212 Degrees – Only One Degree Can Make a Difference!

At 211 degrees…water is hot.

At 212 degrees…it boils.

And with boiling water, comes steam.

And steam can power a locomotive.

And, it’s that one extra degree that… Makes all the difference.

How many of us ever really consider what is takes to be just a little bit better at work, in our relationships, at a hobby, etc.? Honestly, many of us probably dream about making major improvements in our lives without ever achieving many of those dreams. The reason for this may be that our dreams are unrealistic or that we never take the necessary steps to begin and follow-through with achieving our dreams. Maybe we are intimidated by taking those first steps to improve or believe that the final destination is unreachable because the journey is too difficult.

How many of us want to be better? Dumb question of the day Tim! Of course all of us want to be better! But, what will it actually take to make a difference in our lives to become better? How much work is going to be involved to be better? These are all important questions to ask, but maybe being better is not as difficult or challenging a task as we believe it to be. Using boiling water as an example, we see that it really doesn’t take much additional effort to make a huge difference. Applying one extra degree of temperature to water means the difference between something that’s simply very hot and something that generates enough force to power a machine.

Secrets to success simply don’t exist. Most of us instinctively know it, but won’t admit it. Success in anything has one fundamental aspect: Effort. And in most cases, to achieve exponential results requires extra effort. That’s the extra degree. Thomas Edison once said that, “Many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Vince Lombardi said that, “Inches make the champion.” Did you know that at NASCAR’s Daytona 500 from 1997 – 2006, the winner took the checkered flag by an average margin of 0.175 seconds…. less than two-tenths of a second. For the winner, it meant $509,000…. more….in winnings!

Let me toss in a controversial thought……It’s really not about being the best. Realistically, it’s about being better than you were yesterday. That’s what makes the difference. Remember that it’s that one extra degree of effort in business and in life that truly separates the good from the great. So, the question for all of us is where could you turn things up in your life to create one extra degree that will make a major difference? This goes for not only individual lives, but for businesses as well. And finally, I appreciate the below quote from the book, “212° The Extra Degree.”

This makes things a little easier as we ask ourselves the question, what are the few most important things that we can incrementally improve to make the biggest difference? Can you identify some of those things today?

“Focus on the critical few, not the insignificant many.”

Sam Parker and Mac Anderson from the book, “212° The Extra Degree.