The Importance of One Percent

Never underestimate the value of one percent. One percent may sound negligible, but it isn’t. On a genetic level, we humans are only about one percent different from chimpanzees.

If you were 99% happy, and just 1% sad, would you be satisfied with this result? If you were 99% well, and just 1% ill, would this be acceptable? Suppose a person were 99% sane and just 1% insane, would this be a safe ratio? I suggest the answer to all three of these questions is no.

One percent of your life is about fifteen minutes each day.

Fifteen minutes of daily sadness, illness or insanity is far too much to be considered satisfactory, acceptable and safe.

Fifteen minutes of sadness every day can lead to a person commiting suicide. One percent illness could be a daily migraine that lasts 15 minutes. Just imagine the damage that a person could do if he were insane for fifteen minutes every day. I once made this comment to my father, a criminal defence lawyer, to give him a new perspective on his clients that commit heinous acts. It is easy to look at them as horrible people. But no one is horrible all the time. Good people behave badly when they are sad, ill or insane, and even one percent can have devastating consequences. “The next time you defend someone accused of murder”, I said, “remember that she or he probably had good intentions 99% of the time… if that were to change for just 15 minutes, that would be enough time to carry out the murder”. My dad’s response: “Heck, it only takes one second to pull a trigger. Fifteen minutes is enough time to get rid of the body.” Yikes!

So please never again look at 1% as a negligible difference. We must strive for 100% happiness, wellness and sanity. That is not to say that a perfect human being exists. Nor does it mean that we should judge ourselves or others for falling short of perfection. The idea is to keep working on yourself to minimize any sadness or illness that you might otherwise ignore or accept as part of life.

It is within your power to search for, find and eliminate your one percent that blocks peace and causes suffering. It costs nothing, so anyone can do it.

But almost nobody does, because it requires correct attitude and actions in every aspect of life, not just in the parts where you are already doing well.

Start by reviewing the nine human needs. Review them daily. Until you optimize all nine of your basic needs, it won’t do much good to persue other wants and desires. Make small changes every day.