I’ve been giving a great deal of thought lately to the 80/20 Rule. When I was younger I applied the rule loosely to just about anything you could imagine. My friends would roll their eyes when I explained that “life was 80 percent pain, suffering and challenge, and 20 percent wonderful.” I always felt that it was that miniscule 20 percent that made the wonderful so good because it was rare and not guaranteed. When we were lucky enough to experience wonderful, we really took notice and it accordingly swept over our lives and made all the misery disappear. It was obvious that if wonderful happened all the time, we simply would not appreciate anything good when it came along. In fact, we might even learn to disregard the wonderful and become numb to it…what a waste!
Decades later, I sit here and wonder whether the 80/20 Rule applies to more than met the eyes of a simple young girl all those years ago. I know it is an accurate indicator of human productivity, volunteerism, social and economic models, and other valuable measures and statistics. But as the world continues to stray, and humanity becomes more difficult to explain and make sense of to any real degree, perhaps the 80/20 Rule can be used to help us adapt to our brave new world in ways we have not imagined.
Sadly we have plenty of examples of why we need explanation. The Boston bombers. ISIS. Boko Haram. North Korea. Sex traffickers. Cartels. Scary stuff in our big blue world. Each and every day we hear our valiant members of the media, politicians and world leaders grappling with the differences that exist between people, cultures, countries and religions. I hear, “if we could only bridge the gap…” or “we are working on coming closer together on this or that arms deal.”
Wouldn’t it be great to have a formula to help us make sense of these damaging forces in the world? Why do people want to hurt and kill others that are perhaps not enough like them? Enter once again our trusty 80/20 Rule! From the beginning of time it rises from the ashes like a phoenix to place rationale and sense where it was not before. Let’s apply the rule to our modern-day headlines:
1. Boston Bombers (oh, hell…bombers in general really) – 20 percent of people in the world are unfortunate enough to be influenced, raised, cultivated, pimped, abused, tortured and nurtured by dark forces working through individuals who were also likely victims to the same type of negative influencers. I’ve read parts of the Koran and for the life of me I do not see where it says “kill the infidels” anywhere. The darker forces associate the writings to negative lessons that have warped their minds for years and produce the extremist verbiage that seems to go over very well when yelled in front of a crowd or a desert – but only when an assault rifle is slung around the chest area (notice: buxom women are not invited into the club for this very reason…the rifle won’t fit).
2. ISIS and Boko Haram – they go together like peanut butter and jelly. Actually, there are literally thousands of terrorist clubs and organizations we could toss into this salad bowl because they all are basically the same except they wear different clothing styles to protect their identities. They like long walks in hot zones and enjoy killing and raping women, children, civilians, antiquities, and anyone and anything that shares different beliefs and cannot fight back. The 80/20 Rule still applies: all told these folks make up about 20 percent of the world and terrorize the remaining 80 percent of humanity.
3. Sex traffickers & cartels – the lovely and kind-hearted folks who run these industries AND all those poor souls who work in these industries (including drug mules, carriers, street dealers enforcers, prostitutes, sex slaves, etc.) represent nearly 20 percent of the world’s population. Meanwhile they are servicing what probably seems like 80 percent or more of the global population, day-to-day. I remember talking with young brothel workers in Thailand years ago and learning that for $1.00 more a “client” could choose whether or not to use a condom when having sex with a seven- or eight year-old virgin. As one wealthy German banker bragged to me, “it is a good value when all is considered.” I should say so…and then some.
Notice the trend? The 80/20 Rule works! We simply have to only accept the fact that for every 80 of awful, there is a 20 to balance it – or vice versa. Here’s more proof:
- Every person in the world is 80 percent alike, and 20 percent different. Want proof? Look at photos or videos of death, war, weddings and celebrations and no matter where the images originated from, the human response is similar. We all cry, laugh, kill, save and dance.
- The 20 percent who are different are usually that way because someone or something has taken advantage of them, tormented them into a life of hate or self-depravation, or basically twisted reality from birth so that they would remain in the 20 percent club. They were victims and now their goal is to create new victims. Remember, the 20 percent make a living by terrorizing 80 percent of humanity, sometimes successfully and often times not.
Perhaps you have a better way of making sense of the world we live in as it quickly evolves and slowly degenerates into the headline news, but the 80/20 Rule does work on nearly any quagmire known to man or woman. What a relief. I feel better about humanity already now that it is easier to explain.