The effort it deserves

A TV show about three “middleaged men doing what they’ve always done” sounds like the last thing anyone in the world would want to watch.

It sounds even less like a TV show that would find global success the world over. And yet:


Richard Hammond, James May, and Jeremy Clarkson have defined their careers by falling over and failing in epic proportions–even when lives are at stake:

One of the big secrets behind their success? Everything they do, they do whole-heartedly.

Every single segment of their show is full of beautiful cinematography


And every element of the series is full of moments of strategically-placed irreverence; elevating the program above that of a simple car show and turning it into a treatise about the relationship between car and driver as well as the interactions between people thrust into ridiculous situations.

Despite the show’s seemingly countless controversies that have plagued the BBC, that irreverent style of comedy works in this context because it accepts the unwritten rule that those jokes should not be said then proceeds to blow right past the taboo with reckless abandon.

Blow down Hell’s door

Throughout my entire life, there’s one phrase I’ve heard more than any other:

You’re doing too much

-Literally every single one of my friends, ever

That’s impossible.

There’s no such thing as doing too much.

A simple, effortless search of BrainyQuote pulls up 39 pages of motivational-posters with quotes about effort like:

“Strength and growth only come with continuous effort and struggle”

-Napoleon Hill

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

Any hundreds more.

Why they’re wrong. At least partially.

Those quotes are approaching the effort as the reward in and of itself. They’re focusing on the growth at the end of the tunnel and turning it into a prize to be attained.

That’s fine.

But those quotes focus exclusively on the the act of placing the effort and not on the one core driver of that effort: passion.

The most common time when my friends accuse me of over-doing something comes in food. Every time I cook, I take care to treat each ingredient with respect, ensuring that I cook it in the way it’s intended to without taking any shortcuts.

It’s something that I’ve written about before and it’s something that comes out of a very basic sentiment: passion.

The care that I give food and design and many other elements of my life stems from a conscious decision to avoid shortcuts.

When the The Grand Tour team visited Germany to film a recent episode, the hosts talked about German quality saying:

There is no word here for that’ll do. There is no ambiguity in Germany.

-Jeremy Clarkson

He meant that German engineering works until the job is done. While there have been notable exceptions, Germany is known for producing quality products and for taking the time to do things correctly. It shows.

I drive a Volkswagen Jetta–gasoline, not diesel. And everything about that car just…works. The car responds when I want it to and it’s clear the the design team put thought into every aspect of the car. The Jetta is not an expensive car; it’s the German equivalent to a Chevy Cruze. However, the Chevy Cruze is an abomination worse that the Speed 2: Cruise Control.

The difference is in design. The differentiator is the care and attention to detail. It’s the reason why sitting in the driver’s seat of a BMW or a Mercedes–and even a people’s car just feels right.

We have an obligation to ourselves and our reputation to produce similar quality of work. We owe it to ourselves to keep our name pristine and to take the time to build in those extra little touches that can make someone else’s life that much easier.

Sure, it may require a little more time and effort; but the end result will be completely worth it.

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Cover image  Marina Vitale on Unsplash

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