Why You Should Burn Your Bridges

Why do thousands of people camp out all night in the cold before the Apple iPhone debuts? Is it driven by a complete understanding of how well the technology will improve one's workload or personal enjoyment? No! For many the desire to obtain an iPhone stems from an emotional response that is linked to neuronal connections triggered by personal and social variables.

What is the component that makes successful people successful? Why was Steve Jobs viewed as a Genius? If you have every seen a video of Vidal Sassoon talking about his revolutionary success, he always said he was the luckiest hairdresser! That statement does Vidal a disservice. Timing is always a component and shear talent alone is not sufficient to achieve the levels of creativity and success they achieved.
They all had an extra component!

The difference between 99% and 100% is everything.

In other words, the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the word extra and that is quite separate to talent. Vidal and Steve Jobs were highly talented pioneers in their respective industries, but without the "extra", they wouldn't have achieved what they did. If during the manufacturing of a computer a small part was left out, it would not function as intended. Any disruption in the integrity of a design, however small, impacts its workability and function. When something is whole and complete, it is not good per se, it just works!

Integrity and living a life of power and effectiveness are inseparable.

The same holds true in being human. When the wholeness and completeness of who we are is jeopardized in some way, however small, it begins to alter our life, even if at first it's imperceptible. We might experience a sense of discomfort; spend time defending, explaining or pointing fingers; find ourselves tolerating a level of unworkability that we might not normally put up with. Because this happens in small increments, we don't fully get the kind of impact it has on things not working in our lives.

A baseline that was once at 100% is now working at 99% or less. But it's that difference between 99 and 100% that's everything. It's in that 1% that the quality of our lives gets altered. Our sense of ourselves become more and more obscured, making it harder and harder over time to return to who we are. In being true to ourselves, being authentic, we tip the scales.

How do you see yourself? Middle Class? World Class? It's a description that does not refer to your bank account. It's how you approach the challenges you face. How you live your life. So what distinguishes the World Class performers from those who are satisfied with being "good enough?" The Middle Class is frustrated - The World Class is grateful. The Middle Class competes - The World Class creates. The Middle Class avoids risk -The World Class manages risk. The Middle Class has pipe dreams - The World Class has vision. The Middle Class is problem oriented - The World Class is solution oriented. The Middle Class chooses fear – The World Class chooses growth.

If you are working towards peak performance, if you want to go from good to great, learn the secrets of champions, the secrets of World Class.

Why is the difference between 99% and 100% everything?

The issue with most salons is that they are reasonable. These salons and the people in them are, on the whole being reasonable. Reasonable salons focus exclusively on optimizing for the short-term. Why? Because it is reasonable – that is what the stock market analysts expect. Reasonable salon owners treat their employees reasonably. Reasonable employees put reasonable effort into their work. Reasonable people make reasonable products. Reasonable people provide reasonable service. Reasonable people stick to what is known. Reasonable people aspire to go after best practice. Reasonable people don’t do innovation – it is too risky. Reasonable people stick with the herd and don’t stick their necks out. What do you get when you have a salon, which is run and staffed by reasonable people being reasonable? Good, at best. Mediocrity is not uncommon.

Let’s look at the subject of customer-centricity and the customer experience. You understand that your salon is not completely customer-centric and you want it to be. You get that your service is not excellent and you want to improve your service. Or you understand that your entire end-to-end customer experience is not good enough and you want to create a great customer experience. So my question is this: will you reach your goal simply by being reasonable?

When we look at what is on the ground, the answer to my question is YES. Being reasonable must be the way to be. Because what I see is reasonableness in many forms. Reasonable people taking the reasonable course of action using reasonable tools and aiming for reasonable goals. In short, when I strip away the bold talk of customer-centricity or even customer obsession, I see simply the aspiration to be somewhat better than we are today or last year.

Be Unreasonable!

Be unreasonable if you want to excel at the game of customer-centricity. You have to be unreasonable in your commitment to creating value for your customer. An unreasonable commitment to understanding your customers and what matters to them. An unreasonable commitment to coming up with value propositions (service, offer, promise) that meet customer needs. An unreasonable commitment to speaking with your customers so that they get your value proposition. An unreasonable commitment to designing and delivering a customer experience (end-to-end) that delivers the promises made in the value proposition and communications. Meaning an unreasonable commitment to creating a context where the people in your organization are called to be unreasonable in the their commitment to creating value for their customers.

