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More effort does not equal more reward

Many people operate from an unwritten rule stating that a gargantuan, time-consuming task is a reliable indicator of both importance and future reward.   But this logic could not be more flawed – and it’s a very costly misconception.

Spending a year on a painting does not guarantee it will be worth more than another completed in a few hours.  Working on a business plan for 5 years does does not guarantee more success than one written in 2 weeks.

This seems quite obvious but we still often fall victim of the childhood axiom that states large sacrifices lead to large rewards. But apart from the alternative world of conventional education, we are not rewarded for “more effort.”

Pareto’s Law, aka the 80/20 principle, demonstrates that the majority of things we do matter very little, so it’s often only a select few things that matter immensely. In other words, a minority of efforts lead to a majority of results.  Therefore, “doing more” or “exerting more” is not equitable to the results achieved.

In any endeavor, there are some tasks that matter much more than others, BUT significance should never be measured by time, effort, or resources consumed.

The world does not track one’s time invested in task, project, or goal.  While ROI is an extremely important metric,  it’s something the individual must track for themselves. What matters in the end is the meaningfulness and quality of the result.

Doing more and “having” more in life is not a matter of committing to more; it’s a matter of recognizing what efforts offer the greatest in return.

Be a Maverick,

– Kent

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5 comments

  • Great application of the 80/20 rule here Kent. I can’t remember who said it, but success is 98% perspiration and 2% inspiration. Putting ideas into action is what most people fail to do.

    Talking about it doesn’t get things done.

  • Asif Huq says:

    I beg to differ, Kent. Although, I agree with your main point of recognising the right opportunity which will bring greater reward. I also think that (more effort = appropriate rewards). Reward will not always be instant or material, some of them will be visible in the long term and non-physical e.g. building a solid relationship with the boss by putting in longer hours.
    Your thoughts…

    • kenthealy says:

      Asif: Thanks for presenting your thought–it’s an idea worth exploring. This post is all about, as you say, “recognising the right opportunity which will bring greater reward.” There is an exception to nearly every rule, but if we plan on playing the odds to our favor through life then it’s a safe bet to realize that most of time, more effort does not always equal an appropriate reward. Things like relationships take time to build, BUT there there is always a more effective and less effective way to go about it. This maxim, in my humble opinion, encourages us to find the most effective path to take. From my experience, many people do things based on antiquated assumptions about how things must be done without impartially analyzing their real return on investment.

  • Raz Badiyan says:

    I was actually thinking about this today! Glad you wrote about it.

  • marty says:

    Great post. That is so true & I agree with you. Time management is an on going battle. Thanks for the reminder!

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