The Power of Mental Models: Applying the 80/20 Rule to Various Aspects of Life

Lucas Charbonnier

Hatched by Lucas Charbonnier

Apr 26, 2024

3 min read


The Power of Mental Models: Applying the 80/20 Rule to Various Aspects of Life


In today's fast-paced world, having a solid mental framework is essential for success. As Charlie Munger once said, "You can't really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang 'em back… You've got to have models in your head." This realization led me to delve into the minds of the world's most successful writers and uncover their top mental models. One such model that resonated with me was the 80/20 Rule, which states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. In this article, we will explore how the 80/20 Rule can be applied to relationships, learning, writing, and more.

The 80/20 Rule in Action:

Vilfredo Pareto, the man who discovered the 80/20 Rule, observed that 80% of the land in his area was owned by 20% of the people. This principle seemed to work everywhere, including in our personal and professional lives.

1. 80/20 Rule on Relationships:

Before understanding the 80/20 Rule, I found myself constantly trying to meet and connect with everyone. However, this approach left me feeling overwhelmed and disconnected. Once I embraced the 80/20 Rule, I realized that I could focus on a few meaningful relationships rather than spreading myself too thin. By investing my time and energy in a select few, I not only experienced more happiness but also cultivated deeper connections with influential and successful individuals.

Actionable Advice:

  • Identify the individuals who truly matter to you and focus on nurturing those relationships.
  • Allocate your time and attention wisely, rather than trying to please everyone.
  • Prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to your social circle.

2. 80/20 Rule on Learning:

When it comes to acquiring new skills or knowledge, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the abundance of resources available. Applying the 80/20 Rule to learning is about identifying the most valuable sources of information and focusing on them. Instead of trying to consume every book or course on a subject, seek out the one resource that best explains the topic and dedicate your efforts to mastering it. This approach allows you to save time and make significant progress in a shorter period.

Actionable Advice:

  • Identify the best resources for learning a particular skill or subject.
  • Prioritize understanding the core concepts rather than attempting to grasp every detail.
  • Practice active learning techniques, such as summarizing and teaching what you have learned.

3. 80/20 Rule on Writing:

As a writer, I used to put all my effort into crafting the content of my articles and books. However, after discovering the 80/20 Rule, I realized that titles played a crucial role in capturing readers' attention. By dedicating time to creating innovative words and terms and testing different titles, I significantly improved the reach and impact of my work.

Actionable Advice:

  • Invest time in brainstorming and testing different titles for your written work.
  • Seek feedback from trusted individuals to gauge the effectiveness of your titles.
  • Continuously iterate and improve your titles to maximize engagement.


Incorporating the 80/20 Rule into various aspects of life can lead to significant improvements in productivity, relationships, and overall satisfaction. By identifying the vital few and focusing on them, we can optimize our efforts and achieve greater results with less time and energy. Remember, it only takes one investment, one meaningful relationship, or one impactful piece of writing to make a significant difference. Embrace the power of mental models, such as the 80/20 Rule, and unlock your full potential.

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