80-20 Rule

9 Sep

The other day as I was talking with a sister, the 80-20 rule came to my mind…

This Pareto principle just means that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes…For e.g., some economists may say 80% of a nation’s wealth is owned by 20% of the population…or during my school days, I remembered there was once I spent all my time revising a small % of my History syllabus…I think I only studied 4 chapters exactly to answer 4 questions in ‘O’ levels…and of cos, praying very very very hard that all the spotted questions will come out…which did in the end and I got an A2 (or maybe B3)! Oops, but please don’t learn from me…come to think about it, I dunno why I could be so ‘daring’ back then to take such a risk for an important exam…anyway, such miracles don’t happen everyday cos God don’t like lazy people…but at that time, for some reason, I was desperate and by God’s grace, I managed to be “exam-smart” and achieve good grade (the “80%” effect) for focusing on “20%” of the exam contents.

Well, the “80-20 rule” also applies to our individual lives…

Through the sharing with different people, one common ‘complaint’ I always heard is that we still remain in our problems…our negative perspective never shift…recurring problems just keep coming back to haunt us…hidden issues which we hope will be forgotten are never really healed, even though we thought we are already ok…Why?


As what a recently baptised brother rightly described, to be effective in resolving all our various problems, the root problem must first be tackled!

He observed that even the messages of many churches also keep talking about how to solve problems one by one…e.g. topical messages on how to manage stress, resolve relationship issues, etc..but they never really touch on the root cause…Without addressing the root cause, solving problem one by one will just be a wild goose chasewe will soon find ourselves caught up with solving endless problems one after another

Actually, that’s where Satan always deceives us…he fools us into focusing our attention on solving our problems one by one, reacting to each problem as it comes…which often cause us to feel drained, discouraged and eventually even feel numb to both the problems & God…leading us to doubt whether God is really an effective problem-solver or whether He really loves us…

But actually, our problems are not “many”…it all stem from one root cause…we just need to solve the root problem and other problems will naturally be resolved too

So where is the root? What is the root cause we should focus on to get the optimum result?

The Bible says “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” <Proverbs 4:23>

Heart = “Spirit”

Root problem = God has never left us, but our spirits cannot see or hear Him…that’s why we are unable to guard our hearts and are thus vulnerable to Satan’s flaming arrows..

Actually, man’s greatest ‘misery’ (苦) is very often the misery in his spirit (心灵)…becos the spirit is where the Satan targets all his attacks

Satan doesn’t care what you have or not have outwardly…He not only can give you outward problems to bother your spirit, but he can also give you every good thing (happy family, wealth, success, health, wisdom, etc), yes, all good things, except the perfect peace, satisfaction and well-being of your spirit…he can also use the ‘good’ things you have to bind you too…(e.g. make you worry about the future of the lovely kids you have, about how to sustain the romantic sparks between you & your dream partner, about how to safeguard and grow the hard-earned wealth you accumulated, use your wisdom to complicate your thoughts and rob you of faith and peace, etc)… Even if a person can put on a ‘brave front’, appear cheerful in front of people, he can’t fool his spirit, especially when he is alone…

As far as Satan is concerned, it is not the hardworking who will succeed, it is not the wise who will succeed or be happy, it is not the one with many accomplishments who will be happy…etc…For Satan is not afraid of man’s diligence, wisdom, accomplishments or other qualities/boastings of man…but he only crumples before a ‘right spirit’ (with resolved root problem) in Christ!

2 persons may face exactly the same problem (e.g. jobless), but one with the right spirit can face the issue with complete ease and assurance from God, while the other person with root problem unresolved will be bound by the issue and affected by Satan.

So, for ‘those currently facing problems’, just apply the 80-20 rule…focus on the well-being of the spirit & the problems will take care of themselves…

The opposite is true too…For ‘people who are seemingly without problems’, a little disbelief (the “20%” cause), if left unattended, may cause you to topple (the “80%” effect)…


Some brothers & sisters like to tell me, and even I myself sometimes think that:

we are generally fine…

we can believe most of God’s promises…

we are happy with most part of our lives…

BUT, that’s where Satan’s trick comes in again…the key word is “most” (it should be “all”)…

For e.g, You can trust that God will bless you in areas of studies, career, relationships, health, etc, BUT not in the area of finances…that 1% disbelief in that one area of your life may gradually spoil your relationship with God and make you turn to human ways to achieve what you want, only to meet with frustrations without the support of God…

So the negative side of the 80-20 rule is that even one little disbelief or dissatisfaction can bring about doubts and insinuations that cripple us, restrain our potential to fulfill God’s purpose and prevent us from enjoying intimate, loving relationship with God…

Hence, it is important to ensure that our spirits are ‘right’

Just like a dark room will be brightened just by lighting a candle, likewise, all darkness (problems) will flee from our life just by ‘brightening’ our spirit…

I am a ‘lazy’ person…I do not put too much effort in a lot of things in life, whether it is studies, work, upgrading my general knowledge, maintaining contacts with friends, even maintenance of outward appearance (ok, I may be vain, but I also too lazy to apply cream on my face everyday, etc)…I’m happy as long as I am at least “average”, no need to be the best…

BUT just like the lazy me try to be ‘exam-smart’ to yield best results, I also want to be “wise” in life…by focusing on the most important area…

That’s why I invested most attention and time on the well-being of my spirit…because I know when my spirit is well, all other things will go well for me too…as it has already been proven now in my life 🙂 God really surprises me beyond what I asked for when my spirit is close to Him and my eyes look to Him…

And this happens to coincide with Sun message this week – Our spirit/soul is the source of all our blessings (and all troubles, if spirit is wrong)…The full message can be found here. Hope you too will be wise to apply the 80-20 rule on the really important thing in life 🙂

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2 Responses to “80-20 Rule”

  1. thinkeasy September 9, 2010 at 12:43 am #

    Odd but interesting way to use an economic principle to talk about the importance of the right spirit. =)

  2. Wengang September 12, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

    I love it more and more when your blogs come closer and closer to preaching =)

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