The Little Blue Box, or the missing 5%

Let’s talk about the missing 5% that make a true difference. In other words, that one small thing that takes you from "I worked so hard, but it’s still meh" to a "It’s awesome! Go me!”

Why just 5%? Why not 10%, or 25% or more? Well, because I found that the magical something that makes it work, is often a tiny addition. 

A personal, self-care-related story, if I may. I have a medical condition that can shut me down for a good few days in a row. Yeah, it’s as much fun as it sounds and then some. The only thing that helps, as I found over the years, is a combination of food supplements that has to be taken every single day for the rest of my life. 

Simple, right?  Unfortunately, I used to sneer at self-care, so it was easy to forget an “unimportant” task, especially as it required a certain amount of discipline.

I would take the supplements for a couple weeks, forget, and then re-assure myself they just don't work. A month would go by; I would get an attack and leave my husband to run the household, unable to get up from the sofa. I would resolutely decide to get well, and take my pills daily for a few more days. Then let it slip. And the cycle would start all over again.

Finally, after a particularly bad episode, I asked my mentor for advice. Running a business requires lots of mental and physical energy and I desperately needed some tools to trick myself into this self-care habit. She suggested I buy one of those compartment boxes they use for pills.

As soon as I finished speaking with her, I went to CVS and chose a nice blue one. (I’m a firm believer in “love your tools”.) I put it next to my coffee station and filled it with supplements for a week. That week went by and then another and another...  and I took the stuff every single day!

Let me tell you - I'm no longer losing a quarter of my life! (yes, it was that bad). I feel healthy, strong, optimistic. 

Turns out all I needed were a little blue box to flip a switch in my head and make me care for myself.

 

That's the 5% I'm talking about.


I already had the stuff. I knew I need to take it daily. I even did this from time to time. But it was not enough, and it didn't produce results. 

I needed that insignificant, square, bless-its-blue-plastic, little box next to my coffee. That one little addition made all the difference.

Sometimes my clients believe only a massive overhaul will produce results – a relaxed workday, a solid program, or a well-oiled financial mechanism.  But in reality, often a small tweak, a crucial but tiny piece can make their systems work.

However, placing this one magic missing cog often requires an outside perspective. My mentor told me to get a little blue box. I knew these boxes existed. But the fact that it could be a solution (um, salvation) was outside my awareness zone.  In a similar way, an outsider capable of seeing the bigger picture can pinpoint that one small missing piece and help put it in the right slot.

 

What are your “crucial 5%”?

Share a story where one tiny and unexpected thing made a big impact.