My one pair of designer pants my sister had got me for my birthday were getting dirty as I stretched out on the balcony, but I didn’t care. I inhaled again. ”Now, to warrior pose, rising up, turn your left foot out, look forward, goooooooood…”
I looked down – the entirety of downtown of San Diego was waking up below me, its first stretches, bells, and whistles all starting as me and the two guys I had barely just met warmed up with some yoga on the 31st story apartment balcony.
Not quite the expectations I had for my Wednesday morning.
The 80/20 Rule
I had come to meet my friends “to write” for the first time (that’s all I knew) this morning. Now that yoga (I never do yoga) and yelling from the top of my lungs atop a 31st story apartment in downtown San Diego were out of the way, we were ready “to write.” Actually, I felt more ready than I’d felt in a long time. Wouldn’t you? Heh.
So, I started reading “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris the other day. It’s really been challenging me to live a life full of meaning, and how to cut the fat/mundane activities that make me unhappy out of my life.
One of the best questions I came across was last night. It involves “the 80/20 Rule,” a popularized theory first created by Vilfredo Pareto about a century ago that declares 80% of results come from 20% of the sources. That applies to everything – 80% of revenue comes from 20% of customers; 80% of your deepest sleep results from 20% of your night’s sleep; 80% of your pet peeves are found in 20% of your friends. Make sense?
“What 20% of things are causing 80% of your problems and unhappiness?” Ferris asked. Then: “what 20% of things are the cause of 80% of your happiness and desired outcomes?”
Applying the 80/20 to Your Happiness/Unhappiness
Some things came to mind instantly when I thought about what 20% of things were causing about 80% of my unhappiness and problems. Easy.
For one, my commute. Augh, I can really hate my commute if I’m not careful. On an average day, it takes me 45-60 minutes to drive to work, and the same amount to drive back, mostly sitting in skull-crushing standstill traffic. That’s about an hour and a half to 2 hours a day sitting in the car by myself. If I’m only awake for about 16 hours…man. That sucks. I hate traffic more than a fat kid hates eating broccoli.
Another thing? If I’m being fairly blunt, I don’t like making time and meeting up with people I don’t like. Which sounds crazy, but I totally do that.
I’ve been a constant people-pleaser for about as long as I can remember, and even though I’ve been growing out of it, I still find myself unable to say “no” for engagements I really have no interest in. Why do I spend hours meeting with people I don’t like who don’t really understand me that leave me feeling crappy, when I could be doing things I love like longboarding through downtown, reading a book by the ocean, or just relaxing in my room??
As for the 20% of things that cause about 80% of my happiness and desired outcomes…a few other activities came to mind:
- Having fun with the girlfriend
- Exploring downtown
- Spending time praying with Jesus
- Reading a good book with a coffee and a scone
- Working on my blog
These things wouldn’t even take that long – yet about 80% of my happiness derives from them. C’mon!
One thing I just discovered – doing yoga at 7am with 2 hyper-energetic guys followed by some freaking awesome writing time definitely makes the list.
What are yours thoughts on the 80/20 Principle?
Leave your thoughts and let me know in the comments below.