One of my core beliefs is the 90 -10 rule. In life, it’s often easy to get 90% of anything done, but it’s that last 10% which can be so difficult. However, that last 10 % makes the absolute difference between success and failure.

The Pareto Principal dictates that 80% of the profits of a business come from 20% of the clients/workload. Likewise, Occham’s Razor says that the simplest solution is most often the right one. Combine these two life laws, and you get the 90-10 principal I propose- the easiest and quickest way to fix your life is to concentrate on the final 10%.

The problem often is we get so close to the end of a project, the last little bit, needed to take it from mostly done, to closed out and completed, is the most tedious. Think how many students finish all their PhD work, except their dissertaion. Think how many people never finish a marathon, or drop out of colege with only a few classes left to take. This lack of completion often makes all the work that went before for naught. People care about the dgree more than “I almost got a PhD”. “I almost won a Olympic medal” is far different than “I won the gold.” So why do so many people stop short of the goal?

I think part of it is enertia; part of it is we get so close to the end we succumb to “good enough” syndrome, and our interest starts to focus on the next big thing. Yet, every time I take that last step and close out a project, I feel so much better about myself, so much more ‘grown-up’, so much less guilty. The feeling afterwards is so good, it makes that last painful bit of effort so worth it. And that extra little bit has such a big impact, it’s amazing how often we neglect it.

So if there’s any advice I can impart to parents kids, adults, anyone- it’s finish that last 10%. It is the only thing standing in your way from true excellence.