Chaplain’s Corner Work smarter, not harder
In his book, “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less,” Richard Kock explains an empirical law which nobody can fully explain. The 80/20 principle is ubiquitous in every aspect of life. In literally every domain that human beings occupy - both good and bad - the 80/20 principle is present and is repeated consistently.
Twenty percent of criminals account for 80 percent of all the crime. Eighty percent of motorists accidents are caused by 20 percent of drivers. Twenty percent of carpet in a home is walked on 80 percent of the time. Twenty percent of your clothes in your closet are worn 80 percent of the time. Twenty percent of all resources (people, goods, time, skills, or anything else that is productive) make up 80 percent of the market share.
These forces seem to behave at random but produce a predictably unbalanced result. While this unbalance seems to produce inequality, Koch is enormously hopeful in the 80/20 principle. He believes there is a tragic amount of waste everywhere and if we look closely enough, we can focus our time on the 80 percent of life that matters most. Imagine only spending 20 percent of your time on what really matters. Now imagine cutting out the 80 percent that doesn’t matter and increasing your focus on what really matters to 100 percent.
The 80/20 principle says that we should act less. Action drives out thought. Most successful people have no more than three priorities and often only one. Then they focus just on what really matters. Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.
General Von Manstein of the German Officer Corps said this, “There are only four types of officers. First, there are lazy, stupid ones. Leave them alone, they do no harm. Second, there are the hard-working intelligent ones. They make excellent staff officers, ensuring that every detail is properly considered. Third, there are the hard-working, stupid ones. These people are a menace and must be fired at once. They create irrelevant work for everybody. Finally, there are the intelligent, lazy ones. They are suited for the highest office.”
This line of thinking is best visible in “The Van Manstein Matrix.” Van Manstein is not saying laziness is a virtue. He is saying that we should “work smarter, not harder.” We need to do what works best, especially in those parts of life that are themselves supremely important. In the West, we are now able to feed ourselves, yet agriculture has gone from employing 98 percent of the population to employing around 3 percent.
George Bernard Shaw told us, for progress, we must, “be unreasonable in our demands. We must search out the 20 percent of everything that produces the 80 percent and use the facts we uncover to demand a multiplication of whatever it is that we value.”
Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”