How do successful people think and what makes them exceptional? While there are a lot of things to learn in life, some are invariably more important than others. The Pareto principle, perhaps better known as the 80/20 rule, states that in most realms of life, 20% of your effort will create 80% of your results.
The Italian economist and sociologist who discovered this was Vilfredo Pareto, who noticed that 80% of the wealth in England was held within approximately 20% of the population.
What is interesting about this principle is that it frequently found even more skewed than 80/20, such as 90/10 or 95/5. For example, in many cities, only 5% of the roads handle 95% of the traffic.
Top 10 Tips for an Abundant Life
In my life, I’ve discovered 10 things that can dramatically improve your quality of life, all of which are based on the Pareto principle of recognizing which actions create the majority of your results.
1. Read books / Listen to podcasts / Self educate
Self education. We are in the age of self education.
What is the reason for this? Within technology advances, population surges, and increased specialization within every field, there has never been more information available at our finger tips.
Plus, most schools haven’t updated their curriculum in over 100 years and are still teaching only the basics—such as English, math, science, history, physical education (PE), and maybe, a foreign language.
In contrast, people in the workplace now need tech skills, computer skills, video skills, marketing skills, sales skills, human resource skills, team management skills, and so much more. They also need to know about ever changing apps, ad platforms, and new forms of currency (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.). The list goes on and on.
Today, it is not size or strength or even smarts that matters. It is adaptability.
Adaptability comes from self-education in the form of consuming educational books, podcasts, YouTube videos, articles, courses, conversations with intelligent friends, mentorship, and more.
If you need more evidence, the average number of books read by a CEO is approximately 60 per year, or five books per month. In contrast, the average American read only four books a year.
Now that we’re in a Coronavirus-induced lock down for an indefinite amount of time, use this opportunity to self-educate. It will put you miles ahead of your competition when we emerge on the other side of this outbreak.
2. Avoid negativity, including in your own family.
Negativity is draining. It saps your energy. It makes you less creative. It reduces your resiliency. And, it’s completely unnecessary.
Controlled studies have found that negativity is incredibly harmful and contagious, spreading within groups of people much like a cold or the flu.
Research has also demonstrated that even a small amount of negative brain activity can lower the capacity of your immune system, making you more vulnerable to illness, heart attack or even stroke.
With the Coronavirus outbreak spreading at breakneck speed, you need to eliminate negativity.
If you have negative people in your life, start cutting them out—or at least, dramatically reducing their access to you.
Yes, this goes for family members too.
3. Learn your best sleep cycle (and get enough sleep).
Sleep is critical to every function within your body, from hormonal cycles, to hunger and cravings, to mood and resilience. Despite the standard 9-5 work schedules that our society tries to cram everyone into, different people have different circadian rhythms—meaning, what times our bodies prefer to sleep and how our energy cycles vary by times of day.
Also called your ‘chronotype’, it’s essential to know when you body wants to sleep and when it wants to wake.
Sleep at the right time and in the right quantities and everything in your life will improve.
First, you’ll feel more confident, decisive and powerful. Second, you’ll feel better, as sleeping can lower the stress hormone cortisol. Third, you’ll look better, because not getting enough sleep can accelerate the aging process.
Fourth, sleep will improve your eating habits and body composition, as research studies have linked sleep deprivation to higher rates of snacking and caloric consumption.
4. Value people and hone your social skills.
In an increasingly connected world, people matter. We all live in one giant offline (and online) network.
Since the earliest days when humans banded together into tribes, we’ve relied on a division of skills, in which different members of the social group specialized in different activities.
This is still true today—and, in fact, even more so—since specialization has dramatically increased over the past 100 years.
If you value people, then treat them respectfully, behave reciprocally, and act generously toward them.
Through your social network, you’ll meet and develop relationships with individuals who possess a diverse range of skills, connections, knowledge and resources.
You simply never know when another person could help you out or vice versa.
In my life, all of my best opportunities have come through social connections. For example, my marriage, my top-performing investments, and my best business opportunities.
5. Recognize that you can (and should) feel good. You don’t need a reason.
Mental health is an interesting phenomenon, in part, because human beings are designed to survive. As a species, we are extremely good at survival, which is why there are more than 7.2 billion people now on planet earth.
However, now that you live in modern society, it is up to you to take the capacity of your brain to a new level. Meaning, it is up to you to achieve happiness.
Thankfully, you don’t need any reason at all to feel good. You can simply choose to feel good.
Embrace the belief that happiness is a choice—not something caused by or requiring external forces to act upon you—and the quality of your life will change forever.
Also, happy and positive people are magnets.
When you embody positivity and confidence, you will attract others to you.
