As you know, I'm a big fan of people who donate blood (partly because my life was saved by four of them). You can read JV's wonderful guest post about the benefits of giving blood on this 2021 post. Still, the image above made me laugh. To start this essay, most of which is about how people think about the word percent, I did a Google image search for "giving 110%" and found the t-shirt above, which you can buy if you want. (I've linked the photo to the website.) I get that the idea is the humor will come from the notion of giving 110% of one's blood, a selfless act that only Edward Cullen's cohort could appreciate. Of course, giving 100% of one's blood is equally problematic on a math level. The joke is funny, but what made me giggle was the your for where they mean you're. I guess getting a wrong tee-shirt is better than a tattoo the causes ragrets.
Of course, as someone who cares about how we use language, I'm bothered by the idea of giving 110% to anything. The word percent obviously comes from "per" meaning "by the" and "cent" meaning "a hundred." It is totally impossible to give 110% to anything, so that expression has always bothered me.
I was recently listening to the Categorically Romance podcast on which the guest, romance author Maisey Yates, was talking about relationship advice. She said that some people say that a couple will do well only if each person makes fifty percent of the effort, but a real relationship means that both people are giving a hundred percent to the union. I love this clarification. If I make only half the effort I'm capable of making for my husband, my children, my students, or anyone else, I'll end up with garbage relationships. It's not true that I have to put in the same effort and attention as the other half of each partnership I form.
No matter what other people are doing, my life goes best when I give my all. I think about people who complain that they end up doing most of the work on a group project. In fact, the project benefits from all of the participants doing what they can, but at the same time, the person who's doing more of the work benefits more. That person will know more about the topic than the slackers.
In what other ways and places do people expect you to give your all? And what are some of the ways you benefit by not worrying about how hard other people are working?