It will come as no surprise that this blog looks to upend some conventional wisdom, it’s kind of what we do. Although, I’m not certain that what I am about to question is either conventional or wisdom. I would probably describe it more as idiotic business cheerleading. Although that’s probably not a fair assessment either.
The truth is, this type of thinking is rather pervasive in school, sports and personal endeavors in which others are looking over your shoulder. Give it 110%!! If you have ever actually attempted to give 110% of your capacity you would realize that you were as stupid as the person that suggested you do so.
Here, a definition. Capacity: noun, the maximum amount that something can contain. Your capacity is 100%. If someone told you to give 110% effort and you actually gave more effort than you were previously giving, then previously you were giving something less than 100%. This is similar to the idiotic notion that we all can be above average. Sorry, if you believe that, you are certainly among those that are below average because you don’t understand the math behind averages.
Sorry for the harshness, I felt the need to lay some really negative groundwork to support the second part of my discussion, which I think is really positive and liberating. I propose to you, reader, and iron horse brewery staff to Give it 85%!
On average, I’m suggesting to give 85% of your effort in whatever you do. “Hmm,” you may be thinking, “is Greg a serial underachiever?” Perhaps, but that’s not the point. The point is that 85% is what I believe to be sustainable. This concept occurred to me while I was exerting myself and thinking of the ‘Give it all you’ve got!’ and ‘Nothing less than 110%’ rallying cries one hears. I was pedaling along with my heart rate about 85% of it’s maximum, feeling good but taxed, when I realized if I tried to give much more effort over the duration I would vomit and hate the activity and probably give it up for life. I don’t want people to do that. I want people to exert at a sustainable level. There will be times when 100% is required and those are the times to max it out, and thankfully, if you’ve only been at 85%, you’ll be ready to give it 101%.