Do you want a simpler life?
Hi, I’m Martin. I’m a writer, solopreneur, and lifelong learner.
Let me share with you my thoughts on how to use the 80/20 principle to live a more rewarding life.
Why think 80/20?
Originally discovered by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, the 80/20 principle is a power law stating that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of the causes.
In simple terms, the rule says that only a few vital factors have a disproportionate impact on the results. The rest is largely insignificant.
We can apply the 80/20 rule in all fields. Through cultivating a counterintuitive attitude, we can enjoy a more rewarding life while doing less.
Think 80/20 is the place where you’ll learn how to embrace this fascinating philosophy.
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Recognizing patterns was helpful for our ancestors. They could make decisions based on seasonal cues or changes in food supply.
But today, we often extrapolate too much.
In his article “Ruthless Extrapolation,” professor of physics Tom Murphy demonstrates this with an extrapolation of transatlantic crossing times:
I recently had a great surfing session. The waves were clean, long, and within my abilities. The sun was shining. The water had a beautiful emerald green color.
I was present.
I was content.
I was peaceful.
I felt light and without a care in the world. The ocean took a huge weight off my shoulders. For two hours, my overactive brain could rest. Life was simple. Only the waves mattered.
Hi, I’m Martin and I’m addicted to action-taking.
At the beginning of October I made a hard decision to shut down a new business.
I told myself that I would take it easy for the foreseeable future. I needed it for my mental health.
I would focus on my road trip through Europe. Then I would enjoy for several weeks the warm, sunny climate of southern Spain before going back to dreary Poland.
As we focus on optimizing our lives, we might give too much value to what is uncontrollable. We might think that it’s the last piece of the puzzle to have a “perfect” life.
For example, let’s say that 98% of things in your life go well. You’re healthy. You have a loving partner. You have a stable financial situation. Your life is generally good.
I’ve never enjoyed having a busy calendar. With more than one urgent matter to attend to, I already get anxious. The idea of back-to-back tasks throughout the day gives me jitters.
It sounds like a major character flaw. In our fast-paced world, we should be able to deal with many obligations, shouldn’t we?
Or should we get better at paring down our responsibilities to focus on the rewarding tasks we excel at?
For years I wasn’t aware of my own superpower. And then I helped someone who didn’t have this skill. I found it natural and easy. They found it wearisome and difficult.
And here I was pursuing other skills and starting ventures that didn’t put this ability at the forefront.
This skill was writing.