The Vital Few and the Trivial Many

As I was walking through the downtown streets, I could see the myriad of cars and trucks, honking incessently and hoards of people clumping amongst each other at the street corners. This was just city life as I knew it. But, sometimes the banality of life leads one to ponder what is driving all the pressures and chaos all around. Seemingly, everyone was coming from all directions, there was no order, it was a random series of events all congealing in the downtown core. I pitied the urban planners who had to try and organize this chaotic mess.

I had crossed this exact spot, time and time again, yet just accepted everything for what it was. Today, for what ever reason, I became an observer of my daily predicament. What was driving this chaos? Simple, I thought. It was all the people!

Then I noticed a few blocks away a few intersections that caught my eye. When I really paid attention, there seemed to be something quite amiss. The timing of the lights seemed to be very long creating long cues and frustration. Interestingly, the noise and chaos seemed to start at these very spots

Even though there were lots of traffic lights downtown, these ones appeard somewhat more chaotic than usual. Then I was reminded of the old principles of quality management and the 80/20 rule, whereby a relative few account for the bulk of the effect. I concluded from my observation that the majority of the chaos seemed to start at this point, so much so, that 20% of the lights likely contributed to 80% of the traffic chaos.

So, taking this lens I observed my life to understand where the chaos lay to control it more effectively. The vital few also pertain to the goals we desire in our lives. We simply can’t do everything at the same time; we need to prioritize our goals so we can have enough personal energy to draw on during the journey. Focusing on a few things allows us to eliminate the white noise we encounter and position ourselves for success.

Have you cleared out the clutter to bring clarity to your life?


Other Time Trading Gurus


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Shaun Rosenberg presents How The 80 20 Principle Changed My Life posted at Shaun Rosenberg, saying, “20 percent of the things we do accomplish 80 percent of our results. Here is my experience with this idea.”


Eran Eyal presents Twitter advertising tips – why Twitter hashtags hurt your ad conversion posted at StartupHat – Eran Eyal on startups, raising funding, design, UX and Innovation, saying, “”So you think it’s pretty cool thinking to keep slapping tons of Twitter hashtags (used to tagging subjects in social media)in each Twitter message? You’re wrong. It’s hurting you. Lets look at the simplest reason why. Here’s an example of a well written ad and an example of a terrible way to write the same ad:”"

Jonathan Grant presents The Dark Secret Truth about “Collecting” things! posted at Questions & Answers About Life.

John Schmoll presents How Should You Spend Your Tax Return? posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “The average tax return is nearly $3,000. Receiving that sum of money all at once can lead to easy temptation. Make sure you make wise decisions with that money, whether it be paying off debt or investing for the future so you can make the money work for you.”

Steve Jackson presents 10 Tenets of Extreme Couponing posted at Housekeeping, saying, “Even though things have changed, you can still manage to save quite a bit of money by taking your couponing to another level.”

DREAM Process

Bavly A. presents Life as we know it: Life. -Simplified Edition. posted at Life as we know it, saying, “Simple = Happy”

Frontlier presents How to overcome guilty feeling and avoid regret? posted at Inspirational Lifestyle – Inspiresure.

Don presents The Importance of Failing posted at Breath of Optimism, saying, “Are you afraid to fail? I hope you answered no to that question because the only way you are going to be successful in life is to first fail.”

Byteful Travel presents How David Allen’s Mental Sweep Saved my Brain posted at Byteful Travel, saying, “Last week, I woke up and realized that I had far more projects swirling around in my head than just those that I’d written down in my Next Actions list for the day. I needed to do a core dump of my brain, and I knew it.”

4 Responses to The Vital Few and the Trivial Many
  1. [...] Work Life Balance and Goal Setting Carnival on The Time Trading Guru [...]

  2. Pung says:

    It is actually a nice and helpful piece of info.

  3. Frontlier says:

    These kinds of things happens in our day-to-day life in many ways especially here in this city where there don’t seem to be any law and order. Even a small incident may lead to large disturbs.

    After having almost the same situation for many years, there doesn’t seem to be any solution than hoping for the best!

    Anyway, Robert thanks for including my article as well. There are some other wonderful articles I enjoyed reading.

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