By: Hubert Crowell
The 80/20 Principle, like the truth, can make you free. If you practice the 80/20 Principle, you will become more productive, earn more and have more time for the things you enjoy. However, you will have to do some serious 80/20 thinking.
80/20 Thinking Is Reflective
With 80/20 Thinking you want to generate action which will make sharp improvements in your life and that of others.
The objective of 80/20 thinkers should be to leave action behind, do some quite thinking, mine a few small pieces of precious insight, and then act. Act selectively on a few objectives and a narrow front, decisively and impressively, to produce terrific results with as little energy and as few resources as possible.
80/20 Thinking is Unconventional
The power of the 80/20 Principle lies in doing things differently based on unconventional wisdom. This requires you to work out why most other people are doing things wrong. If your insights are not unconventional, you are not thinking 80/20.
80/20 Thinking Seeks Pleasure
Most people do not do the simple things that would be conducive to their happiness, even when they know what they are. We spend a lot of time with people we do not even like. We do jobs that we are not enthusiastic about. Most of us are not optimists, and even those of us who are optimists do not plan carefully to make our lives better.
80/20 Thinking Believes in Progress
Progress should not be confined to the worlds of science, technology, and business. We need to apply progress to the quality of our own lives, individually and collectively.
80/20 Thinking is inherently optimistic because it reveals a state of affairs that is seriously below what it should be.
Only 20 percent of resources really matter in terms of achievement. The rest are marking time, making token contributions to the overall effort. We need to give more power to the 20 percent, get the 80 percent up to a reasonable level, to multiply the output. Progress takes you to a new, higher level. But even at this level, there will still typically be an 80/20 distribution of outputs/inputs. So you can progress again to a much higher level.
80/20 Thinking is Strategic
To be strategic is to concentrate on what is important, on the few things that give you an advantage. Concentrate on what is important to us rather than to others, and execute your plan with determination and steadfastness.
80/20 Thinking is Nonlinear
Linear thinking is believing in cause and effect. You made me unhappy because you were late. My poor schooling lead to my dead-end job. Unemployment is the price we pay for low inflation. And so on.
Linear thinking is attractive because it is simple, cut and dried. 80/20 Thinking assumes that nothing flows from one simple cause. Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is ever in equilibrium or unchangeable. No undesired state of affairs need endure.
The balance of circumstances can be shifted in a major way by a minor action. Only a few decisions really matter. Choice can always be exercised.
If you are unhappy, think about the times you have been happy and maneuver yourself into similar situations.
80/20 Thinking Combines Extreme Ambition with a Relaxed and Confident Manner
We have been conditioned to think that high ambition must go with long hours, ruthlessness, the sacrifice of both self and others to the cause. In short, the rat race.
Most great achievements are made through a combination of steady application and sudden insight.
Most of what any of us achieves in life occurs in a very small proportion of our working lives. Achievement is driven by insight and selective action. Insight comes when we are feeling relaxed and good about ourselves.
80/20 Insights for Individuals
80 percent of achievement and happiness takes place in 20 percent of out time, and these peaks can be expanded greatly.
We let life happen to us rather than shaping our own lives. We can improve out lives dramatically by recognizing the turning points and making the decisions that will make us happy and productive.
There are always winners and losers, and always more of the latter. You can be a winner by choosing the right competition, the right team and the right methods to win. You are more likely to win where you have won before.
Few people take objectives really seriously. They put average effort into too many things, rather than superior thought and effort into a few important things. People who achieve the most are selective as well as determined.
This is just a few of the insights covered in the book, The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch.
Assignment: Read Chapter 9 of The 80/20 Principle, By Richard Koch, ISBN 0-385-49174-3
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Optional Exam: List at least two more insights of 80/20 Thinking.
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