How To Use The 80/20 Rule To Achieve Your Dreams
By focusing 80% of your time on bliss and 20% on self-development, you can achieve anything.
Life is a game of numbers; therefore, everything we do has some numerical value associated to it, whether it be in reference to time, money, effort, etc. there is always a number to go back to. This same fact about life is why many of us never reach the goals we set in place, because we misuse the strategies that quantify our next move.
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The 80/20 rule is something many successful individuals are familiar with; however, I would like to reference this in a bit of a unique way. The 80/20 rule emphasizes the amount of time we spend thinking about either the ‘blissful’ or ‘inadequate’ aspects of our being. In other words, 80% of the time we are to think about the things we are good at and thankful for, while the remaining 20% of the time is left for that which may call for improvement.
How does this way of thinking help perpetuate goal achievement?
As many of us will admit, there is always a ‘next level’ for each of us. If we listen carefully to others, it won’t be long before we hear the line, “I’ll be happy when…” and this perspective can be damaging to one’s growth. The truth of the matter is the finish line being referenced in this statement is one that will constantly move. You might believe in the happiness that will occur once you graduate, but then your sight will be set on career placement, and then a new relationship, marriage, kids, and so on.
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By spending 80% of your time focusing on the things that are going right in your life and the things you are good at and proud of, you allow the reward that is warranted by these small wins. Celebrating the small wins along the way is a necessity because our minds will otherwise default to the things that cause us stress and anxiety. Which brings me to the importance behind the 20% — the need for constant improvement.
Ed Mylett shared a story in a recent interview with Tom Bilyeu that it wasn’t until one particular experience that he truly felt a shift in his standards. Mylett reflects on the moment he learned his godfather, who was also his uncle and dad’s only brother, passed away suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 50. Following his funeral, Ed found himself on a plane on the way home and noticed in his peripheral the Oprah Winfrey show where she so happened to be introducing a new heart scanner. Curious about his own health due to the similarities of him and his uncle, Ed sought out an appointment with one of the most renowned heart doctors in the world. Following the tests, the doctor re-entered the room and immediately referenced Mylett’s son and unborn daughter. His first question: “Would you like to be at your son’s graduation?” His second question: “Your wife is pregnant right? What is she having?” Ed responded with the gender, “Girl,” and the doctor went on to ask the question that pushed Ed in the direction of change.
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The doctor posed the question of whether or not Mylett would like to be the one to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day — the daughter that had not been born at the time, yet sparked a drive in him that has yet to subside. Ed states that when his reasons for change became bigger, his standards followed. Despite his innate laziness, he shares that the thought of a stranger walking his daughter down the aisle gives him the push to get up at 4am and exercise.
The same can be mimicked in each and every one of our lives. We have the ability to be our best version at any given point, but have to understand that today’s version of us isn’t adequate for next year’s goals (assuming your mission is to progress).
It doesn’t all have to come from you
Our minds love what is comfortable so the thoughts you introduce and repeat over and over again are the thoughts your mind will become used to and comfortable with. That being said, the 20% that perpetuates growth does not always have to come from you. Yes, there will be those who can link your giftedness to the victory you wish to see and can point out the qualities you intuitively know about yourself and perhaps need to hear from others, but there is a greater need when it comes to the dialogue that takes place in this 20%. In order for us to grow and develop into the person who achieves the goals set, we must get the data, the input, and the information necessary to know what it is we are missing.
Constructive criticism has never caused failure, but it can guarantee progress when applied effectively to one’s own life.
If you allow your mind to get comfortable with the thoughts of worry and fear, then your actions will reflect both. The same can be said about the opposite — when you allow your mind to obsess over the things you desire for your life, they begin to move from illusionary to realistic.
One of my favorite rituals Ed Mylett shared during his interview was the routine he and his wife had while still working their way out of debt, a foreclosed car, and disconnected water. Their dream was to eventually live without financial stress and in a house on the water. This dream became more and more tangible when they made it their mission to spend a day once a month or so going to the Ritz — she getting a massage, while he went to play golf, eating well, enjoying the valet service and greetings by name at check-in. They introduced their dream to their 4 senses so eventually, it became familiar to them. It’s the whole idea of “your obsessions becoming your possessions.”
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The thought behind this is when you can see, touch, feel, and smell the end goal, you will eventually begin to believe that you belong there. When you feel you belong somewhere, you will refuse to stop before reaching the place you are headed. Now the boxes have been checked and Ed tied it back to the notion that the more familiar you can make your mind with the reality you wish to have in the future, the more your subconscious will elevate your standards and habits to accommodate its achievement.
Another goal might be if you wish to become more philanthropic with your time, spend a weekend once a month volunteering somewhere and understand what it means to feed the homeless or provide a helping hand at a nursing home. If you wish to own a house in the most prestigious neighborhood in your entire city, then spend some time driving past the homes and take it in at a habitual rate so you begin to feel its familiarity and eventually the unwavering notion that you belong there.
Ultimately, by splitting your time in a way that acknowledges the good and accepts the “bad” as an opportunity for improvement, the further you will progress. If you adopt this mindset then you are removing the possibility that your past becomes bigger than your future. We build the habits, rituals, and disciplines that serve us; therefore, the 80/20 rule can be a perfect starting point for many.