The Vital Few


Wouldn’t life be great if everyone had a great attitude, were friendly, cared for those around them, didn’t litter and added value in everything they did?  Wouldn’t life be great if everyone used the roads in a conscientious way, participated in community upliftment projects and cared about the environment…?

Most of us grow up with the idea that if EVERYONE could just participate, join, act, think, care….things would be better…life would work… and when we see that everyone is not as excited or passionate about a certain topic as we are, we get discouraged and sometimes even give-up on our cause.

The real fact is however that you do NOT need EVERYONE’s participation, input or support  in order to achieve significant changes in society, in your work environment or even in your personal life.

The law of the vital few states that roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. It is also known as the Pareto principle or the 80-20 rule.

Essentially you can apply this principle to almost any set of numbers in life, where you’ll see that it usually takes only a few to yield a major result.

–          20% of customers create 80% of the revenue

–          20% of the input generates 80% of the results

–          80% of sales come from 20% of the sales people

–          80% of results come from 20% of the effort

–          80% of motor vehicle accidents are caused by 20% of drivers

–          80% of a business’s profit will come from 20% of its products or services

You have probably heard of this principle many times, but have you thought of it in the context to changing your world around you?

This applies for both positive and negative influences.

–  A handful of criminals can strike fear into the hearts of a community, consisting of many times their numbers…

–  A few politicians can sow discord and pessimism across a whole nation, due to their ill-intentioned and emotional public outbursts….

–  A single reckless or inconsiderate driver can upset and endanger many people on his trip to work, by driving like an animal…

BUT

–  One lady on a bus, refusing to give-up her seat, can inspire millions and change history…

–  One bold, visionary statement can inspire multitudes and lead to putting a man on the moon…

–  A handful of ‘ordinary’ people starting a feeding scheme ends up saving the lives of thousands of people over the course of a few years.

–  A single man stands-up against crime in his community, starts a street watch, that grows into a neighbourhood watch that ends-up reducing crime in his entire town…

You see, I believe that we make way too little of the small things. We mistakenly believe that we are powerless, too small, too insignificant and this sometimes stops us from pushing on.

Just imagine if just a few of us (NOT EVERYONE) just did something small, positive, uplifting….everyday….IMAGINE the ripple effect of this…in our workplaces….in our communities….in our countries…

Buckminster Fuller  said that  he always wanted to be a “trim-tab”, the trim-tab is the small rudder that turns the big rudder that turns the entire ship.

You see, it only takes a few….who are WILLING to ACT…to put in motion a snowball…to push it down a slope….to create significant changes around us, that will forever leave footprints in the lives of those around us…

Come on!  Forget about being part of the majority or whether they listen or support you!

Be part of the few….the VITAL few!!!

Become a trim-tab.

Advertisements

~ by Danie van den Berg on 20/05/2010.

5 Responses to “The Vital Few”

  1. What can the FEW do? -Please respond with your ideas :-) Here are some of mine…

    – Donate Blood (while you’re alive and your organs once you die) and save lives
    – Join a community forum or charity
    – Report potholes and malfunctioning streetlights
    – Write to newspapers if you disagree with political views – but don’t just critisize, propose solutions!
    – Stand for what’s right, fair and just
    – Fight for those who can’t fight for themselves
    – Throw your trash in the binm and pick-up the trash of those who don’t
    – Close the dripping tap
    – Smile and speak to the security guard with the mindnumbingly boring 12-hour shift

    Tipping Point Definition:”The moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point; the point when everyday things reach epidemic proportions”

    • I can do the following:
      – Joining a charity or forum
      – Report potholes, malfunctioning streetlights
      – Write to newspapers if you disagree with political views – but don’t just critisize, propose solutions
      – Stand for what’s right, fair and just
      – Fight for those who can’t fight for themselves
      – Throw your trash in the binm and pick-up the trash of those who don’t
      – Close the dripping tap
      – Smile and speak to the security guard with the mindnumbingly boring 12-hour shift.

      Great article

  2. Or what is more commonly known as the chaos theory.

  3. Another thought provoking post…..
    I agree with all the things on your list of things that one person can achieve, starting with the smallest act of kindness. Chatting or smiling to the security guard or the check-out ladies at the supermarket, is a very small gesture. I love to see the chain reaction that sometimes takes place in the traffic on a busy morning. There are people coming into the road from the side roads and they wait patiently for someone to let them in. You let one person in, and up the road they in turn let another person in, and they too let someone in. Maybe there are 5 or 6 people ahead of you, who will have a better day from one simple act of kindness.

  4. @normapink: I love the thought of chain reactions and ripple effects…the mere thought that I can have an influence on many others…is just exhilarating!!!

    Having the courage to start and the commitment to persist…thats the challenge—and I don’t think it happens without purposeful focus—almost as if we need to make it part of our daily habits :-)

    “Do not wait for leaders. Do it alone, person to person.” ~ Mother Theresa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: