All or None

by | Apr 3, 2017 | Referral | 2 comments

Black or white.  On or off.  Up or down…all propositions that do not take into account any gradations on the scale.  You either win or lose.  It doesn’t matter how much you win/lose by.  

Could Kansas have beaten Oregon to get to the Final Four? We’ll never know.  Lose by one point anywhere in the March Madness bracket, and you’ve lost everything, and the winner WINS everything.  The margin is as thin as a hair, but the rewards are outrageous.

This is why we have the much ballyhoo’d 1% envy in our culture.  Somewhere along the line a company like GE won a contract over (   nameless competitor   ) and it vaulted them to the top and they’ve stayed there ever since ’cause they’ve had the advantage (the 1%).  Sure they’ve had to work to stay there, but in the beginning they were just a smidgen better than the other guys, and those other guys got relegated to the dustheap of history while our GE-like candidate went to the bank.

How many almost discovered the lightbulb, phones, flight, and viruses?  I’d wager they were 99% there when Edison, Bell, the Wright Bros., and Ivanovsky broke through with the discovery.  But 99% wasn’t good enough.  Olympic winners take a one-thousandth of a second advantage to the gold.  Uh..who was that in second place?

When your audition lands in the lap of the deciding producer along with the other XXX auditions, the one that’ll catch their ear is the audition that’s 1% better.  That’s all.  That’s what will separate you from the guy/gal who got the job and the guy/gal who doesn’t.  


You’re 99% there, but it wasn’t enough.  You have the talent, the coaching, the equipment, the agent, the moxie, the delivery, and the quick turnaround, but it may still be just 99%. The winner edges you out by 1% but takes ALL the rewards.

Sounds cruel, but it’s true.  This is the way of the world.  The unfair consequence of all-or-nothing competition.

Today’s blog was inspired by a brilliant article written by James Clear: “…These situations in which small differences in performance lead to outsized rewards are known as Winner-Take-All Effects. They typically occur in situations that involve relative comparison, where your performance relative to those around you is the determining factor in your success…”

Take the time to read Clear’s argument in: The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards.  “…You don’t need to be twice as good to get twice the results. You just need to be slightly better…”

And what does Clear say makes you slightly better?  “…The people and organizations that can do the right things, more consistently are more likely to maintain a slight edge and accumulate disproportionate rewards over time…”

Worth the read.





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  1. Larry Hudson


    I just love your simple take on such a complex topic. Bringing it home in a simple phrase that is easy to remember every day, every minute as we generate our careers. I find that most people that are just starting are caught up in our current “pill culture”. Give me a magic pill so I can feel better and as you and I know no matter how “good” you are at this thing called voiceover there is no magic pill to take you to success. It takes one thing over and over again to be successful…at that is ACTION. Money won’t buy it, charisma can’t entice it and love of the business alone won’t make it happen. Action, action, action on all fronts is the only path to success.

    Thank you again for the reminder!!!


    • CourVO


      Thanks for the appreciation. I try to tell it like I see it.
      You’re the best for commenting!

      Dave C


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