Whenever my kids go off to school with test anxiety, I always tell them to do there best, for that is all that matters to me. In my opinion, it is the effort that counts. If they pay attention in class, do their homework, and reviewed their notes, then they should do fine on the test. If they ever have difficulty with a subject, I suggest they seek help before the test, and it usually does the trick.
Sometimes doing your best though does not give you that warm and fuzzy feeling. Sometimes your best is just not appreciated. That can be a hard pill to swallow. Have you ever told a joke to the wrong group of friends and nobody laughed? It could have been the best Italian joke, that made you almost pee your pants when you heard it, but your audience just didn’t understand the fine nuances of Italian culture, so the joke went flop, wop, wop. (If you did not get the joke, don’t worry, it was not that good.)
In those situations, I suggest you don’t let it bother you. Learn to laugh at yourself and be silly; one bad joke will not bring on the harbinger of doom. Well, it might if you tell a bad Italian joke to an Italian; we can be a little particular that way. Oh, and it is pronounced Italian, with a short “i,” like in the word “it”; do not use a long “i,” as in the word “like,” but, I digress.
Today’s fortune means that a cow does not care what you feed it; it will just eat it and go on its way. In short, you should save your best efforts for those who can appreciate it.
I still always suggest that you try your best, but remember who is benefiting from your work. If you are at a job, and they expect you to perform to a certain standard, then the effort will go towards making the company better. You might not get praise for the work you did, but everyone will benefit from a more productive company.
If you show your expertly written fantasy fiction novel to someone that only likes technical manuals, it will probably get you nothing but “That’s nice.” If you give that same book to one of your die-hard fans, they will probably say, “Wow, this is really great.” You are the receiver of the benefit through your reader, so it pays to know your target audience. If you understand that not everyone will like your work, you will be able to recover from those not-so-great reviews. All creative artists have to deal with this, whether you are a writer, painter, chef, or singer.
So, even if you botch that super easy knock-knock joke with a group of five-year-old kids, don’t fret. Not everyone can be to be a comedian, but it is easy to be a clown. ?:?)