Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Use the Pareto Principle to Hack Your Life

Tim Ferris is a polarizing figure on the blogosphere. Some see him as a creative visionary, while others accuse him of being a snake oil salesman. Regardless of your opinion on the man, he sure knows his hustle; he's made a boatload of money and influenced countless people to make positive changes in their lives.

One idea that dominates Ferris's work is that time is our most valuable resource. In Four Hour Workweek, he writes about the Pareto Principle, which states the following:

"For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes"

This law has been observed in numerous real-world examples from biology, economics, and business. I've been thinking about this principle quite a bit recently, specifically how I can use it to improve my work and personal life. If I can identify the 20% of causes that produce 80% of the effects, I should be able to advance my aims without increasing my overall effort level.

I've also reflected upon how the Pareto Principle applies to Red Pill awareness, and how I would advise someone to make maximally benefiical changes to jumpstart improvement in their lifestyle. The following list lays out my findings of best practices that produce maximum results with minimal changes to one's behavior. These few alterations allow a person to reap a proportionally huge share of the benefit, effectively getting 80% of self improvement with only 20% effort:

Saving Money:
  • Cancel cable
  • Stop eating out and learn to cook
  • Bring a flask out with you to bars, or simply don't drink as much
  • Stop drinking anything with added sugar (soda, apple juice, sweetened tea, etc.)
  • Give up grains and legumes, especially soy
  • Make your own juice, even if you have to store it
  • Follow Starting Strength and lift heavy weights 3x a week
  • Do interval training 2-3 times a week
  • Walk places when possible
Time management:
  • Don't pedestalize women 
  • Stop going on dinner dates
  • Do 10 approaches a week
There exist many nuanced methods for capturing the last 20% of value in any aspect of your life. Depending on your priorities, it may fit into your personal value equation to max out proficiency in one or more of these categories. If you want to maximize your overall ROI for changing habits, however, these three simple steps in each area will produce immediate and significant results.

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