26 Find the Magic 20 Percent

My most vivid memories of business school include a few instances when professor Bill Day put aside the class syllabus and spoke vividly about phenomena that could make a difference in our lives.

In one such discussion, the professor urged us to stay focused on the important things in life by relying on the 80/20 Rule. That rule of thumb tells us that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of the causes. Expressed another way, the Rule predicts that about 80 percent of your achievements will flow from about 20 percent of the things you do. The numbers of “80” and “20” aren’t absolute. The key point is that your bottom line isn’t impacted in the same amount by each unit of your work or ...

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