Achieving success in your finances is equivalent to achieving success in your physical fitness. Imagine, you do pushup exercise every morning. You are comfortable going 30 reps before your hands go numb. But 30-reps is 90 percent of the workout. It is your comfort zone and the point where you get an average result. The remaining 10 percent effort is outside your comfort zone. This 10 percent is what determines whether you get outstanding results or not.
Any reputable physical trainer will tell you that all reps prior to the last two are just a warm-up for the real workout. Those last two reps when you are straining and your muscles are arching are what make all the difference. If you quit before those last two reps, you will deny yourself most of the value of the workout.
It’s the same for the stonecutter. Hammering away at the rock a hundred times may not reveal a crack. But the hundredth and one blow may just be the one to split the stone into two.
Similarly, it takes 80%-90% of your energy just to break even and maintain the status-quo in your financial life. The last 10%-20% is where the extraordinary result is achieved. But that is the hard part and it is why very few people succeed financially. They stop moving forward and settle after putting in 80%-90% of the effort. The difference between excellence and mediocrity happened within that little extra 10 percent.
Use the 10 percent rule to get what most people won’t get
Every day I see young people on social media and in real life complain about how they have done their best to make their life better with little or nothing to show. I see the frustration in their words and in their eyes. I understand that when you live in an exclusive society – a system that is deliberately designed to keep the masses down – it can be difficult to make a head way for a lot of people. The world is a competitive place; everyone is after their own desire; and a lot of times, it doesn’t seem like people care that much to lend a helping hand.
Regardless of all these reasons that seem genuine, you are still responsible for your life. You just can’t throw that away. You’ve got one life and it is yours alone to live. The public may give you sympathy if you present yourself as a victim. But it won’t give you more than that. Nothing good comes out of pity. So you are better off accepting that as an adult, you are responsible.
Now here is the thing; if you are responsible for your life, have you really done all that you can do? Can you honestly say that you have put in your 100 percent? Your long day of work that ends in exhaustion is just 70 to 90 percent at best. For some, it’s even way less than 70 percent. If you are already doing enough to survive, you need to put in the remaining 10 percent to move your life forward.
In a nutshell, the 10 percent rule is about doing what others won’t do, so that you can have what others will only dream of. It is when you have given the extra 10 percent that most people will not give that you begin to thrive.
A person story
Let me share a personal story with you. After I graduated from the university, I realized that school did not prepare me for the kind of life I wanted. I decided to get the education I needed from the real world. I took every commercial opportunity I could find. I sold movies, jewelry, and shoes. I learned building construction and worked as a construction engineer. Without a laptop, I started an online publishing business, with my Nokia 3230 phone. I even wrote my first book from that phone. I could have made the excuse of not having a laptop. But that would be of no use. Moving to a rural area with serious challenges accessing the internet did not stop me either. I hustled until I could buy a laptop and move back to the city. Then I started learning programming and began designing websites for clients. I added one skill after another to my skill-set, and continue to do so today. I had to put in the extra 10 percent whenever I had reasons to stop.
You see, if you are doing your very best to have a meaningful life, just keep going. It’s only a matter of time for things to turn in your favor. But the truth is that majority of people are not putting in that extra 10 percent. You’ve probably done what most people do. But you have not done what most people won’t do. You have probably not worked on your networking skill; you have not worked on your ability to sell; you have not taken that leap of faith. If you want to get what most people won’t get, you have to be willing to do what most people won’t do.
The enemy of the 10 percent rule
Most people stop after 90% because we’re comfortable. Our basic lifestyle needs are satisfied, and we feel exhausted. We’ve earned a little rest. Putting out that additional 10% is hard work which takes us from an already comfortable situation into an uncomfortable one. And we don’t like to not be comfortable.
That is why the enemy of the 10 percent rule is comfort. You can never achieve what most people can’t achieve by being comfortable. It’s like working out; you can’t get that outstanding result by working out within your comfort zone. If you stop at the moment your muscle starts to ache, you miss the reward of all the initial effort you have put in. That extra one or two push will hurt, but that is where the transformation happens. Your life purpose in life is not to get by with paying bills. In fact, life is too important to spend most of it on paying bills and breaking even. You have to transcend bills to truly have a life worth living.
Plant the seed of 10 percent
The thought of needing to put in the extra effort would seem overwhelming if you look at it in a long stretch. But the reality is that the 10 percent rule is in the daily activities. It’s that one book you pick up to read today. It’s that direct message you decide to send today to strangers. It’s that phone call you decide to make to that person you met at that event. It’s that extra client you decided to call after getting 2o rejections. It’s the way you decided to respond to that rude customer who sent you a message on Whatsapp. These are little daily activities that compound to make a difference over a period of time. Albert Einstein sums it up perfectly,
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit”
Invest in game-changing activities
You’ve probably heard this saying by Abraham Lincoln, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” This saying has great wisdom embedded in it that majority of people fail to practice.
Let me give you an example. Imagine two writers who want to publish a bestselling book within the same period. One spends 90% of his time researching and writing a great book; 10% of the time trying to sell the book. The other writer devotes 30% of his time building relationship with international magazine writers, and influential journalists, 30% learning how to publish a bestseller, and the remaining 40% to researching and writing. Who is more likely to achieve his goal of publishing a bestselling book? I’m sure you know the answer to that.
Your game-changing strategy is your 10 percent rule. That may mean working on building your influence in your industry. Because influence can open doors overnight that will take hard work decades to open. It could be developing your character, adding more value that will get you noticed, or finding your voice. Maybe you have played it safe for too long. You are brilliant and have a lot to offer. But you have perfected the art of hiding your light for fear of losing your comfort. It is time to push yourself and start giving that extra game-changing 10 percent. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!