Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist. He looked around his society, and got really upset by something he observed. Walking around Florence he noticed that a lot of stuff was owned by a few people. So he stopped into his local council to check out the files, and to his astonishment he discovered that 80% of the land and buildings were held by 20% of the population. Darn it he thought – I wonder if that’s true for the businesses in this economy? And so it was. Indeed he went on to publish a paper about income distribution – and you guessed it 20% earned 80% again. You’ve no doubt heard of the 80/20 principle (the so called Pareto principle). Vilfredo has no idea he was starting a social movement – or coining a meme!
I work with executives, board members, busy mums, stressed out teenagers and members of the military. They all want to know how to get more out of life – how to get more bang for their buck. I reckon the Pareto Principle is a killer. Here are a few ways I use it in daily life:
1. 20% of the recipes in my collection are enjoyed by 80% of my family and guests. I keep a short list of the best, filed by rating system.
2. 80% of my income comes from 20% of my clients – so I follow who they are and multiply them. The inverse is also true, so I try to fire the bottom 20% as well (these are usually the complainers).
3. 80% of my sales come from 20% of my sales activity – the less fruitful something is, the less often I am likely to repeat it. I put the most fruitful stuff at the start of my day – when I’m high energy.
4. 20% of the people in the field I take interest in will contribute 80% of the best stuff (photography, comments on videos, articles, blogs) so I hunt for the social influencers, and learn from them.
5. 80% of my parenting interventions are useless, and I would save a lot of hassle by staying silent and watching until I can deliver the fruitful 20% big bangs.
I could go on by why bother. You’ve got my best 20%!