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Eighty per cent is perfection, do just well not very well.

Posted on: 2021-04-22

Categories - Daily

You might have read it many times. The 80/20 principle. Twenty per cent of your efforts bring Eighty per cent of the results. I want to add to the saying from a spiritual perspective. Rather I want to let you know a beautiful story I came across reading in a book of koans by Ft Amma Samy. Interestingly it highlights not doing things very well, just doing them well.

Any action that is accompanied with a thought "I am doing good" depresses the benevolent man. There was a UN medical team who wanted to help population growth in Africa. They gave best medical knowledge and facilities to the midwives to improve the birth rate in several regions. Although to their dissatisfaction, they came to know that the population is not growing at all. It was later figured out that the very reason for the low population was not related to the women going into labour. Rather it was because of malnutrition and lack of food in the regions. 

This is a sad story. But there is a lot to learn from this. There is a saying in the Soto sect of zen - "Eighty per cent is perfection". This is very insightful. Especially when I am standing on the juncture of taking a long road of consistency. 

How often we focus on giving our hundred per cent, if not one hundred and ten per cent. Our brains are wired in a way that we are always pushed to do more. To act from a place of force, rather than ease. But we often foresee the fact that it might turn out to be a disaster.

The very key lies in giving just eighty percent of your effort to twenty percent that works. It feels comforting and seems like deliverance from burn out.

Hence do things well. But not very well. If you do things well, others will see it and think,"Yes that is a good job, that is what I should have done if I had been doing it."

(Last sentence is quoted directly from the book)




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