At 99 degrees Centigrade, water is hot.

At 100 degrees Centigrade, water starts boiling and turns to steam.

Steam can power locomotives, factories and ships. Hot water can’t.

The difference between just being hot and being capable of moving a twenty ton hunk of metal is just 1%. That’s it. 1%.

The difference between winning a race, coming up with a better design or a stronger concept is in that 1%.

Plan 1% better. Prepare 1% harder. Work 1% longer. Think 1% further. Proofread 1% slower. Research 1% deeper.

Forget about the ridiculous notion of “giving 110%.” Forget about giving it an extra 20%. Or even 10%. Those numbers mean nothing. Even if they did, they would be unrealistic.

Focus on the 1%.

Chances are that if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably already hitting that 99% pretty much every day. If not, you come pretty damn close. (It’s okay, you can admit it.) The point is that you’re already doing 99% of what you need to do to be kind of successful. What’s 1% more?

1%. That’s where the magic happens. It’s the tipping point of design and ideas and insight. The difference between pretty good and great. The sliver that stands between running a 6:00-mile and a 5:57-minute mile. It’s what separates the top percentile from… well, everything else.

I’ts just 1%, folks. That’s all it is.

Choose to be great today.

Thanks to my good friend Frank Roth who used this analogy yesterday to explain to me how he went from being a decent age-group triathlete to being a top finisher in almost every race he enters… in just one season.