Illegitimi non carborundum – The 4%

Almost 13 years ago when I started my professional speaking business, I heard a great speaker name Rick Segel Link to Rick’s Website talk about the 4% rule.  Since that very day, it is something that I have always tried to live by.  The 4% rule is simply this… If you are giving your best effort, your 100%, there will always be a small minority of people that you don’t get along with and/or that don’t like you.  Basically, you can’t please everyone.  The actual number, 4% is arbitrary, but Rick got the number from all of the evaluations that he got from his professional speaking career.  Roughly 4% of his audiences were not pleased with his work.

This 4% rule is so critical in education.  There will always be students you don’t hit it off with.  There were certainly be colleagues that you don’t fit well with.  Perhaps there is a parent or two that you don’t get along well with.  You can’t and you won’t make everyone happy. It’s almost impossible. Illegitimi non carborundum!

The positive and great way to look it that is to focus on the 96%.  I believe in this so much.  If people are putting out their best effort, their best 100%, they are going to get along with and be a good fit with 96% of the people they interact with.  There will be a positive outcome from the interactions people have and in the grand scheme of things, students and colleagues will respect you for putting your best foot forward.

Some simple math here however… think about the giving of your 100%.  That can be really difficult some times  Some times we can only give 80% on a some days.  You see, it’s all about consistency.  Everyone has a bad day.  Everyone has days where they can’t do it all.  Totally fine.  However, I believe if you are constantly only giving 80%, your 4% number goes up.  Maybe its 10%, maybe it’s 15%.  I don’t know, but that number does rise.

That’s why I think it is always important to give your best effort as much as possible in as many ways as you can… As the simple John Wesley quote goes…

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

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