The 80/20 Principle (2 books)

imageBack in December 2016, I posted a blog entitled, Time Is On My Side. There I shared with you that if you place your life in God’s hands, He will also help you make the best use of the time He has for you. I especially noted that if He gives you something to do, an assignment, He will give you the methods, the tools and the resources necessary to get the job done. He will especially help you in the area of time management.

Well, I personally and excitedly “discovered” a principle of getting things accomplished in the least amount of time! It is theoretical to many who have studied it, but I have appreciated its incredible usefulness.

I believe God has set a rule, a principle in motion that I consider a law. I believe you are under its influence without you even being aware of it. It is a force of some kind that I have yet to fully implement! I have inadvertently used and followed it for much of my life. It has, for example, helped me have more time be on my side especially regarding these blogs I publish.

This “law” is called, The Pareto Principle, which is also known as the “80/20 Principle”.

imageI first heard about it years ago through one of the teachings of pastor, educator and author, John C. Maxwell. He referred to a book entitled, The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch. I purchased it and became familiar with the concept. I let it go, however, and went on to other things. But, because of this blog website, I have rediscovered its power.

Basically, what this rule says is that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results. For example, if you have a list of 10 items you need to do, 2 of those items will be worth 5 to 10 times more than the other 8 items put together. Don’t understand? I thought so.

Let me give you some more examples of this principle overall:

* Roughly 80 percent of this world’s wealth is owned by 20 percent of its population.

* About 20 percent of all the programs on your computer desktop you use 80 percent of the time.

* Close to 20 percent of all of your APPs on your smartphone you use 80 percent of the time.

* If you are in sales or retail, very likely 80% of your customers give you 20 % of your business. And 20% of your customers give you 80 % of your business.

* If you are an office secretary using the old manila folders and file cabinets, around 20% of your files will be used 80% of the time. (Smart secretaries do not file these 20% but have them readily available on a rack on top of their desk.)

Do you see the concept? Now, it does not always add up to 100 percent. There could be a 15/95 percent ratio. There could be a 10/80 ratio. But the rule shows that the lower number has a larger impact and significance on the total results and vice versa.

I can see this principle in the Bible:

* Of the twelve disciples who followed Jesus, three of them, His core disciples, Peter, James, and John were His closest. That amounts to 25 percent – which is within the 80/20 rule.

* Out of 120 disciples on the day of Pentecost, eleven became apostles. One disciple replaced Judas. And when you add the apostle Paul, a  13/120  or 11% breakdown occurs which is within the 80/20 rule.

* The total percentage of the tithes the Israelite paid every seven years totaled about 23 percent of their income. (Num. 18:21-26 + Deut. 14:22-27 + Deut. 14:28-29 = 23% of the total tithes from income gathered during the seven year cycle the Law prescribed).

* Christ said “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14). The 80/20 rule may be a factor.


Was the Castro government’s economic outcome for Cuba influenced by the 80/20 principle?

Here is one more observation that I know will be controversial with some of you: With this 80/20 principle in mind, I now see how futile it is when socialist-minded politicians try to impose higher taxes on the small percentage of the highly wealthy class and thus try to redistribute away their wealth. The result will most likely be that a new, smaller percentage of the population of the wealthy will replace it – very likely by the very ruling socialist class themselves. The larger percent of the population will then become poorer. Take a historical closer look at those countries who have tried this!

The second book I suggest is, Living The 80/20 Way by the same author. It gives you practical, everyday applications of the rule. It delves into areas such as your employment, your family, friends and your personal time.

Does this mean, for example, that you only need to read 20% of a book to receive 80% of its message? Very possible, but I do not ascribe to this practice. Ninety-nine percent of the books I have suggested on this website for you to read, I have entirely read. The remaining one percent I am currently reading. I will be posting a book suggestion very soon (Lord willing) that is to be used only as a reference book.

Anyway, referring back to these two books on the 80/20 principle, the last two chapters of this second book, Living The 80/20 Way, I consider the most important chapters.  And, by the way, as an aside, these two books have no Biblical references. I do not know whether the author is Christian or not. But, again, that is beside the point.

By accident, I discovered that of the number of blogs I need to work on every day, I come close to accomplishing 75% of them early each morning. It is probably the result of how I have organized myself to getting up earlier in order to work on blog posts.

My website’s statistical programming counter reveals to me that of all the visitor hits my blog gets per month (a fairly large number), about 85% or more are fleeting hits by those who inadvertently browsed onto my site. That means that roughly 15% of those who come to my website loyally follow my blog posts consistently. Some months it is even less. At first, I was very disappointed at these numbers, but now I realize it is the 80/20 principle in action. And, knowing this, I am leaving it all up to God. I have faith He will use my blog website for any person He is drawing to Himself at any given moment of time (John 6:44). To Him be the glory!

So, if I completed 75% of what I wanted done in the morning, guess what happened? The remaining 25%  was completed during the rest of the day. Extra time became available. I call it, “down time”. It is time I am not writing anything. I am not typing anything. But as I go about my daily routines, all of a sudden new blog ideas come to mind. I quickly have to jot them down so I won’t forget! 80% of the new material for future blogs have come from the the free time I have! It is difficult for me to really explain all this! Yet these books I suggest reading want me to concentrate on increasing this down time.

Why is this significant? All I will say is that this 80/20 concept will help any of you authors who are writing; help any of you pastors who are preparing sermons; help any of you managers who are leading; and help any of you song writers who are composing. Got it?

Mustard Tree

The large mustard tree came from one small seed.

Also,  therefore, to those of you who are evangelists witnessing and preaching the gospel, do not be dismayed with the seemingly small returns of your efforts. Each single conversion of an individual to Christ is important. God is the God of small things. Remember that the small mustard seed of Matthew 13:31-35 had great potential. The small percentage of seed that fell on good soil (Matt. 13:1-23)  was satisfactory with God. The pruning down of the number of Gideon’s army (Judges 7:1-8) was all that God needed to be victorious.

Time, as many of you already know, is very precious. You are only allotted so much of it by your Creator. Only God knows the total amount of years He has allotted each and every one of us. So, does it not make sense to make the most of your time? Of course!

Yet, many people tend to waste time on this earth. According to the author of these books, many people are spending much of their time, roughly 80% of it, on the things that have little value in life.

Try instead, concentrating more on the 20% of the activities and efforts that bring 80% value to you and to others. That is what these two books suggest in order to have a more meaningful and efficient life.

Homework Questions
1) Did Jesus die on the cross for only 20% who were “predestined” to be saved?  Or…
2) Did Jesus die on the cross so that a result of 80% of mankind would accept Christ and attain salvation while the remaining 20% be sent to hell?  Or…
3) Did Jesus die on the cross with the desire that 100% of mankind be saved?
4) Could the 80/20 rule apply to 1 Corinthians 12:28-30? If so, explain.

My comments on these questions and similar matters will be covered in future posts (Lord willing).


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