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How Only 2% of Your Effort Can Drive As High As 98% Of The End Results

How Only 2% of Your Effort Can Drive As High As 98% Of The End Results

We have always been looking for the path to success but sometimes it seems that we are just going round in circles. I’ve been there too, working really hard on many different things to make sure all of them work really really well, I just wanted it all and I thought that would make me a have higher chance of success; but of course, it never went the way I wanted.

That’s when I started to research for smarter ways to work. And then, I found the unicorn that took me closer to success. Here’s something you can try too to wisely allocate your time and effort to gain the most success.

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The Unicorn That Drives Great Results

The Unicorn Principle[1] tells us that only 2% of your effort is going to contribute 98% of the end result. Sounds amazing? Probably this is why people call it “unicorn”. But how can we make use of it?

In online marketing, the success rate is only around 1-2%, but they’re called the “unicorn-magical” content that goes really viral. The remaining 98-99% that doesn’t go well is called “donkeys-boring” content, which is unattractive to people.

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So the thing is, when you see the 2% that works, grab the very opportunity and dig deeper into it. Figure out why it works so well and try to repeat the success, that’s how you can learn from your successful experience and expand it to an even bigger success.

Now here comes the question, how can we apply this amazing Unicorn Principle in our everyday life to create success?

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Take the “Unicorn” With You Every Day

There are different parts in our lives but as you can see from the Unicorn Principle, probably only 2% of it will work.

What it means is even you have got a lot of talents, it is quite likely that only one of your specialties will grant you success. It is not to say that you can’t be an all rounder but in fact it is more worthy to dig deep into one single specialty. You can see most of the Olympic medalists have spent most of their life to work hard on just one kind of sport. It does not mean that they can’t do well in other sports, but they see their 2% that works so they try to repeat the success to strive for a bigger success.

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So, start to think about the thing you love and are good at most. Is it your writing skill? Is it your logical thinking? Or is it how you talk with people? Dig deeper into that strength, work harder on that and try to become an expert of that. When you focus on one thing, you have more time and effort to practice more on that, and that’s when you’ll have a higher chance to succeed, and encounter more failures as well. But no worries, learn from your success, repeat it and grow; and even if you fail sometimes, you learn even more and still grow.

The Unicorn Principle tells us to narrow down the focus and to put effort on the focus. Being all-rounded is a bit harder than being a specialist because it takes you extra time and effort. Stay focused and learn from the success. Sure that you will excel in your expertise someday.

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Sheba Leung

Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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