Give it a little added extra

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I’ve seen Seth Godin do an activity where he asks the audience to raise their hands as high as they can, and then asks them to raise them a little higher. Surprisingly, in spite of being asked to raise their hands as high as possible, people always find a way to raise them more. We have somehow been conditioned into doing ‘good enough’, rather than what is honestly our best effort.

In a sort of way of fighting against this, here’s a trick one of my waterpolo teammates used to do (and I’m sure he still does). When we did waterpolo training way back in the 2000s, one of my teammates always made a point of 1) giving it all to the end, meaning he was sprinting until he reached the wall every single time, and 2) giving it a little added extra. It was usually 25% of the distance just covered, but he always used to sprint just after having finished a whole set.

While 1) should be a given (it isn’t always, but it should be), every once in a while I like to take my teammate up on this second proposition and do a little added extra in whatever it is that I’m doing.

For example, if I’m writing something, I would finish it and then maybe add a short summary or a list of ideas for where this writing could go next. Or if I’m teaching, I would make a point of talking on a more personal level with my students, one of the main reasons I am teaching in the first place.

There are tons of places where we could give a little added extra, and it really isn’t that much effort in the big scheme of things, yet it could lead to some very beneficial effects. Try it out when you can.

Speaking about giving it a little added extra, here’s a little extra for you. The Japanese language is known for extensive use of foreign loan words, some of which take on an entirely different meaning in their new language. Some obvious ones are manshon from the word mansion, which in Japanese is just a single condominium, and hai tenshon, which comes from ‘high tension’ and describes someone who is hyperactive or overly energetic.

One term that still bothers me somewhat is purasu arufa from the term ‘plus alpha’, a term that describes a little added extra. For example, you decide to run for 20 minutes, but once you do, you find you have the energy to run a bit more, so you run ‘plus alpha’ (can you see why this would bother English speakers?).

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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

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