The first is: “Nothing is always absolutely so”.
The second, and more famous, of these adages is: “Ninety percent of everything is crud.”
Des hit me with this one a few weeks ago at lunch. We had been chatting about some new job opportunities and I mentioned that I was feeling better about my qualifications and then he unloaded Sturgeons Revelation on me.
From my experience it is true with everything. If you go into a restaurant there’s a 10% chance that your waiter or waitress will be good; this applies generally so that there is a 10% chance that you will get a good server is you go to a restaurant. It also applies to restaurants in that 90% of them will be crud. It applies to coffee, training programs, music, etc… Everything!
It also leads to something I call clustering. There will be a tendency for crud to stick together and for the 10% of the great stuff to stick together. Which can be very helpful if you don’t really know the difference between crud and quality. Given that crud sticks with crud, there is a very good chance that if you identify something as crud, it will also be surrounded by crud. This is why in the fitness industry, great trainers tend to stick with great trainers or if there aren’t a lot of trainers in the gym, why they’ll stick to themselves. There are clusters of greatness in a world of crud and your life gets better when you are able to identify and learn from them.
If you are great, you need to be even more diligent when identifying the crud because there is an unavoidable averaging when you connect with another person – you will become less when you connect with people who do not possess the same skills you have and they will become better when they connect with you. In order for quality to survive when connected to crud, the roles of each must be clearly understood by the 10% who hold the skill and ultimately act as mentors to the remainder.
Always keep in mind that the crud is very likely going to identify itself as the 10% that has something valuable to offer. As such, you need to identify it as quickly as possible so as to limit the amount of damage it can do.