The 80/20 Rule Revisited

Written by Live Your Legend Team August 18, 2017

Every December, Scott would lock himself in a cabin in Lake Tahoe with a close group of friends. Those three or four days, along with epic fishing trips with his father, would determine most of the strategy for the next year at Live Your Legend. That small handful of days would drive the focus that would make all the difference.

Then it just became a matter of execution.

By the way, the above picture was taken at the Tahoe cabin during his last strategy session before the world tour.

Here’s an oldie but a goodie from Scott on the power of perfecting this idea 80/20 in multiple areas of your life.

Enter Scott.
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We’ve all surely heard of the 80/20 Principle, or Pareto’s Law as it’s more formally known. It goes something like this:

80% of the results come from 20% of the effort.

It’s often thrown around in business as nothing more than a buzzword. Few actually do a full 80/20 analysis of their business and almost no one we know has likely applied the same to their life as a whole. The 80/20 Principle is the source material for what Tim Ferriss wrote in The 4-Hour Work Week. The time saved and gained will blow your mind.

The amazing thing is that the studies in this book show the principle working in just about every possible scenario. Of course it’s not always 80/20. Sometimes 90/10 or 95/5 or even 70/30. But the point is it works–without fail.

Richard Koch explains this ancient principle in a way that would inspire action and application to every part of life. When applied to work, productivity will go through the roof, but when applied to your life outside of work, happiness and fulfillment do just the same. All it takes is a shift in thinking. Try the following for a few weeks and the time in your life will never be the same.

5 ways to apply the 80/20 Principle to enhance your life:

1. Do the 20% of your work that leads to 80% of your results: 
Track all the time you spend on projects each hour of each day for a week. How many of these things were necessary? How many got you closer to your goals? How many were a waste of time? How many could someone else have done? Pick the 20% of your tasks that yield 80% of the results and outsource or simply discontinue the rest. Wondering what to do with your remaining time? Enjoy life.

2. Locate the 20% of your customers who drive 80% of your profits: 
Find your top 20% customers (by profit, not revenue) and fire the rest. Yes, fire them. The goal is not to work your life away. It is to make a good living to enjoy your life. If you must work more, then list out the characteristics of your 20% customers and go out and find more of them. You will not believe how liberating it can be to fire a customer who’s been a real pain in the ass.

3. Prioritize the 20% of your friends who provide 80% of your support and enjoyment:
If you apply 80/20 to your relationships you will surely find that a few people in your life provide the majority of your support, excitement, laughter and feelings of connection. On the other side, there is likely another 20% group of people who account for most your sleepless nights, tears, anger and frustration. If you don’t want to feel this way, stop spending time around your bottom 20. Fire them and work on duplicating your top 20. This may sound a little callous, but it’s not. It’s practical. The quality of our life comes down to the quality of the people and experiences that fill it.

4. Fill your life with the 20% of your experiences that provide 80% of your happiness:
As humans, our two biggest priorities are to move towards pleasure and away from pain. As mentioned above, find the few people, things, places and experiences that provide 80% of your happiness, fulfillment, pleasure and excitement. Also find the things that cause you to feel the majority of your negative emotions. Focus your time on the top 20% and avoid the bottom 20% like the plague.

5. Do the 20% of your workouts that lead to 80% of your physical gains: 
The majority of fitness results come from a small portion of most workouts. 80% of the muscle is built in the last 20% of the reps. Crossfit is a great example. The workouts are 7-14 minutes long on average but they provide more physical benefit than most hour-long workouts. Spending more time on something is not always a good thing. If you believe your workouts must take an hour then you’ll likely miss a lot more of them. What if they only took 7 minutes, but that seven minutes really tested your limits? You’re likely to show up a lot more often.

I know this sounds simple. But few people stop to actually do it.  It is truly possible to spend the majority of your time doing the things that you love. The only way to get there is taking Pareto’s 80/20 principle seriously. It will make all the difference.

Do not let more than 3 months go by without performing a full 80/20 breakdown of all areas of your life (especially your personal life). It will only take a couple hours and those hours will likely save days before you know it… 80/20 in action yet again.

Somewhere along the path of life, most of us were taught to associate fulfillment and worth with the number of hours spent–thinking the more the better. This has lead many of us to working aimlessly just to say we filled the day. This IS NOT the goal. The goal is be fulfilled, happy, efficient, effective and more than anything else, to enjoy life. Happiness is a daily right. It is not something we need to work our ass off for years to finally achieve. That is what Pareto stumbled on all these years ago. We encourage you to do the same.

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Where’s the 20% you MUST focus on that you know will drive 80% of your results? Tell us in the comments. A little public accountability goes a long way in keeping your commitments.  🙂

P.S. In September we’ll be launching our flagship course, How to Connect With Anyone. It’s all about improving your Average 5. This course and community are a crazy deep dive into improving your interpersonal skills, which really can carry you wherever you want to go in life.

The price is currently $297, but it will be going up to $397 at 11:59 PST on August 21st. Unfortunately, due to high demand, we won’t be able to make any exceptions on that timing. Are you ready to change your life for the better?

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“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” - Jim Rohn