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 #21

Think 80/20


You may have heard of the ‘Pareto Principle’. Invented by an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto,‘ it states that ‘80% of your results come from 20% of your actions’. That is, if you concentrate on doing that 20% of actions that really count, your chances of success will skyrocket.

 

Many people know of this principle, but precious few make it a major part of their life. That’s disappointing, because I believe that an absolute dedication to only doing the vital 20%, in all areas of your life, will turn you into a super success.

 

What is the single most important thing you could do now to improve your life? Your relationship? Your business? Your health?

 

Do it. Then keep doing it, and watch your success skyrocket. The 80/20 rule is one of the most powerful principles in the material world: it’s imperative you make it a part of the way you do things.

 

 

 #22

Ready. Fire. Aim


‘Ready. Fire. Aim.’ is the maxim of the brilliant businessman and one time presidential candidate, Ross Perot. He lives it.

 

Not only did he turn his first company, EDS, into a multibillion-dollar business, he then repeated the feat with his Perot Systems Corporation. His secret‘? Taking action before you’re totally ready. Perot believes some progress is usually better than no progress. You may not be right all the time, but at the very least, you learned something.

 

Is there too much thinking in your life and not enough action? Reverse that situation for a month and you’ll be stunned at the results.

 

 

 #23

Rush unimportant jobs


Most of what you do at work is trivial! Only a small portion of each person’s day is spent doing the truly important tasks.

 

If you accept that as the truth, then you’ll have to agree it makes sense to get all the unimportant tasks done as quickly as possible, even if it means you do only an average job on them.

 

The faster you do (or even better, delegate) those trivial time wasters, the sooner you can get on to the juicy stuff.

 

As the world’s richest investor, Warren Buffett, once remarked, ‘What’s not worth doing, is not worth doing well.’

 

 

 #24

Cover the downside


When real estate tycoon Donald Trump was making a squillion in the eighties, he penned a book called The Art Of The Deal.

 

In it he listed the techniques he used to select business ventures, and paramount among these was always making sure that if a deal went wrong, he had enough money to cover the loss.

 

When he almost went bankrupt five years later he admitted that one of the primary reasons was that he’d abandoned this Cover the Downside rule.

 

Learn from Trump’s mistakes. Even if your business deals aren’t huge, ask yourself, ‘Could I handle the situation if things went unexpectedly bad?’

 

If you even pause when answering this question, don’t even think of doing the deal.

 

 

 #25

Invest 10% of your income


According to statistics, 85% of people who retire do not have enough money to live unsupported by the government.

 

Why? Not because they never earned enough, but usually because they spent all their money instead of investing it. They lived for today and forgot about tomorrow, until one day tomorrow came up and bit them on the behind!

 

Learn from the mistakes of the mediocre. Invest 10% of your income now, even if you think you can’t afford to. Take the pain now and you’ll have decades of pleasure in your sunset years. Spend it all now and your final decades could be very uncomfortable indeed.

 

 

 #26

Understand the elements of negotiation.


According to Herb Cohen, one of the world’s greatest negotiators, the three crucial areas of any negotiation are Power, Time and Information. Your understanding of each will determine your success in a negotiation.

 

Power: How much power does the person you’re negotiating with have? How much do they think you have? How much do you have that they need, and vice versa?

Time: Do they have an urgent deadline? Do you? How far away is it? Do they have time to look at other options?

Information: How much do you know about their situation? Their motivations? How much do they know of yours? When should you reveal yours to them?

 

When going into an important negotiation, even if it’s just with your landlord, keep these three crucial variables in mind. Your knowledge of them may well decide who comes out on top.

 

 #27

Commit to a direction, any direction.


The biggest reason people don’t succeed is that they’re too scared to commit to a course of action.

 

They give up on jobs easily, they procrastinate on career choices, they change their minds on even minor issues constantly. As a result, what action they do eventually take is half hearted and consequently ineffective.

 

Don’t know which way to go? Just choose, and then commit to it 100% for a year. Then stop and see if you took the right path. Sure you’ll make mistakes, but over the course of a lifetime you’ll end up far ahead of those who never commit to anything.

 

 

 #28

Remember that begun is half done


Why don’t most people achieve much in life?

 

Because they can’t bring themselves to take action. When faced with major tasks or obstacles they frequently procrastinate and avoid tackling them head on. Then after a while they get frustrated with their lack of progress and give up.

 

I too have suffered from procrastination, and occasionally still do. But it’s far less of a problem since I learned a simple but brilliantly effective way to handle it.

 

When faced with an unpleasant task, just begin it, even if it’s just for 10 or 20 minutes. It’s easy to do almost anything for a short period of time, and once you start it a funny thing happens. You often realise doing the chore is not nearly so irksome as you thought, and usually you continue working on the task for one hour, two hours, sometimes even the whole day.

 

But even if you do stop working on the job after 20 minutes, you’ve at least made some progress, and you’ll have less to do tomorrow.

 

Uncommon Sense

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