The One Percent


Several years back, scientists told us that there is only a 1.23% difference between the DNA of a man and a chimpanzee. More recently, National Geographic reports that humans may be closer linked to orangutans than chimps. Let’s say for a moment that this is true. The only thing separating you and King Louie from the Jungle Book is around a 1% difference in DNA.

This is an amazing thing to ponder! Not because we are so similar, but because we are so different. Consider the achievements that human beings have made that no primate could. We’ve written books, built vehicles that allow for space travel, developed multiple languages, composed symphonies, and completed heart transplants. My amazement comes from the idea that 1% difference creates 100% distinction!

This idea translates into other areas of life too. I call it “The One Percent”. I simply mean that our lives, relationships, and experiences can be massively improved if we will go just a little further. For today, I’d like to focus on the area of our work.

Jesus would say it this way, “If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.” (Matthew 5:41) In other words, do your best. Don’t just achieve, but overachieve! Do more than show up! Go further than what is required! In our work, this often comes down to simple details. And this extra effort can make an enormous difference. Think about The One Percent in the corporate realm:

  • Hollister sprays each item of clothing with their cologne every day.
  • Starbucks was the first to personalize drinks and write names on cups.
  • Moe’s employees are so excited to see you, they yell.
  • Publix will carry your groceries out and will not receive a tip.
  • Disney World is the Jedi of The One Percent! They do things like adding a second peephole in their hotel doors so children can look out. In the Magic Kingdom, the music changes depending on the area of the park you are in and the time of day.

This is their One Percent! These are the simple details that make people pay attention. These are the reasons people continuously revisit. These are the things that set them apart from others.

So what is The One Percent for you? What is the extra effort most others aren’t willing to give? What is that small detail that will improve the quality of a product? What is that small thing that will set you apart?

When you begin to walk in this, two things will happen:

01) You will set yourself apart as a worker.

As we are faithful to go above and beyond expectations, the Lord and employers will take notice. I have seen God give extraordinary amounts of favor to those who work diligently. Last summer, a volunteer at our church had a passion to be involved with a ministry that would require her to be out of work for several hours every week. When she asked her management about adjusting her schedule for a few months, she was blown away! Her boss didn’t just allow her the time off, but insisted on paying her for it! This is unexplainable favor!

02) You will set yourself a part as a witness.

I heard it once said, “Christians should be good news before presenting the Good News.” And it’s true! Many people get opportunities to share their faith on the job, simply due to their work ethic.

I was able to experience this when I was 18. I was working as a parts runner at the Orville-Beckford Ford dealership in Florida. I was a new Christian, and saw work as just a way to pay my bills. My work ethic up to that point had been to do what I was told. Nothing more. Nothing less. And that felt sufficient. Then one afternoon, I was sitting around waiting for another delivery, when the Lord reminded me of Colossians 3:23. It says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…”. I wanted to honor the Lord, so I got up and started facing the shelves. Not shelves in the front of the store, but in the back warehouse. A co-worker, Kurt, looked at me and said, “Hey man. What are you doing?!” I just explained I wanted to be a hard worker and honor God. He simply said, “Whatever.” Now, his response wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I have to believe that a seed was planted that day.

Here’s the point: No one mistakes a human for a monkey. And no one will mistake decent work for great work. So let’s set our hearts to work in the best of our ability, and then ask, “What is The One Percent?” Because a 1% difference creates 100% distinction.