TDW #014: The 51/1 Multiplier Effect
Are you familiar with the Pareto Principle?
(Or, as it’s known in some circles, the 80/20 Principle.)
In short: 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results.
Tim Ferriss popularized it with the 4-Hour Work Week back in the day.
Perry Marshall put it in the context of sales and marketing with—what else?—80/20 Sales and Marketing (also my favorite marketing book of all time).
I thought I understand the ins-and-outs of the 80/20 Principle—until I came across this thread from Brian Bourque on Twitter.
The Pareto Multiplier— Brian Bourque 💎 (@bbourque) November 26, 2021
A framework for getting the most out of life...
Candidly, it broke my brain. The whole thread is worth reading. But the part that floored me? This little doozy:
“51% of results come from 1% of your actions.”
- 1 percent is roughly 20 percent of 20 percent of 20 percent.
- 51 percent is roughly 80 percent of 80 percent of 80 percent.
- Tie it up with a nice neat bow and you got 1% of your efforts producing 51% of your results.
Think of it this way—
If you work 40 hours per week, over half of your results come from 24 minutes of work.
And even if this formula is wrong by half, it still leaves us with the reality that half the measurable results we’ll produce in a week’s worth of work happens in less than an hour.
Some may scoff at this and insist its their “hustle” or ability to “grind” that produces results.
First of all: yawn.
Second of all: the Pareto Principle seems to suggest your results are more determined by what you choose to work on rather than how long your work.
Others will keep an open mind when reading this and grab hold of it.
Here’s how I applied 51/1 in my own life.
The most obvious application for me was content.
Specifically, content that creates clients.
Yes, I want it to be valuable. Yes, I want it to be helpful. But if it's not compelling people to convert into a paying client...I might as well open shop as a library.
I started by looking at three main categories:
- Content that got engagement
- Content that got conversions
- Content that got neither
(For our purposes here, I'm going to skip categories 1 & 3.)
When I started paying attention to the content that created clients (either directly or indirectly), I was shocked. Why? It almost always underperformed on the engagement side. Meaning, client that created clients looked like a dud on the outside.
Drilling down into my high-performing, client-creating content revealed a handful of high-performers. The rest did so-so. And most of them bombed.
This is the 51/1 Effect in action.
The applications for this are endless. But it quite literally pays to analyze and double-down on your high-performing content.
Other than content, here are a few changes I made in my own life when I started drilling down into the 51/1 Multiplier Effect:
A.) Investments: trimming down 15+ positions and consolidating everything into my top 4 performers.
B.) Diet: eliminating gluten entirely. I found that gluten was the 1% of food that caused over half of my—shall we say—digestive problems. Eliminating gluten made a massive and nearly instant impact on the way I felt.
C.) Business: reducing the amount of services and products we offered down to just one main offer. Everything we do supports the main offer in way, shape, or form. If it can’t connect directly to the main offer, we don’t do it.
D.) Socially: respectfully declining nearly every social invite unless it involved one or more of my core group of 1% relationships. Sure, we have fewer Christmas cards on the fridge. But my core relationships have never been richer.
E.) Reading: if I book doesn’t grab my attention in the first five pages I usually don’t read the rest of it.
F.) Booze(!!!): I stopped buying different spirits/wines and just found three that I like. Hussongs Silver, FitVine Cabernet, and Makers Mark 46. No matter what mood I’m in drink-wise, one of these usually hits the spot.
G.) Podcasts: I gave myself permission to unfollow nearly all of my podcast subscriptions. “I’ll get to that…someday,” I’d say. I kept the 3-4 I listen to most and listen to every episode.
H.) Work: I find I work best in short bursts both early in the morning and right before dinner. That’s when I tune most everything out and dive into my daily tasks. In between I’m taking long lunches, working out, reading, or just spacing out.
How you can apply this to your own life.
Your 51/1 Multiplier may (and most likely will) look entirely different than mine.
You'll want to do it in a completely different way.
As you do, here are some questions to consider as you ponder the realities of the 51/1 Multiplier in your own life:
- What are the results that matter most to me?
- What are the behaviors that produce these results most effectively?
- Which 1% of relationships produce 51% of the joy?
- What 1% of my investments are producing 51% of my returns?
- Who do I love learning from? Who do I want to learn from?
- What foods/drinks make me feel good? Not so good?
- When do I work best? When does work feel forced?
- Do I like who I work with? Why? Why not?
- What exercises work best with my body? What do I need to avoid?
When going through these questions myself, I was taken aback by just how much waste I’d let accumulate in my life and business. It gave me the permission to drop underperforming activities and quadruple-down on the stuff that was W-O-R-K-I-N-G.
What a gift!
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