The 33% Concept #illumedati

Hi everyone, it’s Whatever Wednesdays and I’m still kind of sick. However, it’s not “stay in bed all day” kind of sick. It’s more of a sniffly-sneezy mope around home all day kind of sick.  So today I’m going to talk about something called “The 33% Concept“.

[I’m sorry guys, for some reason, this post didn’t go at its scheduled time, so I am manually posting it now.]

33 Percent

Stock Photo from: Pixabay

What is “The 33% Concept”?

Well, there are many names which are similar to this called “The Rule of 33%” or “The Rule of the 33%”. They are a little different from one another, but they kind of all distill down to one basic concept which I think is important. I’m going to give you my take on it here.

At a young age, we are surrounded by teachers, who are usually much older than us and our peers who are usually around our same age. Additionally, in an elementary school or extra-curricular activity environment you most likely also have many other who look up to you. However, just the presence of these different age groups by themselves doesn’t necessarily mean anything. However, let’s assume that you learn from those older than you, mold concepts with your current age group, and then pass down what you’ve learned to those younger than you.

This is a lofty assumption to be sure… but is it really that far off?

Let’s take a more concrete (but hypothetical) example:

Johnnie is 7 years old and has never played baseball before. He joins Little League and learns how to catch, throw, and hit from his coach. Implementing these concepts, he hones his skills over the next 7-10 years through Little League and maybe even plays some High School Baseball at the Varsity Level. As a freshman in High School, he dedicates some of his time as an assistant coach for the new 7 year olds starting out. He is able to take everything his coach taught him and after building on it, teach the generation after him.

You can imagine that doing this generation after generation allows for continual growth, or evolution of the teaching, or maybe even evolution of the sport itself.

Interesting, so what does that have to do with 33%?

Well, the 33% concept is that you want to divide your time into 3rds

  • mentor or mentors, those who are older (or simply more experienced) than you
  • peers, those in a similar age (or experience) range
  • protégé or protégés, those who are younger (or less experienced) than you

However, in general, I don’t think this is the case for many. For many of us I think we probably spend 80-90% with our current peer group. The reason for that is understandable… it’s pretty easy and it’s comfortable. For the most part, hanging out with people in the same age/experience range as yourself is relatively frictionless. You have many common denominators from growing up around close to the same time and have similar experiences to draw from.

I think there is a reason that the media (and people) tend to separate themselves into different generations. Baby-Boomer, Generation X, Millennial, etc.

If you think about it, that list is a prototypical 33% rule candidate for a Generation Xer. As a Gen X, you should spend 33% of your time with a Baby Boomer, 33% with another Gen Xer, and 33% of your time with a Millennial. Doesn’t sound too enticing does it?

That’s the point.

The idea behind the 33% concept is that because we tend to only stick to our own age/experience range that we have a very narrow view of the world.

When your view is so narrow, you will miss out on a lot of great things, a lot of great people, and a lot of great ideas.

In my opinion, the 33% concept works like this:

  • Mentor shares experience with protégé.
  • Protégé keeps mentor in tune with pulse of the world.
  • Both have a broader view of the world.
  • Both are better because of the time spent.
  • Profit.

If everyone did this, think about how broad of a world view everyone would have?

That’s it?

Yea, pretty much. At its heart, the 33% Concept is really to demonstrate the power of the mentor-protégé relationship (technically it’s 2 separate mentor-protégé relationships).

Here’s the problem though. No one does this.

The real question/problem is “why not?”

I think it’s because people liked to hang around people who agree with them. It’s a nice feeling.

However, this is one of the reasons that people in power hate “yes men” who only agree with whatever they say. People in power need argument and debate in order to solidify their decision. They need people to bring out all the possible good (and bad) scenarios so they can make an informed decision.

A mentor and protégé should debate about different things. They should see the world a little differently from each other, but likely agree with each other on a larger scale.

A good mentor will push their protégé to be better than them, and a good protégé will push their mentor to keep evolving.

A good (recent) example is this:

I want you to be better

From Spiderman Homecoming


33% Concept

  • mentor
  • peer
  • protégé

In my opinion, the 33% concept works like this:

  • Mentor shares experience with protégé.
  • Protégé keeps mentor in tune with pulse of the world.
  • Both have a broader view of the world.
  • Both are better because of the time spent.
  • Profit.

I want you to be better.

Whatever Wednesdays Sensei


Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.

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