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How A Discredited Fascist Theory
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By Rebecca Fine

In the late 1800s, an Italian sociologist and engineer, Vilfredo Pareto, became known for his controversial theory that alleged the superiority of the "elite" class. That unfortunate (and now discredited) theory was used to shore up the ideology of fascism which brought misery to millions.

But he was also known for applying mathematical principles in the realms of sociology and economics, and while his now-refuted "law" of the "trivial many" and the "significant few" holds no meaning for us in terms of the value of human beings, at least one of Pareto's ideas does still hold water in other areas.

You may know "The Pareto Principle" by its more familiar name, "the 80/20 Rule."

Simply put, the 80/20 Rule — as we use it today — says that 80% of your return will come from 20% of your effort. For example, in business this can mean that 80% of your income derives from 20% of your customer base. Or that 80% of your revenue can be traced to just 20% of your sales force.

Think about all the ways the 80/20 Rule applies: About 80% of all small businesses fail within their first couple of years, so you could say that 80% of all small business SUCCESS comes from 20% of all new small businesses. (And the subject of WHY so many fail is something we'll cover in the near future. My view is that most fail before they even begin, lacking knowledge and understanding of the principles we've discovered in The Science of Getting Rich.)

How about in your own job or business — or in other areas of your life? Can you see that 80% of the results come from 20% of your input? I don't know if Wallace Wattles (the author of the amazing forgotten 1910 classic, The Science of Getting Rich) had ever heard of Pareto, but let's take a look at how the 80/20 Rule might be useful in implementing Mr. Wattles' notion of "Efficient Action." First, though, some more fascinating 80/20 facts.

Back in the 1960s, thousands of insurance salespeople for Metropolitan Life, a big company here in the U.S., took part in a study that demonstrated this rule. The study found that, yes, 20% of the agents produced 80% of all sales.

But they took the study a step further and scrutinized that top 20%. And guess what? The rule held there, too. In fact, the top 20% of THAT top 20% of all salespeople were making 32 times as much as the average of the sales reps in the bottom 80%!

And what do you think they found out about the top 20% of that group making 32 times the average?

The people in THAT top 20% were making 54 times more than the people in the bottom 80%!

What was it that made the difference? It wasn't that this cream of the crop was 54 times smarter or worked that much harder. And they obviously didn't have 54 times as much education or experience.

What made the difference was that the people reaping the biggest rewards had learned to pay attention and keep track of WHAT WORKED and made them effective — and what didn't. They made it a point to do more of the effective things and get rid of the time-, energy-, and resource-wasters.

They were spending 80% of their time on the 20% of their work that produced the biggest results!

Most of them had probably never heard of Mr. Wattles or his work, but they were, nonetheless, practicing Efficient Action regularly. Daily. All the time.

Here's the thing: If you'd prefer to find yourself in the top 20% (and, yes, you can do that without sinking into competitive mind), take a good, close look at how you spend your time and energy. Without a doubt you'll find that the most productive, effective, profitable activities ARE probably getting only about 20% of your attention. Which means that you're spending 80% of your resources on the things that are unproductive, ineffective, and unprofitable.

And by "time" I mean not only the time you spend actually working at your income-producing activities but the time you spend on thinking and acting in the certain way: holding to your clear vision with faith, purpose, and gratitude. Let's take a quick look at just a couple of the high points in "Efficient Action" — Chapter 12 in The Science of Getting Rich — and see where we stack up.

  • Are you "more than filling" your present place — or are you doing only enough to get by? It's been said that many bosses pay their employees just enough to keep them from quitting and that many employees work just enough to keep from getting fired. If you find yourself in either of those positions, you are NOT ready to rise to a higher level of reward.
    "Giving more in use value than you take from others in cash value" applies to employees selling their services to their companies as well as to those selling goods or services to customers.

  • Are you making the mistake of trying to do too much? These days, being way too busy is almost a badge of honor, but Mr. Wattles warns: "You are not to overwork or to rush blindly into your business in the effort to do the greatest possible number of things in the shortest possible time. ... The more things you do, the worse for you, if all your acts are inefficient ones."

  • Are you plagued by the dream-killer, procrastination? "If there is something that may be done today and you do not do it, you have failed insofar as that thing is concerned. And the consequences may be more disastrous than you imagine."

  • Are you neglecting things that may SEEM small and unimportant? "You cannot foresee the results of even the most trivial act. ... Your neglect or failure to do some small thing may cause a long delay in getting you what you want."

  • Are your actions strong or weak? Mr. Wattles notes that "when every one is strong, you are acting in the certain way which will make you rich. Every act can be made strong and efficient by holding your vision while you are doing it and by putting the whole power of your faith and purpose into it."

Over the next 24 hours, why not make it a point to pay attention to where your time goes ... how you spend your energy ... where you focus your thinking, feelings, and action ... and how you notice and respond to the opportunities presented? Make notes throughout the day, keep track, and at the end of the day, see for yourself just how true the 80/20 Rule is — at work, at home, everywhere.

Now, my friend, here's to your "Totally TOP Twenty Percent" day today and LOTS more of them to come!

Rebecca Fine is the founder of The Science of Getting Rich Network where you can download your free copy of the amazing 1910 forgotten classic, The Science of Getting Rich.    ©2001 Certain Way Productions.

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