Wednesday, June 24, 2009


How many times have you given up on an idea which you believed in because someone told you it would not work? How many times have you been scoffed at when you put a point across which no one else had thought of before? Are you someone who is internally referenced (derives confidence and satisfaction from your own judgment) or externally referenced (confidence and satisfaction is gained from the feedback of others)? Do you let your secret be your secret? If you haven’t heard of the 80/20 rule before, it’s time I shared it with you.

The 80/20 rule also known as Pareto’s Principle insinuates that 20% of people achieve 80% of what they set out to do while 80% only achieve 20%. This rule sheds light on why a lot of our ideas on intentions never seem to make it beyond inception stage, as soon as we share it with others. There is a higher probability that you would run your idea past someone who achieves very little in life and have therefore developed a negative attitude towards getting out of their comfort zones and taking risks.

It is therefore, important we keep our ideas to ourselves or seek out people who could help us develop our ideas further or at least encourage us to pursue it instead of giving up without trying. This is a common experience of a budding Internet marketing entrepreneur who gets so much negative feedback from people who have little or no experience in Internet marketing that they quit at the first sign of the going getting tough.

I had a funny experience while working for a financial institution in the UK during my corporate days. In one of our management training sessions, the Personnel manager who was facilitating a session on innovation commented to a colleague that all the ideas she came up with were either tried and tested or seemed far fetched. My colleague classically replied “You would not know innovation if it bit you in the leg. You’d probably call it far-fetched”.

Due to my knowledge of the 80/20 rule, it would take someone of the calibre of Donald Trump or 50 Cent to knock my idea for it to have any effect.

As individuals, we are ultimately responsible for ourselves. Therefore, we need to give ourselves highest regard in evaluating our ideas, more than anyone else. It is better to try something and fail than not try at all, especially if someone convinced you it wasn’t a good idea. Especially as there is a significant chance that the person belongs to the 80% of underachievers. You wouldn’t want someone else’s take on life and their experiences to be the main determinant of how you live your life.

Therefore, if I was given one shot at advising anyone I know, it would be to keep your ideas to yourself and only share them with those who have a track record of achievement. So, if you do not succeed, you’d know it’s not because you gave up on your stool.

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