Self-Development Knowledge Base

Pareto Principle

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The Pareto Principle is one of the simplest and most fundamental ways to improve your focus and effectiveness in self-development, and in your life & work in general.

The Pareto principle ( also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity ) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Although it was originally applied to wealth distribution among landowners, the principle has been found very useful in an enormous range of systems, including the study of natural systems.

How to use it

From a practical standpoint, the Pareto Principle is a tool for examining your behavior and asking key questions to maximize your effectiveness;

Let's take the example of "I want to lost weight and get fit." Many people immediately sign up for the gym, and painfully begin grinding out sessions with the hope of radical body change.

Using the Pareto Principle, the first question becomes-

What are the most significant 20% of things I need to change, to have the greatest impact on my fitness level?

Often, the answer is diet, first. In fact, there is a popular saying among seasoned personal trainers - "Abs are made in the kitchen."

Using the Pareto principle shapes your perspective in key ways;

  • Of all the things you could be doing, not all are equal.
  • Some things you are doing are easily 4 times as effective, as others.
  • Determining what's in that 20% of "best things" is worth it, and every hour you spend there is worth 4 hours invested elsewhere.

Further Reading

Pareto Principle ( Wikipedia )

Pareto Efficiency ( Wikipedia )

Pareto Distribution ( Wikipedia )

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