What is meant by a super-effort?” someone asked.
“It means an effort beyond the effort that is necessary to achieve a given purpose,” said G. “Imagine that I have been walking all day and am very tired. The weather is bad, it is raining and cold. In the evening I arrive home. I have walked, perhaps, twenty-five miles. In the house there is supper; it is warm and pleasant. But, instead of sitting down to supper, I go out into the rain again and decide to walk another two miles along the road and then return home. This would be a super-effort. While I was going home it was simply an effort and this does not count. I was on my way home, the cold, hunger, the rain—all this made me walk. In the other case I walk because I myself decide to do so. This kind of super-effort becomes still more difficult when I do not decide upon it myself but obey a teacher who at an unexpected moment requires from me to make fresh efforts when I have decided that efforts for the day are over.
Another form of super-effort is carrying out any kind of work at a faster rate than is called for by the nature of this work. You are doing something—well, let us say, you are washing up or chopping wood. You have an hour’s work. Do it in half an hour—this will be a super-effort.
But in actual practice a man can never bring himself to make super-efforts consecutively or for a long time; to do this another person’s will is necessary which would have no pity and which would have method.