Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Dear Samuel,

I actually just spoke with Mom on the phone. I'm glad to hear that at scouts today the whole troop ran 3 miles. That makes me laugh. A lot of good it will do. Now if you ran 3 miles every day...then you'd have one heck of a cardiovascular system.

You know that club idea we've talked about? I still think you should start your own club, but you may be able to join an existing club and do something similar. Is there a service club in your school? In my school it was the Key club, but it's probably got a different name for yours. Look into it.

Also, Mom told me that you just went through a 4 hour ordeal with a neighbor lady who gave you a battery of standardized tests. That is awesome dude, I have been thinking about sending you a PSAT prep book, for reasons to be explained in a future post. Anyway, Mom said the lady is going to tutor you for a couple of weeks on how to do better.

I really want you to write up a summary of what you've learned from her about doing well on standardized tests, and post it on this blog.

Anyway, did you like the last post? The one about the 80% rule. Did you wonder about the other 20 percent? That's what I wanted to talk about today.

This is something I've basically made up in response to the Woody Allen quote. Again, I'm going to use all caps.


Let me try to elaborate. Showing up will take you most of the way there. You can gradate from high school by just doing the minimum, and coasting along. But when you get to college it will be progressively harder. Showing up will still get you most of the way toward success, but it will be harder to show up. If you show up at high school, it's free, and you don't have to pay rent at Mom and Dad's house anyway, and besides, you're basically legally required to attend high school at this point. Showing up is a foregone conclusion. But college is different. You have to pay tuition, you have to pay your own rent, and buy your own books. It takes work. Eighty percent of success is still showing up in college, but it's harder to show up. A lot of people end up dropping out, or don't even go. It was a lot of work for me to graduate from college, because I was always short on money, and consequently had to get a job the entire time I was in school.

Contrast my college experience with my friend N. He did a great job in high school. He did a great job of getting good grades. He had plenty of extracurricular activities. He did great on the appropriate standardized tests. When it came time for him to pay for college, a lot of successful people showed up and offered to pay his tuition for him. This situation continued throughout college. He made the extra effort in college to get good grades, and continue to do well on the appropriate standardized tests. When the time came for him to go to Law School, successful people showed up and offered him money to go to their law school. Up until Law School, N hadn't paid a dime in tuition costs. I don't know if you noticed this, but N finished Law school before I finished my undergraduate degree, even though we started college at the same time. N consistently does a great job, at whatever he is working on, and successful people continue to show up for him.

The twenty percent rule applies everywhere. Do a great job and successful people will show up for you.

Talk to you later,

I hope you liked your 3 mile run,


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