The Five Percent

Thomas Edison (11 February 1847 – 18 October 1931) is claimed to be one of America’s greatest inventors. As well as inventing many devices we take for granted today such as the phonograph, the motion picture camera and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb, he has made many famous quotes.

Probably the most famous quote is “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration”.

In 2012 I heard another of his quotes –

“Five percent of the people think,

ten percent of the people think they think

and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”

For years I have pondered what exactly he meant by this. Surely everyone thinks! This is my understanding of his five percent quote.

 

The five percent quote could be used for sports people:

  • Five percent of people excel at sports and dedicate their lives to pursuing this goal
  • Ten percent of people enjoy playing sports
  • And the other eighty-five percent have no interest in playing sports

 

The five percent quote could be used for leadership:

  • Five percent of people excel and are natural leaders
  • Ten percent of people believe they are good leaders
  • And the other eighty-five percent have no interest in being a leader

 

The five percent quote could be used for religion and might be something along the lines of:

  • Five percent of people embrace their religion and it is a daily part of their lives
  • Ten percent of people believe they are religious without making it a part of their lives and attend their place of worship only when required
  • And the other eighty-five percent have no interest in religion

 

I believe this rule could be applied to anything. So how would it apply to spiritual lives?

  • Five percent of people seek to be their true selves, they have a daily spiritual/meditaion practice and try to be consciously aware at all times
  • Ten percent of people have interest in spirituality such as reading books and attending classes but it is not a part of their daily lives
  • And the other eighty-five percent have no interest in spirituality

 

If you are truly passionate about something surely you wish to be part of the Five Percent? If so, what makes the transition from the Ten Percent to the Five Percent?

  • Dedication
  • Practise
  • Focus

In essence – mastery! Mastery is seldom achieved. Immediate gratification, instant success and temporary relief are easy distractions on the journey to mastery. Today we want everything now – fast food, instant messaging, fitness from a few minutes of exercise a day etc.

Learning is the first part of the equation but then comes the hard work.  It is now time for the dedication, practice and focus. Pursuing mastery in your chosen path is a daily event. If not more frequently!

But what happens if after all this effort, gains are not made? You could be on a plateau but with more dedication, practice and focus it will pass. It’s all part of the journey to mastery. The Five Percent is waiting.

Remember practice makes perfect.

Mark – The Alchemist Journey