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Forget About Giving 110%



I believe that much of the unhappiness on the planet comes from wanting a 100% result on any action you take, whether it’s in your business life or personal life. In other words, you will not take action, will not attempt to do anything, until you’re guaranteed it’s going to be 100% successful.

I’m not saying that there aren’t other things involved in unhappiness because there certainly are, but the desire for the 100% — for perfection — is often the cause.

I can think of periods in my own life where I was unhappy in my personal life or business life. Or how I was handling my health, my fitness, or different kinds of relationships. When I looked at these instances more closely, I began to see the commonality. The one common factor was my desire for a perfect outcome.

I noticed two things:

  • When I did take action, I was always disappointed because the result was never 100%.
  • Where I could have taken action, I didn’t because I couldn’t be guaranteed a 100% outcome.


“The notion of achieving a 100% result is a ‘killer’ thought.” Dan Sullivan
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Why even bother trying?

This notion of 100% is a “killer” thought. It kills your optimism; your sense of adventure; your desire to do anything new, better, and different in your life; and your willingness to have new experiences — all because the only satisfactory outcome is reaching 100% success.

The result of this 100% mindset is that you become more frightened and more cautious in life because you don’t have any experience at all of actually achieving 100%. This doesn’t sound like any kind of life to me, and I’m sure it doesn’t to you either.

“Perfectionism represents a belief system about how life should work — not how it actually works.” Dan Sullivan

It’s not brain surgery.

My solution to this no-win 100% experience was to “re-engineer” my brain.

For many years now, on my first attempt at anything new, I’ve been aiming for an 80% result. On my second attempt, I see how I can take it another 80%. At 80% of the remaining 20%, the project is now at 96%. Another attempt at 80% and I’m at a perfectly acceptable 99.2%.

I simply am never looking for the experience of getting to 100% perfection. Really, unless you’re a brain surgeon or an air traffic controller, for example, 80% is good enough. For entrepreneurs, who tend to be perfectionists, this mindset is truly liberating.

Because I’m not putting pressure on myself to achieve perfection, aiming for 80% takes away the stress. It also makes me much easier to live with. Everyone appreciates this benefit of the 80% Approach, myself included, since, most often, I take my 80% and delegate the last 20% to people whose talents are uniquely different than mine. Each person does their specialized 80% and hands the project on down the line until it’s done.

My 80% mission.

I am very dedicated to eliminating from the planet the notion that we need to achieve a perfect 100% result. I believe you’ll always be able to get a better 80%, but you’ll never get to 100%. And 80% will, at the very least, get you started!

Just imagine if every child were taught this liberating mindset. They would live happy lives. Instead of parents, teachers, and mentors suggesting that none of their efforts are worthwhile unless they get to 100%, what would happen if they introduced The 80% Approach?

Why not experiment with the possibility of just trying The 80% Approach to get started, knowing that your first 80% will lead you to the next 80%, which will be even bigger and better?

I challenge you to make 80% your new 100%.

About the Author

Dan Sullivan is the world’s foremost expert on entrepreneurship in action. He is the founder of The Strategic Coach Inc. and creator of The Strategic Coach® Program. Visionary, creative, wise, playful, and generous, he is a true champion of entrepreneurs worldwide.

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