Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

80% of value is achieved with the first 20% of effort. Pareto principle

Is it possible to work less, worry less, succeed more, and enjoy life more? A book I picked up yesterday, Living the 80/20 Way by Richard Koch tells me it is. If it is true that a small amount of energy leads to most of the great things in our lives, and a small portion of our time leads to most of our happiness and fulfillment what if we spent our lives pursuing that 20 percent?

We need to know what we want, nothing happens without a goal to aim for and a plan to get there. We then need to know what actions are proven to give us the majority of our happiness and fulfillment.

Of course, we can’t do everything, so simplifying our life down to where we are doing the important things, the worthwhile things, and the things that make us happy, prosperous, and wise should be the best use of our time. If we know what those things are wouldn’t we be doing them, and if we do know them and aren’t doing them, why aren’t we, and if we don’t know what they are, why don’t we?

You know in this book of wisdom about living the good life it is going to be most of the things we’ve always heard we should do, but a lot of us don’t do. Save ten percent, get up early, eat right, exercise, marry the right person, be the right person, and forgive people for their trespasses against us.

Life is simple, but we complicate it by not doing the important things first. We love dessert, and if we indulge twenty percent of the time, we can probably get away with it. I’m going to read this book, but just reading books without implementing what is in them doesn’t change our lives. If we want to be in the twenty percent of people who do well, we need to do what the eighty percent aren’t doing and we might find we have areas of our lives we are better at than others.

Strive for excellence in few things rather than good performance in many. Richard Koch

Health, fitness, family, and finances are the four areas that pay big dividends. If we can be healthy enough, fit enough, happy enough, and rich enough to live to the end of our life then isn’t that a good life and a good goal?

How healthy do we have to be to die young, at a ripe old age? How rich do we have to be to not run out of money no matter how old we get? How do we create meaning and purpose during all those years?

These are the questions we should be asking ourselves, we have¬†people in our families that are either an example or a cautionary tale, and we should be making decisions about our future life while we still have time to have an impact on that future. One financial book said we can have a steak, hamburger, or cat food retirement. We might aim for steak and get a hamburger retirement and that’s okay but how low can you go, might not be a good strategy for retirement.

I do think some of the scare tactics making us believe we will never have enough are not good either. We will never be younger than we are today, but there are decisions to make so the future can be as good as it can be. What if one of the things we do in our life is weigh our options, will this make life better in the future or worse, and do the things that will make it better, and don’t do the things that will make it worse?

It is unlikely in life we will ever feel, at least for long that we have 100% of what we want, and often we have to satisfy ourselves with 80% of what we want in spouses, jobs, businesses, or other areas of life.  We need to be careful not to see the missing 20% and go after it only to find out later we should have stayed with our original 80%.

What do we want, and what do we need to do to get it? How would getting or doing the things we want, change our life? If we know what it is, have we put it on our to-do list? But, are we putting 80% at risk to go after a missing 20%?

It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about? Henry David Thoreau

The important thing is the 80/20 rule: 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This means that if you’re doing ten tasks, two are going to be vastly more important than others. Brian Tracy

Knowing others is intelligence. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power. Lao Tzu

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