Most everyone has heard of the 80/20 rule; aka the Pareto Principle.
It’s often used in business as in, “80% of your sales come from 20% of your products” or “80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.” I’ve also heard it used in fashion advice columns, “you wear 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time.” I haven’t, as yet, heard it used in reference to gratitude. However this is one area where we could all place a bit more focus.
My theory using the 80/20 rule is this: about 80% of our lives is fulfilling and great while about 20% is filled with hurt and disappointment. (This is an approximation, of course. As I’m neither a sage nor a Ph.D. psychotherapist, there’s room for a bit of error in my figures.) So what does this version of the 80/20 rule have to do with gratitude? In my estimation, a lot!
I know from personal experience that I have the ability to set myself up for the day and, therefore, create much of my own reality. When I choose to focus on the 20%, I’m well adept at ruminating and going over old wounds. The times I failed to get what I wanted, the instances where I felt slighted by friends and family, the hurts that go way back can all rush to the center of my consciousness. The result—no surprise—is that I make myself feel miserable.
On the other hand, when I shift my focus to the 80% and all of the joys and successes in my life, I feel gratitude—a far more pleasant emotion. And even more reason to be grateful is that one of the biggest gifts of age is we have the maturity to recognize the gift of choice. After all, by our age, we realize we do have the power to choose our thoughts and reactions.
So here’s to choosing gratitude at least 80% of the time. With a bit of practice it’s easy to do. And, for sure, it will make your life a whole lot more fulfilling, fun, and feisty!