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The Howes Group Brenda Howes

In university I volunteered to be a subject in a psychological experiment. The room had two chairs, one for the ‘teacher’ and one for me, the ‘student’. I was handed a deck of cue cards with mathematics equations and scrambled words on them. The objective was to go through as many cards as I could, solving the puzzles, as fast as possible. I was timed.

We started with math. Every time I attempted to solve a card’s equation, the teacher would accept my answer. If I got it right within the allotted time, no penalty. If I got it wrong I was given a time infraction. Often, I begged for just a bit more time as I was ‘so’ close to getting to the answer.

At first the questions were very easy: 14+2, 16-6, 200×3. They progressively became more difficult, and I was not given any more time.

After about thirty minutes of the math cards, we switched to scrambled words. Again, at first, they were easy: penlic, yatod, llohe…and then they got harder…nitgrasurtf.

At the end of an hour, the teacher suddenly announced that we were done. There I was, frustrated, angry and feeling inadequate with a score of only 53 correct out of a hundred.

My feelings were real. It turned out that the ‘experiment’ was designed to make me quit. It was intended to be difficult, if not impossible to pass.

There are kids in classrooms everywhere who need just a bit more time to solve problems but the system doesn’t make allowances for them. They simply get frustrated and give up.

This was the best test I ever failed in university. It is a lesson I have carried with me forever. I didn’t quit.

What I’ve learned since then was how easy it is to quit when you only have 20% of the task left.

It can take weeks and often months to finalize a contract. The last few changes and conversations can be the most painful for both sides because we can both see the finish line.

The effort it takes to finish is the true test.

Every day I live by the saying that it takes 80% of my effort to complete the last 20% of the task.

It’s so easy to want to pop the champagne cork before the job is done.

My husband says that I can be like a dog with a bone. I’ll take that. Woof!

Timely yours,

P.S Good-bye Q3, welcome Q4.

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