Why Doesn’t Everyone Use the 80/20 Principle?

If the 80/20 rule is so effective, why doesn’t everyone already use it? Why does nobody teach it at schools? Why do people still praise the value of hard work over smart work?

Because it’s easier to do than think.

Tell someone to work on their business for an hour and they’ll happily oblige. Now tell them to think about their business for an hour. The mere idea is deeply uncomfortable, if not offensive. How dare you waste your time thinking? The world belongs to doers!

Yet if it were so, there would be no scientific breakthroughs. No philosophy that helps us live better. No art, which has no practical value other than making you think. And no change in society because changing your old ways requires thinking, too.

If we’re all about doing, we’re wasteful and inefficient. Like a machine, we follow the same set of instructions over and over again. But it’s thinking, analyzing, questioning, and planning—which is then followed by doing—that leads to quantum leaps.

The purpose of 80/20 thinking is to figure out how to achieve more while doing less. It’s not about doing less (without the “achieve” part), which would make us vegetate rather than flourish in life.

Goethe once said that things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least. If we always do, how are we supposed to discern between these two?


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