Giving It Your Best Effort

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I have my share of pet peeves, my wife would probably say that I have much more than my share, but that is beside the point I wish to make here.  I have heard many different times from a variety of angles people talking about how they “always” give 110%.  

There are only two things wrong with this claim: 1) it is not possible “always” give your maximum effort and, 2) is mathematically impossible to give more than 100%.

If one gives everything one can, uses every ounce of effort available, one might,for a very brief spurt, be able to give 100%.  Perhaps if I run 50 yards, I might be able to run at 100% of my ability, however limited that might be, for the full 50 yards.  But if I am running a marathon, I cannot run the entire 26.2 miles at 100% effort.  I may very well give it my best effort and do everything I can to finish the race in the best possible time for me.  But if I try to give it my maximum effort from the start, I will be sitting and panting before the first mile marker.

If I ran as fast and as hard as I can, I will be running at 100% of my ability.  I simply cannot run at 101% of my ability or 102% or 110% percent of my ability.  The person who says that they are giving 110% is telling you that they are doing 10% than it is possible for them to do.  That, simply makes no sense.

Just once I would like to hear the person doing one of these interviews whether it is with an athlete, an entertainer, a politician, or a businessman follow-up that claim with the following question:  “That is very interesting, would you please explain how you can consistently give more effort than you are, by definition, capable of doing?”

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2 thoughts on “Giving It Your Best Effort

  1. Marta Frant

    Math can’t explain everything and I’m afraid the statement “I gave 110%” is only about spiritual condition. I remember a great trainer has said, “You should do the exercise until you can’t do it at all and then do a little more.”

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  2. J.L.

    Two things about your post:

    First, it seems that you’re assuming that the average athlete can think and speak at the same time (the other three don’t think, either; they connive).

    Second, I’m not sure how to handle this problem of my own: My chief peeve is the pet peeves of others. Any suggestions?

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