Sport Principle 2: The 95/5 Principle

About the Sport Principle

The 80/20 principle is well known: 80% of insurance claims are made by 20% of claimants; 80% of road traffic accidents are caused by 20% of drivers; 80% of wages are earned by 20% of workers; 80% of alcohol is drunk by 20% of drinkers, etc. The variables don’t matter here.

The principle is that 80% of your outcomes are caused by 20% of your inputs. I think there is a 95/5 principle too. Is it fair to say that most school yard footballers have 95% of the skills to become professional?

Think about it. They can cross/head/pass the ball accurately, they can tackle effectively, and fully understand the rules of the game, following it with a passion that puts career-driven professionals to shame in most jobs! But how many of them will make it professionally? A fraction of 1%! That’s because the final 5% is the most difficult of all. I was once told that I was 95% of the way to becoming Olympic judo champion. That made me feel 10 feet tall, for five minutes, until I realised that MOST average club players make it the first 95%. The final 5% is the difference between the Olympic champions and the rest of us! 

Back to the 80/20 principle, and it is interesting to note the difference between icebergs and skyscrapers: icebergs are 20% above the water and 80% beneath, whereas skyscrapers are the opposite way around: 80% above ground and only 20% unseen. 

Application to Life

Oh, how we long to be a skyscraper and not an iceberg! We like to be seen, and get the credit, in sport and in life!

Sadly, 9/11 proved how easy skyscrapers are to take down! But if we will commit to working on our unseen character and putting in the hard graft when nobody else is looking, then we can sink all our problems with God’s help, no matter how ‘titanic’ they may be! Years ago, I worked with a professional Boxer, who was brought into the school where I worked to motivate the disaffected kids who were at risk of exclusion. He told them that when his alarm goes off at 4am for him to get up for his morning run, and it’s freezing cold outside, and his coach is tucked up in bed miles away, so he won’t even know if he knocks the alarm off, pulls the duvet over his head, turns over and goes back to sleep, the only thing that gets him up is the knowledge that what he does in the darkness will find him out when the spotlight of the ring shines on him.

Straightaway, I thought of Mary, the mother of Jesus. She found favour with God because of what she did away from the spotlight. Nobody else saw, but God saw, and that was all that mattered.  

Are you more of a skyscraper than an iceberg? Which would you rather be? Why? Do you need to work on what you do in the darkness so that you are not exposed for the shortcuts you’ve taken when the light of Christ shines on you? What can you do to go that last 5% to making it as an Olympic level Christian?

But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.’”

Luke 1:30
Are you a skyscraper person or an iceberg person?

Image Credit: Lucas Franco