Pareto Principle (80/20 rule)

ParetoMinimum Effective Dose

In medicine, there is an concept known as the Minimum Effective Dose (MED), which is the threshold amount of a substance that a person should take in order to obtain the desired effects.
A perfect example of this is demonstrated in a 2009 study by Mach et al., in which the MED of curcumin, a food chemical present in turmeric, was evaluated against its ability to suppress carcinogens (Mach et al., 2009). They found the MED to be 20mg/kg which decreased tumor growth by 52% when compared to the no-treatment control.
From a holistic perspective, all areas of life are connected, and therefore many principles of medicine can also be applied to other areas of life, such as lifestyle and success. This 80/20 ratio is prevalent in my aspects of life. For instance, 80% of the peas come from 20% of the pods in a garden. 80% of all the wealth and resources in this country are owned by the top 20%. If you know anything about the author Tim Ferris, then you know his entire foundational philosophy is this 80/20 rule. This idea of minimum effective dose can be applied not only to your medicine, but to your life!
There are many different approaches to success. The traditional idea of how to become successful in life is to dedicate the majority of your time and energy into one area in which you specialize. In other words, to become the best there is in one specific field. While this may work for a lot of people, the fact of the matter is that not everyone may naturally excel in their certain specified field.
A less conventional, and arguably more practical approach to success and time management is to apply the idea of minimum effective dose. That’s right, the same principle of minimum effective dose that applies to medicine can be applied to nearly every area of life. The minimum effective dose is the least amount of substance (whether it be medicine, time, money, or energy) that must be applied in order to achieve the maximum desired outcome. Essentially, its getting the most results by putting in the least amount of work. This is wear working hard meets working smart.
How do we find the minimum effective dose as it relates to our desired outcomes? Many times it comes down to learning from others who have traveled the same path before us. Other times it comes down to trial and error.

The Pareto Principle

Vilfredo_ParetoIn 1896, an Italian Economist named Vilfredo Pareto wrote a paper showing that that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; He later observed that 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas. From these observations, among others, he determined thatfor many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This is known as the Pareto Principle (often referred to as the 80/20 rule.)
As with everything in life, there are exceptions to this rule, however it can be used as a guiding principle when deciding how much time and energy to invest in a task. If 80% of the results generally come from 20% of the effort, then logically, the remaining 20% of the outputs will come from the additional 80% of inputs.
This principle can be applied by everyone, especially entrepreneurs, who often have more opportunities on their plate than they can possibly chew. Of course, a brain surgeon or rocket scientist will need to dedicate 100% of the effort to mastery of their profession, however, this principle can be very beneficial applied to other areas of their life.
By applying the Minimum Effective Dose and the Pareto Principle in our lives, we can optimize our time management, personal productivity, relationships, and ability to create our lifestyle by design.

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