To give, or to not give, 100% of yourself?

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One mellow evening, a seemingly miniscule reverie came along that managed to consume my mind.

I couldn’t stop contemplating one question:

What have I given 100% of everything I had to? Truly, 100%?

At first, I didn’t have an answer. I felt distressed. For a while, I couldn’t muster a worthy resolve. Had I ever given 100% of myself to something?

There are moments I can think of where I have given 100%. But what has represented a lifetime of dedication? A true devotion?

I look at my role models—the people who inspire me to live my life to the fullest. I admire them because of their steadfast pursuit of their passion. No matter how many people try to advise them differently, to stop wasting their time, or to cooperate with society, they keep going. And they never give up.

This takes a lot of fearlessness, and maybe even a little foolishness.

It’s a great blueprint to live your life by. It’s the kind of blueprint that gets recognized and praised by others. If it’s successful.

My mind continued mulling over this matter.

You may not have devoted 100% of yourself to any one cause. But that doesn’t mean you’re worth any less than someone who has. The last time I checked, there’s nothing wrong with being a well-rounded human being. You might not be the best or the greatest of all time at anything, and that’s okay. You don’t have to go down in history to be happy or to feel successful. What matters is your happiness. Your peace. If you can find gratitude in the small brush strokes that paint the big picture.

Have you quarreled with this same question? Do you feel like you’ve dedicated 100% of yourself to your life passion? Let me know 🙂



E.L. Jayne’s blog, Poems & Prose, can be found here.

62 thoughts on “To give, or to not give, 100% of yourself?

  1. This question makes me stop and think because I don’t know how I would answer it. It takes strength to admit that you haven’t given 100% without feeling guilt or regret. Instead, perhaps I should look at it as a reality check. If I haven’t given 100%, then was it worth continuing to pursue? Challenging post . . . in a good way.

    1. I love the question you ended with, maybe it wasn’t worth continuing to pursue. Maybe some people (myself included) haven’t found that ambition that you will intuitively devote yourself to… Thanks for this nugget 🙂

  2. Hmm. What a thought-provoking question! My gut response was that the only thing I’ve truly given 100% of myself to, was indeed the act of childbirth. 🕊

  3. Well, EL, so far Snapdragon is in the lead for giving the most 100% thing I’ve ever heard of. 🙂 Truly though, like labour, it seems so exhausting on every level to do anything 100% of the time. I’ve done what I think might have been at least close to 100% capacity, but very seldom. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I’ll try to do more. I get lazy, alas.

    1. Agreed with you and Snapdragon 😉 But that’s an interesting concept you bring up. Like you, I have also resolved to giving 100% of myself to my ambitions more often. Why is that? Does giving 100% of ourselves make us feel better, more accomplished? Does giving 90% of what we have leave us feeling empty? For me I might have to say yes…

  4. Your question raises another question: What are we giving 100% of . . . when we give 100%? For me, it is more important to give one’s highest sense of understanding (what I call spiritual understanding) to any given experience. When that is done, that is the best one can do at the time. With such giving, there is no guilt or doubt. That is absolutely nothing more that can be given. The Writers Monthly

    1. I think that’s a fantastic answer to a fantastic question… I think the only way you can give 100% of yourself is by intuitively understanding and being in tune with you capabilities. Only oneself can understand one’s internal power. Thanks for these great thoughts…

  5. Wow, this hit me today, especially with what I’m going through personally and at work. I’ve put my all in – even if I may not succeed in keeping things afloat/alive, I can say I’ve done my best. Thanks for yet another wonderful post that I truly connected with the sentiments.

