Remember this: We were not put on this earth to suffer, although we inevitably will. We were put here to enjoy ourselves. Especially in between those moments of self doubt, adversity or plain unhappiness. Seeking happiness is one part of my life philosophy. The other is to be better. Everyday.
Meet Dr. Myron Rolle, who, thrillingly, shares my point of view. As a kid he could have become a victim of his, self admitted, bad temper and the violence it created. After appearing in court to face charges of assault when he was only eleven years old he panicked that his behavior would result in his family’s deportation back to the Bahamas. A light switch went off and he changed his future.
Dr. Rolle became a Rhodes Scholar. Then a professional football player for the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers. And now he’s a neurosurgeon. I learned about Dr. Rolle while waiting in my dentist’s office with only PEOPLE magazine for company. Proof that even unpleasant opportunities (sorry doc) can offer up inspirational experiences.
Whenever I meet or hear about extremely successful people I first experience feelings akin to underachiever syndrome until I start self soothing by emulating their path to success. For Dr. Rolle that required The 2% Percent Way. Which PEOPLE says is his system of “breaking down a larger goal that could seem daunting (like attending medical school or losing 50 pounds) and making it more manageable.” The 2% Way is also the name of his new book, which, of course means that in addition to being an academic, medical and athletic wonder he is also an accomplished author.
PEOPLE magazine points out that “although Rolle’s accomplishments are especially impressive, he believes anyone can use the 2% strategy to get better or work toward something.” He says, “you have small wins every single day, and then a month from now, two months from now, a year from now, you say, look how much better I’ve gotten, and look how much more I’ve improved,”’ says Rolle.
Rolle told TALKS AT GOOGLE that he adopted his 2% Way from one of his college football coaches at Florida State University. “He would challenge me and my teammates everyday to get it just a little bit better,” said Rolle. “ Small increases. Two percent at a time of growth of whatever we did on the field.” Rolle says he took that mindset to heart and transferred it to his life in general.”
“Any chance encounter I had, any book I read, any video I watched I’m trying to grab 2 % of that and apply that to my journey so I stack up these small wins and it gives me the confidence that I am moving forward and doing something good.”
I have never been very good at math, so I cannot calculate exactly what a 2% improvement in my daily life would look but it is such a small number to achieve that I think the theory does offer an incentive to just be a little better each day, which is Rolle’s fundamental point. The importance of the task should not determine the value of it either. Achieving anything simple can provide success and improve your well-being.
For instance, I was visiting a friend in Manhattan who had just moved into a terrific apartment. But because she had a full time job she just had not gotten around to properly decorating it. Over seven hours on a Sunday we redid the whole place together.
Turn around is fair play, isn’t it? I say that in a positive way. I am a big believer in utilizing the talents of friends who can do anything better than me. Like the one friend who helped me plant a garden last Spring. And another who power washed the exterior walkways around my entire house. (Yes, I have great friends). So this was my little contribution towards paying back this friend who had moved me seven different times over my lifetime and had never complained about it once. But, truth be told, I am sure she is probably quite relieved that I seem to have settled down now.
In the end she was thrilled with her new and improved home and admitted that she would have stopped the whole redecorating process after an hour had it been up to her alone. It’s so easy to put off unpleasant tasks, isn’t it? We discussed the 2% way that week-end and she has fully embraced it. We had this text exchange several days after I left New York City. By then she had cleaned out a cupboard, hand washed her carpet with Woolite and booked several trips for the summer.
“I think you might have exceeded your 2% achievement level for the day! I said.
To which she remarked.
“Ha! Made soup, frittata and roasted vegetables,” as well.
Show-Off. It seems I am surrounded by them.
I just spoke with a friend who said she had just walked 8 miles. Another who will say YES to almost anything that provides new experiences, like skydiving which she has enthusiastically done. Another friend speaks several languages and has decided to enhance her love of language and the arts by volunteering at a museum. Then there is my 80 year old girlfriend who insists on sporting gorgeous red lipstick and perfectly manicured nails at all times. All are accomplishing, both large and small things, to improve their lives.
Rolle says he does not believe any of us can improve by 100 percent any task we try. But what he does believe is that we can surely commit 100 percent to being just two percent better every day of our lives.
7 thoughts on “The 2% Way”
Thank you Darlene. I luv it. Bobby
Darlene: I am so happy to once again receive your posts and wisdom. I have missed you and them the last few years. Linda and I now live in Ipswich after 70+ years in Boston. It is just lovely here, lots of history, nature and “Ipswich fried clams”! We live on the 4th. hole of The Ipswich Country Club with a pond in our backyard with our own ducks which I feed (not shoot) every morning. I often think of the wonderful trips with Tom and meeting you and your dear Michael. Since retiring completely I now concentrate on my photography and have my photos for sale in Newburyport and Portsmouth NH stores (The Pleasant Shoppes). I have included two photos for you. One is from my cousin Carol’s wedding in West Cork last September. Her grandmother and my mother were sisters, Margaret and Ellen McCarthy; we are cousins! The wedding was at a beautiful estate called Lis Ard Estate in Skibbereen, West Cork. During the 3 hours of drinks and hors d’oeuvres this beautiful rainbow appeared which is supposed to be an “Irish Blessing”. The other photo was a foggy morning in Seal Harbor, Maine on Mount Desert Island. The teal lobster boat is called “Sundog” and was built in the 1960’s by Ralph Stanley of Southwest Harbor, Maine. He was considered a master wooden boat builder and was named an NEA Heritage Fellow. I look forward to more of your posts, let’s keep in touch. Tim Gilmartin
So lovely to hear from you! You are such a talented photographer. I have two great friends at Ipswich (James and Gretchen Hainey and Wendy and Scott Ganson) and I play in their member guest each year. I may just stop by your play for a glass of wine or framed original!
Thanks for writing!
Darlene: We would love to see you anytime. We’ll have wine ready and I’m sure a framed original is in your future! My contact info is: 31 Country Club Way; 240-344-0450. Let me know when the member guest will be. Cheers and a Happy Pre-St. Patrick’s Day! Tim
Gorgeous article….I know we are dear friends in part b/c we share similar outlooks…let’s always reach for the stars …the world is our oyster …let’s keep bouncing❤️ Carol
Love this!!!! It is sooo YOU. I am applying the principle right now. Fun part about Deb. I am so happy for her. And for you to be a part of her dwelling rebirth.
All good there? Groovy here with a trip to LA next week and then off to Italy on the 5th for a couple of weeks.
Let me know if you want to zoom.