Lies We Believe: You Always Need 100% Effort


Assumptions don’t always work out for me.  Well, I could sanitize the word a bit and call it a “myth” or an “erroneous supposition,” but at their core, these are lies that I have treated as facts. Some are as innocuous as “if I train hard I can be a competitive runner.” Well, If I train harder, I could potentially be faster than I am now, but I’ll never be a 5-minute-mile elite athlete. But then there are lies that can derail your entire life. One of them has cost me a lot of pain until I came to grips with it. Somehow early on my childhood I believed that if I couldn’t be the best in doing something, than I shouldn’t even try doing it. If I couldn’t do it at a 100 percent, than I would do nothing at all.

Lies we believe 100 percent effor Maurilio Amorim

That sounds like crazy talk, doesn’t it? After all we all know that we can’t be the best at everything. Truth be known, we can only be good at very few things. “You’re a perfectionist,” you might diagnose me, but I was convinced from an early age that I was expected to excel in everything I did. I can recall even to this day many activities and opportunities I missed out on because the threat of not mastering them kept me from even trying.

But I have a hunch I’m not alone on this one. I see people who “lapse” during a diet and then they just give up completely: “since I ate that pizza I went ahead and order the brownie and ice cream.” In their minds, once they “blow it” then all the effort is wasted and the opportunity is gone; one slip up and you’re out of the race.  I have known people to make pledges to church financial campaigns and not be able to fulfill their pledges. Instead of giving what they can, they decide not to give at all. If they cannot do it at 100 percent, they don’t do it at all.

We all know that we’d be better off with 70 percent effort in our pursuit of health meals than nothing. We should reason that our church could benefit from 50 percent fulfillment of our pledges than our not giving at all. While I’m not advocating laziness, sloppiness and poor work ethic, but I’m certain that sometimes even the little we have offer is more than sufficient.

Somehow we have distorted the fact that doing our best and being THE best is the same thing. It’s not. The first is our responsibility, the latter a big fat lie.

Is there an area of your life you’re not willing to tackle because you’re afraid of failing?

What if just 30% worth of success was enough to make a difference? Would you try it then?

  • I'm going to try to use "effectivenist" in a sentence today. I'll let you know how it goes.

  • jeff Williams

    Maurilio, this post just hit home with me. Yes, there is a particular area of my life I have been neglecting because I think I might not hit a home run, but I'm feeling convicted after reading your post this morning. Thanks for the words.

    • Thanks for being transparent, Jeff. I hope that you'll have a break through

  • I haven't read Max's new book, but if is the subject than it's brilliant! 🙂 I totally relate to the perfectionist-in-recovery comment. Thanks for stopping by.

  • ksernel

    I'm a staunch perfectionist. Always had the tendency growing up and then it really kicked while in college. I got straight A's, was class valedictorian, and got a coveted job in the most prestigious public accounting firm at the time. Once I got to work, I was immediately on track for early promotions, getting all of the best, most respected clients, and excelling. Sounds great right?

    It wasn't great. I wasn't great. And after 10 years of all of that, I came to the point where the stress outweighed any value. The lifestyle wasn't for me and I left (don't get me wrong, this was not a spur of the moment decision, but it was a decision). I think that decision point was the first time I decided that perfectionism was not what I needed to strive for anymore.

    I still have it in me. It comes out regularly when I hesitate to apply for new writing positions because I just don't think they are going to want me. And if they don't want me, well then, I've failed, right?

    Of course not, I know this, but believing it and living it out is probably going to be something I struggle with always. But I really like your perspective…isn't just giving 30% possibly the right amount in a situation? Can't God do more with that 30% than he could with a big fat 0% driven by fear of failure rather than actionable faith? Great post Maurilio and great reminder!

  • Collin

    I think everyone should catch the baseball mentality. Baseball players try 100% of the time or they get benched, but they only have to succeed 25% of the time to be considered average. 30% is good, 35% is great, and 40% is incredible. The bosses expect less than 50% success from the individuals, yet they expect the TEAM to succeed 65-70% of the time. That is success in baseball. It's ok if you fail 75% of the time as an individual as long as you're trying. If we adopted that mentality, businesses would explode. People would be taking chances and failing. But as Thomas Edison said, you have to fail to succeed. As Bruce Wayne's father said, "Why do we fall down? So we can learn to pick ourselves up." The managers meet to help their team see why they are failing, and use that to grow them. Eventually you will end up with a team of Ted Williamses (the last player to hit .400). When that happens, your team becomes unstoppable. It all starts with the head of the team and trickles down to success.

    In short, I believe in 100% effort, but I don't believe in 100% success.

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