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The Difference Between Not Enough And Just Enough

July 7, 2020

Most people fail to understand how little extra effort it takes to be truly extrordinary.

I love baseball. I mean, probably more than any of your friends. I’ve been known to drive 3 hours each way just to watch 2 hours of a baseball game.

(Everyone has to have a hobby, right?)

The last three months have been killing me. The entire first half of the baseball season was wiped out. They might start up later this month.

In the meantime, I’ve watched old baseball clips and an occasional movie. Bull Durham, Eight Men Out, Field of Dreams. But, not Angels In The Outfield.

It tells the story of real angels coming down to help the Anheim Angels baseball team. And they need the help because they are terrible. They can’t run, hit, field or throw. There’s a line by Danny Glover, who plays the manager,

There’s a thing called talent. They don’t have it.

Why don’t I like this movie?

Because it asks too much. It wants us to believe that men who can’t catch a fly ball could be professional baseball players.

Bull Durham, on the other hand is an excellent baseball movie. Kevin Costner plays a minor league catcher trying to help the clubs hot young pitcher prepare for the majors. One of the lessons he teaches.

You know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It’s 25 hits. Twenty-five hits in 500 at-bats is 50 points, OK? There’s six months in a season. That’s about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week, just one, a gork, a ground ball – a dying quail a week and you’re in Yankee Stadium

The difference between a .250 hitter and a .300 hitter is the difference between going into the Hall of Fame and not making the ball club. It’s a tiny, tiny difference between being great and being just average.

9.58 seconds. That’s the world record for the 100 meter dash. Usain Bolt set that record in 2009.

400 milliseconds. That’s how long it takes to blink your eyes.

Suppose you were just “a blink” slower than Usain? That puts your 100 meter time at 9.98. That’s still fast. Anything under 10 is world class. But, where would you rank? Remember just a blink-and-you-miss-it behind the world record holder?




Not even close. The 25th fastest recorded 100 meter time for men was 9.87.

It’s a tiny difference between great and merely good.

To be successful in business, you don’t have to be a professional baseball player or the fastest man in the world.

Two friends were hiking in the woods. The came upon a ferocious bear who started to charge them. One guy started to put on running shoes.

“Are you crazy? You can’t outrun a bear?”

“I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.”

If you are able to put in just a little more effort than the next guy, or the next company, or than you did yesterday, that’s success.

We are rolling out a new software tool at work. We have been trying to get it out for the past few weeks. We finally opened a bridge call on Monday and spent hours pulling in all the involved teams. And eventually, we got it installed. . .mostly. Seriously it mostly worked for most of our agents. Today I had a different crisis that took most of my day.

I did send an email and ask if people still had issues. But, I was focused on a new issue. And honestly? It mostly worked.

At 4:00pm I got a call from the VP. He rightly wanted to know why our new tool still didn’t work. . .completely.

So, we started another brige and invited all the interested teams back on. It turns out that we were 95%, possibly 98% of the way to the finish line. As we spent time on the bridge, I didn’t talk much. I wasn’t the expert on the tool. Instead each team talked about what didn’t work for them. For one team it was a mistyped network address. for another it was a reboot. For still another, the supervisor needed to switch stations.

We eventually got everyone working, but it was by tracing down each issue individually. It took a couple of hours.

And when we were done, We were done. Not 95% done, not 98% done. We were completely done. And everyone was happy. I got some of the thanks, undeservedly so, I think. My role was simply to gather people and be on the bridge. It was a small thing. But, it was the difference between providing a working solution and an almost working solution. We call that a broken solution.

You don’t have to outrun the bear. You just need to outrun your yesterday-self.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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