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Noteworthy Ideas

Why giving 100% is easier than giving 98%

We all have them. The habits we want to change, the ideas we want to pursue, the goals we think we can achieve—if only we had the opportunity. If you’re like most people (including me), those habits, ideas, and goals often wind up in the “someday” pile. Something that you’ll work on when you have more time, when life gets less crazy, or when the circumstances are right. 

But we all know the inaction and unattained dreams at the end of that road. 

Organizational psychologist and author Dr. Benjamin Hardy has some insight that helps explain why it can be so hard to achieve something you so desperately want. And how to finally make that dream a reality. 

In his 2019 TED Talk, Hardy explains his “100 percent rule.” This rule is predicated on the idea that being 100 percent committed to something is easier than being 98 percent committed to it. To explain the concept, Hardy cited a powerful quote from Michael Jordan, “once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.” 

If you truly commit to a goal, whether it’s eating healthier, quitting drinking, starting a business, or even just getting up earlier in the morning, if you commit completely instead of just partially, you change how you see yourself. Instead of just trying to eat better when you can, if you commit yourself completely to eating healthy, you begin viewing yourself as a person who only eats healthy food. And if you are a person who only eats healthy food, you don’t have to play the mental tug-of-war when that double bacon cheeseburger or chocolate cake wafts by. 

In other words, committing to something 100 percent doesn’t magically make temptations go away or make achieving your goals simple. But committing 100 percent to something instead of just partially, changes how you view those goals, which changes the actions you take to achieve those goals. Willpower can be strong, but your perception of how you act and who you are is stronger. As Hardy says, “you can’t do it through willpower, you have to do it through who you’re going to be.” 

Watch Benjamin Hardy’s Ted Talk here:

Learn more about his books and other talks here: https://benjaminhardy.com/