Usually my bosses, who are so much like mentors to us, would send us some articles or readings that would be helpful for us. Maybe it’s a new discovery in public health or a story about professionalism. Recently, one of them sent an article about the Pareto Principle. In summary, this is what it meant:
“The 80-20 rule or the Pareto Principle is a rule of thumb that states that 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of all causes for a given event. In its simplest terms, it will typically show that a disproportionate improvement can be achieved by ranking various causes of a problem and by concentrating on those solutions or items with the largest impact. The basic premise is that not all inputs have the same or even proportional impact on a given output. (1,2)”
It was very interesting to discover that there’s actually a term and a theory for this concept that I’ve observed for a very long time. We’ve all probably had that friend that reviewed very little in contrast to the entire scope of a test and those came out as the major topic covered. Or maybe we saw other groups work quickly or even cram a project, but in the end their efforts paid off better than others who spent so much time doing the work. Maybe we have observed this in ourselves, how we feared that our output is not adequate, but later we find out that the seemingly insignificant output contained the essential elements that the teacher or boss wanted to see, thereby making our work actually excellent for them.
To me, this is an economic principle that also perfectly describes the grace of God. In truth, 80% of what I do has very little impact on the outcomes of my life. Honestly, I would say I have done very little to get where I am now compared to the grace of God that abounded in my trials and pruning seasons. In reality, even if I have done that 80% effort, that’s probably never enough to be translated into something worthwhile.
Conversely, there’s that 20% of God’s grace that produced 80% of what is my life right now. There may be correlation to my efforts and what I achieve or produce, but there is absolute causality when it comes to the grace of God. In fact, if we take it to the extreme. Even if I only allow 1% of God’s grace to flow in my live because of my stubbornness and selfishness, God would still be the cause for 99% of my successes. Scratch that, how about 100%?
I just can’t help but believe and bask in this picture for my life. Concentrating on the grace of God will more likely produce the greatest impact than otherwise. And God’s grace is so powerful we can’t really quantify it in percentages or a series of values. When I keep this a daily mindset or the overall paradigm of how I live my life, all the more I realise that my dependence on God is valuable in the transformation of my life to what He has designed and purposed for me. And in that place, I achieve my fullest potential, my 100% outcome. Perfection. But perfection not in the worldly definition, but perfection in achieving what I was placed in this world for.
(1) The 80-20 Rule by Investopedia
(2) Pareto Efficiency by Investopedia