Thinking Magically™ | Apply the Law of the Vital Few to Your Magic

“80% of success is showing up.”
– Woody Allen

Vilfredo Pareto was a Professor of Political Economy at Lausanne, Switzerland and lived from 1848 to 1923. One of his observations was the fact that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by only 20% of the population or, to put it another way, the majority of wealth in Italy was owned and controlled by the effective few. This 80:20 rule has come to be known as the Pareto Principle (or the Law of the Vital Few, as I like to use it) and was originally popularized by Joseph Moses Juran (1904 – 2008) when Juran expanded the Pareto Principle to include observations such as 80% of a problem is caused by 20% of the causes.

Many, many public speakers from all industries and walks of life now tout Juran’s breakthroughs. Naturally, it has become very fashionable to discuss this in the context of business management.

I thought it would be interesting to take what is so fondly shown off in ordinary ways and apply it to a magical way of life.

Let me start you off by admitting that I have not found a Pareto quotation that easily defines the 80:20 rule. Rather, there are simply a plethora of different versions and renditions; clarifications such as:

80% of your perceived value will come from 20% of your work.

80% of what you’re heard to say will come from 20% of what you actually say.

80% of your problems come from only 20% of your employees.

80% of your solutions come from 20% of your employees.

80% of your products are used by 20% of your customers.

80% of your income is paid by 20% of your clients.

80% of your income derives from 20% of your own efforts.

And I could go on and on. What they’re all saying is simply: The vast majority of your outcomes evolve from a smaller percentage of your actions than you might at first imagine.

What does all this mean for you as you follow a magical way of life?

Well, as magicians, we’re concerned with both the process of doing magic and the results of that magic. The Pareto Principle affords you an easy way to determine precisely how to you should be focusing both your deeds and your decisions.

Take a moment and contemplate the following:

80% of your abundance will come from 20% of your desired outcomes. What are the goals that will bring you the most abundance?

80% of your outcomes will occur because of the support of 20% of your friends. Who are the friends who will help you acquire or achieve what you want?

80% of your results will come from 20% of your effort. Which of your deeds are most likely to bring you your desired effects?

80% of your personal power arises from 20% of your intentions. Which of your purposes are most likely to increase your ability to control outcomes?

This is just a sampling of what you can do with the Pareto Principle as applied to magic. Once you explore the questions I’ve given you, start expanding the inquiry to determine how you can be more effective and efficient with your attention and intention.

When I ask you to focus on the goals that will bring you the most abundance, you necessarily have to prioritize what’s important and what isn’t.

When I ask you to focus on those friends who bring you the most help in achieving your goals, you must rank your friends and then determine whether (using the Pareto Principle) you’re actually spending (wasting) 80% of your time with the least helpful of your network of friends.

When I ask you to realize that most of your power comes from your highest ranking intentions, you start to gain clarity on what you should be concentrating on.

Let me put this another way using the context of the title Law of the Vital Few (and you’ll see why I like this name better because it’s much more dramatic). Simply put, small things are vital, many things are superficial.

All I’m asking you to do is to think about the Law of the Vital Few.

Then start considering how you spend your time, your efforts, your energy, and your heartbeats. Now, start focusing on the 20% of your life and intentions and desires that really matter rather than continuing to do what a lot of us do — spending 80% of our time and efforts and energy and heartbeats jumping from one shiny object to another without any real, consistent focus or results.

Put another way, only 20% of your personal power is really needed to bring you 80% of what you want. It’s time to start prioritizing, don’t you think?

Magic is all about transforming realities. The Law of the Vital Few helps you create those transformations in a wise manner.

I would love to continue the conversation with you by you subscribing at or you joining me on any of the major social media sites to take this discussion to an even deeper level.

© 2015 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.

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