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Charles Swindoll says that competitive excellence requires one hundred percent all of the time. If you doubt that, try maintaining excellence by setting your standards at 92 percent. Or even 95 percent. People figure they’re doing fine so long as they get somewhat near it. Excellence gets reduced to acceptable, and before long, acceptable doesn’t seem worth the sweat if you can get by with the adequate. After that mediocrity is just a breath away. Ever tracked the consequences of the “almost but not quite”? Thanks to some fine research by Natalie Gabal, I woke to a whole new awareness of what would happen if 99.9 percent were considered good enough. If that were true, then this year alone…2,000,000 documents would be lost by the IRS; 12 babies would be given to the wrong parents each day; 291 operations would be performed incorrectly; 20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions would be written; 114,500 mismatched shoes would be shipped (to just cite a few examples).

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