Noses, Degrees, Percents

One percent; one nose; one degree

You may be wondering what each of these things has in common.

The answer is really very simple: It is all about the effort.  What if you were training for a race? Could you go one extra minute? One tenth of a mile faster or further? Most runners would say that they could.  And what if the runner did that over time? That extra effort will most certainly result in better results at the finish line, right?

by a nose
Turallure, left, is passed Court Vision at the finish line at the 2011 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, and from recruitingblogs.com)

Jockeys know how it feels to win a horse race by a nose – or how it feels to lose by the same amount.  And so do those who bet on one of those horses, too.  One percent more effort in the training and in the moment of the race, may be all the difference in whether the horse wins first or second. Big payoff for the owner and jockey, or not so much of a payoff, can be reduced to a nose.

A third example is temperature. What makes water boil? Your high school science teacher told you that it is heat applied to water. But it is also one degree.  211 degrees, you have very hot water. 212 degrees and it’s boiling. Boiling water creates steam, which powers engines, makes electricity, creates motion, and, well, you get the idea.  There is a great video that explains the importance of that one degree. It is only 212 seconds (cute, huh) and worth your time: http://www.givemore.com/212-video/

So what if you applied that one extra degree or percent of effort this week, and next, and next?  One second, one percent, one degree is so insignificant – unremarkable, unnoticeable, really.  But in a year’s time, think what a difference it could make!  I know you can pay 1% more attention to your work this week.

And you know it, too.

So here is my challenge: Every day when you get to work, ask yourself, “What I could do better today than I did yesterday?” And then do it. (Ask it in your home life, too, by the way. It will work there, too.) I promise you will notice a difference. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but over time, certainly. And when you do, I hope you will share your 1% stories with me.

I leave you with this Quote from writer and photographer James Clear:  “Most of the significant things in life aren’t stand-alone events, but rather the sum of all the moments when we chose to do things 1 percent better or 1 percent worse.”

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