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The Mentalizer’s Pareto Principle

Who didn't hear about the Pareto principle? It takes place in everything we do or touch. Whether it's our work, school, relationships, marketing… you name it! Here's how I view the life of an aspiring Mentalizer who wishes to conquer his greatest achievements!

Scott Thomson
The Pareto Principle in action. Image by Scott Thomson

So what is The Pareto after all?

The principle, also known as the 80–20 rule, (the law of the vital few and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes and vice versa. At the bottom of it – what it means is that 80% of the things we do affect only 20% of our progress in life. Is this really true? Let's look at it together:

When I was a young boy everything seemed larger than life: I have acne meant I'm ugly. I suck at math meant I'm never getting into college. The most beautiful girl in my class likes my best friend and not me means I'm no-one and I'll be single for the rest of my life! I guess that's part of being a youngster, furious hormones and uncertainties don't help you, yet all problems seem closer, bigger, and more significant than they actually are.

And no matter how stupid these ideas may sound like today, they seem like the end of the world back then. Most of you have been there and relate to everything I say. Others might still be struggling (yes, I have many subscribers in my blog who are as young as 12 years old!!! Yes, guys, I'm talking about you…)

But adolescence aside, let's look at our real life now. In today's life we are facing some major issues too. No, it's not acne anymore, but we have some serious obstacles that are keeping us from achieving our goals in life. And this is where this week's blog post comes into action.

I call this the “Mentalizer's Pareto Dilemma”. I surely have struggled with delegating the burden and significance of things in my life as we all have. But pretty soon I realized that 80% of my time is being wasted on random things that only stand for 20% of my priorities in life!

How many of us had to go to a doctor's appointment to discuss a health issue and we were putting it aside because we had an important meeting, or we didn't want to be late for a friend's gathering or cancel a date? We are so carried away into our daily lives that we almost miss the most important things…

Or going for a vacation with a loved one and finding yourselves fighting over the most stupid little thing which ruins the remaining of your romantic getaway?

Of course that if we think about these experiences we say to ourselves: It's obvious! First my health and only then everything else. Or, why should I ruin such a beautiful romantic weekend because of something so small? Voilà!


Teresa Robinson
80 by 20. Sketch by Teresa Robinson

Once we become adults, it seems like there is an endless list of “to do's”, people competing for time and attention, as well as the things that really matter. Many times we get so bogged down by concentrating on the 20% nonsense that takes 80% of our precious time: taking out the garbage, getting the laundry done, making a doctor's appointment etc., that we lose sight of the things that will generate 80% of our happiness and fulfillment.

We basically give 80% of our time to these things that generates 20% of our happiness! We all but set aside and completely disregard the things that are most precious and essential to our happiness and wellbeing.

The 20% that dreams are made of are the things that REALLY MATTER!! They aren't the things you'll forget a day, a week, or a year from now. Believe me, these are the things that are critical and essential to whom you are in this world. These are the dreams you have for yourself, your life, your work, your family. This 20% is your health, relationships, happiness, and spirituality! The things we tend to forget when the burden of real life and our day to day 80% chores are taking over.

I think it's important for each of us to sit down, remove the mess of our thoughts, worries, guilt and duties and reconnect with the 20% list or we just may never get the things we really desire. Most often, it seems like everything we have to do is a priority. So how, for God sake, do we get the ball rolling? As simple as these 5 steps:

[icon image=”paper_and_pencil” align=”left”] Write it down: Sometimes the easiest way to figure out where you're neglecting the 20% in your life is to sit down with a good old fashioned yellow pad and a bic and write a list! Create a list of the things you have to do, but separate it into (20) the 20% that matters and (80) the 80% that takes all your time! Of course, the laundry needs to get done, but guess what? It's far more important to email applications for job openings in the field you are interested in moving into! Make sure to take extra care in writing down what your dream is for your life in all crucial areas such as: find a fulfilling relationship, building your business, starting a family, learning the lessons in the Mentalizer program (!) in addition to the STEPS NECESSARY TO MAKE THEM A REALITY!! Your “to do” list need not just be a bunch of chores, but also ACTION steps to make your ideas become a reality.


[icon image=”license” align=”left”] Honesty: Be honest or fair with yourself as to your ability to complete every single thing on your “to do” list. Maybe it's time to delegate or find a way to share the burden of the 80% with someone else, someone more capable of doing the task efficiently – thus giving you more time to concentrate on the 20%. For example, if you find yourself running around like a chicken with their head cut of trying to tackle tasks around the home, should you be able to afford it, hire a maid to come once or twice a month to take care of the less essential house hold upkeep so that you, in turn, can use that additional time for your passions, goals, dreams etc.  Every 10% you'll be able to remove from your 80% list will be automatically added to your 20% list! Yay!


[icon image=”heart” align=”left”] Instincts: As you move away from a physical list, use your instincts to decide if something is a part of the 80% burdening list or is it a part of your desired 20% list. When things come up, automatically learn to categorize them so you don't get backed up later down the line and see your 80% becomes 100% and leaving you no time whatsoever to achieve your goals and dreams.


[icon image=”cross” align=”left”] Saying NO! Although it sounds simple, for many it requires a lot of effort. Stop overloading yourself with tasks and get togethers you don't have time for. Evaluate your bandwidth and be able to turn fresh commitments down in order to concentrate on what really counts and what will lead to you achieving your big picture goals.


[icon image=”refresh” align=”left”] Be Flexible: No matter what happens you must always remember that no matter what we do – things are not always going to go our way. Sometimes we have to remove and check off some of the 20% of things that we desire and wish to achieve – in order to function in your daily life. Don't let it get you down, or feel guilty for putting off some dreams aside in favor of finding relief in the moment. Each day is a new opportunity. Sometimes you just have to be flexible and do the best you can!

Having a lot on your plate can feel overwhelming, but if you take the time to examine your daily errands aside the things that actually makes you happy, and prioritize, you will be a whole lot closer to peace of mind and happiness.

From now on I want you to decide that you will no longer be one of the 80% of the population who achieve only 20% of their dreams – from today on you'll take the steps needed to become one of the 20% of the population who achieve 80% of their dreams!!! And how exciting is that?

Until next week, I want you to share with everybody one errand that you do regularly which you just can't stand!!! And one thing from your 20% list which you really want to achieve and you promise yourself, right here in the comment section bellow, that you'll find the time to achieve it soon! Can't wait to read all your comments!

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