There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
Life is lived as a series of decisions. Most of our important destiny-forming choices are mutually exclusive. We choose one and all the other potentials and possibilities fall away.
Our resources are limited especially our time. We have to choose wisely in allocating our time, energy and effort.
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
At each decision branching node we can have three options. We can make a good decision, a poor decision, or no decision. The best is a good decision, second best is a bad decision, the worst option is making no decision.
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”
When choosing courses of action to focus on, separate the vital few from the trivial many.
When applied to your life and work, the 80/20 Rule can act as a filter to help separate the vital few from the trivial many.
The 80/20 Rule states that, in any particular domain, a minority of causes drives the majority of the results. Our best results can come from being aware and picking the highly leveraged actions that carry the most impact.
By finding precisely the right area to apply pressure, you can get more results with less effort.
The downside of being effective is that we often optimize for our past rather than for our future. There is a tendency to react to regret rather than being still enough to hear the small voice inside that knows what we really want and need.
So what should we do? What is really worth our effort and time and resources? Below is a quote from Emerson to help keep things in perspective. Use it as an antidote to misplaced ambition and unexamined drive. Its incredibly challenging in our accelerated life and artificial world to ensure we are pursuing our own goals and best interests, and not chasing fabricated desires and other’s agendas.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded,”
Ralph Waldo Emerson