Inspiration and the 80/20 life

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I am constantly inspired by all that is around me. I am inspired by the strength showed by others, patterns in the clouds (the real one), celebrities life lessons, birds flocking together, normal people becoming extraordinary by pulling through adversity. I get inspired by friends and family around me who exhibits characteristics and behavior that I would in turn try to emulate.

One thing I notice with the people I admire is that they seem to be positively happy and content with their position in life. It’s not that they have perfect lives (though I used to think they did, I know better now). They seem to be aware of their shortcomings and flaws in life – say, an undesirable background or lack of financial wealth – but instead of harping on about it like a permanent chip on their shoulder, they embrace it and focus on their strengths and life’s blessings.

I see this as another application of the 80/20 rule. Generally, the rule states that if you want a job done, 80% of the work of the outcome is determined by 20% of the causes. For example, 80% of your company’s revenues really come from the top 20% of the clients.

How we apply it to happiness is this: Rather than focusing on the 20% of the things in life that you don’t have and are out of your control to attain, be more aware of the 80% of things in life that you DO have. For example, a common theme in my blog since I started it in 2010 was my desire to conceive another baby. Since conceiving successfully is out of my control (I can try and pray for it but the outcome is determined by God), I should focus on the fact that I am alive, healthy, have a beautiful family (a good husband and a gorgeous son), have loving extended famillies (my own and my in laws), am employed with a good job environment and have decent opportunities in life (education, food and travel).

Of course, we need to be constantly reminded of the fact that even those 80% that we do have are not ours to keep – they can be taken away any time. But while they are with us, we can have gratitude and presence – if not fully (PMS and cranky days included), at least – you guessed it – 80% of the time.

 

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