In school, 90% got you an A. But in real life 90% isn’t good enough.
Do you want a Doctor to do a surgery on you that is 90% “good?” Would you like your mechanic to fix your car so it is good 90% of the time? Would you like your plumber to fix that pipe so the leak is 90% fixed? No, you either do it all the way or don’t do it at all. [NERD rage ahead…]
I’ve been there. In the middle of a really fucking tough workout like say, a planned scaled Kalsu with even just 95#, getting punched, and saying fuck this and bailing part way through. Or trying to eat clean for a full week or whatever, only to give in and have some donuts that someone brought in to work. There’s certainly something to be said for not doing something due to maximizing happiness, but usually, going 90% is the weak man’s backdoor.
Sometimes, doing 90% can be worse than not starting to begin with. Take for example my lovely wife. She is the Queen of 90%. She tackles these large and complex projects (full on reorganization of a room or closet – top to bottom… or doing some amazing yard landscaping project… or rearranging a room) and then leaves it unfinished in the last 50 meters. Drives. Me. Insane! Her mom is the same way. My MIL will come over to do some gardening, or help my wife with one of said gardening or landscape projects (often when we’re away – the blessing and curse of a MIL who lives in the same town). She’ll do most of her project, but won’t plant the last few plants and leaves the gardening tools out willy-nilly. Crazy. I would rather have them not even get started than the last part undone, or a pile of clothes out in the middle of the floor (all that would need to be done is put them in a bag and bring them downstairs for donation – another recent real life example).
For the rest of us, finishing up that last set even though there is self doubt, or putting those dishes away or washing that pot or pan before bed, is that last 10% that needs to be done. That last 10% may not make or break your house or body, but may drive your spouse or boss or training partner insane due to your lack of tenacity to get that fucking shit taken care of. It impacts your relationships and how people view you. Like the landscape company you hire to do your lawn without weedwhacking or blowing the clippings off your sidewalk. Or the car wash that doesn’t clean all the way to the bottom. It sucks and is something we need to remember when we start any task. Always do your best and to full completion, including those shitty cleanup tasks that don’t get noticed or appreciated.
In our marriage and sex life, there is a fine line with bailing too early. Take initiating sex. Sometimes you can have a great, or at least good, sex session if you just initiate that last 10% instead of bailing or giving up when there’s some minor token resistance (and no hard no). At a minimum, getting some connection sex on, as Athol says a “yellow” night (on the green-yellow-red stoplight spectrum), is still a necessary maintenance item that many men simply pull the parachute on way too early. Go 100% past the obstacles and you’ll be surprised, instead of doing the “nice guy” thing when your wife simply says she’s tired or has to get up early.
In our financial life, having 100% of a planned emergency fund is better than having 90% [and as I’ve mentioned before, having it in an outside on-line account away from your standard checking/savings is a good idea]. Can you buy 90% of a furnace when it blows? Or fix 90% of a transmission? We simply set a hard number for the range of 3-6 months of savings we wanted, and once we hit that number, we immediately felt psychologically better.
Remember, in life, we aren’t graded on a curve, and 90% right could be 100% wrong.