In today’s episode, Jaren and I are going to talk about two competing ideologies about how to handle work.
The 10X Rule and the 80/20 Principle. Guys like Grant Cardone and Gary Vaynerchuk love to talk about the importance of hustle, while other guys like Tim Ferriss and Perry Marshall focus more on the importance of working smarter instead of harder.
They can’t all be right, can they?
Does it make more sense to massively increase your outputs or to selectively work harder on the very few things that produce better results than everything else?
In this conversation, we’ll talk about the merits of both, and the areas where each philosophy falls short.
Links and Resources
- What is the 80/20 Rule?
- What is the Pareto Principle?
- Book Summary of The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone by James Clear
- 80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall
- 033: How to Build an Empire with the 80/20 Principle – Interview with Perry Marshall
- Overview on Fractals
- The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone
- The Perfect Kettlebell Swing by Tim Ferriss
- Everything You Need to Know About Getting Your County’s Delinquent Tax List
- The One Thing by Gary Keller
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
- Diminishing Returns
- Perry Marshall’s Evolution 2.0 Project
- Seth’s Best Audiobooks
- Seth’s Best Books
Share Your Thoughts
- Leave a note in the comments section below!
- Share this episode on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn (social sharing buttons below!)
Help out the show:
- Leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts Your ratings and reviews really help (and I read each one).
- Subscribe on Apple Podcasts
- Subscribe on Spotify
- Subscribe on Stitcher
Thanks again for joining me this week. Until next time!
Episode 70 Transcription
Seth: Hey everybody, how’s it going? This is Seth Williams and Jaren Barnes with the REtipster podcast. Today, Jaren and I are going to just sit down and talk about two competing ideologies, things that a lot of people talk about as one being better than the other. And we’re going to compare these two and try to hash out which one actually makes the most sense. The two ideologies I’m talking about, the first one is the 10X rule. The second one is something called the 80/20 principle, otherwise known as the Pareto principle.
So just to give a quick summary of what these two things are, in case you’re not familiar with one or both of them. The 10X Rule, this was originally coined by I think Grant Cardone. He’s got a book called “The 10X Rule”. I actually found this really helpful overview from jamesclear.com. I will link to this in the show notes if you want to check it out. But he explains the book “The 10X Rule” in three sentences.
The 10X rule says that you should set targets for yourself that are 10 times greater than what you believe you can achieve and you should take actions that are 10 times greater than what you believe is necessary to achieve your goals. The biggest mistake most people make in life is not setting goals high enough. Taking massive action is the only way to fulfill your true potential. There you go. That’s the 10X rule.
Now, the 80/20 rule or the Pareto principle, I’m reading this from Wikipedia here. I’ll link to this in the show notes as well. The Pareto principle also is known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few or the principle of factor sparsity states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Perry Marshall actually has a great book, a very well-known book about this. We’ve had him on the podcast before, episode 33. I’ll link to that in the show notes as well. But it’s this idea that, and you can see it really like everywhere in nature, in business, in your personal life, like it’s all over the place where 80% of outcomes or outputs result from 20% of all causes or inputs for any given event. And that is from Investopedia’s definition.
Just think about anything you do in business, like the deals you get or where your biggest profits come from or really generally anything that produces the desired result, chances are a lot of your efforts toward that end, the 80% is going to either be wasted or it’s not really going to account for the things you really after, but 20% is going to account for the bulk of that.
Obviously, the power behind understanding this is once you know where your 80% and your 20% are coming from, you can intentionally redirect your efforts toward that 20% so you can get further with less effort. Jaren, I know particular has spent a lot of time going through, especially the 80/20 principle because he used to work for Perry Marshall, right? Jaren?
Jaren: Yeah. I worked on his Evolution 2.0 project for a nano minute probably, I don’t know, three months or something, but we actually used to go to church together for a while, which is super random. That’s actually how I met him. I wanted to talk about these two opposing ideologies for a while. I thought about maybe writing a blog post. I’m glad that we’re doing this today because here’s the thing.
The 10X rule pretty much tells you that the solution to you getting the results that you want to get in whatever it is that you want to do, whether it’s business, your personal life, you just have to put more effort into it. If you do 10 times the amount of effort, so in the example of sales calls, if you want to make more sales, you just have to call 10X the number of people that you normally would call. If your normal call volume in a day is 10, instead of doing 10 calls, you want to make 100. If your normal day is 100 calls, you want to make 500 calls. You want to 10X it.
Seth: And that applies in like things like direct mail too, which I don’t know, it’s easy to say, “Yeah, just do more”, but it’s like, “Hey, there’s real costs here both with time and money”. It’s like, where does it stop?
Jaren: And I used to be a very strong proponent of the 10X rule and it got me into a world of hurt in a lot of ways because it falls short. I do think there’s a place for it, and this is where the 80/20 principle comes in. The 80/20 principle is this law of nature. It’s everywhere. That 80% of your desired results come from 20% of your effort. You can apply that in a number of different areas.
Actually, Pareto was an economist, and what he recognized was kind of the underlying principle behind communism. He said, if you look at a nation’s economy, 80% of the wealth of that nation is owned by 20% of the population. And his whole ideology was founded in like that’s unjust. It’s not okay that a bunch of small elite group of rich people have all the world’s wealth. Whereas the majority of people in the nation are poor or struggling or subpar, they don’t have the same amount of wealth.
But the reality is no matter what you do, whether it’s marketing, whether it’s time, no matter the context, this is a law that is in place. It might not break out to exactly 80/20. It might be 70/30. It might be 10/90. The reality is there is this ratio that life inherently is skewed. It’s not fair. It’s not 50/50, it’s 80/20.
Seth: One thing that stuck out to me about Perry Marshall when I was reading his book is that, and I’d never heard anybody else say this, but this idea that there is an 80/20 within an 80/20. Even within that 20%, you can boil it down even further to the top. Is it 6%? 4% And even beyond that, you can boil that down in further. And I think that’s where the fractals thing comes into play.
Jaren: Yeah, and I don’t pretend to understand what fractals are, but if you guys do a Google search on YouTube and look up fractals, there are these like fractal videos that essentially just zoom in to a certain moving pattern and then the pattern repeats itself. So that’s the concept of a fractal is that like 80/20 is fractal in nature. No matter how much you break it down, the 80/20 principle continues to apply to infinity. That’s what a fractal is. It’s that concept that you were just talking about where it’s not just 80/20. It’s also the 80/20 of the 80/20 and it can break down from there.
When I first started getting introduced to the 80/20 principle, it really changed the game for me because I realized, “Wait a second, it’s not about massive action. It’s not about the ‘grind’. It’s about the right amount of action and the right leverage point”.
So, let me give you a really good example of this. Let’s take the 10X rule for an example and talk about working out. If I want to lose weight, if I apply the 10X rule to losing weight, if I’m working out one hour a day, 10X literally means for me to work out 10 hours a day. Is it feasible for me to work out 10 hours a day and have a life and have work? I don’t even know if that would be healthy for your body to be honest. No, it’s not healthy and it’s definitely not the way that you want to go. But yes, there’s a principle there that if you increase one hour or two, I don’t know, say three hours. Yeah, that’s true. You’re going to have a compound effect, but it’s like shotgun blasting versus being a sniper.
Whereas if instead of doing that, I borrow from let’s say Tim Ferriss’s four-hour body where he actually broke down a kettlebell workout where he got a massive amount of gains for a 30-minute workout once a week, or maybe it was an hour workout once a week. He did one little thing that was such a powerful leverage point that it yielded him the results that he wanted for one hour’s worth of effort versus three, four, five, ten hours a day of working out.
When we look at business, when you look at life and we looking at real estate, I think that the 10X rule really falls short unless you couple it with the 80/20 principle. Because if you know what leverage point to pull and then you 10X that, that’s when you’re going to hit a home run. But if you just are a shotgun blast, and you say, “All right, I just want to become successful, so I’m just going to do tons of mail”. Well, you might be just literally, if you took all of the money in your bank account to “10X” on direct mail and your squadron it all on a direct mail campaign, let’s say you did blind offers and your offers were all wrong. Now all your money’s gone and you’re done. No more business. It doesn’t work.
The 10X rule, it falls short unless you know “Okay, I’m going to narrow in and have this particular. I’m only going to mail to 55 and older and have access to a deceased database that’s super accurate. I am going to put all my money on this thing that I know is for sure return on investment”. Then it makes sense.
Seth: I think the tricky thing about that approach is you really have to be sure about what you’re doing. Like it is possible to zero in on the wrong 20 from the overall 100%. You can think that it’s going to work, but unless you really have verifiable data to know what’s going to pan out or be at least very, very confident of that, narrowing in doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to succeed. But in a perfect world, if you really knew it, yeah, you could basically leverage that in a big way.
Jaren: Yeah. I think there was a story that Perry Marshall talks about in his book, his “80/20 Sales and Marketing” book. If it didn’t come from him, I don’t know exactly where it came from, but I’m going to butcher this story. But it really brings the point home.
Back in Egypt, this is an ancient parable or nature story of how the pyramids were made. That there was the Pharaoh commissioned two people to build the pyramids. And one guy’s approach was essentially to just get to work and just like go and grab these huge stones and like go hard on trying to force himself to get it done. And the other guy dedicated his time to studying. Both of them had something like five years or something to get the pyramid done. The guy that just got to work and just started “10X” it, he ended up having a big problem on his hands because I think it was coming up to the last two years or whatever. The way he went about structuring the pyramids, they weren’t adequate. They fell apart. It wasn’t working. Even though he had moved all these stones and had done all this effort.
Whereas the guy that studied, he figured out a particular way to create a lever. What he did was it so surpassed his competitor’s ability to build that within two years remaining of the five-year period, he was able to build his entire pyramid like that. So, I know that I kind of butchered that a little bit and paraphrase that, but I hope that, stories always kind of hit home. That’s the difference between 10X and 80/20.
When you just have brute force with no direction, you can very, very easily waste your time and it can be very costly. Whereas if you narrow in on 80/20 and then find the leverage point and 10X that, that’s where you’re going to become successful.
Seth: Yeah. When I think about examples of that in my own life, like when I was first getting into real estate, I knew nothing about direct mail, I knew nothing about the delinquent tax list idea, which is one of many different ways to zero in on a subset of people to go after with direct mail. But yeah, when I was just looking for everybody who had the property listed for sale on the MLS, it did not go well. It resulted in just hundreds of wasted hours with literally nothing to show for it. But the first time I discovered the right type of person to go after, a very specific kind of property owner and how to contact them, it totally changed everything.
And even within that, say if you were going to send direct mail to only vacant landowners, even within that, there are certain types of owners who live in certain places and certain proximities away from their property, certain property sizes, certain markets. Like there’s all kinds of ways you can drill down even further. So that’s why I’ve always sort of thought, especially when you’re breaking into a new market and you’ve never worked there before, you don’t really know what’s going to go down. You have a theoretical idea but you’ve never actually done it. It’s not a bad idea to start off with maybe 500 mailers or something.
Don’t spend thousands on it yet, but get a feel for, “Are people responding to this? Is the message right? Are the offer prices right? Am I even sending this to the right people?” And if it falls flat, you can figure that out before you have dumped tons of money into doing it the wrong way. I remember when we were talking to Perry Marshall, that was one of the things because I had talked to him about, I’ve got two duplexes, but I don’t know if these two are a good representation of the market. Maybe they’re both terrible deals. Maybe they’re both awesome deals. But I don’t have enough data to see am I sitting at a good spot? Should I keep this strategy? Or I should I start looking for other types of properties and other areas?
And his response was basically, you need to find out what works before you want to jump in with both feet. Figure out what is really getting results. If you’re lacking data, get more data. Try other things first and then once you really know, then you can dive in.
Jaren: Yeah. And I really wanted to share these insights with you guys today because this is years of struggle and years of me spinning my wheels and wasting a lot of energy and effort on things that haven’t panned out that you’re going to be able to leverage and learn from. So, I hope that you guys really pay attention here because the 80/20 principle is one of the most crucial principles of success on the planet. It gives you insight, even into how to do marriage and how to spend time with your kids. It’s not just quantity, it’s quality. That’s directly out of the 80/20 principle.
Seth: I think what kind of bugs me about the 10X rule, especially from people who just push that and nothing else, like they pay no lip service to other ways of doing things like the 80/20 principle. I understand why they do it. It’s a very compelling message. It’s something you can really get up on a pedestal and do these raw speeches about just “Work harder, work harder and you’ll find success”. You can’t totally discount that. There is totally truth to that, but it’s not the whole story. And it bugs me when I don’t hear the whole story. When I don’t hear other ways of looking at things. Man, lots of books have been sold off just pushing that one mindset. I don’t know, it doesn’t always go well for people.
Jaren: I mean you think about even lighting a candle as an example. If I 10X lighting a candle, I’m going to bring like a blow torch or like a fire gun or whatever those huge fire blasters. And my candle is going to melt before I can even light it. That’s the 10X rule in effect. Whereas the 80/20 principle says, listen, I just want to candlelit so I just need to apply the right amount of flame in order to get my candlelit to reach my goal. It’s just much more efficient and you have to approach life that way, especially in business because it’s really easy to waste money on marketing. It’s really easy to waste money and waste energy and waste effort on a bunch of things that don’t actually move the needle. You have to get really focused on what’s going to move the needle today and do that one thing. Even the one thing, the whole concept from Gary Keller, that whole idea is based on the 80/20 ideology.
Seth: It seems like we both agree there is a time and a place for the 10X rule. What is that time and place like? When is it appropriate to just put 150 million % into what you’re doing and just work yourself to death? When is that logically the correct path?
Jaren: I think it’s when you have a very clear leverage point that you’ve proven. For example, in my land business, I exclusively sell land through land specialized real estate agents. I didn’t do that at first and when I first started working with land agents, I didn’t put all my eggs in that one basket. I did it over time to see, “Hey, is this working? How’s it going?” But that is for me, a very clear example of an 80/20 principle I play that I 10X. Instead of having the whole 10X concept of doing what everybody else is doing, just do 10 times more of the ads on Craigslist, 10 times the listings on Facebook marketplace being 10 times the amount of groups.
Sure, that would probably kind of sort of getting me there, but I work at REtipster full time. This is my full-time job. I don’t have the time to be sitting there answering is it available from a Facebook buy-sell-trade group. So, me finding, well, really my wife, but us finding these land specialized real estate agents that I can learn how to vet properly and line up, now the bottleneck of my business that was the bulk of activity is now a hundred percent outsource. Sure, there are some drawbacks just like with everything. One of the things is if I am in a county where I can’t find an agent and I hit a new county, I’ve kind of screwed there. Another thing too is if something happens to my agent, they retire, they die, they get sick, I’m kind of screwed there. I am vulnerable. But it’s such a benefit-cost ratio that it’s worth it to me for my circumstances where the bulk of my time and energy is given to REtipster, it’s a no brainer.
So, I’m building my entire business based on agents, but I validated it, sold a handful of properties through agents, and said, “All right, game on. I don’t even have a buyers website. I don’t even have a buyers list. I don’t need to put my attention on there at all. I’m just exclusively leveraging agents”. That’s a primary example for me in my land business.
Seth: The thing that I can’t deny is that there is some kind of power to that 10X mentality. I remember hearing, man, I think it was Brandon Turner and Josh Dorkin about two separate things at one point. It was kind of back when they were getting big into tech stuff and interviewing Grant Cardone and stuff. I think Brandon said, yeah, my goal is to… Don’t quote me on this. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something like my goal was to own a thousand units in the next X number of years. With the caveat that even if that doesn’t happen, I’m probably going to end up with a lot more than if I hadn’t had that super ambitious goal. And I think there’s some truth to that.
If you’re really shooting for something way bigger than what you think is actually possible, like assuming you’re actually implementing anything, you probably will end up further along than if you were just very small thinking, very ultra-realistic, that kind of stuff. However, that’s what the caveat that you actually have the right systems in place.
I’m listening to the audiobook of “Atomic Habits” right now by James Clear, who also defined the 10X rule that we just talked about a few minutes ago. And a big thing he talks about in that book is the difference between goals and systems. He says if you don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.
When you think about the Olympics, everybody has the same goal. It’s to get a gold medal, but many people do not get that. It’s not the goal because certain people didn’t get it, it’s because of the systems that got them to where they are. Just as in general, James Clear was talking about how the problem with goals is that they create this “either/or” version of happiness. It restricts your path of happiness to one single scenario where in reality there are many different paths to success.
Say for example, if my goal is to own 10 apartment buildings and if I don’t end up owning 10 apartment buildings, that means I failed if I didn’t reach that goal. Whereas if I focus more on the system, systems-first mentality allows you to fall in love with the process instead of the product, which kind of allows you to be happy along the way. So, you can sort of feel like you’re getting there just by following the right process in the first place. Kind of underscores the importance of really understanding what you’re doing before you’re really let loose and go crazy doing that thing.
Jaren: Yeah, I like that a lot. But as you’re talking, I don’t know if I agree with the underlying principle of setting your goals to something that’s not realistic and achievable. And the reason why is I do agree with you that if you shoot for, “I want to own a million properties”, you’re probably not going to end up hitting a million, but you might end up hitting a thousand. But realistically it’s hard to build a system around buying a million properties. And I think going back to some of the stuff we were talking last week in last week’s episode about when is enough is enough. Having the end in mind I think is really important.
For me if we talked about cash flow or something, at 125 units, I personally, I’ve run the numbers and stuff, that would be ideal for me. I think that would be an ideal spot where I would have money to continue to grow and invest and my family wouldn’t have to worry about finances anymore. We would be in a good place based on our current lifestyle.
So, if I have 120 properties as my goal, over the next say, 5-10 years, and then I reverse engineer it because I have the end in mind, I can actually feasibly hit that. Whereas if I 10X that and I’m like, “Okay, no, I want a thousand units in the next 10 years”. And I could feasibly try to build a system around that and spin my wheels and really put all that effort and energy into it. But why? Why when I know I just want 125?
Seth: Yeah. It’s almost like you would have to do the 10X rule with the underlying understanding that it’s okay if you don’t get there and it’s almost likely that you won’t get there. Which then leads back to the question, “Why do you have that goal in the first place?”
Jaren: Yeah, that’s my point.
Seth: It’s kind of like you are intentionally overshooting for something that you know you’re not going to get. I don’t know. Because if you really do believe you can do it and then the likely scenario comes to pass where it doesn’t happen, then you feel like a failure. So, I don’t know. I think in with you. Maybe it depends on the individual and how they think through and process this stuff. Maybe some people just need to get all hyped up like that in order to take any action. And I guess if that’s what it requires to move the needle, okay, but I don’t need that. I’m much more of to default a very realistic kind of thinker. I don’t pretend that I’m going to do like tens of millions of dollars of deals and stuff. If I don’t think it’s going to happen, I’m not going to make that goal. And if I think it’s out of line with my other priorities, then I’m not going to sacrifice everything and put it all on the line just to hit this stupid ambitious goal.
Jaren: Yeah, I think because what we were talking about last week, man, having a very clear “why” behind what you’re doing and when you’ve reached success, maybe it’s because my personality is achievement-oriented too. My failing to hit a goal, even if it was an unrealistic goal hurts me. Even the thought of it like right now emotionally, in my body I feel the emotional chemicals fascinate like “No, no, no, I can’t fail. No, no, no, no, no, no, no”.
I think the 10X rule of setting unrealistic goals just so that I work harder just creates a lot of anxiety and stress for me. Whereas I’d much rather just set a realistic goal, accomplish it, and then set another goal. If I said, “Okay, I’m going to 10X and I’m going to get a thousand units in the next five years”, I mean I can break down and try to build a system like that, but it’s going to take 10 times the amount of effort and I got other stuff going on and it’s unnecessary. I don’t know from a system standpoint why you would ever set your goal higher than you need it to be.
Seth: Yeah, an interesting thing about that is having a goal that is 10X larger than what you would normally do. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to take 10 times the effort.
Jaren: That’s true.
Seth: If you do set up the people and the systems to get there, it could only be like maybe twice as much effort, maybe the same amount of effort, you’re just working towards different things like managing other people who do the job rather than you doing it yourself. So, it’s actually an interesting thing to differentiate.
Jaren: But what I saw begs the question as to “Why do I need a thousand units when I only realistically need 125?” I guess in Grant Cardone’s mind, more is always better and at all costs. Just do more, get more, be more. But I don’t know if I would just fundamentally agree with that belief system. I need to be all that I need to be, I guess. But I don’t know. But there’s something about wanting to attain more and always trying to be the best that you can be and reach for the stars.
Seth: Well, when you were asking that earlier about, “Why do I need that number of units?” my question was, “Why do you need anything?” How does anybody come up with a number and decide that that’s enough? It’s totally a subjective thing and it depends on whatever that person decides is going to make them successful or happy.
Jaren: But to that point, I can understand having a goal of a thousand units because if I have a thousand units that are under management or under my control, or they’re owned by my company, then I have a crazy amount of influence because anybody is going to be lining up to listen to what I have to say. Even if what I say is good or bad, it won’t matter because I have so much success.
Seth: Until somebody else comes along with 10,000 units and now you’re a nobody to them.
Jaren: Well yeah, it’s true, but there’s still a certain level of like, if my goal is a thousand units, then my goal is a thousand units and that’s cool. But to say, “Okay, my goal is a thousand units, I’m going to shoot for 10,000 units” – Why? Why 10X it if you know exactly what you want?
Seth: Yeah. Well, maybe you want more clout or it will make you feel better about yourself for some reason. You’ve decided that that makes you worth more or more valuable as a human. I don’t know. There are all kinds of crazy reasons for that.
Jaren: But those would be reasons to set the goal for 10,000 units. If you have 10,000 units and you’ve got all the clout in the world, shooting for 100,000 units, at some point you have the law of diminishing returns in effect. Your accomplishment is going to have a drop-off point of value or ROI. I understand if you have a clearly defined goal for an adjusted vacation for 1,000 or 10,000 units or even 100,000 units, but at some point, in your assessment, you’re going to hit a tipping point where you’re not going to get the same amount of ROI on your effort. So, it’s pointless. You might as well just from the get-go, be very clear on what you want and define what success is required to get what you want and then go after and actually make it happen at all costs.
In my mind, I would rather 10X, so to speak, on accomplishing my actual goal and actually having that happen versus me shooting for the moon and then be okay if I hit the stars. Do you know what I mean? I’d rather like get the moon and own it.
Seth: In summary, it sounds like the 10X rule is basically the equivalent of working harder, whereas 80/20 is working smarter. Would you agree with that? There is a time and a place to work harder. But usually, that’s after you understand what the 20% is. And I think when you start out, nobody knows what that is. You can’t get away from some waste. There will be some hard work that does not pan out as planned, but it seems like the optimal path is “As soon as possible, figure out where that 20% is and start heading down that path”. And hopefully, you’ll actually get lucky enough to discover the 20% of the 20% or even beyond that.
And that’s actually an interesting thing. I know lots of people who are successful real estate investors that have done tons of deals, but they’ve never even tried the land business or they’ve never tried a delinquent tax list. Not that you need to do that to succeed, but there are certain things I know about that are super powerful that they’ve never done and vice versa. They probably know super powerful stuff that I’ve never done. So, it’s kind of makes you wonder if there is only one 20%. Does that mean everybody has to arrive in the same place, come to the same conclusion for it to work or there are different subsets of 20% that can work for other people and different approaches?
Jaren: Yeah, I think it’s the latter because certain leverage points can only happen based on your unique circumstances. For example, you and me are both American. Just by the sheer fact that we were born in this nation, we have advantages and leverage points that the majority of the world doesn’t have. I think you mentioned it in last week’s episode about you heard Jordan Peterson say on some podcasts that the top 1% of the world is anybody who makes over $32,000 a year. Just that sheer bracket. If you live in a family where your parents make $32,000 a year or above, you have a substantial leverage point for success. You have opportunities that people just don’t have in other places.
If you take a kid, I’ll pick Kazakhstan because my wife is from there, some orphan kid from an obscure village in Kazakhstan. They’re not going to be able to invest in flipping land in the United States most likely unless certain circumstances happen that expose them to those opportunities. But that orphan kid in Kazakhstan, he can look at what he’s exposed to and what leverage points he has available and he can use them.
Not to get spiritual on you guys but what we’re getting into here is really a lot of what the parable of the talents teaches. That some are given 2 talents, some are given 10. But really what matters at the end of the day is what did you do with the talents that you were given? And so, it is true that because 80/20 is fractal, it can scale down or scale above depending on what you’re exposed to and what leverage points you have.
Somebody who goes to an Ivy league school or somebody who grew up in the hood or all of the different factors, they give you a different set of possibilities to leverage. But in any scenario, there’s still an 80/20 opportunity for you to capitalize on. You just have to learn how to pay attention to it and identify it. And then once you see it’s there, that’s when you want to increase the effort to reach your goal.
Seth: Do you feel like you’ve discovered any 20% in life, Jaren?
Jaren: Yeah. I would say being a Christian is a massive 80/20 because you can hear from God. My faith is one of them, but I don’t want for those in our audience that are not religious or whatnot, I don’t want to make you roll your eyes at me. What I’ll say is reading has been a massive leverage point in my life. I didn’t graduate from college. I did a freshman year and then I dropped out.
But because I’ve been an avid reader and I’ve been obsessed with self-development, it hasn’t phased me at all in my life and in the things that I have available to me. So I think that being a self-starter, being somebody who is aggressive about personal development and reading widely, reading everything that you can get your hands on is a massive leverage point. We wouldn’t even be talking about 10X or 80/20 right now if I hadn’t read them in the book. That’s just the reality of it.
Seth: That’s very true. But is there an 80/20 of what you should be reading? Because there’s a lot of stupid books out there that are a total waste of time. Do you just kind of go with the New York Times bestseller list under personal development and stick to that? How do you know which things to read?
Jaren: That’s a good question. I think how I gauge it as I look at what other successful people that I admire are reading and the types of books that they’re reading. So, I don’t just read anything, I don’t look at reviews. I might do some searches as the top 10 books for X subject and then cross-reference those 10 books to a number of other sites and then see which ones are mentioned several times. There’s an online influencer named Tom Bilyeu that runs something called Impact Theory, and he has a recommended reading list. And because I trust Tom and he started Quest Nutrition, like those quest bars because he’s been super successful and he interviews all a lot of these guys that have had a really impact on my life, that’s where I’ve heard about David Goggins and other people that I really emulate and look up to. If he says it’s a good book, I feel like I can trust his views on it because it’s a filter. It’s a leverage point. I’m leveraging his experience and what I value in his assessment.
Seth: As I look on my audible reading list here, I can’t do the math as quickly, but it looks like not all of them but at least 80% of these, the only reason they’re on my list is that I heard about them from somebody else. Somebody else that I trust. Like they said, “Hey, this is a good book, read it”. A couple of them are ones that I just sort of saw as recommended items in Amazon and that kind of thing. But yeah, most of them are direct recommendations from other people. I guess for publishers that’s a note to them. It’s really important to get people to recommend your stuff.
Jaren: Yeah, a hundred percent. Word of mouth is a huge leverage point. I think another big 80/20 thing, at least in business is branding. The reason why Simple Wholesaling, a company that I used to work for in Indianapolis is on the map, whereas other wholesalers that are just as good, if not better in terms of price, aren’t, is because of branding. It’s a weird psychological thing, but if you’re on a podcast or you’re the guy on the video or you’re the guy writing the blog post or you’re the guy at a networking event talking on the mic, people for whatever reason, say you are higher esteem.
If you can do things that brand you like having a booth or showing up in magazines or being on a podcast or building a content strategy where people look up to you for whatever reason, that’s a huge, huge, huge, huge leverage point that a lot of people don’t want to put the time, energy and effort into because it’s a lot of work. But it pays out dividends for years and years and years to come.
Seth: Yeah. Going back to what we were talking about earlier, that is an interesting thing. There could be somebody who hears that and they’re like, “Okay, well, that’s a lot. I got to get up in front of a stage and start speaking” or “I got to brand myself”. But maybe they just don’t have the skill set or they’re not gifted at being an onstage personality or maybe they just hate it. It’s just not their thing. Maybe their leverage point is something else. They have a different 20% that they ought to go after. That’s kind of a tricky thing to wrap your mind around because on one hand, it seems like this 20% should be the same for everybody, but on the other hand, it’s like it can’t be because it’s just not everybody is the same. Everybody is in a different situation, so, unfortunately, there is no perfect formula everybody ought to follow. But I think you can’t deny there is that 20% somewhere for everybody.
Jaren: Just to respond to what you said right there, even in our work, I feel like your 80/20 would be writing. You’re way better writer, it comes much easier to you. You’re much more methodical, you’re much more detailed. Whereas for me, it takes me probably twice as long I would guess as it does you to write something that is up to the REtipster standard because I’m just not wired that way. I’m much better on a podcast or in a coaching environment or in a live medium. That’s just how I’m more wired. Whereas for you, those things drain you. And so, you’re not going to be able to, like I could do a podcast every day. I could probably do two podcasts a day and I’d be super happy and pumped. Whereas Seth would be like, that’s literally the definition of hell.
Seth: Yeah man, that is a fascinating thing because it’s very true. We just excel at totally different things, which is really kind of a good thing for any organization to have people who aren’t all experts at the same stuff because you can cover more ground that way. But it’s not that you can’t write and it’s not that I can’t go live, it’s just hard. It’s not where we come live and enjoy every moment of life. It’s kind of like a ticking clock. Like I can only do this so long before my head explodes.
Jaren: That’s how I feel when I edit articles.
Seth: Me too. I’m the same way. Cool. Anything else we want to explore about the 80/20 versus 10X?
Jaren: No, man. I’ve always wanted to have some form of content about this subject because I used to go ballistic and just try to do everything and go crazy under the guise of the 10X rule. And it didn’t really get me anywhere. It just made me waste a lot of time. Whereas when I started applying the 80/20 principle, that’s when I started getting real traction in my life, in every area of my life. It applies to everything. I just really hope that for somebody out there, even if it’s just one person, that you guys find this as helpful as I did.
Seth: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it was a good conversation for sure. And now that we’ve gone through the meat of our conversation, do you want to do one of these little random questions that you and I can both answer?
Jaren: Yeah. Let’s do it.
Seth: Okay. So, this is an interesting question. The question is this – What is the longest line you have ever stood in? What was it for and was it worth the wait?
Jaren: Mine is super boring.
Seth: So, it was not worth the wait, I take it.
Jaren: No, it was worth the wait, but I’m just saying it’s like, I think the longest line I’ve ever been in was that in customs visiting, going back and forth from Kazakhstan when I visited my wife when we were separated for a year and a half going through the immigration process.
Seth: How long was it?
Jaren: It wasn’t even probably that long. Probably 30-40 minutes.
Seth: Oh, it’s not that bad.
Jaren: Yeah, it’s not that bad, but that’s the only thing that I can think of off the top of my head. I’ve never been one to like on Black Friday, go stand outside Walmart. That’s not my thing.
Seth: For me, I did that one time. I stood outside. If you remember, this store is Circuit City which no longer exists. I remember there was a really good deal on a laptop or something. This was when I was in college. And so, I got up super early, like 04:00 in the morning and just froze almost to death waiting for this thing. I was probably like the hundredth person in line and when they opened the door as I found out they only have four of these laptops in the whole store. It was literally for nothing. I totally wasted my time, I didn’t have to get up that early, I didn’t have to freeze. I just went home disappointed and went back to bed. That was not the longest line. The longest one I think was at Cedar Point when I was in high school waiting for a rollercoaster. It was like standard to sit in line for at least two hours for some of these things. It was just nuts.
Jaren: As you brought that up, I think realistically it’s probably been the amusement parks, but I don’t have any particular memory of like, “Oh my gosh, this is so long”. The only one that was annoying that I can remember is the customs.
Jaren: It’s interesting. I remember when I was a kid waiting for anything just seemed like an eternity. It was almost physically painful to just like wait and wait. Even if it was like waiting at a restaurant to get a table for like 10 minutes. It just was like pulling teeth. And the older I’ve gotten, I don’t know. Not that I enjoy it, but it’s like, it’s just okay. Maybe I’ve gotten better at daydreaming or something.
Jaren: Well, I actually saw an article about that phenomena recently where a lot of people feel like when they were younger, days felt longer and years felt longer. The article, I don’t remember where it was from, otherwise, I’d have listed in the show notes. But it was interesting because the older you get, the more time you have.
Seth: It’s proportionally. It is longer for how long you’ve been alive.
Jaren: Yeah. When you’re younger, if you’ve only been alive for let’s say 4 years, a year is a really long time compared to when you’re like 55.
Seth: Yeah. My wife’s grandparents are in their 90s and I’m getting to the point in life where I mean I think everybody can relate to this at some point. But obviously the older I get, when it’s like, “Oh, it’s Christmas again. Holy cow. It was Christmas like last week. I can’t believe that’s here already”. And I’m 36 at the time of this recording. And if you’re in your 90s, man, it’s going to fly so quick. Because you’ve just been alive for so much longer and a year really isn’t that long compared to how long you’ve been alive. That must be kind of trippy when you get that old.
Well folks, if you want to check out the show notes for this episode, hopefully, you enjoyed it. Go to retipster.com/70. That’s 70. And you can find links to a bunch of stuff that we referenced here and other resources and other information about both the competing viewpoints.
And if you guys are listening to this from your phone, you can send a text to stay up to date with what we’re doing. Just text the word FREE. That’s F-R-E-E to the number 33777 and you’ll know what to do after that. So, thanks again everybody for listening. I hope you guys got something out of this. I hope you’re doing well in business and life and we will talk to you again in the next episode.
Jaren: Later guys.