100 percent/zero percent is shorthand for the concept that you should give your all without expectation. Give 100% and expect 0% in return.
In high trust personal relationships—with your spouse, your kids, your siblings—I think we can see the value of giving wholeheartedly without keeping a ledger. I know that many of the resentments that creep into my mind (and poison my thoughts and relationships) are because I try to keep an accounting of what I am “owed.”
It can take a lot more trust to give 100% and expect 0% back at work, or in more distant relationships, or with strangers. Still, I have seen many situations blossom and prosper because one party was willing to go the extra mile, trust wholly and explicitly, and the other party responded in kind. Being the first to trust can start a virtuous, self-reinforcing, upward cycle that can take you to some pretty incredible places.
In “The Road Less Traveled,” Scott Peck laid out four tools of discipline necessary to live a successful life. The fourth tool was the art of balance——between competing principles, between conflicting priorities. Balance is wisdom. There will always be occasions when people prove themselves unworthy or a boss does not appreciate your talents or a position is just not right for you. At such times, when communication efforts or negotiations or interventions fail, it is appropriate to move on.
The Bible says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But it also says, “The wise farmer does not cast his seed upon rocky ground.” Knowing when to apply which principle is the art of balance, the gaining of wisdom.
That said, I suspect we all would be a lot better off with a bit more 100%/0% in our lives, a bit more giving our all and giving without expectation.
“The naive forgive and forget.
The foolish neither forget nor forgive.
The wise forgive but do not forget.”
NOTE: Courtesy of Wikipedia (edited for brevity):
In The Road Less Traveled, Peck talked of the importance of discipline. He described four aspects of discipline:
Delaying gratification: Sacrificing present comfort for future gains.
Acceptance of responsibility: Accepting responsibility for one’s own decisions.
Dedication to truth: Honesty, both in word and deed.
Balancing: Handling conflicting requirements. Scott Peck talks of an important skill to prioritize between different requirements——bracketing.
Peck’s book begins with the profound truth that “Life is difficult.” We must attest to the fact that life was never meant to be easy, and that it is nothing but a battlefield of problems. We can either moan about them or solve them. It is here that the vital role of discipline assumes significance.
Peck defines discipline as the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. These tools are delaying gratification, assuming responsibility, dedication to the truth, and balancing. These are techniques of suffering, means by which we experience the pain of problems in such a way as to work through them and solve them successfully, learning and growing in the process. Most of us do not want to wrestle with our problems because of the pain involved. Yet, it is only in grappling with our problems that life has its meaning.
Delaying gratification: the process by which we learn to meet and experience pain first, and then enjoy pleasure. By doing so, we enhance the joy of pleasure.
Taking responsibility: Only by accepting the fact that we have problems can we solve them. An attitude of “It’s not my problem!” will not take us anywhere.
Dedication to the truth: We all have a certain worldview that must be constantly updated and revised as we find ourselves exposed to new data. If our viewpoint is narrow, misleading and outdated, then we will be lost. Implies a life of genuine self-examination, a willingness to be personally challenged by others, and total honesty to oneself and others.
Balancing: The technique of flexibility. Many times we function with rigid, set patterns of behavior. Extraordinary flexibility is a must for successful living. Part of this technique is also learning to give up something that is dear and familiar to us. In refusing to suffer the pain of sacrifice, we fail to truly grow. It is in giving that we gain more.
These interrelated techniques of discipline are paramount if we are to cope with the tribulations of life. A person may employ two, three or even all the strategies at the same time. There are no short cuts to happiness. Only by learning to discipline ourselves can we set foot upon the path to contentment and wholeness.