On the flip side, negative people repel others. Trust me, even your most loyal friends and family members can only take so much negativity.
In every moment, no matter how dark or depressing, there is something to appreciate. Perhaps it’s the person by your side or the light at the end of the tunnel or the lessons you are learning.
In the neutral moments of life, such as walking to your car across a parking lot, there are also reasons to be grateful. For example, you might notice the warm weather or the sun shining overhead. Or, you might notice how lucky you are to have a car in good running condition.
If you simply can’t access happiness at a given point in time, then allow that reality. But, recognize that you have the power to choose to be happy—for no reason at all—when and if it feels right to you.
Simply put, you don’t need a reason to be happy any more than you need a reason to exist. There may be a reason for your happiness (or existence), but it’s certainly not a prerequisite.
6. Learn about nutrition, so you can have the body you desire.
Nutrition is essential to all types of health and wellness, from physical to emotional. Unfortunately, you simply can’t out-train a bad diet.
If you don’t eat right, balancing your calories and macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates), you’ll never have the body that you want.
You also won’t have the confidence that you deserve.
For most people, diet has about 5 times (5X) greater effect on body composition than physical training.
While many people make nutrition out to be complicated, the core principles of nutrition are simple and learnable.
While I’m not going to dive deep into nutrition here, the key to all weight loss diets is to be in a caloric deficit. The opposite is true for a muscle-gain diet, where you will substantially benefit from being in a caloric surplus.
When it comes to diet, calorie count is responsible for the vast majority of your results. Balancing your macronutrients is another way to count food-in versus energy expenditure out and to amplify the effect of eating the correct caloric intake.
Meaning, calories and macros are the two biggest “levers” that you can use to achieve the body that you want.
Get educated about these two topics, and you can achieve the body of your dreams. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to me here.
7. Focus on becoming more skilled. Money is exchanged in proportion to the value you provide.
How can you generate more money? Simple, really: Skill up.
How do you make even more money? Again, the answer is straight-forward: Continually stack new skills on top of each other.
Because our economy is based on supply and demand, the skills you learned in school alongside everyone else may mean the supply for your skill set is too high.
Be willing to learn new skills for which there is high demand and you will instantly be more valuable.
Simply put, ‘skilling up’ is the fastest way to earn more money. Period.
8. Learn how to create passive income, because it will work for you 24 x 7.
Passive income is the holy grail of wealth. The reason is that passive income works for you every hour, every day, and every week, compounding and growing for you during each year of your life.
Passive frees you from having to exchange ‘hours for dollars’.
Passive income is the key to stacking income flows, because you can only have one or two flows of active income. In contrast, passive income flows are unlimited.
You can stack an infinite number of passive income flows together for the simple reason that they don’t require much, if any, of your time.
Learning how to invest in passive income flows is not any harder than learning how to create active income streams.
If you’re currently employed or running a business, then you’ve figured out active income. If you’ve achieved this complex task, then you can figure out passive income.
Trust me, learning how to create passive income is much easier than learning how to create active income, because it doesn’t require your sweat and time. Seriously, your job requires you to show up every single day for your entire adult life.
Learning passive income skills is something you can do in much less than 40 hours per week.
The simple gist of passive income is that you need to push the money that you make from your active income (job or business) into income-producing assets.
Examples of income producing assets include peer-t0-peer lending, crowd-sourced real estate investing, rental properties, hard money lending (be the lender, not the borrower), dividend paying stocks, and more.
As Warren Buffet says, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”
9. Learn about taxes.
Learning how to optimize your financial situation can save you some serious cash. For most Americans, taxes are one of the largest expenses that they incur each year.
Many Americans pay out more in taxes than they do to monthly housing costs in the form of rent or mortgage payments.
The key to reducing your taxes lies in lowering your taxable income that the IRS uses to calculate them.
You can often do this by taking advantage of various savings accounts along with credits and deductions that apply to you.
Among the people I know who are financially free, all of them are fascinated with taxes. The are constantly learning about the tax code and familiar with many sections of it.
If you need to learn more about this topic, check out these articles on tax credits and deductions.
10. Embrace hyper accountability.
There is an incredible book called Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. The great thing about the book? The concepts aren’t new and you don’t need to read it.
However, you do need to embrace its message, which is:
Where you are in life is a 100% a result of your own actions.
Where ever you are in your life, it is because of you and no one else.
It was your decisions, compounded with your habits, that have created the life you are living today.
The empowering aspect of this realization is that you can change your life at any moment, because you are in control. Embrace hyper accountability for everything in your life and you will see it rapidly improve.
What ways have you noticed that successful people think? Share them in the comments below.