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I remember my economics professor at uni proudly declaring that there’s “no such thing as a free lunch”, granted he didn’t coin the phrase (we can think Mr Smith for that one) but boy did he love to sell it. I just never quite bought it though, at least not entirely.


The message is clear, nothing comes for free, we need to strive for everything, we get out what we put it, reap what you sow, yadda yadda yadda. I’m not gonna argue that this is completely wrong, but I certainly don’t subscribe to the sentiment in its entirety, and neither should you.

Pareto Principle lifestyle design

For those of you who haven’t read Tim Ferris 4HWW (four hour work week) book, I’m going to run you through a principle that I absolutely, fundamentally and wholeheartedly subscribe to.


It ‘s called the Pareto Principle, created by Mr Vilfredo Pareto back in the 19th century. In Lehman’s terms, essentially he argues that to generate 100 arbitrary units of output, you need to put in 100 arbitrary units of input. Pretty simple stuff so far, right? Good.


He goes on to argue that the first 80 units of output are generated by our first 20 unites of input. Then we have to use our next 80 units of input to generate the last 20 units of output.


More simply put, for example, to earn $100 dollars, we may have to work for 100 hours (just for simple maths!). However, the first 20 hours we work actually reaps $80 of the $100. Then we need to use the next 80 hours to squeeze out the last, more difficult $20. Finally giving us our maximum $100, albeit at the cost of our 100 hour effort.


So what Tim Ferris, and now I, say loudly and proudly. F*ck that last $20. Work your 20 hours, and take your $80. It’s not worth it to strive, and toil, and labour for the last $20. Use those 80 hours elsewhere, whether it’s for travel, leisure or even more projects.


I work around 10 hours per week, and it allows me to travel the world AND save money each month, my online income is slowly growing and growing, as are the amount of projects I undertake and amount of work I outsource.  When people ask me how I’ve redesigned my lifestyle I tell them I adhere to the Pareto Principle. And I’m never gonna stop.


So, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. Thanks Prof, understood, but there’s certainly such thing as a cheap, delicious lunch. And I’m gonna eat that every day. That’s my work done for today, I’m off to Santorini, Greece tonight, happy travels!

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One thought on “Motivational Monday; The Pareto Principle

  1. Pingback: 励志星期一; 帕累托原则 | 一步到位-数字游民指南

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