Garbage In, Garbage Out

Do you remember the phrase, Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO)? I think I first heard that term in the late 80’s in one of my first computer classes.  

The concept is common in the computing and mathematics worlds to describe the idea that the quality of input determines the quality output. If you put faulty data into a system, you’ll get faulty data coming out. 

I’ve been thinking about this phrase a lot and am fascinated by how it applies to so many different areas of my life. 

From quality of my food choices, intensity of my workouts, effort with my writing, even the time spent with my kids and family. 

It’s really very simple. The quality of effort we put into life, is strongly correlated to the quality of results we get out of it. 

We live in a culture of immediacy with very little tolerance for delayed gratification. If there is something we want to buy, we make a few clicks, and it arrives on our doorstep within days. We binge watch Netflix series without the interruption of commercials. We scroll through social media videos with the flick of a thumb, passing anything that doesn’t connect with us within a second or two.  

So how is it, in a world of that is dominated by the expectation for instantaneous results, we should also intuitively know or understand that real investment in our health, our minds, our families, our jobs, our finances, takes time. It takes discipline. It takes patience. It takes consistency. It takes work. 

There is no magic pill or workout that will change our bodies overnight. There is only consistency of training and quality of food choices over a long period of time. 

There is no single investment choice that will make us instantly rich for a lifetime. There is only disciplined spending, investing, and planning over a long period of time. 

There is no single day at Disneyland or family trip to Hawaii that will make us a great parent.  There is only being available, on good days and bad, sacrificing and compromising, and fiercely loving through it all, over a long period of time, that will create a lasting bond between us and our children. 

There is no single practice that will turn us into an amazing athlete. There is only showing up, day after day, throwing thousands of balls, running thousands of drills – even when we don’t feel like it – over a long period of time, that will create greatness on the field. 

There is no single story or article I compose that will automatically make me a great writer. There is only sitting at my computer and writing millions of words, honing my skill and craft over hundreds of hours, to one day, create something meaningful. 

There is no magic. 

If I want a quality result, I need to invest quality effort, consistently, over time. 

I cannot sit here and think the road to success will be easy, instantaneous, or immediate. 

The longer it takes, the harder I work, the more effort I put in, the greater the reward. In all areas of life. 

The next time you get a result you aren’t happy with – ask yourself, did the quality of your input match your desired quality of output? 

If not, then I am willing to bet, if you make changes on the front end to dial in your effort, over time, you will achieve your desired outcome. 

A few years ago, I raced a half marathon behind someone wearing a shirt that read “If you ask yourself if you have more to give, the answer is usually yes.” That shirt kept me going when I got tired and wanted to stop running. It incessantly reminded me that I had more inside me to give. I ended up crossing that finish line with a personal record. That shirt still keeps me going when life gets hard. It’s a mantra that reminds me that I will get out of life what I put into it. 

We all have more inside of us. 

Let’s surprise ourselves by what we can accomplish when we give life everything we think we have…and more. 

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