99% Is a Bitch (and How I Lost Five Figures)

1% doesn’t seem like a big number, yet—as the 80/20 principle shows—makes a world of difference.

In his book The Success Principles, Jack Canfield states that 99% is a bitch; 100% is a breeze. You should pursue goals only with a 100%, no-exceptions commitment.

The quote made me think of when we make an important decision but aren’t 100% convinced of it.

Logically, that 1% of uncertainty shouldn’t deter you from making it. But the less-than-logical 80/20 principle states that the 1% may change everything.

Several months ago I started building a new business. I had some doubts but pushed them aside, excited by the new life direction I planned to pursue.

I didn’t give myself much time to contemplate such a big decision. Soon, business struggles and personal issues magnified my doubts. The 1% overpowered the 99%. Overwhelmed and overstressed, I had to make a difficult decision to call it quits.

The 99% turned out to be a nasty bitch for me, costing me low five figures and a few months of my life.

It’s often hard to tell the difference between 100% and 99% commitment. What helps is delaying your decision (unless that decision pertains to your health or another emergency).

If you’re still on the fence after a delay, abandon the idea.

If you’re still fired up and can’t wait to start, go for it.

The 80/20 principle advises inaction over reckless action. Warren Buffett serves as a great example of acting only when he’s 100% certain. As his legendary quote goes, “lethargy bordering on sloth remains the cornerstone of our investment style.”

We could all embrace his philosophy in our lives. Act only when 100% committed. It most certainly works great for Buffett.