3 principles to guide your decisions and actions – Principle 1: 80-20 Rule

Last week I discussed Newton's third law and how for every action, thought or intention, there is an equal and opposite, action, thought or intention.

With the win-win foundation of fair exchange in mind, how do we choose our actions?

This principle comes back to an Italian who was working in his vegetable garden many years ago and what he noticed. He noticed that a relatively small number of the total plants in his, where producing a disproportionately higher amount of vegetables than the others.

He was also an economist and he realised that a similar thing was occurring in the distribution of wealth, a small number of people in the community had a disproportionately high amount of the money.

This Italian gardener’s name was Vilfredo Paretto and what he discovered is now known by his name, also known as the 80-20 rule.

It states that roughly 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes.

Here are some examples of this principle in play;


  • 20% of the roads carry 80% of the traffic

  • 20% of the clouds produce 80% of the rain

  • 20% of staff in a business produce 80% of the work

  • 20% of your customers create 80% of the complaints

  • 20% of your customers produce 80% of your profits (do you know who they are?)


So in terms of how you select your actions to take with fair exchange in mind, what are the 20% of activities that give you 80% of your results?

Most people generally know what these activities are, in other words where do you get the best bang for your buck in terms of where you focus your energy, in all areas of your life.

Something to keep in mind is that sometimes it is more important to focus on doing less of the wrong things, in other words what do you need to stop doing?

Next week we are going to consider the final principle to guide you, what to do when things don’t go according to plan and how to process and handle your reactions in a helpful way.

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