Ever heard of the 80/20 rule?
If you haven’t get ready.
This simple idea has changed lives, transformed businesses and it can improve your English faster than ever.
The Story Of The 80 /20 Rule
About 100 years ago, an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto was studying public records in England when he found something interesting:
80% of the nation’s wealth was owned by just 20% of the population.
“That’s strange,” he thought. “So unbalanced. Something must be wrong.”
So he looked at older recorders. A hundred years ago…two hundred…
But he kept discovering the same 80/20 ratio.
He still thought something must be wrong, so he travelled to other cities in Europe to look at their statistics.
But wherever he travelled he found the same two numbers.
Then he started seeing this ratio wherever he looked.
- 80% of the land was owned by 20% of the people.
- And in his garden, 20% of the pea plants produced 80% of the peas.
It seemed to be a universal principal.
One of the hidden laws of the universe…
But when businesses discovered it…
80/20 Enters Business
In the 1950s the Romanian-American engineer Joseph Juran tried to teach 80/20 thinking to American businesses.
But they weren’t interested.
So he went to Japan.
The Japanese listened, applied it, and quickly caught up with the West.
Now American business was interested.
Here’s one example from IBM.
In 1963 they discovered that 80% of their computers’ processing time came from just 20% of the code. So rather than focus on improving all the code as they had before, now they focused on improving just the code which was used the most. The result was their software became faster than their competitors’ and they kept their top spot on the market.
And now it’s a common principle taught in business schools.
What This Means For Your Business
Have we met?
But here are some things I know about your business:
- 80% of your profit comes from 20% of your customers.
- 20% of your salesmen make 80% of your sales.
- 80% of your problems come from 20% of your projects.
- 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers.
- 20% of employees cause 80% of the problems.
When you realize this you stop aiming for 100%.
You stop selling to customers who rarely buy.
You stop training employees who don’t produce results.
You stop making products that few customers want.
Instead, you spend your time, money and energy on finding, optimizing and pleasing the 20%.
This is 80/20 in action in a smart business.
And you can do the same with English.
80/20 For English
Here’s how most English students think about vocabulary:
But this is wrong.
Words — like your customers — are not equal.
Some are much more valuable than others.
Here’s a more accurate way of looking at words:
Although the Oxford English Dictionary has 171,476 Words….
80/20 tells us that we don’t need all those words.
In fact, some English words are so valuable that 80/20 isn’t even accurate.
It’s closer to 90/1.
In 2014 researchers in Japan entered 273 million English words into a computer. Words from books, magazines, conversations… and they asked the computer to tell them which words were the most common.
What they discovered was that when native speakers talk they use the same few words over and over again.
And if you know these few words, you can do amazing things; like understand 90% of English conversation, which is less than 1% of all English words (0.03 per cent, to be exact).
The exact number is 2,144.
Linguists call them “high-frequency words.”
I call them “Super Words.”
So what does a smart, strategic English student who doesn’t want to waste time focus on first?
The super words, of course.
Here’s How To Get Your Super Words Checklist And 80/20 Your English
Ready to start using the 80/20 rule to improve your English?
Ready to find out how many super words you know?
2) print it out.
3) check/tick any word which
- You’ve never seen before
- You don’t know how to explain or use in a sentence
Ready to start?