We've heard it since we were little kids growing up, our tiny hands poised on pencils, ready to take our timed tests.
We heard it as our little determined faces made serious little pouts. We heard it as pensive high school students, trying to pen the perfect college acceptance essays.
“Give it 100 percent!” our parents, teachers and coaches would gleefully chant as we faced down our challenges of the moment.
The truth is, we've been told we should give 100 percent to pretty much everything we do in life. While the sentiment might be well-meaning, it's also ridiculous.
It is literally quite impossible to always give it your all.
Are there times you should go balls-to-the-wall hard? Yes, absolutely.
But what about the times you shouldn't? Let's look at five situations when it's OK to just give 90 percent...or even 80:
1. Graduate School
We get it: Academics are important. But unless you're planning on getting a PhD right after, graduate school differs from high school and undergrad in the sense that it's the culmination of your formal learning.
No employer will ever ask what your grad school GPA was. But your employer will definitely want to know how you applied your knowledge to your future career.
Graduate school is a time to focus a bit more on your research, your internship (if you have one), relevant volunteer work and making valuable connections in your industry.
The grad student who attends monthly networking events and leaves with a 3.5 GPA will be far better off than the one who didn't do any of that stuff, but graduated with a 4.0.
2. Health And Fitness
Have you ever seen a super fit person eating junk food or taking a day off? Odds are, you have.
That person probably isn't naturally gifted with superhero genetics, but just knows that occasionally, you have to treat yourself.
Most diets fail because they expect 100 percent adherence, as opposed to a more realistic approach. So, if you hit the gym hard Monday to Saturday morning, don't feel guilty about your late-night pizza binge.
3. Your Online Dating Profile
If you have a smartphone, chances are, you have some pictures where you seriously slay. Everything is on point: hair, makeup and lighting.
You've filtered that picture with 20 different apps, and you look flawless.
But don't use that picture... seriously. You'll never be able to live up to it in person.
Instead, use a few more pictures that are good, but not perfect. That way, your date can expect to meet the real you... not some idealistic version of you.
4. Giving The Best Gift, Or Throwing The Best Party
While it might be tempting to drool over amazing handmade gifts on Etsy and dream about throwing your bestie an epic birthday like the one you saw on some rando's Instagram account, stressing over the details of doing something nice for someone else will probably end up ruining the experience for you.
Not to mention, your stress might ruin the experience for the other person.
At the end of the day, your friend, family member or significant other isn't going to remember your napkins coordinated with the custom Snapchat filter you created. Instead, he or she will just remember the good time he or she had with you.
5. Being Woke
In 2017, there is nothing more important than being aware about important social issues. However, if you're constantly seeking out news stories and expressing your outrage over them, you're going to give yourself a very early heart attack.
Yes, there is bad in the world. But getting outraged about every injustice isn't healthy. Take some time to read a fluff article, watch a video of puppies or scope out your dream engagement ring on Pinterest.
Even the most dedicated social justice warriors need to take a break once in a while.
Not giving 100 percent doesn't make you lazy or a terrible person in any way. It just means you've learned to find a balance, rather than stressing about every single, tiny thing.