Friday, 16 November 2012

Give It All

It never ceases to amaze me that the people with the least are always the ones who give the most. Some of them give everything they have with no thought of any return other than the knowledge of having done the right thing. Or of having done something no-one else was prepared to do but which someone else, i.e. them, absolutely had to do.

Today's blog for some of us will be about giving it all but I also hope that for many it will be about giving just that little bit extra. Just that tiny little bit that will make all the difference.

The British Olympic Team trainers all talk about the "one percenters" and I remember a tale told by David Carry, the British Olympic and Scottish Commonwealth swimmer from Red Sky Management when he spoke about the way in which the Commonwealth team went from doing not terribly well on the World stage to winning everything in sight, David himself becoming a double gold medallist and setting all sorts of records on the way.

The tale concerns a visit to the British Cycling team who themselves had come from nowhere to become the most champion of World champions and needing more than just a pedal bike to carry the haul of medals home. The trainers pointed out the attention to detail and how they individually prepared every single, individual, tiny component of every bike and how the bikes could not go anywhere near the track until every single procedure was finished.

One procedure was so infinitesimally tiny that the comment was made, "..but that can hardly make any difference at all..." to which the inevitable reply was, "Yes. Hardly any." with a cheery wink.

Thereby hangs the birth of a thought; if one percent is enough to make a difference, can you imagine what would happen if you added up a whole load of one percents?

The answer as we now know was Britain's athletes emerging from the doldrums of no funding, precious little science and wing-and-a-prayer support to fantastic results inspired by Lottery funded provision of the best advice, the best motivation, the best support and an attention to detail coupled with "one percent" thinking that continues to produce the most amazing results. It also continues to inspire others. Amazing what you can produce with just one percent.

Now although the tag "one percenter" was new to me, the thinking behind it was not. Since the very early 2000s I have been living by the mantra of "the extra degree" as embodied by my very great friend and mentor, Sam Parker in his mindset changing philosophy 212° The Extra Degree. The philosophy goes like this:

At 211 degrees, water is hot.
At 212 degrees, it boils.
And with boiling water, comes steam.
And with steam, you can power a train.

Follow this link to find out more about two-twelve and see the video: 212° The Extra Degree  This simple philosophy has made a huge difference to my life and I think it is fairly likely that I will be referring to it often in future blogs.

I am sure many of you are wondering if I will make it through a blog without mentioning Sea Shepherd and the answer today is emphatically, no. That should not surprise anyone given today's subject matter because our ships are crewed by individuals who give much more than one degree, who give much more than one percent. Our ships are crewed by people who give it all.

The first time I heard that spoken out loud to a (very) large audience was at a Rise Against gig. The band returned to stage for an encore but instead of launching straight into music, Tim took the time to tell the fans all about the amazing job Paul and his captains and his crews were doing in the Southern Ocean. 

And then he dedicated this song to them. 

Sometimes one percent is not enough. Sometimes one degree extra just wont get you to boiling point. Sometimes you need to Give It All.

Thank you for reading.