The 90% Crowd

The 90% Crowd

The 4 Steps to release the breaks of your life and succeed in your endeavours

There are three kinds of people in this world:

  1. People who make things happen
  2. People who watch things happen
  3. People who wonder what happened

People who belong to category 1 are those who have the desire to succeed, are committed, responsible, and hard-working, have character, are positive believers, are always on a lookout of giving more, have persistence and have the ability to go that extra mile. These individuals constitute 10% of the total organization population.

People who belong to category 2 and 3 are those who are unwilling to take risks, lack persistence, have limited vision, lack priorities, look for shortcuts, are selfish and greedy, lack conviction, do not plan nor prepare, cannot recognise opportunity, have fear, lack discipline, are unable to use talent, have poor self-esteem, lack knowledge, have a fatalistic attitude – they feel they are just unlucky, lack purpose and courage. These individuals constitute the 90% crowd.

True fact of every organization

The above situation is a true fact in every organization. The 90% crowd thinks that their organization is too bureaucratic. It has too much of politics. Only those people who are close to bosses get growth. It doesn’t pay them well. There is no bonus. It does not have facilities that other organizations provide. It makes them work very hard. Working hours are really long. Even weekends are occupied due to work. Boss is heartless and so on.

Is this really true?

The answer is “No”. As individuals become tenured in the organization, the positive aspects of the organization start diminishing. These aspects are taken for granted by the 90% crowd. The needs which were fulfilled after on-boarding the organization get replaced by higher set of needs. At the same time, the negative aspects become increasingly significant. The grass looks greener on the other side.  The grapevine discussions, smoke breaks, evening parties, rub these negative aspects in the heart and souls of these individuals.

What would happen then?

Imagine that you are driving a car with the brakes on. It wouldn’t be smart, would it? What would happen to our car? It will never go full speed because the breaks offer resistance. The car will overheat and break down. If it doesn’t break down, the resistance will strain the engine. You have two choices. You can either press the accelerator harder and risk damage, or release the breaks to make the car go faster. This is a good parallel to the situation of the 90% crowd, because they work in their organizations with their emotional brakes on. What are the brakes? The increasingly significant negative aspects are the brakes preventing them to be happy, contented and to achieve success.

So what are the top 4 things we should do to release the brakes?

  1. Set your Priorities:

In the long run, individuals lose sight of what they really want. As against the 90% crowd, the 10% folks exactly know what they want. They have their priorities defined. You would hear them say,

  • “I need to become a Manager in the next six months.”
  • “I want to ensure I have the right work life balance.”
  • “I need to learn advanced excel and I spend at least an hour daily to learn”
  • “I want to perform beyond expectations in the given tasks and also take that extra responsibility of handling the team”

When we don’t have our priorities right, we waste time, not realizing that time wasted is life wasted. Prioritizing requires discipline to do what needs to be done rather than going by our moods and fancies.

Setting priorities is like setting a sail to the ship of your life. Wind flows in all directions; without a set sail the ship would move in any direction. The sail helps it reach destination. The good news is we can choose how we set the sail. So, set your priorities as the first step.

  1. Have a Burning Desire:

A young man asked Socrates the secret to success. Socrates told the young man to meet him near the river the next morning. They met. Socrates asked the young man to walk with him toward the river. When the water got up to their neck, Socrates took the young man by surprise and ducked him into the water. The boy struggled to get out but Socrates was strong and kept him there until the boy started turning blue. Socrates pulled his head out of the water and the first thing the young man did was to gasp and take a deep breath of air. Socrates asked, ‘What did you want the most when you were there?” The boy replied, “Air.” Socrates said, “That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it.”

Every individual desires to get promoted, have a great performance appraisal, get super hike in salary and wants to be outstanding. But practically, why does 90% crowd not succeed and why only 10% of total organization individuals are given all of the above? Is that because of the Bell Curve principle?

Not really!!!

As time passes by, these desires take a back seat. A man gets so involved in his daily life, he doesn’t think of his desires anymore. This is why one should not just desire, but have a burning desire. A burning desire is the starting point of all accomplishment. Just like a small fire cannot give much heat, a weak desire cannot produce great results.     

  1. Educate yourself (regularly):

Jo John, a woodcutter, worked for a company for five years but never got a raise. The company hired Bill and within a year he got a raise. This caused resentment in John and he went to his boss to talk about it. The boss said, “You are still cutting the same number of trees you were cutting five years ago. We are a result-oriented company and would be happy to give you a raise if your productivity goes up.” John went back, started hitting harder and putting in longer hours but he still wasn’t able to cut more trees. He went back to his boss and told him his dilemma. The boss told John to go talk to Bill. “Maybe there is something Bill knows that you and l don’t.” John asked Bill how he managed to cut more trees. Bill answered, “After every tree l cut, l take a break for two minutes and sharpen my axe. When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” This question hit John like a bullet and he got his answer.

My question is, when was the last time you sharpened your axe? Is this a difference between the 90% crowd and the 10% folks? Past glory and education don’t do it. We have to continuously sharpen the axe i.e. get ourselves educated regularly.

  1. Get a Mentor!!!

A mentor helps us stay on track. He knows our abilities, strengths and weaknesses. He knows what would take us from the existing state to the desired state. Look for someone who can accept you as a mentee. Choose your mentor carefully. A good one will guide and give direction; a bad one will misguide. Show respect. Be an interested student. Teachers like interested students. The best mentor will not give you something to drink, they will make you thirsty. They will put you on a path to seek answers.

How many of the 90% crowd really have a mentor!!! A keen observation on the 10% folks would reveal that they are guided by a mentor at each step.

Thus, you would see that there are a few individuals who would keep succeeding in any organization/life as against a majority of individuals (90% crowd) who would watch them succeed, moan or do nothing about it. This case study depicts the change in thinking required by professionals to come to the category of 10% growing individuals by following four critical steps: 1) Set your Priorities, 2) Have a Burning desire, 3) Educate yourself (regularly) and 4). Get a Mentor!!!

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