One Question: What Would I Look Like If This Was Easy For Me?
This is the one question I ask before I start something new. While deceptively simple, this allows us to identify what attributes and skills we need to acquire. We can then further deconstruct those into smaller pieces and create a tangible measurement of success. Once we have broken them down into small pieces, we can prioritize which attributes and skills are going to make a bigger impact.
Let’s move 5 years into the future. You are now retired, what is paying the bills? Commercial Apartment Complexes? What would you look like, if commercial apartment complex investing was easy for you? You would probably have impressive communication skills, as you need to negotiate a purchase and sell the deal to your funding partners. You would also need a system for deal analysis, so you can make success repeatable. Finally, you would need to know how to manage an apartment complex.
We can further break down each piece into smaller pieces, but this gives us a simple blueprint for a tangible plan for success. This brings us to our next concept.
The Pareto Principle (Aka The 80/20 Rule)
If we look at most languages, 100 words make up about 50% of spoken language and mastery of 1200 words would equate to conversational fluency. It would be relatively simple to memorize 100 words on a plane flight to Japan for a vacation.
The 80/20 rule is quite simple. 20% of our efforts produce 80% of our results. These are the high impact activities that are so often touted in the business world. Theoretically, if we spent all of our time on these activities, we would improve our output by 300%. Unfortunately, its not quite a linear system, but awareness of the inefficiency of 80% of out time can help us eliminate the activities that do not produce equivalent value.
Start by using the 80/20 Rule to identify the 80% of your effort that only produces 20% of your results. See if you can limit these activities to leverage your remaining 20% of effort that results in the larger 80% of your results. See if you can identify simpler systems that utilize that keep it simple and stupid.
Minimum Effective Dose (Med)
This is an idea I learned from Tim Ferriss in his book “The four hour chef”. If you haven’t read his books, I recommend them. To apply this concept, we simply find the smallest action that will produce the desired outcome. Here are a few examples:
- The Ready Fire Aim principle in REI; you only need enough information to send the conversation starting offer.
- If we set aside 18% of our income and the remaining 72% is used for expenses, we would create a three month reserve in 1 year.
- Using the Monthly Check for Velocity Banking; once a month, update your information, and plan your next month.
This concept is very counterintuitive at first, as most people tend to try to overhaul their life, especially financially. However, when we make life changes, if the change is too much too fast, we end up giving up and we never make it. Instead we can look to implement small changes that produce large results. This will result in sustainable change and consistency tends to win out. MED’s don’t apply to just language, we could also apply these to fitness, learning a new skill (this is the subject of his book) or just about anything else. We only have about 1000 minutes of useable time per day, if we can minimize the time we spend on a task, without greatly affecting the result, we can further leverage our time to be more productive. This is the Pareto Principle (AKA 80/20 Rule) at work.