STRONGER TOGETHER: Embracing the Pareto Principle in Relationships

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Last updated: 22/05/2023

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses how the Pareto Principle - the 80/20 rule - can be applied to relationships.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

As I navigate through the ebbs and flows of life, I've come to appreciate the Pareto Principle and its remarkable application in various aspects of our existence. Also known as the 80/20 rule, it suggests that roughly 80% of our results stem from 20% of our efforts. While this principle has long been associated with productivity and business, I've recently pondered its relevance in the realm of relationships.

In my own life, I've noticed that there is only a small handful of people who bring up those genuine feelings of happiness and contentment. These individuals, the cherished 20%, are the ones who leave an indelible mark on my heart. In no way does this mean that every moment with them brings me joy. We can have challenging conversations, arguments, differences of opinions. But there is no holding onto those moments, and instead within each of us is the ability to accept the good intentions of the other person and forgive and let go. We accept each other for who we are, warts and all.

Identifying these vital connections has been an eye-opening exercise. From my supportive husband, my parents and my closest friends, these relationships are my foundation. Unshakable, unwavering, supportive. Even on the worst day, I know that they will be there for me, teaching me the value of quality over quantity and the immeasurable impact a few genuine connections can have on one's life.

Now, as the calendar flips to a new month, I can't help but wonder if there's an opportunity to schedule some dedicated time with these special individuals. Life has a tendency to become hectic and overwhelming, often causing us to overlook those vital few. Perhaps we even take them for granted sometimes, forgetting that every relationship that is important to us must be nurtured.

It could be a date night with my husband, a coffee catch up with a friend or organising a family gathering to celebrate our shared experiences. By consciously carving out time in my schedule and intentionally dedicating it to my 20%, I am reinforcing the foundation of love and support that sustains me.

As I reflect on the Pareto Principle and its application to relationships, I'm reminded of the immense power we hold in our hands.

Who are the 20% of people who give you the most joy in your life? The people who love you unconditionally and do not expect anything in return. Is there an opportunity to schedule some time in with them this month?

By acknowledging and appreciating those select few, we can create a positive ripple effect that extends far beyond our own lives. So, let's seize the opportunity this month to reconnect with our 20%. 

Spend time with those you love. One of these days you will say either ‘I wish I had’ or ‘I’m glad I did.’’ Zig Ziglar

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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