When I say ‘unreasonable’ I am pointing at a stand that you take. It is best exemplified, as the difference between 99% and 100% is everything!

It occurs to me that the difference between 100% and 99% makes a huge difference. You either are 100% committed to making it easy for customers to do business with you or not. You either are 100% committed to providing great customer service or not. You either are 100% committed to designing and delivering a great end-to-end customer experience or you are not. You are 100% committed to creating value for customers – simplifying, enriching, and transforming their lives – or you are not. If you are not operating at 100%, you are vulnerable to, other salons that do recognize the difference and are 100% committed.

When we look at simple math and ask ourselves the difference between 99 and 100, the simple answer is one. When we ask what the difference is between 99% and 100% attainment of a goal or objective, the answer becomes much more difficult. When asked, most people will tell you 99% is “close enough.” And if the truth were really known, “close enough” for a lot of people would be far less than 99%.

Fortunately for the world, we have people who are smart enough and motivated enough to realize that anything less than 100% is not acceptable. There are plenty of examples I can think of to illustrate this concept. How many cars have you bought that are 99% complete? How about a 99% built house? Would your partner allow you to be 99% committed to your relationship? Or, let’s go 99% to the moon!

Obviously, none of these would be acceptable to most people. So why is it that so many people are willing to accept less than 100% in their own endeavors? There are numerous answers to this question, but my guess would be they just don’t want to dedicate the time and effort it requires.

I would submit to you that a commitment to accomplish any goal requires 100% effort. Anything less than 100% leaves room to negotiate. If negotiation occurs, failure is imminent. How many people have “committed” to losing weight? It has been my experience that those people, who commit 100% and lose weight immediately, usually attain that goal. Those that say they will cut back slowly usually relapse. They negotiate with themselves. Before they know it, they fail.

If you are a salon owner, do you accept less than 100% from yourself? Do you negotiate and settle for less? If a leader accepts less than 100% self accountability, the people he leads tend to accept the same. As you progress from salon owner to staff, the dilution rate multiplies exponentially. The end result is poor service or a defective product. If you expect nothing less than 100% from yourself, you create a credibility that is recognized by coworkers and peers. It is simple logic. You cannot expect people you lead to be 100% committed to an idea, service or vision if you are not.

When you commit to 100% for anything, you make it non-negotiable to your subconscious mind. You are ensuring that whatever task you are trying to maintain goes from a “should” to a “must.” Doing anything differently is not an option because it wouldn’t be you. When you commit 100% to something, you define yourself with it.

When you commit to 99% for anything, there is always room for negotiating. You may believe the benefits, but you realize that “eating a single donut isn’t going to kill you.”

Many Greek armies landed on foreign soil during military campaigns and used a 100% approach to their fighting style. Rather than committing to fight hard, but retreat back to the ships if needed, the Greek commanders used to burn the boats.

Without any escape route home, the men had to win or die. It was that simple. No matter what you are doing in life, burning the boats is still applicable. Mentally, you must ensure there is no way out. Dedicate yourself completely to the task. It is what you do. It is you. When you say ‘don’t burn any bridges,’ or ‘plan B,’ you set your mind for the possibility of failure. With no contingency, you only have the option of success.

From an abstract point of view, 100% is easier because it ensures there are no exceptions. If it is non-negotiable, there is no excuse good enough to avoid something. With 99%, there is always a small space for short-term gratification to overcome your long-term goals.

Some habits require commitment due to addiction, which is where 100% is even more important. If you are trying to remove smoking or drinking from your life, there is a physiological change. Addictions cause a “numbing” of the reward circuitry in your brain. Dopamine becomes deregulated with additions, and your brain becomes re-wired. Every time you feed your addiction, you make your brain a little bit happier, but a little bit unbalanced at the same time.


We create our own reality. Since consciousness is the source of everything, nothing happens unless we make it happen. Our thoughts decide which of an infinite number of possible and probable events will actually manifest in our reality. If we enter with a single-minded approach, the chances of success in our lives become exponentially greater.

There are no exceptions; there is no asterisk, no small print no hidden meanings. We create it all. There are no triumphs or tragedies other than those that we create. 100% thinking opens possibilities and opportunities that are not evident with a lesser application of effort.

The difference between 99% and 100% means everything. It’s that one percent that the quality of our life gets altered. What holds us back is our comfort zone, a zone that is ensconced in 99% thinking. If we apply the principles of 100% thinking to our life and business, we go into any process with a distinct competitive advantage.

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