    1. Hi Wendy, I feel the exact same way. Many days I feel I’ve put my all in and am barely (or failing at) keeping things afloat. All we can do is keep rowing onwards. Reflection and preparation can help too, but these can be murky waters. Too much and you’re drowning again. Alas, know that you’re not alone, and we shall continue pushing onwards. Best of luck and strength to you! <3E

  6. Maybe I believe that 100% given is not that what leads to inner happyness. Reaching 100 % satisfaction with 70 % given, opens a lot more to explore and to evoluate. The main question is for who and what you would like to give yourself 100%. if you figure out that, the How will support you. Many people are were tempted to give 100 %. At the end one made a balance to say , yes, i did but forwhat actually. One forgot to explore other opportunities. Lucky , a lot of people reaslize that impression just on time. Look to other aspects and find out it is worth to make such a joice. When you did , go for it for 120 %

    1. For me I am 100% happy when I know I’ve given 100%. Any less than that and I’m not as satisfied and feel like I’ve let myself down. But not everything calls for 100%. I agree, it’s definitely worth critically analyzing what is worth giving 100% of yourself to, and I am still on my journey of finding that. 🙂

    1. Hi Lokesh, I think that’s the key!! Trying your best, but then reflecting and improving your efforts. And remember not to get down on yourself if you feel like you can’t do your best. 🙂 Best of luck to you! <3E

  7. A hundred percent is something I don’t think many people give at any point in their lives. From what I’ve observed, they are divided about giving and hoarding. It’s the reason why much of what we buy is flawed in some way. It’s why relationships don’t last a lifetime. It’s why all of us think we need more than what we already have.

    1. Giving and hoarding is a very interesting observation, and urges me to reflect on myself. Maybe I can refocus on less hoarding, more giving. It definitely relates to a lot in life. Thanks for this reminder…

  8. It’s interesting. The assumption we all have, of course, is that one hundred percent is a good thing. I can think of a few things I’ve given my all to: childbirth wasn’t one of them, mostly because it was so out of my control and traumatic. No, when I think of things that have taken up all of me, I think of the negatives. The eating disorder, demands all of you, for instance.

    When I think of people who commit their everything to one endeavour, I don’t find very many admirable examples. I think the people we admire would have in their lives something closer to balance.

    Or, I could be totally wrong. That has also been known to happen 😃

    Thank for an interesting and thought-provoking post.

    1. Hi Em, such a powerful remark about the negative aspects feeling like they take 100% of yourself. I can also relate to the eating disorder, as it has impacted my every day life far more and far longer than I had ever expected it to. Now, I’m aware of the issue and am working on a healthier mindset. Also, as a Libra, I admire balance and try to work more towards balance in all areas of my life. Thanks for your thoughts and best of luck <3E

  9. So … the closest I can come is having given 100% to something at One Point In Time. Agreeing with Snapdragon…. I gave 100% to pregnancy AND childbirth. I was totally I control (at least I believed I was) and lived very deliberately through this experience twice. I worked hard at that but it was sooooo worth it and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
    Fearless (nor Foolish) is not an adjective typically used to describe me. I’m more often described as careful, thoughtful, planning, deliberate, cautious, conservative. ……… I just had my Aha Moment!! I think it’s time to change that !!
    Well rounded is Good in my book.
    But sometimes I guess I need to take a risk, jump off the porch and give 100% to something new.
    Grazie for giving me something to ponder this weekend 🧡💜🧡💜🧡💜

    1. Giving 100% of yourself only to things at a certain point in time is still very admirable. It is interesting to think that although this leads to a balanced, well-rounded life, it’s not what receives the most praise. On the other hand, your internal praise is only what matters, but unfortunately it seems like that’s more often than not interconnected to external praise. Lots of food for thought, but I’m glad you’ve got something new to work on! <3 <3E

    2. Some advice given to me early in my career … “You CAN have it all. You just can’t have it ALL At The Same Time.” I appreciated understanding that sometimes I would be fully consumed by one or another of my roles, and then the time would come when a different role was the priority. I clearly remember some of those moments when I knew exactly which role was the only one that mattered at that time.
      One of those moments happened with quite a bit of regularity. Driving my daughter (and maybe a teammate or two) to soccer practice. Those trips were refreshing, clarifying, purposeful, and singularly important, and I was completely capable of doing it well. When I was driving them, I knew at that time that there was nothing more important that I could be doing. Not multitasking, not thinking about anything else. I loved the joy of playing that role at that time.💙⚽️💙⚽️
      There are projects and sporting activities and conversations among the way that were also the only important thing I was doing at that time – and I believe I was doing those 100% at the time.
      Well-rounded, yes!! It’s a privilege to really be able to know that you are in the right place at the right time doing the right thing for you. I wish for each of you that you’ll have many of those moments 🌻🌻

  10. This title definitely drew me in because I actually can’t recall any instance of giving anything my 100% either! This was nice and positive to read. Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Dalen, I was feeling the same way! That’s what got me a bit down on myself because I don’t want that to be the case forever. I do think that we will intuitively know when to give 100% of ourselves to our passion, and that time will come when it’s meant to come. Best of luck on your journey!

