Published: 9 years ago

What’s Your 1%?

Most of the time, we try to measure change in massive increments.  We don’t just want to lose “a little weight.”  We want to lose a Backstreet Boy.  We don’t want to save “a little money.”  We want to set aside 3/4 of our income into a mutual fund with a 518% yield and eventually buy our own island with built in shiatsu massage.

But what I’ve learned is that the best change comes in very small steps.  And when we wait until we’re ready for the “big change,” we never really get ready and we keep putting off the positive growth that’s possible with the 1%.

For example, yesterday I realized that there’s a task that I need to do just on an occasional Sunday.  The problem is that because it’s so infrequent, I often forget until it’s too late.  This morning my 1% fix was to set a weekly calendar reminder.  If I need to accomplish the task, it’s there.  If not, I delete it.

I constantly struggle with remembering to thank and encourage my volunteers.  My 1% could be to send 2-3 thank you notes each week.  Within a year, I can work my way through a massive chunk of our volunteer team.

And just a few moments ago, I asked our IT guy about a persistent problem I’ve been having with my ethernet cable here at the office.  It’s a problem that’s plagued me.  Kept me up at nights.  Made me want to go postal on the ethernet cable.  What was his 1%?  Pointing out that my IP address for the cable was wrong.  A problem that’s bugged me for seven months was fixed in 17 seconds.

We’re in the middle of year-end evaluations around ye olde Summit offices, and I’ve identified plenty of 1% changes I need to make.  None of them are drastic.  None will take lots of time.  But all will improve my overall performance.

What’s your 1%?


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  1. Zack says:

    Great word, Danny.

    I think this is a huge concept. It has so many applications, from giving, to time management, to eating right.

    I read this week that the average American can lose 15 pounds in the next year if they can drop around 150 calories per day from their diet. That’s half a coke.

    I need to apply this principle most in my prayer life. It’s so easy for me to blow off prayer entirely if I don’t have at least 15 minutes to focus, and days go by where I don’t make those 15 minutes…

  2. Aaron Tant says:

    Great thoughts by Danny and Zack. I’ve heard the concept before, but simply listing off some practices that you’ve done, Danny, is enough for me to get motivated!

    • Danny says:

      Yeah, Aaron…the 1% idea is definitely not original with me. But it’s amazing how I often overlook that very simple principle and continue to spin my wheels needlessly.

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