I love to hear coaches and athletes talking about how they have given “110%.” I understand what they’re trying to say. Rather than give a normal amount of effort, which would be 100 per cent, they claim that they have put forth so much more effort than normal that they have exceeded 100 percent. But, I promise you that, despite their statements to the contrary, there effort isn’t more than 100%. Because, as we know, 100% percent of anything is as much of that thing as there can be.
Speaking of doing more than is possible, last week in an airport I heard an announcer come over the public address system to say that her airline’s flight to London would be taking off 30 minutes later than scheduled, she explained, because of strong tail winds. She went on to say that they could leave late and still get there on time. In fact, she claimed they would be flying “faster than possible.” In other words, they were going to do something impossible.
Fortunately, she herself heard what she said, and quickly corrected it by saying that the speed of the flight would be faster than would possible if the wind conditions had been normal. Good save.
Exaggerating is a natural thing to do, I think. I’ve said that a million times. Or… maybe less than that. But, what’s interesting about doing ten of something? We all want to be interesting, and express ourselves with passion. Living life within normal parameters can’t compare with extreme sports and hyper-caffeinated beverages that are both extreme and awesome.
There are many ways to overstate things. Somebody might say that they literally turned their house inside out looking for their keys. I don’t think that’s possible, unless the person lives in a tent. If they do live in a tent, they may also tell you that they were eaten alive by mosquitoes. They may have been alive when the mosquitoes bit them, but it’s a bit of a stretch to say the tiny insects actually ate them, since people who have been eaten can’t really tell the story, since they are dead.
One of my favorite things to do is to ask a little kid what the biggest number is, and once they’re responded, I ask what would happen if you added one to that number. Then that becomes the new biggest number. As far as I know, that game could go on forever – another overstated word – but the biggest number would never be reached, since there is no biggest number – or at least, not that I know of.
The funny thing is that we keep trying to claim that we can do impossible things, like giving 110 per cent, while at the same time we determine that it would be impossible for us to run a marathon, spend more time with our families, or save up to buy something instead of buying it on credit.
Ironically, if you are paying interest on purchases, you really are paying 110 percent or more than if you paid cash.
All that aside, I’ve decided that someday I want to fly a plane to London, and get there faster than possible. Maybe I’ll even arrive before I’ve left. That would be both extreme and awesome.