Jon Barth Leadership Logo

Helping students become
leaders who make an impact on the world

How to Attain Victory in Your Classroom

Mohandas Gandhi said, “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”

This is countercultural and a difficult concept for us to truly believe in the world today. But it was also difficult for Gandhi in his time. Gandhi himself was countercultural with his nonviolent approach as he attempted to help his home country of India gain independence from Great Britain.

For many years, Gandhi gave his full effort, his freedom, and his own well-being in order to achieve his dream of Indian independence. However, for many years Gandhi did not attain his dream. Finally, on August 15th of 1947, India gained its independence. But Gandhi was shot several months later so he did not get to experience much of the fruits of his labor.

Satisfaction from Our Effort

Yet, Gandhi was victorious even before August 15th of 1947. He could gain satisfaction in his full effort and he didn’t need a reward to validate that effort.

So here’s a challenge for us to reflect on as classroom leaders:

What is ONE thing in your life you gain satisfaction from by merely participating in it, whether or not you attain any prize or reward from it? How can you connect this mindset of gaining satisfaction from your effort to your job educating young people despite all the frustrations and challenges you face?

This challenge comes from our fundamental of success of Seeking Peace and Fulfillment.

Sometimes when we are too focused on achieving our dreams, we start to feel like we aren’t good enough, or no one will like us, or all our effort is useless if we don’t get the ultimate prize we are after. It’s like holding a pile of sand…the more we squeeze it, the more grains of sand slip through our fingers. The more we focus on achieving our dreams, the less we focus on doing what is necessary to achieve our dreams and derive satisfaction from the process.

One of our fundamentals of success is to Pursue our Dreams. But now as we discuss the fundamental of Seeking Peace and Fulfillment, are we saying it doesn’t matter if we achieve our dream?

That’s exactly what Gandhi meant when he said full effort is full victory.

The fundamental is: Pursue our Dreams. It’s not: achieve your dreams or you’re a failure.

We Don’t Always Show Our Appreciation

So how does this relate to us as teachers and coaches? It depends on what our dream is and what the ultimate destination is we are trying to reach.

For myself, I’m trying to be a teacher and coach who has an impact on my students and athletes. I want the young people I worked with to say, “He really taught me a lot about life. He’s someone I can really use as a role model for how I want to live my life.”

This is my ultimate dream and destination.

One of the frustrations which has plagued me throughout my career is when kids don’t seem to understand and appreciate the things I do in the present.

But this is a selfish mindset…and it’s one that causes me to squeeze the pile of sand in my hand. It’s a mindset that says I need to attain recognition from people in order to validate what I’m doing.

So here’s a really simple exercise to prove our students and athletes may not always let us know when they appreciate the impact we have on them. The exercise is to consider if there is a teacher, coach, or another person who has had a positive impact on you, but you have failed to articulate to them how they made a difference in your life.

I can think of multiple people in my life to which this applies.

So one area where I need to improve is letting those people know I appreciate them. In addition, I need to understand this will often be the case when it comes to the students and athletes I work with.

Now, this doesn’t mean we don’t need to listen to feedback to help us get better. It doesn’t mean we don’t have to strive for excellence daily and create a better version of ourselves.

Remember, Gandhi said full effort.

Not a partial effort.

Not a decent effort.

A full effort.

Full Effort is Full Victory

We can’t get down on ourselves if we aren’t recognized for our efforts. If we don’t get the recognition, we need to focus on making a full effort. For many of us, a full effort is working to create a lasting impact on our students and athletes.

We need to take satisfaction in our effort. Not so we can gain recognition from the outside world, but so we can attain peace and fulfillment inside ourselves.

So how about you?

What is ONE thing in your life you gain satisfaction from by merely participating in it, whether or not you attain any prize or reward from it? How can you connect this mindset of gaining satisfaction from your effort to your job educating young people despite all the frustrations and challenges you face?

We will have good days and we will have bad days. But if more often than not we are bemoaning our job of teaching and coaching kids, then maybe it’s not really what we’ve been called to do.

However, if in the midst of the chaos we find those moments of peace and fulfillment…moments where a child smiles because of our interaction with them…moments where we can actually see the improvement, the change, and the transformation from our students.

Then those moments are what we need to hold on to.

Those moments are what we need to gain satisfaction from.

We need to embrace the mindset of Gandhi…full effort is full victory. Because this mindset is what we need to experience peace and fulfillment as we write our own stories. We can focus on our purpose of serving others and gain fulfillment by giving away our gifts and abilities.

The mindset of full effort is full victory will help us grow stronger relationships with our students and athletes because it will keep us focused on what we need to do…

Give the young people we work with a better version of ourselves every day.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Related Articles

Jon Barth

Jon Barth

Teacher - Coach - Mentor

I love to share stories, tools, and resources to help students become leaders who make a difference in the world by giving away their gifts and abilities.

Free Course
Special Offer