The Happiness Connection  

The one per cent philosophy

Are you an all-or-nothing kind of person?

I didn’t give that question much thought until I attended a workshop to listen to nutrition-and-fitness expert Mark Macdonald.

He asked people in the audience to raise their hand if they were all in or all out in their approach to life. I was surprised to see so many hands go into the air, because mine stayed firmly in my lap.

I call what Macdonald was referring to, the 100 per cent philosophy. It means when you decide to do something, you throw yourself into it whole-heartedly with 100 per cent of your energy. If you can’t do that, you don’t want to do it at all.

For example, if you decide to practise yoga, you go to classes at least five times a week, more likely seven.

If you change your eating patterns for a healthier lifestyle, you completely abandon any unhealthy choices. If you can’t eat a completely healthy diet, and exercise daily, then it isn’t worth doing at all.

Do you believe in the all-or-nothing approach to life? If so, it may be time to consider an alternative approach.

As this is the start of a new year, you may be creating resolutions for the months ahead; finding areas of your life that you want to change, like your weight, your exercise habits, or your determination to avoid soft drinks.

Examining your life is always a useful exercise, but expecting to transform yourself into something completely new and improved within a short period, may not be realistic, nor is it likely to occur without some bumps and dips in the journey.

With the 100 per cent philosophy, you may start your transformation with passion and determination. You may have initial success, but what happens when you hit it a bump in the road?

You wake up one day to discover you just don’t want to exercise, and you could kill for a piece of chocolate cake.

This is when your approach may let you down, if you are all in, or all out.

Instead of just missing one class and indulging in a few extra calories, people with this philosophy often feel that by straying off the path, even just a tiny bit, it is no longer worth taking that route at all.

One slip and all yoga and healthy eating strategies are quickly and completely forgotten.

These people have created such a high standard for themselves that any weakness or detour means they have failed to achieve that goal.

Rather than seeing failure as an indication of something they need to continue to work on, they give up. If they can’t do something unerringly, then they might as well not do it at all.

I am not the type who sets the bar too high, and for perhaps the first time in my life, I have found a reason why my good-enough approach might be better than the one held by my high-achieving, perfection-loving friends.

I’m not lazy, and I love to set and attain goals as much as the next person, but I don’t feel driven to be perfect.

I am quite content to do what I can and accept that I will stumble from time to time. I don’t lose a moment of sleep over it.

Tomorrow is a new day and I am perfectly satisfied taking small steps towards success.

I call this the one per cent philosophy; from small changes, come big differences. If you move forward, it doesn’t matter how quickly, or slowly you are going, just don’t give up.

In the words of Tao Te Ching, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

The thought of dropping from a philosophy of 100 per cent to one per cent may horrify you, however I urge all of you 100 percenters to join me.

I like to think of the one per cent approach as tweaking your life rather than changing it completely. Do one little thing every day that will move you in the direction you want to go.

Choose to eat more balanced meals, clean up the cupboard that has been driving you crazy, or go out for a walk.

Don’t think every choice must be 100 per cent; one per cent is a viable, and sometimes preferable option.

Remember that one mis-step only takes you a small way off your path, not a big enough detour to make it impossible to find your way back to the original trail.

Bear this idea in mind when you set your goals for the new year and then begin your journey to achieve them.

What small step can you take today to get you where you want to be tomorrow, next month, or next year?

With a tiny movement forward every day, you may be amazed at how far you can progress.

More The Happiness Connection articles

About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories