Types of Mental Models- The Pareto Principle

Another notable mental model that can quickly transform how you do things is the Pareto Principle. The mental model earned its name after the celebrated economist called Vilfredo Pareto. According to this principle, 80% of the consequences are as a result of 20% of the causes. As a result, the principle is popularly known as the 80:20 rule. Pareto was inspired to come up with the principle after noticing the uneven relationship between population and wealth. In this case, Pareto noticed that about 80% of the land was owned by only 20% of the population.

The principle is applicable in various aspects of our lives. In business, for example, 80% of revenue collected can be attributed to 20% of the customers. Similarly, 80% of the sales generated are from 20% of the salesmen. The same principle applies to your personal life. For instance, when you look at your wardrobe, you will notice that you only wear 20% of the clothes you have. Now, consider the number of applications that you have installed on your smartphone. Chances are that 20% of your mobile apps make up for 80% of your daily usage.

So how should the Pareto Principle help in your life? This mental model is handy when it comes to increasing your productivity. Often, people have a difficult time handling their everyday activities. Unfortunately, most individuals go to bed with regrets because they didn’t accomplish what they had set their minds to achieve. One of the main reasons why this happens is because there is a lot to do and yet so little time.

With the help of the Pareto Principle, you will learn that your productivity is not evaluated based on the number of activities that you completed. Rather, productivity is determined by the quality of your output. This is to mean that you can do one or two activities a day and still remain productive. Using the Pareto phenomenon, 80% of the results you gain are from 20% of your efforts. Accordingly, mastering the Pareto Principle shows that you will learn how to do more with less.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should be lazy since you only need 20% of your effort to get optimal results. The point here is that you should learn to prioritize. Prioritizing tasks guarantees that you can do more in little time. At work, for example, getting the most important tasks done first gives you a reason to feel good about yourself. Other unimportant or minor tasks can be delegated to other people. This gives you room to work on what you value most.

Still, you ought to realize that the Pareto Principle cannot be applied to everything you do. Sure, after learning the effectiveness of a new mental model, one would be psyched up to use it everywhere. However, there is a limitation to this. There are instances where 20% of your effort is just not enough to get you the results you need. So, you are required to grind and put a little more effort to get things done. As such, it is worth recognizing when not to apply the Pareto Principle mental model.

Confirmation Bias

We are all raised differently. We have been brought up in distinct environs and this has had a huge impact on what we choose to believe. As a result, any new information that we come across has to be filtered to determine whether we agree or disagree with such notions. When people are choosy on what they prefer to believe, this is termed as confirmation bias. Usually, people make decisions after considering their personal beliefs and experiences. Therefore, some are rigid to accept things that are not part of what they believe to be true.

There is a huge problem faced as a result of the worldviews that we have cemented in our minds. People can be too rigid to accept change. Therefore, individuals will prefer to remain in the same position instead of adopting change in their lives. The resistance to change is what drives people to live in their own bubbles. Arguably, there are numerous instances where we have judged people for failing to see sense in what they are doing. The main issue with confirmation bias is that it clouds our judgment. The worst thing is that you can never realize that you are facing it unless you understand the concept.

Undeniably, we all have friends who would want to reject certain facts even when they are provided with numerical data. This is because the information presented goes against the views that they have. A good example of how confirmation bias affects our choices is in music. People will react differently to conventional forms of music as compared to contemporary music. Our parents and grandparents, for example, they will prefer good oldies songs because it resonates with their upbringing. On the contrary, young people will opt for contemporary music because they believe that it gives them the rush that they desire.

Certainly, this is an important question considering you don’t want to live a rebellious lifestyle where you don’t agree to share worldviews. The first step to safeguarding yourself against it is understanding the concept of confirmation bias. Regardless, it should be noted that your discerning of the concept will not make you immune to it. We are all humans with faults. As such, don’t expect to be perfect.


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