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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1% doesn’t seem like a big number, yet—as the 80/20 principle shows—makes a world of difference.
In his book The Success Principles, Jack Canfield states that 99% is a bitch; 100% is a breeze. You should pursue goals only with a 100%, no-exceptions commitment.
The quote made me think of when we make an important decision but aren’t 100% convinced of it.
Logically, that 1% of uncertainty shouldn’t deter you from making it. But the less-than-logical 80/20 principle states that the 1% may change everything.
Are you burdened by a half-finished project you can’t seem to wrap up?
Deep down, you know that you’ll never finish it. But you’re unable to call it quits. Because quitting is for losers, right?
All that guilt robs you of mental energy you could have spent on a more worthwhile endeavor that excites you. Yet, you keep deceiving yourself that one day you’ll get the project done—along with so many other tasks on your ever-growing to-do pile.
We all have blind spots that make it difficult to practice 80/20 thinking. One source of these overlooked inefficiencies are emotional biases.
For example, status quo bias makes us prefer the current state of affairs. We perceive any change, even if meant to improve the situation, as a potential loss. This makes us reluctant to adjust the choices that might not be optimal anymore.
What if you could strengthen your 80/20 thinking muscle by de-cluttering your physical environment?
In Pre-Suasion, Robert Cialdini shares a story of writing his first book, Influence. He worked in two different environments. The first one was his campus office with a view over academic institutes. In the second environment, his home office, he had a view over town and people going about their business.
Dubbed the new “hygge,” niksen is the Dutch word that means doing nothing*.
Or more specifically, it means doing something without a purpose. You may stare out the window, look at your houseplants, or sit in silence, phone-less, while waiting for your coffee. You don’t have to meditate or do anything special to niksen “the right way.”
One of my favorite business thinkers (and doers) is Jay Abraham. Through his penchant for simple, but unobvious strategies, he has generated for his clients more than 21.7 billion dollars. Some of his most notable students include Tony Robbins, Daymond John, and Ramit Sethi.
In his book The Sticking Point Solution, he shares his simple philosophy on life: