The Power of Mental Models: Unveiling the 80/20 Rule and Moral Judgment

Lucas Charbonnier

Hatched by Lucas Charbonnier

Apr 17, 2024

4 min read


The Power of Mental Models: Unveiling the 80/20 Rule and Moral Judgment


In today's fast-paced world, having a solid mental framework is essential for success. From making investment decisions to building meaningful relationships, mental models play a crucial role in guiding our actions and shaping our outcomes. In this article, we will explore two powerful mental models: the 80/20 Rule and the debate on moral judgment based on intention or result.

The 80/20 Rule: Maximizing Results with Minimal Effort

Vilfredo Pareto's discovery of the 80/20 Rule revolutionized how we approach various aspects of life. The principle states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts or inputs. This concept has widespread applications, from business to personal development.

One Investment to Rule Them All:

Applying the 80/20 Rule to investment strategies reveals that a few key investments can generate the majority of returns. Just as top venture capitalists strike gold with a single investment in companies like Google or Facebook, we too can focus our efforts on high-impact opportunities. By identifying the areas where a little effort can yield significant results, we can achieve extraordinary outcomes.

80/20 Rule in Relationships:

Before understanding the 80/20 Rule, many of us might have tried to meet as many people as possible, attending conferences and networking events in the pursuit of building connections. However, by applying this principle to relationships, we can prioritize the few individuals who truly matter to us. By focusing on a select group of people, we can develop deeper, more meaningful connections and save valuable time.

80/20 Rule in Learning:

When embarking on a learning journey, we often drown ourselves in an ocean of resources. However, the 80/20 Rule suggests that we should seek out the best source of knowledge and dedicate our efforts to mastering it. By abandoning subpar resources, we can optimize our learning process and achieve better results in less time.

80/20 Rule in Writing:

In the realm of writing, the 80/20 Rule has transformed the way professionals approach their craft. By seeking advice from successful writers, it became evident that titles hold significant weight in capturing readers' attention. Previously overlooked, titles are now given the attention they deserve. Dedicated time is spent on creating innovative titles and testing their effectiveness before publication. This simple shift has led to remarkable improvements in article engagement.

The Debate on Moral Judgment: Intentions vs. Results

Determining the moral worth of an action has long been a subject of philosophical discourse. There are two contrasting viewpoints: one that prioritizes intentions and another that emphasizes the consequences of our actions.

The Virtue of Intentions:

For some, the virtue lies in the intention behind an action, regardless of the outcome. According to Immanuel Kant's perspective, if the duty is performed selflessly, the result becomes insignificant. For example, attempting to save a drowning person, even if unsuccessful, is still considered fulfilling one's duty. The effort must genuinely align with the intention to avoid complacency and uphold moral integrity.

The Virtue of Consequences:

On the other hand, proponents of consequentialism argue that moral judgment should consider the objective results of an action. Philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel believed that freedom must manifest in the external world, not just remain a subjective intention. In certain situations, this perspective allows for the acceptance of morally ambiguous means to achieve a greater end. Similarly, utilitarianism evaluates the morality of an act based on its utility and consequences, regardless of the intention.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Apply the 80/20 Rule: Identify the areas in your life where minimal effort can yield significant results. Focus your energy on those key areas and prioritize what truly matters.
  • 2. Balance Intention and Consequence: Consider both intentions and outcomes when making moral judgments. Strive to align your actions with virtuous intentions while being mindful of the potential consequences.
  • 3. Optimize Learning: Embrace the 80/20 Rule in your learning journey. Seek out the best resources and dedicate your efforts to mastering them. Abandon less effective resources to save time and enhance your understanding.


Mental models like the 80/20 Rule and the debate on moral judgment shape our decisions and actions. By understanding the power of these frameworks and incorporating them into our lives, we can optimize our efforts, achieve better outcomes, and navigate ethical dilemmas with greater wisdom. Remember to prioritize what truly matters, consider both intentions and consequences, and optimize your learning for maximum efficiency.

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