Living the 80/20 Principle
What brings about greater success in life? What is the secret to battle the limited thinking that prevents otherwise smart, talented and hard-working people from making profound gains in their personal and professional life?
These are the kinds of thoughts that keep me up at night.
Even if I could turn this tap of thinking off and finally “get a life”, I wouldn’t want to. You see, its core to my DNA. It’s who I am.
I believe that 95% of success begins between the ears. It’s in our thinking and there is a pattern to success in everything we do.
Everyone wants to achieve better results at work and in life. Of course, we do. Why else would you be reading this note if you didn’t?
What’s getting in the way of greater success?
Let’s get real, the uncomfortable truth is, you are. You, and your full-hearted efforts on focusing on the wrong things.
Before you get mad – just hear me out. You’re not alone in this challenge. Far from it. We’re all guilty of it to varying degrees.
Because I’m in the performance and people business, I see people focusing on non-essentials all the time. Unless you grasp what I’m about to share and change it, you’ll never see the success you’re capable of in life.
We all struggle and get caught in the continuous flow of underachievement. It’s very common in our life because we all go about our days focusing on the wrong priorities.
When we put far too much precedence on tasks that have far less impact on success we are guaranteed a loss.
Here’s a simple example.
Most people I work with want to get promoted to the next level of success. A promotion in their minds equals achievement. Yet, they spend most of their times working on their weaknesses and very little time focusing on their strengths.
Now if you ask the majority of the people you work with what they should focus on to get promoted – most will tell you, fix what I can’t do very well. Get stronger at the things I’m struggling with.
And they’re wrong.
There can be no denying that managing a weakness is important. If you ignore a weakness, it’s a one-way ticket to failure. What your weakest at is not the most important of all. Nowhere close it in fact. The most important activity of all is being conscious of your patterns of high performance. Those rare times you find yourself in the zone of achievement.
This might seem obvious to you, but it’s not to others. So they focus on their weaknesses and get some short-term average results, but never get anywhere near the level of results they could have got because they’re still focusing on areas in life that they do not have a natural ability to be successful in the first place.
They soon lose their ability and self-confidence to win. They are not in harmony with their objectives and quickly lose heart.
Inevitably, most stop trying and return to where they were. Working hard at being average.
Organization leaders fall into the same trap of thinking. They place far more precedent on their companies’ pain points (weaknesses)and either don’t recognize their strengths or engage them in a way that helps them focus key resources on activities that have far greater impact.
It’s a well-documented process and we call it the 80/20 principle. Gaining clarity around what 20% of your activities that are driving 80% of your results is essential.
But knowing alone is not enough. It doesn’t help to just grasp what I’m saying intellectually. It must become a way of life.
So are you living it?
One of the major differentiators in the day-to-day activity of applying your strengths is that very successful people focus them on the precious 20% of their activities that offer the greatest return. Living from your strengths in connection with the 80/20 principle is one of the major differentiators in the day-to-day activity between very successful people and well-intentioned, hard-working, underachievers.
By the way, in case you need reminding, the numbers in the 80/20 principle are largely irrelevant. They could be 90/10, 77/23, or 60/40, all that matters is the powerful principle they represent.
The bottom line is playing to your strengths and focusing on the relatively small number of causes and effects have a disproportionate influence on your results. The most effective activities coupled with the power of your natural talents and strengths are more worthwhile than the rest.
If your results aren’t what they should be and aren’t what you’d like them to be, in any given area of your life, you’re most likely not focusing on your strengths while prioritizing the most impactful, important and worthwhile activities in your life.