Today, we start with a science lesson.
Water boils at 212 degrees. So, at 211 it’s just hot water. But at 212 it boils. And boiling water generates steam. Steam can power a locomotive.
That’s a huge difference with just one additional degree.
This is the premise of Sam Parker and Mac Anderson’s motivational book, 212 The Extra Degree: Extraordinary Results Begin with One Small Change. I read an advance copy this summer and it was a great, short read. The whole book is just 88 pages long but it left me feeling inspired and motivated to make a few tiny changes in my life.
Sound at all like Drops of Awesome to you? Me too! I really enjoyed this new analogy, one more way to think about how sometimes it’s just one tiny effort that can make all the difference.
In fact, the book has a similar resonance to 523 Ways to Be Awesome.
“How many opportunities have you missed because you were not aware of the possibilities that would occur if you applied a small amount of effort beyond what you normally do?”
I would add, how many times were you too defeated to apply more effort because you didn’t recognize how well you were already doing? Drops of Awesome.
The book contained short success stories and familiar quotes about courage and perseverance. One of my favorite was the famous quote by Thomas Edison, “Many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
This quote resonates with me because I don’t always exhibit great stick-to-it-iveness and I often find myself wondering, what if I REALLY tried? What would happen then?
I comfort myself in my failures by saying, “If I’d REALLY tried, I could have been awesome at hip-hop dance, or filmmaking, or basket weaving. I just didn’t choose to give it my full effort.”
Sometimes committing fully is scary. What if I try my hardest and fail? Then there would be nothing left to give and I would know my best effort is not enough. That’s not something I want to know all the time.
Right now I’m standing on the edge of a situation like this.
I have written professionally for the past 10 years and I always told myself, “If I didn’t have kids at home… if I had more time… I would make writing a full-time career and I would be super successful.”
And now the kids are in school and I can still find all kinds of excuses to not go all-out with writing as a business. What they all boil down to is, I’m scared. I’m scared of spending the next few years working around the clock, only to fall on my face.
But reading this little book helped me crystalize something in my mind. I don’t have to worry about failure. I just need to turn up my effort by one tiny drop at a time, by one degree. And never give up. Or, at least if I give up tomorrow, then I need to un-give up the next day.
What are you afraid to commit to? A better relationship with your spouse? A community service goal? A career? Weight loss?
What could you accomplish if you stopped focusing on what-ifs and fears and started just focusing on increasing your effort? One degree.
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