The Key Is Not Effort, But Finding the Right Thing to Achieve

Photo by Sam Owoyemi on Unsplash

What comes to mind when you think of your likelihood to succeed? Do you ever feel like you have to do more? In most cases, more of the same things like waking up early and sleeping late. Going through life anxious about everything including the future, is life for many out here.

The good news is that none of these should happen. You can experience a level of success that is only coveted by many. Your career can move forward. Your business can enjoy reasonable advantage in the market.

But now here is the catch, you are more likely to win when you are selective about the races you enter. You see if you identified what you wanted and pursued just that, you’d have made progress. Competing against everybody isn’t the way to go. Trying to prove that you’re anything to the world won’t do either.

You just have to be you and do what you like and are good at. Back at school, we used to raise our hands when asked a question and knew the answer(s). Of course, some hands were raised more than others. You know what that did to many of us, don’t you? Especially, if ours were not as frequent. It meant we weren’t smart. It meant a grim future awaits us.

Since then, we began to try out everything that comes our way. Many of those defeated us. In so doing, they testified to our schooling selves that indeed we’re not intelligent. We never took time to rethink our lives. Reconsider our previous successes and perhaps learn a thing or two on how and why we succeed in such. If we had, we wouldn’t have undertaken some of the things we did and failed on an epic scale.

Most of our failures are in races for which others enter us. Most of our successes come from races we ourselves want to enter. We fail to win most races because we enter too many of the wrong ones: their ones, not our ones.

Richard Koch, The 80/20 principle

Think of it this way, why are you pursuing the career that you are after? Or rather, why have you started or not started that business you so wanted? Is it not true that “significant others” had their way with you? They talked you into or out of your craved achievement. To worsen the case, many take planning for life for granted. After having been beat up by “life” many just slide through their days. In short, they live everyday as it comes. That’s a dangerous way of living.

Richard further notes that “Few people take objectives really seriously. They put average effort into too many things, rather than superior thought and effort into a few important things. People who achieve the most are selective as well as determined”.

Think of your job hunt. Why have you been applying for the things you have? Many apply for just about anything? They don’t have well-thought out career paths? Many who managed to get a job through this tactic, hate their lives, colleagues and more their bosses. This is because they found out that, they don’t like what they got. Money wasn’t enough to bring the happiness and security they so coveted.

Aspiring entrepreneurs have been trapped into trying out just about anything. Instead of perfecting their product or service, many have been involved in “supposedly” entrepreneurial hook ups that were not entrepreneurial at all. I have seen them.

However, that spell can be broken. Richards Koch posits that,

  • Most people spend most of their time on activities that are of low value to themselves and others. The 80/20 thinker escapes this trap and can achieve much more of the few higher-value objectives without noticeably more effort.
  • One of the most important decisions someone can make in life is their choice of allies. Almost nothing can be achieved without allies. Most people do not choose their allies carefully or even at all. The allies somehow arrive.

This is a serious case of letting life happen to you. Most people have the wrong allies. Most also have too many and do not use them properly. 80/20 thinkers choose a few allies carefully and build the alliances carefully to achieve their specific objectives.

Our society’s appreciation of the quality and role of time is very poor.


Teboho Polanka
Teboho is a Social Worker, Writer and Inspirational Speaker. He is in pursuit of MSc. in Managerial Psychology. Graduates are able to apply psychological principles and methods to tackle challenges in the work environment and provide effective practical solutions. Acting as industrial-organizational psychologists.