Some things Just Aren’t Intuitive

We think that things should make sense, but there are times when they seem like they just don’t make sense. I am sure you have heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder.” You might even wonder how that is possible.

One way this is possible is to step back and look at the big picture. Can you identify the 20% of activities in your life that have the greatest impact?

Pareto, an Italian Economist first revealed the 80/20 rule which is now known as the ‘Pareto Principle’. He discovered that 20% of the people in Italy controlled 80% of the wealth and real estate. (Sound familiar?)

The 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle has been applied to many different situations such as 80% of the value of a book can be obtained from 20% of its content. 80% of a company’s sales come from 20% of its customers.

The Pareto Principle is compounded by the law of diminishing return, “The law of diminishing returns states that in all productive processes, adding more of one factor of production, while holding all other constant, will at some point yield lower per-unit returns. For example, the use of fertilizer improves crop production on farms and in gardens; but at some point, adding more and more fertilizer improves the yield less per unit of fertilizer, and excessive quantities can even reduce the yield.”

As a nursing student or a nurse entrepreneur you need to determine what the critical factors are that will matter in the long run. Do you need to get an A in every class? Is it really all that significant if you get an A in your English composition class or Modern Dance? I have met so many nursing students who stress themselves out to get an A in every class. For the majority of nursing students it isn’t going to matter. Your future employer is not likely to ask you what your grades were. For the most part what they care about is that you passed your nursing boards. Be wary of diminishing returns. Don’t try to push and perfect every little thing. They don’t deserve the attention especially if they do not get you closer to what you want to achieve in the end.

In conclusion it is important to focus on the critical few factors that will have the most impact on your life and bring you closer to your goals. It isn’t about doing more; it is about focusing and doing less. The 80/20 rule is about achieving more, with less effort. In the end what you want is extraordinary results with minimal effort.