Did you decide to marry someone with a thought in the back of your mind “I can divorce if it does not work”?
Did you decide to start a new job and quit if it doesn’t work out well?
Did you decide to start a company and then quit if it doesn’t work?
Did you decide to quit smoking but after 1 week started again?
We always have these alternative plans in our minds. And it’s not necessarily always a bad thing, but as
― Clayton M. Christensen said in his book, How Will You Measure Your Life?
“It’s easier to hold your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98 percent of the time.”
We can paraphrase it and say it is easier to commit to something 100% than 98%. It sounds a bit odd. I didn’t get it at first but…
What if you don’t have any alternatives? Just imagine this:
You always wanted to build a successful business. Now you quit your job and there are no other jobs that you can take in case your business doesn’t work. They simply do not exist. How this will change your mindset and attitude?
Commitment defines your attitude, attitude defines your behaviors and behavior defines your outcome. If you are committed only 99% when things get tough you will quit.
Tomas Edison did not commit 99%, he was committed 100 %, that’s why he kept iterating on his thousands of experiments until he succeeded.
Jesus did not commit to his mission for 99%, he was 100% into it. 1% could have made a huge difference in his life and generations to come, but in this case, he wouldn’t be Jesus the way we know him.
Same for Budha as he was also 100% into mediation and seeking enlightenment and helping others to get there.
Steve Jobs was 100% into developing great products whether at Apple or Pixar.
All outstanding people commit 100% to what they believe too.
Simply put, the 100 percent rule states that “99 percent is difficult. 100 percent is easy”. What this means is that a 99 percent commitment to something is hard while a 100 percent commitment is effortless. When we fully commit to a habit, lifestyle change, or action, it becomes easy. When we are only 99 percent committed, it becomes arduous and difficult. It becomes back and forth movement in our minds and in our life.
When we make the conscious decision to commit ourselves 100 percent to doing something, we are, in essence, eliminating any exceptions or other possible choices. There are no ifs, whens or buts to get there. There is no room for flexibility because we have decided that we will do it regardless of the circumstances and how we feel. The choice has been made in advance with full dedication and intention. We have eradicated any other possibilities. We are determined to do it no matter what. It is a done deal. Case closed. We are ‘all in’. It becomes easy. If there is 1% left your start an internal discussion with yourself in difficult moments. In the moment of truth and tests. And this 1% will define how you will get through them.
When we only make a 99 percent committal to doing something, that leaves room for exceptions, error, and other choices. It means that we are committing to it, but not all the way. A 99 percent committal implies that there are times when we may not do what we set out to do due to certain circumstances. It leaves the door open for resistance and ‘non-doing’. It becomes difficult as we start an internal dialogue when tough moments come. It tells you, maybe I should quit? Oh, yes. Why not. It sounds like a reasonable idea. And then it goes on some elaboration and justification to make it really a great idea.
Example: I am going to run tomorrow 5 km. When tomorrow arrives, you see that it’s actually raining today. You start to think that maybe not today.
Or another one, that should resonate with many: I will wake up tomorrow 1 hour early. Tomorrow- snooze, snooze, snooze… Internal dialogue: “It’s important to have good sleep, that’s why I snoozed”. Fair point, but why did you decide to wake up early 1 hourly? How important it was for you?
Though not to contradict this idea but to give important nuance.
We should not confuse 100% percent commitment with unproductive persistence. You can keep hitting the wall a thousand times with your head in the hope to get through it and it won’t bring you an inch further from where you are. Instead, you will get stressed and feel a headache :). Maybe your head will get stronger though…:)
Commit to your goal, but be flexible with your tactics. There is no point to repeat things that do not work. You need to iterate until you hit your target. Your target is not necessarily static and rather moving, so keep adjusting the angle from which you shoot. Excel in “shooting your arrows”.
Carefully choose what you commit too. Once you commit, commit for 100%.
It does not mean the result is 100% guaranteed but significantly increases the probability of success. Even if you fail, at least you know you’ve done it for 100%, if not more.
If your product is of poor quality, commit 100% to make it great.
If you are playing with your kid, commit to it 100%.
If you are meditating, commit to it every day 100%.
Quit smoking, commit to it 100%
Don’t drink alcohol, commit to it 100%
So my challenge to you is — list 1–3 things where you can commit yourself 100%. Better to start with 1 important thing and go all in.
It could be breaking a bad habit or developing a new one. Finally starting to execute on the goal you were thinking about for a long time.
You can also do it every morning where you can decide on the 3 most important things that you want to accomplish in a day. Just commit to it 100% and you will see how much more productive you will become as it will have a compound effect in your life.
Here is a tool to help you with it. It will train your mind and help to do internal work and stay committed to your goals.
Remember: Life is shorter than you think, so commit to it.
P.S. Personal observation, when you commit to something 100% universe might decide to test you whether it’s a real commitment or not. The best commitment is to do things that you love, the word commitment doesn’t come in this case. Keep in mind that the more you try to push something in life the more it will resist. Instead, find the flow in the process, enjoy it and let the outcome appear on it’s own.