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The 80/20 Rule of Disproportionate Results

On 22, Dec 2012 | One Comment | In Education, Productivity | By Daniel Kao

I’m weird. While most people study different subjects, I study different ways of studying.

After reading things from Tim Ferris, Michael Ellsburg, and others, I have found that the 80/20 rule applies practically anywhere.

The idea is that 20% of the work produces 80% of the results.

The challenge then, is deconstructing and figuring out which 20% gives you the most results. For example, in every language there are words that are the most commonly used words, which often make up a large majority of the whole language. If you are able to supercharge your learning by learning what matters, everything else comes a lot easier.

This concept has saved me countless hours of academic work, by prioritizing material to learn. In my most recent writing class, I experimented on how to read and analyze multiple articles and write a two to three page response in less than half an hour. With the end paper in mind, I began typing my response to the articles while I was reading them, knowing that all my teacher wanted was a thoughtful response to the articles.

This concept explains how people like Tim Ferris are able to master skills in extremely short periods of time. (Look him up if you’ve never heard of him)

Therefore, it is no longer about how you study, how long you study, but also what you study and the order you study it in.

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  1. Hey Daniel, thank you for sharing your thoughts! I read all of your articles and felt truly inspired. I am a huge TED fan too. I’m hoping to go to TED conference one day! Your thoughts about current education system and how we actually learn in school made me think about my school life and they are very helpful! and I like this 20/80 rule too! Thank you again for your contribution. I am looking forward to reading more about your updates! :) I wish you happy holidays!

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