What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 (NRSV)
What if we operated at 80%?
We live in a world where we are taught to give it our all. In the words of Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights “If you are not first you are last.” We have wonderful expressions like, “Hang in there,” “Be strong,” “Keep fighting,” and “Never give up.” So, we press on and try to present an image of being tireless. Yet we are all quite tired, aren’t we? We have set our goals at the highest level. “Reach for the moon, and you will fall among the stars.” That all sounds great. Except, I don’t have rocket boots. And, I am tired. As a result, the unattainable goal of the moon just makes me feel deflated and unmotivated.
But, if I am shooting for 80%? Well, that is doable! In school, 80% is a “B.” “B” is above average. That’s a good grade, right? Quite possibly, at the end of an 80% day, I have successfully achieved what I set out to do. I am calmer. And, I have a little left over for someone who might need me. The friend who called. The spouse who had a rough day. My kids who need a last minute hand with a project. Or, even better, a slow, relaxed dinner with a great conversation about our 80% day.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. Ralph Waldo Emerson