I like a bit of tricky writing as much as anyone else, and Ian Denny certainly pulled it off with this language: “The 98%/2% Rule In Business (And Life)”.
We all know about the Pareto Principle — the 80/20 rule, where 80 per cent of the consequences are determined by 20 per cent of our actions/decisions. And you may also be aware of the Power Curve and Long Tail, which explains in part how great wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very few number of people, and how the great mass shares a pittance.
But Denny was applying the 98/2 per cent rule concept to one of our most fundamental emotions: Fear.
Are you really aware of how fear rules your life? And how it prevents you moving forward?
And at the same time drains your battery as you fret over everything from weather that parcel will arrive on time to deliver a birthday gift to whether your business will get enough clients to survive?
I really wish I can recall who told me this. I’m not now sure if it was someone I knew, or something I read. But its effect is profound.
I even googled it. I wanted to know if there was some substantiation for the statement. And by “it” I mean a throwaway phrase that I heard or read:
98% Of Your Fears Never Happen
I have no idea how you could calculate it. But it feels credible to me. If you ever stop, switch off your phone, TV, tablet, laptop etc and have a silent moment of reflection, you’ll quickly realise there’s no such thing as a silent mind.
Well, that’s some creative writing. I tried my own Googling exercise (with some confidence since even Google considers me to be a qualified expert on some aspects of the company’s services — I’ll be flying to California in a few weeks at the search engine company’s expense for a three-day summit). The closest I could come to validation appears to be research from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, which has conducted some extensive research on cognitive approaches to health and fear reduction.
The topic also draws me back to my 1980 Good Friday epiphany, walking right into the eye of a storm of a central African civil war, with brutality, suffering and hate, and surviving, quite intact. I had learned how to put myself in places of extreme perceived danger, without really taking much real risk. The lessons have influenced my life.
Can we apply an understanding of fear into our construction marketing approaches and models?
Yes. On the outbound side, you can debate the ethics, but sometimes instilling or reinforcing fear among current and potential clients can help you attract or retain new business. And we can certainly take cognitive approaches to managing and reducing our fears, so we truly experiment, lead, innovate and create rather than allow caution to determine our decisions.