The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch

The concept of the 80/20 Principle also known as the Pareto Principle states that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of causes. Through this book, Richard Koch presents a strong guideline to narrow down and identify the 20% of your life that is contributing to 80% of the results. This book empowers us to identify and develop a life that we enjoy. A lifestyle that allows us to be present and enjoy life. A small proportion of our overall activities is the key to 80% of the outputs. If so, why don’t we try to strengthen this 20% to improve overall life? This book is to the point, with questions and ideas to ponder upon. In my opinion a good read for anyone who is building a life that is authentic to them.

The author questions the fallacy of the hard work equals success concept, i.e. the hours you spend working directly translate to the success you achieve. According to him, life is to be enjoyed and we can have it all only if we try to have it all. The main step towards having it all is subtraction, i.e. subtraction of anything and everything that doesn’t ring a bell for you. This is the hardest part for humans as social beings, we have a need to fit in and often we do so by letting go of what is authentic to us. Taking conscious action towards shaping a life authentic to us will then have to begin by letting off the old baggage that we are carrying, which is not even ours, to begin with. The implementation of the 80/20 principle in our life is a process that takes a lot of thinking and effort. i.e. this is not a shortcut to lasting happiness and peace.
The idea of becoming closer to your authentic self through conscious and deliberate effort is the crux of this book. There are many prompts given to think and expand on, these prompts make the whole process a lot easier.

13 Questions to find out if you have it all by Richard Koch

  1. Am I living with the right person or people?
  2. Am I living in the right location?
  3. Am I working the right amount of hours or do they match my work-life rhythm?
  4. Do I feel in control?
  5. Can I exercise or meditate when I want to?
  6. Am I nearly relaxed and comfortable with my surroundings?
  7. Does my lifestyle make it easier for me to be creative and full fill my potential?
  8. Do I have enough money? Are my financial affairs are organized so I have enough money?
  9. Does the lifestyle facilitate enriching the lives of other people who I want to help?
  10. Do I see my close friends often enough?
  11. Is the extended travel in my life just enough? Not too much nor too little.
  12. Is the lifestyle right for my partner and family too?
  13. Do I have everything I need right here? or Do I have it all?

Key takeaways

  1. “Put time and energy into crafting a career where you can be intelligent and lazy. I.e. you can be more effective with fewer efforts.”
  2. “Some small fragment of our time is more valuable than the rest.”
  3. “Insight on what we want and working on it brings high reward”
  4. “Give up guilt”
  5. “It is only by fulfilling oneself anything of great value can be created.”
  6. “Be unconventional and eccentric in your use of time”
  7. “Career is not a separate box, the career you and your partner pursue should be viewed in terms of the total quality of life implied by that career. Where you live, the time you spent together with friends, the satisfaction you get from working as well as whether your income can support that lifestyle”
  8. “Focus Expands your individuality and that is the essence of being a human being”
  9. “You might get much better value and happiness out of a simpler and cheaper lifestyle.”
  10. “Avoid hard work. Don’t push water uphill. Be very selective in what you do. Have a great life.”
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Final thoughts

Even though the Pareto principle is something familiar to most of us, the idea of applying this concept to every aspect of our lives and thereby developing a life that is true to us is a new concept. Kudos to the author for the prompts that offer wider and deeper perspectives, to make the process of building a life that is unique to our 80/20, easier.

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