You must have heard this, if not succumbed to the cliche and muttered the phrase “giving 110%” at some point in the past. The thing is, it is unrealistic, in fact mathematically impossible so, it needs to stop to allow for your success to happen.
We’re gonna need some metaphors for this discussion, and you are in luck, as I got a brand new box for Christmas.
Giving 110% is as realistic as saying I’m going to fly to work on a Unicorn called Kevin. You just can’t do that. Which means you need to make some adjustments when it comes to defining your efforts.
Let’s compare our effort to a cake. A whole cake is 100% effort. If we eat all the cake, then it has gone… it’s not coming back. The only way we can have 110% cake is if someone else brings a cake to the table.
Which means, if you gave 100%, according to the cake analogy there would be nothing left. Now, I’m undecided if that means you have peaked, or died. I guess peaked, as I don’t think I could tell Usain Bolt he is only operating at 99% when he smashes a world record.
Having said that, and in reference to Mr Bolt, if he then goes on to further beat his world record the next weekend too, he clearly had something left in the locker, or perhaps more realistically he did all he could at that moment in time, 7 days prior.
So back to our 110% cliche… If we are calling 110% our peak, world record breaking Ussain Bolt effort, which is actually 100%. What is our real world, day to day effort level?
And is it really motivating us by setting the bar impossibly high… as we’re never gonna be able to achieve what we set out for. Which in turn, even subconsciously gives us a get out of jail free card to underperform.
Is it healthy to try and perform to our maximum all the time? Life is a marathon and not a sprint, which means regulating our pace and efforts, keeping a bit of energy back for the hill or the struggle to come.
If our brain expects us to operate at a level that is impossible, what does that say to ourselves and others. We may as well be flying to work with Kevin the Unicorn. I’d say we’re not taking success seriously enough.
Give a solid 80 percent, not a pretend 110% and I think you’ll actually perform better in the long run, keeping the best part of 20% in your pocket for when you really need to dig deep.
Hope 2021 is treating you well so far. Love to all