Getting the Basics Right
Have you ever wondered which parts to focus on when starting a new project? Have you felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information about the topic and felt like you had to get all of it “right”?
Today we will talk about the importance of getting just the right things right, how to know which those are, and why, in most cases, you can ignore everything else.
Whenever you are dealing with something new and unknown, you are faced with the challenge of deciding where to start. If you try to find out about it on the internet, you are most likely bombarded with tons of confusing and contradicting information from people who are convinced that their view on the topic is the only valid one and everyone else is a fraud.
At this point, you most likely either get lost in the chaos of it all or you give up on the topic because you decide it is just too complicated.
OR you take a completely different approach and try to figure out, what the most basic principles of the topic are, and then execute those really well.
Why is it so essential to get the basics right?
I believe there are 2 main reasons:
1. Without the right basics, a really solid basis, everything build upon that will not be successfull
Think of a pyramide:
If you set out to build a high pyramid you would need to start with a broad and firm foundation, that would take the most stones to set up. each layer build upon the foundation would take less and less stones (meaning less effort invested) till you reach the top with just one stone.
Witouth the firm foundation, the progress towards the top would be unthinkable and, the higher you want your pyramid to be, the broader your foundation need to be and the more effort you would need to put into setting it up.
2. In most cases, getting the basics right, is just enough. Finding out what basics are essential and executing them well, will get you 80% of the way.
Take nutrition and diet for example:
Lets say you try to work out what the best and most healthy diet for you may be, and you go to search for it on the internet. You google “most healthy diet” or something like that and… welcome to the chaos of a never ending discussion!
On the one side you will find the most extreme vegans and raw food enthusiasts.
While on the other side you will hear people preach about the Paleo, Carnivore or Ketogenic diet. And between them everything you could imagine!
Who of them is right? Well, depending on which site you are arguing for, you will definitely be able to convince yourself that either one is right or wrong.
The topic is just so complex and deep as well as highly subjective and personal.
Now, instead of getting lost in the fine details of which exact foods to eat, what to combine, which macro- and micro-nutrients to take, which supplements are the best and whether you should cook everything or not cook your food at all – Just look at the underlying principles and basics, common amoung all of them. And then stick to them and get them right!
Most people would get the most out of it, if they just focused on cutting out highly processed foods, sugary beverages and sweets, stopped eating while under stress and started to incorparate more fresh and organic fruits, greens and vegetables while making sure they take their time while eating to chew thoroughly and drink enough fresh water throughout the day.
Sounds simple, too simple actually – but these are basic principles that no one can ignore and sticking to them will get most people 80% of the way. If you still wanted the extra 20% you could get into the fine details and join the long discussions about the right diet, but this would take a great amount more of your time.
Everything can be reduced to some basic principles or rules – find them and stick to them!
Have you ever heard of the pareto principle? It is often reffered to the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule observes that most things have an unequal distribution and that most things are not 1:1, the amount of “input” (effort, time, labor) results
in exactly the same amount of output…
The Pareto Principle states that the majority of results come from a minority of inputs.
Some useful examples of the Pareto Principle:
20% of workers contribute to 80% of results: Focus on rewarding these employees.
20% of customers bring 80% of the revenue: Focus on satisfying these customers even more.
20% of problems cause 80% of the rouble: Focus on fixing these problems first.
The point to realize here is that most of the time you can focus your effort on the 20% that makes 80% of the difference, instead of the 80% that only adds 20% to the result.
You can spend hours and hours perfecting something or working out the details. In most cases and for most people, this is not necessary and even a waste of time.
It would be better to spend some time finding out which 20% bring 80% of the results and get those exactly right. In most cases the additional 20% of results achieved by 80% of the effort is for professionals or people who are really passionate about the the topic.
To conclude todays episode, i will leave you with a question to reflect upon:
Think of a project you are working on or some area of your life, that you are trying to move forward:
“What are the essential 20% of effort that I need to put in to achieve 80% of the results in a short amount of time?”
You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.Gordon B. Hinckley