Thursday, January 01, 2009

percentages

I don't want to write about the passing of the year or my promises to myself for the next. Instead, I want to share some philosophical insight that may or may not be of interest to you.  Keep in mind two figures: 80% and 1%.  Both of these numbers come from a book that I read a few months ago (well, devoured, actually) called "Let my people go surfing" by Patagonia founder and owner, Yvon Chouinard.

80%
Justify your desire to do multiple things well with the 80% rule.  Work at something, devote time and dedication to its perfection until you are 80% proficient at it.  To be 100% proficient, to be the best in other words, requires a single-minded devotion to the pursuit.  But with 80% proficiency, you have enough skill to be truly good at something, to enjoy it and include it in a quiver of skills and pursuits that you can joyfully participate in without the monk-like asceticism required to reach that 100% point.  I can enjoy cycling, running and other sports and devote time to them as I like and enjoy them at this level.  It's an interesting notion and one worth exploration this year.

1%
This one seems simple, but why does it seem borderline revelatory? This idea stems from the organization called 1% for the planet where businesses set aside 1% of their sales for charitable giving.  Chouinard dubs it a self tax, whereby you can determine how your tax money is spent.  My goal is to take 1% of my pay each month and give it to a different charitable organization.  Whoops, that sounds suspiciously like a resolution.  Oh well.

Here's to continued health and happiness for all in the new year!  Now go ride your bike! 

I'm gonna get you, Shaw Brown!
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