to help as many students as possible, I realized I needed to start this blog so I could make progress toward my big goal. I plan to write many more posts and increase the number of readers over time. None of this would be possible without a clear goal that led me to take action. I also realized I just needed to start, by writing one post and go from there.

Imagine you are a boss and the people working for you do not go the extra mile, but they just do enough work to get by. What message are those people sending to you? Do they want to move up to bigger and better positions, or are they satisfied with where they are? In what ways are you going the extra mile in your life?

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