Whatever you do, whether it is studying, playing, sports, or praising God, do it to the best of your abilities.
William heard this proverb from his father (who is a 1st generation Korean). Although they were simple words, they motivated him to exert himself in a variety of meaningful activities.
Personally, I thought they his father might have said this at a time when William was especially lazy. When I asked if his work ethic might have caused his father to tell him this proverb, he immediately replied that it was likely that his laziness warranted such a proverb.
Also, the first thought I had after William told me this proverb was of another very similar proverb. Although I cannot remember the exact words off the top of my head, it was a colonial era proverb I had read during a high school history class. The proverb was something like If an activity is worth doing at all, it is worth doing to the best of your abilities. Of course, there are now many satirical proverbs that play on this old proverb. For example, one websites collection of pseudo-proverbs lists the following: Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly. This new variant of the old proverb that promoted diligence now jokingly promotes procrastination.
Parody of the proverb found at: