Have you heard of the 80/20 Principle?
It states that 80% of the output will come from 20% of the input. Okay, a short history lesson (don’t let your eyes glaze over).
It’s also called the law of the vital few and was originally called The Pareto Principle. It started way back in the early 1900s when Vilfredo Pareto discovered that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. This became known as the Pareto Principle, or what is now often referred to as the 80/20 Principle.
The 80/20 Principle has historically been most popular in business management situations.
Businesses often found that roughly 20% of their customers brought in 80% of their sales. They found that about 20% of their sales representatives closed 80% of the sales. They found that 20% of the costs lead to 80% of your expenses. And so on, and so forth. Whether it was actually 78/26 or 84/16 is irrelevant, the overall trend shows an approximately 4-to-1 ratio.
The 80/20 Principle became a popular management tool that was used widely to increase efficiency and effectiveness within businesses, but, hardly anyone thought to apply the 80/20 Principle to everyday life or the results it could have.
Focus on the inputs, to supercharge your outputs.
Applying the 80/20 principle to your life and relationships will help you to increase your self and situational awareness, allowing you to align the majority of your choices with the people, things and activities that matter most to you.
It’s a simple formula, when applied consistently, that will lead to a bigger and more meaningful future.
Life is not so much about circumstances, it’s about choices.
For most people, ‘life is getting in the way’. But the hard truth is, nothing is getting in the way as much as your day-to-day choices. For you to experience better outputs, you first need to reveal clarity on your inputs, so you understand which choices lead to poor and which choices lead to rich(er) outputs.
If this sounds familiar, let’s find out -by answering the following questions- whether (or not) your choices are actually helping to produce better outputs:
Which people do I spend 20% of my time with, that gives me 80% of your fulfilment and joy?
What thing and activities do I spend 20% of my time on, that gives me 80% of my happiness?
What thing and activities do I spend 20% of my time on, that gives me 80% of my (personal) growth?
Chances are these questions are easy to answer for you, you’ve just never considered them before. However, as soon as you develop a deeper understanding of how your choices affect your growth, fulfilment and joy, you can start shifting your focus and (re)aligning your choices, resulting in a significant increase in your outputs.
For instance, if you feel unsatisfied in your social life or, on a more specific level, if you spend 80% of your time on people that only add 20% of the fulfilment and joy in your life, it’s time to rethink and invest in new relationships.
Speaking about the quality of your relationships, it’s said that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
Say you hang out with 5 people having decent jobs. It’s more likely you’ll work in a similar position. Same goes for your health and other lifestyle habits. On top of that, you may also find that 80% of your fulfilment and joy comes from 20% of your friends. And, you may discover that you spend 80% of your time with 20% of your friends.
Having said that, I highly recommend to identify ‘your social circles’ in a wise and constructive manner, so you can take charge and plan to surround yourself with like-minded, motivated, healthy and inspiring people.
Personally, I’m keen on prioritizing my life, especially when it comes to my social circles. It helps me to stay balanced and focused, as well as to prevent me from spending time and energy on people who don’t serve my growth, fulfilment and well-being.
As part of my coaching program, I stimulate my clients to create an environment that inspires, challenges and supports them.
Motivation is overvalued, your environment matters more.
An easy and effective approach to shape your social circles and help you establish more meaningful and fulfilling relationships is to categorize and, ultimately, prioritize the people you prefer to spend your time with. Sounds a bit harsh, but you’re not here to please others. Instead, you’re here to evolve as a human being and enjoy the life that’s given to you!
Like with any other form of change and growth, improving your environment is often a matter of redefining who and what matters most to you. Here’s a quick break-down that you can use, I recommend making a list of the people for each of the circles.
- Circle-A: Inner-circle people, a small group of family and closest friends.
- Circle-B: Wise-minded people, vital few who inspire, challenge and support you. Good for a laugh too!
- Circle-C: Situational friends, fun to hang out with, but on a different mission/level.
- Circle-D people: Passengers, people who are (only) acting in their own interest.
- Circle-E people: Energy vampires, people who waste your time and drain your energy.
Obviously, you want to surround yourself with Circle-A & B people, all others are secondary. Needless to mention, but you want to stay away from people that you’ve listed in Circle-D & E.
Like my old man often says:
“When you eliminate the energy vampires, everything else gets better”.
I couldn’t agree more, getting rid of the passengers and energy vampires will not only save you time and energy, but it will also create space and stimulates an open attitude towards the people you want to attract in your life.
Just to remind you, your time is precious and nothing is going to change if you don’t take full responsibility to spend more than 20% of your time embracing your full potential and enjoying the relationships you have and activities you do.
Personally, the 80/20 principle helped to recognize toxic patterns and eventually inspired some hefty changes in my choices, relationships, and lifestyle. I became more aware and decisive about who and what I spend my time and energy on, which allowed me to amplify my growth, increase my well-being, establish meaningful relationships and to live a more fulfilling and joyful lifestyle.
To come to the point, it doesn’t occur to us that there is an efficiency-win to every aspect of our life, in everything we do. But, when we raise our awareness and take full ownership, we have a certain level of control and influence over that efficiency.
Before you move on, the first step is to eliminate the passengers and energy vampires from your life. So, based on the 80/20 principle, question yourself:
Who are the top 3 people I spend my time with that don’t serve my growth, fulfilment, well-being or bigger future?
Your answers will speak for itself. Good luck and enjoy the rest of your day!
If you have any questions in regards to this article, feel free to reach out to me. Furthermore, I’m just a guy sharing his perspective based on my own experiences, along with the studies and work of believable professionals in the industry. I fully expect that I have made a mistake somewhere in this article, in referencing an idea or tool to the wrong person or not at all. I’ve no intention of taking false credits, so if there’s anything not aligned regarding referencing, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org