I was chatting with a local cop who’s been on the force for more than twenty years. I don’t know Charles very well so I was just making small talk, but since he seemed so approachable I felt free to ask him a tough question. “You have to deal with a lot of crap,” I bluntly began. “Every day you see people at their worst. How do you deal with that? How do you keep it from darkening your character?” After first talking about his strong faith, Charles said something that changed the way I think about people.
“Your 95 percent is what you are,” He declared. “What fills your days fills your mind. For example, you’re a writer and you work for Dave Ramsey. So, every day you spend your time thinking about ways to bring good stories to people. You help people get out of debt and live better lives. In our downtime, you and I may choose to be great fathers. We might coach our daughter’s softball team. We might spend quiet time with God, read a great book or learn a new skill; That’s our 95 percent. The people I deal with as a police officer? They come from terrible backgrounds. Most have no fathers, no structure, no foundation and no moral compass. There are entire communities where no one hears encouraging, hopeful words. There’s a lot of abandonment, hurt and anger. Their 95 percent is very different from yours and mine.”
Charles is right. Imagine a ten year old boy who doesn’t even know who his father is; he just knows he didn’t stay. The people who are in his life wind up in prison or dead. He has been made to feel like a mistake. What does he think about all day? What does he listen to? What does he see? What’s his 95 percent?”
I have no idea where Charles got 95 percent, but he said it with such experience, such conviction that it doesn’t matter. It applies to every person in all walks of life.
Thought to ponder
What’s your 95 percent? What can you be intentional about changing today? What can you cut out of your life? Who can you “unfollow?” What can you just stop engaging in? What are you reading, watching, and hearing? What are your conversations about? What language do you use? Is it good? What did you do last week, last month, this year to improve where you are?
Is it time to reconsider your 95 percent?