Thomas A Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
When I was growing up, my mother liked to make herbal tea.
We had a kettle that had a prominent home on the top of our stove.
Blue flames spread out from the burner and started to heat up the kettle.
A few moments later, I would hear the whistling of the kettle as steam shot through the cap at the end of the spout.
It was a glorious sound.
There is a tremendous difference that one degree makes when it comes to water.
At 211 degrees all you have is a lot of hot water.
However, once you raise the temperature, one degree to 212 degrees, magic happens.
Water changes form. It converts from the liquid state to the gas state.
So many advances in human history are the result of increasing the temperature of water to 212 degrees.
Once you have steam, everything changes.
With steam, you can power a turbine.
With a turbine, you can create electricity.
With electricity, our whole world becomes easier.
However, take one degree away, and there is no electricity.
One degree is the difference between success and failure.
Sometimes I’ve had to look myself in the mirror and swallow the bitter pill.
I’ve had to admit that I just wasn’t good enough.
In my teenage years, I was a track athlete. I ran cross country in the fall and then ran track in the spring.
During the spring, I ran the one mile and two-mile distance races.
My favorite event in track and field was the one-mile race.
I ran my fastest mile in five minutes, three seconds.
I was so close to breaking the five minutes barrier.
For the one-mile race, I ran four laps around a 440-yard track.
Reality is I could have broken it. I just needed to reduce my lap pace by one second.
That would have given me a four-minute and 59-second mile.
That would have been a pretty good time.
However, I never put in the right training to reduce my mile time to break that five-minute mile.
Earlier this week, I was utterly overwhelmed.
I began a marketing project two months ago. I was 98% finished with the project.
A week ago, I was telling someone that I was one week away from completing the project.
I explained further that I had been one week away from completing the project for three weeks now.
For three weeks, I had essentially done nothing on my project.
The day I stopped working on the project, I had a marathon day that started at 2 am.
I created a deadline for myself to be finished with the project.
Everything that could have gone wrong that day seemed to go wrong.
My computer froze up on me, and I had to restart the computer multiple times.
I probably lost more than an hour with computer issues.
Around 11 am that morning; I realized I wasn’t going to get that job done.
There simply was too much work to do in the short time I had left.
I left my office for my lunch break to go for my half-hour walk.
I felt defeated at first. Then I just accepted the fact that it was going to take me longer to finish the project.
No matter how much I wanted to finish my project, I couldn’t rush the process.
I decided to take the next day off from the project to give my mind a break.
One day turned into three weeks.
Then a week ago, I determined that I was going to push through to the end and get my project complete.
This projected had taken so much effort and time so far.
In order to push myself to finish the last two percent of my project, I contacted a few people that I knew.
I told them that I would complete my project on August 14, 2019.
Then every conversation I had with everyone the following few days, I told them about my project and that I had committed to finishing the project on August 14, 2019.
I set up a few appointments on August 15, 2019, to keep myself accountable to complete my project.
Wednesday morning came, and I had my project all lined up. I knew exactly what I had to do that day to complete the project.
I started working on the project and pushed through.
As the day progressed, I had to attend a few meetings that were already in my calendar.
Dinner time came, and I looked at my clock and realized it was going to be a few more hours to complete the project.
I called my wife and told her I had to finish this project.
Just before midnight came, I completed the project.
I was done. I had finally knocked the monkey off of my back.
I drove home elated and thrilled to be done.
If I had not promised the people I would complete the project on August 14, 2019; I would still have that monkey on my back.