      1. I like that thought of we don’t have to give 100% all the time, but rather we’ll just know when it matters most. Thank you very much. I wish you all the best of luck on your journey too!

  11. I wonder if giving 100% isn’t just being present in everything that you do and truly being who you are in all interactions. Too often we try to multi-task, which I don’t believe is a good idea as our attention is too divided. And too often we wear a mask presenting to others who we think they want us to be.

    I do believe that if we are present in each moment (being mindful) we can lose ourselves in the task at hand, be it a project or listening, really listening to what another has to say. Giving 100% can be as simple as that, though not always an easy thing to do in this chaotic world which pulls us in so many directions. But it’s worth being more observant of where our minds take us outside of the present moment.

    1. Yep, you’ve hit the nail right on the head for me. I definitely want to work on being more present, not dividing my attention, and taking off the mask of being who others want me to be. You have a solid point, giving 100% of myself can be as simple as being present and full involved in the current moment, the rest falls into place from there. Thank you for this simple, yet meaningful and realistic detail. <3E

      1. You are so welcome. It is something that I am working on myself as it is so easy to get distracted and get caught up in the ‘monkey mind’. Sometimes just being a witness for someone else and their struggles is all that is needed…no words, just presence. Be well.

    1. Hi Luna, I’m in the same boat. Some ways I feel like I’ve given 100% of myself, in other ways, not so much. Reflection helps with my preparation for next time 🙂 Best of luck to you, and remember not to focus too much on the mistakes <3E

    1. I think that we’ll intuitively give 100% of ourselves when it’s the right time. Otherwise, life calls us to be warriors of balance. Best of luck with your journey <3E

  12. An interesting question.
    My answer may be controversial, but I am not sure if a) there is anything I have given 100% of myself to and b) if there is anything I would be willing to give 100% of myself to. This may be in part due to a lack of passion for any one thing and also, a lack of willingness to completely sacrifice myself.

  13. Just as an observation, a good deal of Pointless Overthinking is discussing about self improvement in some sense, whether it be through ‘giving” of the self or understanding of the self. Of course some traditions point to an illusory aspect of the self … ie the Buddhist not-self.

    What exactly is this “self”? Here’s a challenge to the contributors of PO, a short essay on what exactly is this “self”? We might do this by bringing together our best understanding of the science, careful self observation, and perhaps other sources. A challenge we all post a short review of what the we think is “the self” is on the 1st of May.

    And compare notes. 🙂

  14. I don’t think anyone can give 100% of themselves to anything, because to do so would mean living life in a vacuum. Even the greatest artists of our time have had love affairs, bouts of depression, and addictions of various kinds with which to contend. A person cannot give 100% when any of these things are happening. My fascination is with the people who put in 10,000 hours to any one endeavor. 10,000 hours is humanly do-able, but it is a huge chunk of life! (About a year and two months if continual.) I have heard over and over that 10,000 hours is what it takes to become proficient at any one thing. By that measure, I am proficient only in working (past tense) drinking coffee, worrying, and possibly obsessing. If only all of those wasted hours could have been put into…

  15. This is a question that I have been posing to myself recently. I know that I have given 100% of what I have to give, to my 3 daughters. It’s not the same 100% that some people seem capable of. They seem to have more energy than I do! As for career, I haven’t given my 100%, ever because I have too many directions that I want to go! In the end, I am grateful that I have given my all to my daughters. They’re my raison d’etre…

  16. If you commit to anything or anybody you owe 100%. Any less is not real commitment , unless you believe that something can be true and false the same time, or convince yourself that any measure on either side of the equation is sufficient for solution.

  17. I know I haven’t always given 100% to my passions, or I might have more to show for each of them. To answer why I haven’t, all you need to do is look at the last three words of that sentence: “each of them,” meaning I have more than one, and each of them requires unbending focus to make it anywhere. For the record, those big three passions would be (1) writing, (2) music, and (3) martial arts.

