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The 100% Lie

Here’s Real-Life Lesson #3,107 that I’ve taught football players for 40 years and college law enforcement students for two decades – the difference between winning & losing on any field and in any field is who truly gives 100%, 100% of the time.

One of the biggest myths in the sports world and work world is the 100% Lie. It is also one of the biggest lies in the sports world and real-life. Giving 100% effort, 100% of the time is rare. It’s uncommon. The reason is that 100% effort looks like hell, sounds like hell, and feels like hell. Hell scares the hell out of 90% of the average team – dual meaning. First meaning: On average, 90% of a team will not give 100% effort, 100% of the time. Secondly, the result is an average team at best. Or worst.

The 10-90 Rule applies to the 100% Lie – over 90% don’t come close to giving 100%, 100% of the time. Less than 10% do. The biggest leadership challenge I have had is to change the 10-90 ratio to 90-10, minimum. My number one job has been to increase the number of athletes who give 100%, 100% of the time in the weight room, on the practice field, in the classroom, and on every play on Gameday. Increasing the 10% who give 100%, 100% of the time guarantees winning, winning big, as well as prolonged winning streaks on any field, in any field. If you can’t change the ratio, you and your team are doomed for mediocrity and incompetence. A 10-90 team will end up in dead-last. A 90-10 team will end up in first place – 100% guaranteed. That rule applies in sports, self-generated business, public sector, and any organization, any program, regardless of what they do and where.

A 2013 Gallup study backs up the 10-90 Rule  The number of people who hate their job is staggering. The volume of people who hold work in contempt is a crisis according to this 2013 study. It’s a miracle that anything gets done in any organization, public or private sector.

Changing a 10-90 team to a 90-10 team is easier said than done. It takes gut-spilling heavy lifting – dual meaning. Heavy soul-lifting and heavy weight lifting. Lifting, both kinds, is the only way to build strength in mind, body, and soul. The problem with lifting is the 10-90 Rule of Lifting. Only 10% of the world is committed to lifting. Over 90% are not. You can fool yourself and believe that your out-of-shape team will give 100% effort, 100% of the time but the reality is that a weak team will not and cannot give 100% effort, 100% of the time.

The problem with the 100% Rule is measuring effort. There is no simple formula for calculating 100% effort quantitatively. Outcomes usually distort the percentage of effort expended. It’s easy to objectively or subjectively conclude that you or your team have given 100% when things go right but wins are not created equal. Many wins are recorded against weaker competition, opponents who simply gave less effort than you and your team did.

During 40 years of coaching football, I have witnessed the 100% Lie in the weight room. I have reminded students and athletes for decades that deception, self-generated or otherwise, makes them believe they have given 100% effort, 100% of the time. I have reminded students and athletes that it’s easy for complacency to set in when self-deception and external deception convinces them how amazing they are, how hard they work, and how special they are when in fact they have cheated themselves and their team by their less than 100% effort.

I’ve taught students and athletes that the difference between winning and losing is how a team defines 100% effort. The difference between winning and losing boils down to the truth. 100% effort is an abstract concept composed of complex tangibles and intangibles. 100% effort is open to wide-ranging interpretation. It’s easy to fool yourself and the rest of your team by pretending to have given 100% effort. Any abstract concept can be made-up with cosmetic make-up. It’s easy to fool yourself and your team especially while in a state of desperation. Left unchecked, a state of desperation leads to a make-believe reality to make you believe whatever lie that makes you feel better than the truth. A state of desperation blurs vision, obscures senses, and twists the truth to fit whatever reality you are desperate to conjure up.

The good news is there’s a 100% solution. The 100% solution is not the lie of an easy 3-step magical formula or the lie of a 7-day transformation. I’ve devoted an entire new book called Soul of a Lifter: Part 2. It’s part of the Blunt Talk Motivation audiobook and printed book series. This blog article is a copyrighted excerpt from Soul of a Lifter: Part 2.

Thank you for a record-breaking number of new registered blog readers. As gratitude, we are offering a free digital version of my new book called The Mystery of Murder: Working with the Dead. It’s an unconventional motivational book, part of the Blunt Talk Motivation series of printed books and audiobooks. If you want a free e-book, please email me at: or contact us through our website

Yesterday, Blunt Talk Podcast reached its 76th country in just over two years. We are blessed. As gratitude, we are posting the entire audio version of The Mystery of Murder: Working with the Dead, one chapter at a time. Two chapters (Chapter Minus Zero and Chapter Zero) are already posted. All 171 episodes of Blunt Talk Podcast are free, permanently archived. Each of our guests has a #soulofalifter. Guaranteed to lift.

Thank you and #muchlove to all our blog readers and podcast listeners for helping reach new personal bests.

Blessings & all good things.


Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Nat’l Coaching Certification Program)

Football Head coach – Niagara X-Men Football

Gym Owner – X Fitness Welland Inc.


Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. Currently, he is finishing another book in his non-fiction series: Mystery of Murder: Working with the Dead. All published books are available on on and www.Chapters/, in both soft cover and eBook format. Additionally, his website, features his books including:

Football coaching and non-fiction books: SWAT System: Offense and Defense, SWAT Tackling Video (with accompanying eBook), and 4th & Hell: Season One and Season Two

Business Books: Selling H.E.L.L. in Hell, True Confessions, and eBooks: Soul of Selling, and, Real Business Relationships = Sales

Fat Loss Book: Fat Losing

Workout System: eXplode: The X Fitness System

Motivational Books: Soul of a Lifter, and eBooks: The Pledge, and, The Focus

Children’s Books: Be Fit Don’t Quit, and, The Beauty of a Dream

Policing Textbooks: Arcaro’s Interrogation Case Law


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