Ever had a moment when you felt like you were putting in too much and getting too little in return, or perhaps getting nothing at all? In other words, your input (effort) far exceeds your output (productivity)? If this describes your situation, you’re certainly not alone.
Unfortunately, too many people only come to this realization very late in their life! But regardless of where you are at in your life right now, the good news is that there is a solution.
Multiplication or Reduction?
For a moment, think about the seeds of a fruit, such as corn seeds. How many of these seeds, for example, do you need to plant in order to yield an ear of corn? Perhaps not so many, you might say …And you’re right.
Now, let’s briefly examine the details…
From basic agricultural science, we know that when you plant a few corn seeds (about 3 to 5), you expect to harvest several ears of corn after about 60 to 120 days, given the right soil and environmental conditions.
At harvest, each ear of corn contains about 600 to 800 seeds (also called ‘kernels’), depending on maturity. Now, if each corn stalk produces about 2 to 4 or more ears of corn, then do the math yourself… Is this multiplication or a reduction?
The obvious answer is a resounding “Yes, MULTIPLICATION!” The few corn seeds that were planted, clearly multiplied into many more seeds, far exceeding the number planted in the first instance.
Simply put, the output (result) far exceeded the input (investment).
OUTPUT >>> INVESTMENT
The same formula applies to other plants, and every living thing in general! By default, every living thing grows, increases, multiplies,… The moment a ‘supposedly’ living thing stops growing, the process of death is activated and, in a matter of time, death actually occurs if there is no ‘intervention’ to reverse this process.
So, what’s the point here?
It is quite probable that you are ‘wasting’ your life and, by extension, dying by the day!
By exerting effort (time, money, energy) and yielding results that are not commensurate, your life is clearly on a downward spiral. But the reverse ought to be the case, as we saw earlier, in the case of the corn seed.
Your life is an investment (SEED) – comprising your time, money, and energy.
And you must treat your life as a Seed! When you plant it, you must expect to yield a MULTIPLIED harvest.
So, it’s time to optimize your life to achieve more with less. Doing so will ensure that you become more productive personally, and you will live a much more fulfilling life.
In this context, the term optimization simply means to derive the best results from minimal or limited investment. Simply put, optimization means to achieve more with less.
Your life is essentially an INVESTMENT comprising your time, money, and energy, and you cannot afford to ‘waste’ this all-important investment!
The 80/20 Principle
The optimization process begins with answering a fundamental question:
“How do I achieve more from my limited resources?”
Keep in mind, though, that there is only so many resources that you have, be it time, energy, or money. In every investment, you either make profits or losses. A profit is made when the output (result) exceeds the input or investment. Conversely, you make losses when your investment exceeds your results.
It makes sense, therefore, to invest your (limited) resources in order to maximize profits instead of making losses. Whether or not your goal is to get a job, lose weight, go to school, start a business, or make friends, whatever the goal might be, you should aim to achieve your goal, and possibly surpass it.
In 1895, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto introduced the 80/20 Principle (now widely known as the ‘Pareto Principle’). In his day, Pareto observed that only about 20% of the population controlled 80% of the country’s wealth, and that nearly all economic activity cantered around this concept.
Through the years, researchers have shown that this economic concept has far-reaching implications for nearly all aspects of life.
Simply put, the 80/20 principle suggests that 20% of your investment (time, money, energy, etc) will produce 80% of your results.
Now, let’s apply this principle using a simple example.
Imagine that you came up with 10 new goals to achieve today, or this month, or perhaps this year…
The 80/20 principle suggests that only about two of those goals will probably be more valuable and more important than the remaining eight goals combined.
The reality, however, is that most people tend to focus more on the less valuable eight goals, and may even end up not achieving any of the more valuable two goals.
So, what’s the point here?
We established earlier that the resources (time, money, energy) to achieve your goals are often limited; there is only so much that you can have and do per time.
A little exercise for you…
Take a moment to x-ray your activities yesterday, or last week, or last month, for example. Were there areas you wasted your resources (time, money, effort, etc.)?
What could you have done differently, given the information you now have about the 80/20 principle?
You might have been leaving your life to chance before now, but it’s time to take control of it, else the goals you’ve set out to achieve will remain unaccomplished. Most importantly, you’d have lost your most important resource – TIME.
Moving forward, when you decide which goals or investments are the most important and valuable to you, the onus is on you to focus on those goals/investments, and then channel your resources judiciously to ensure you achieve the best results.
No matter where you are at in your life right now, you can begin taking the necessary steps to optimize your life. You will be more productive, and you will live a much more fulfilling life!
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