“Develop the habit of letting small bad things happen. If you don’t, you’ll never find time for the life-changing big things.” -Tim Ferriss

Search Google for “The 80/20 rule,” and you’ll get 5,320,000 results in 0.44 seconds.

Often cited as Pareto’s Principle, after the Italian economist, sociologist, and engineer Vilfredo Pareto, the concept originated when Pareto identified that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Also known as the law of the vital few or the principle of factor sparsity, this guideline can be applied to sports, sales, computer bugs, wealth, and productivity.

At any given time, a person has at least 150 different tasks to be done. With a seemingly infinite number of items just waiting to be added to this ‘top 150’, it’s no wonder why one can feel exhausted at the end of the day and still suffer from perceived unproductivity. The odds favor the idea that, of those 150 items on a standard ‘to-do’ list, the vast majority provide little long-term value. So why do so many continue down this same tiring, redundant, and trivial path day after day? Because it’s a familiar rhythm. It’s easier to repeat the actions of yesterday when they produce a known and seemingly harmless result. Plus, everyone else is doing it, so it can’t be that bad, right?

The intention of the ‘Cadence of Accountability’ is to rupture the routine—YOUR routine—to create, as Ferriss would say, ‘the life-changing big things.’

The art of a successful and powerful change in routine has a clear result: A disruption so significant that the previous status quo is no longer relevant. In other words, you cannot return to the way it was. Consider the following examples:

  • A recovering alcoholic who has not had a drink in 42 years
  • A person who changes their lifestyle and loses 55 pounds
  • A small business owner who commits to offering a specialized service instead of ‘any’ service
  • An aspiring novelist who wakes up early every day to write

The result of these examples produces constructive, life-changing disruptions. Whether realized at the time or not, the most successful goals often begin with a primary and non-negotiable focus. When this commitment occurs, the ‘top 150’ becomes less meaningful, and rightfully so. The most valuable resources in our control—attitude, effort, and reason—shift the aim to the two or three consummate, life-altering goals.

What does my routine have to do with the 80/20 rule?

Ask yourself: Is 80% of my time and effort dedicated to creating, sharing, and living the best version of myself? Or is it time to reconsider a greater Cadence of Accountability and strive toward ‘life-changing big things’?

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