    Of course, then you must pose the question, “What does ‘making it’ look like in those passions?” Well, that isn’t so easy to define. Some people might think you haven’t “made it” as a writer unless you sell numbers like Stephen King. For music, some might measure that by whether or not you can fill arenas when you tour. As for martial arts, that would be if you are able to open and sustain your own school.

    However, someone else might view things differently. For example, when it comes to writing and music, I don’t believe you have to sell major numbers. Hell, I don’t think you even need to make enough money at them so you can quit your day job. I mean, there is a local band called Dryer who have released a few albums and toured around the country (maybe even the world), but I know everyone in the band, and I know they all still have day jobs…yet I have been inspired by them, so to me, that means they “made it.”

    As you can see, your blog was made for me because I am also an overthinker. LOL

    1. Absolutely right. We always have to give 100% to anything we do, no matter how many. ‘Making it’ has to be seen only from our prospective, and not from the judgment of people at

  18. Wow… very interesting question. You have gotten me thinking! This is a question which is important in our lives with regard to growth.

    Great post, I hope all is well 🙂

  19. Love this! Ive only given 100% to a few things for small periods of time but I like spreading all my love out across many different things.

  20. Meet me Halfway   

    I’ve perhaps done a lot of things halfway,
    Gave up, and moved away rather than fight the fray.
    Why do we give up when home is but a minute away?
    Doesn’t it’s security call to us from far away?

    Struggle against the obstacles strewn along the way
    Wave them away til they recede from the bay.

    Exert from my book, Perfectly Flawed, that’s coming out in April! We have the same idea expressed differently

  21. The question teases, then logic reasons. Are we able to give 100% to any one pursuit, all the time, some of the time? Then again, what is a 100%? Some would suggest, the total amount. But then again, total amount of what, time, attention, thought, activity?? Whoo-hoo, the mind doth boggle!

  22. I am a survivor of extreme child abuse, from the age of 6 to 17. At the age of 17, I was so abused and neglected that I only weighed 90 lbs. – literally – I was a very small, fragile man and very weak from years of malnourishment. I should have been in therapy, but instead my parents enlisted me in the United States Marine Corps. The recruiters were shocked, they accepted me anyway and I heard bets were placed on how long I would last. I put in my 100% to get through boot camp; I would have to say it was the toughest thing I ever had to put myself through in my entire life. The people who placed bets on me lost. I’ll never forget those days.

  23. Love this. I notice as I’ve gotten older, my patience is thin.
    100% you say….Yes when I was younger.
    Now at this time in my life, I have learned to not start something that I will not be following through with at all.
    That is where my 100% comes in. Being passionate about what you are doing, and thinking will definitely make sure you are putting in that 100%.

  24. I grapple with this question every day. It was particularly obvious when I was playing ultimate (frisbee) to a high level and training for international competition. During some of these campaigns I struggled deeply with depression, both because of the stress of training for the competition, and because of other issues in my life that I wasn’t dealing with. At training some days I was unable to give 100% in terms of my *best* 100%. It just wasn’t possible. Over the course of those years I became really good friends with another who played on those same teams. He started to have a saying that became a sort of mantra for me. “It was good to see you running at your 100% that you could give today.) He said it honestly, and was proud of the effort I put in on those days. At the time, while struggling with all the heavy emotion it was hard for me to see that that was 100% for me at that time. Looking back now, I appreciate the effort he put in to playing as hard as he could, as well looking out for me and others on the team too.

    In the present, I can’t even say I’ve given 100% to writing any of my books yet! Except in my heart and in my mind. The act of writing and editing I’d say I’m somewhere around 60-70%. But maybe that means I have the energy to do it as well as I can when I do it?

    Thank you for sharing this thought provoking piece. Peace. 🧡

  25. I love when life gives me dots to connect. This is a great thought provoking post and is much needed in my own personal journey at the moment. I’m at a low point on many life issues right now… reading this just sparked a depth to those questions I have…

  26. Life is generally better when we do things to the best of our ability and willingly. Giving something your attention opens up the world even in small things. John Dickinson

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