The Last 10%

Making the Jump from Good to Great

Over the last several years, I’ve learned some incredible life lessons, that have had a profound impact on how I choose to live my life. These lessons come from all sorts of places. They may be through books, come from mentors, Youtube videos, peers, or through self-discovery, the last of which being the most powerful. One of the most influential lessons is one that I have arrived at through the combination of watching and learning from people I respect and expounding on that to come to my own conclusion.

What I am talking about is the difference between good and great. When you really think about it, there’s a fine line between the two. While many people #StriveForGreatness, most will just end up being good. And there’s not all that much wrong with good. Good takes work. Good takes showing up. Good takes learning. Good takes adjusting. There’s a tremendous amount of things that go into being good. The majority of people will end up being good. They will show up, they will provide for their families, they will coach their son’s baseball games, do their jobs well, they will do what is asked of them, they will put in the work. Good is doable, good is the natural state that we as humans have evolved into. The masses are good.

But you don’t want to be the masses right?! Because a good life is good and all, but you want to be better than good, you want to stand out, you want to rise above, you want to achieve greatness. So then how does someone (a.k.a. you) make that leap out of good and into great? It all comes down to the last 10%.

Believe it or not, this lesson finally hit me as I was training one day recently at the gym. Fitness has always been extremely important to me. I started lifting weights when I was 14 years old. At 14 I was a meager 5 foot 1 weighing in at just 110 lbs. By the time I graduated high school i was 5 foot 10 and 160 lbs. This was due to a combination of growing and from training. Then for the next two and half years, I grew just an inch and about 5 lbs. I was in the gym nearly everyday, I was doing what I thought I needed to gain muscle and get more fit. It was only until I started working out with someone great, that i realized that my workouts, while long and intense, were just good.

Steve Weatherford is a Super Bowl Champion and commonly referred to as “the fittest man in the NFL”. For the last 3 months I have been learning what it takes to be great in the gym under his wing. In that short period of time I have increased my body weight by 10%, all muscle no fat. How did I, someone who has been working out for 7 years, make such a hige jump in such a short periosd of time, when for over 2 years before I was basically stagnant. You’ll be surprised to know that it didn’t take much to go from good (where I was) to great (in the gym, and where I hope to be in other facets of my life). I found that we were doing a lot of the same exercises that I had been doing all my life. Technique was pretty similiar, rep ranges were about the same, all that really changed was my effort. Watching Weatherford push through pain and plateaus to reach new heights inspired me to push myself to get more out of my workouts. And as I began to push myself I began to realize my full potential and how all of these years I was failing to reach it. The truth is I was being lazy, I was being comfortable. When things got hard I quit. I could easily do a few more reps, I could easily add 10 more lbs, but I didn’t. Fighting throught the urge to quit for just a little while longer is what it is all about. It’s that little bit of extra effort that makes all of the difference.

That extra effort is the last 10%. We all have it in us, but only the great ones will push through it on a consistent basis.

And that’s really all it takes to separate yourself from the masses no matter what it is that you’re doing. That’s because most people are lazy, most people don’t want to go the extra mile. The masses are ok with giving 90% effort (many with less than that). 90% is your comfort zone, and leaving your comfort zone is hard, , and that is why greatness isn’t for everyone.

This isn’t just a lesson about reaching your fitness goals, it’s much more widely applicable. It’s about coding those extra 50 lines before you go to bed. Its about running that extra 5 minutes when your mind is telling you it’s time to quit. It’s about adding that last product to your website. It’s about putting that little bit of extra effort to engage with your following on social. Its shooting 100 more shots in the gym. It’s about finishing what you started. Despite whatever you hear, if there’s one thing I’ve learned its that effort matters, and its the easiest way to separate yourself! Not everyone is willing to break through their comfort zone each and everyday. Not everyone wants to do the hard things. But if you push yourself further and further, I guarantee you that you will reach new heights of success, because that little bit more that you’re doing than the guy or girls on the other side of the office, gym, city, etc. when added up over days/months/weeks/years, is going to snowball, leaving you leaps and bounds beyond everyone else who isn’t willing to push themselves. And it’s all because you gave just 10% more!

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