The New 80/20 Rule

 by Sha’  (Y.U.R.I. Magazine, Fall 2011 Edition)

     When speaking of the 80/20 rule, most envision the ever popular scene from Why Did I Get Married?  In that scene, a discussion is had among the husbands on the retreat, in which two of the husbands reveal their infidelities.  Within that discussion the age old adage of the 80/20 rule is explained.  The rule is based on the Parento Principle but adapted to marriage and relationships.  As adapted, the rule states that within a relationship a person will only get 80% of their wants and needs fulfilled from the person in which they are involved.  While having a grip on that 80%, ever so often someone comes along outside of the relationship possessing what is felt to be the missing 20% from your current involvement.  Often the 20% is praised, focused on and even preferred to the point of defection.  BAM!  The 80% is traded in for the 20%, only for the trader to realize later that the 20% alone.  This makes for a popular relationship mistake.

     I venture to introduce a new 80/20 perspective.  When leaving a relationship, people tend to spotlight what they did not receive during its tenure.  Filling that void is top on the list when interacting with potential new mates.  If the Ex didn’t spend enough time with that person, then the first attribute they evaluate about the potential mate is that he/she has time in abundance.  That person may have had 80% of everything else they needed or wanted out of the old relationship, but quality and quantity of time wasn’t accounted for within that percentage.  Now, time is a key component of the missing 20% in the must-have traits of the next mate…doing so down plays the 80% that encompassed other needed and desired characteristics by the old mate.  Treating the 20% as important is expected, however treating it as most important can lead to disaster.  Finding a mate with a wealth of time to spend as the focal point of the search can guide the searcher down a path of ignoring WHY the potential mate may have so much time to spend.  What if you are falling heart first for someone who has a lot of time because they refuse to hold a job?  If so, that negative trait may go undetected or simply be ignored just to fill the emptiness and feed a need for more time.  Knowing the qualities you need to compliment your happiness is smart.  Knowing the hierarchy of qualities you need to compliment your happiness likely exists in groups, rather than single traits, is smarter.

 1. quality time

2. honesty

3. hard working

4. sense of humor

5. considerate

6. light skinned

7. tall

     Listing traits in a single line (and even numbering them as seen above), leads one to think of each trait as a ranked item.  Rather than thinking singular, the thought process should be more geared toward a cluster perspective.  Much like the food group pyramid taught in nutrition classes, certain traits go together in importance and others together in less importance.  But “together” is the key.

tall,  light skinned

quality time,  sense of humor

honesty,  hard working,  considerate

     With core traits as the foundation, we take the same list and arrange it in a group hierarchy rather than a linear one (as seen above).  Time may have been a factor in the demise of the former relationship. However, based on the example it is clear you cannot search for time in your next mate without ensuring they also possess honesty, consideration and are hard working.  It is clear that a collection of traits with different degrees of importance are needed to compliment your happiness.  A solitary trait will not lead to the success of a relationship; therefore singular traits should not be sought after with the vigor of a crusade.  Instead of using the straw that broke the camel’s back as the lone important ‘gotta have’ item for risking your heart, simply adding it to the pool of traits collected through trial and error of life elicits more success.

     Pursuits of perfection can sometimes over shadow the less than perfect, but needed, things in life.  Vying toward what is not in possession, while not maintaining or considering what IS in possession, usually plays out like the misdirection in magic.  The big picture is missed due to a small portion being a focal point.  Trade in the microscope for a pair of glasses so you can see more of the full picture that will bring you success.  Always keep the totality of your percentage in mind.  If the goal is truly getting as close to 100% as possible, then building on the 80% is needed.

     The grass isn’t always greener on the other side BUT it is always greener where you water it.  But that’s a statement for another article.

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