Thursday, January 01, 2009


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.

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.

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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