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Guest Post: Greatness and Humility

A few days ago, I wrote an open letter to a good friend of mine - "I Think Greatness is Something You Are, Not Something You Do" - I said to him, I'm not a great man, just a normal man working on great things. Greatness is something you do, not something you are.

To give you some background, my friend Brendon is just one of the most amazingly good people in the world. He takes care of everyone around him, his mind, body, and spirit are sharp. He's a black belt, an excellent programmer, a philosopher, a Shodan in Go (actually, even stronger than that - he's a Shodan under the Asian rankings, so probably even higher in America), a hard worker, extremely loyal, a clear and free thinker, widely read and knowledgeable, and again - an amazingly good guy. I've learned a lot from him (notably, he taught me how to play Go, sysadmin Linux, understand basketball at a very high level, improve at martial arts, improve my fitness, and other good stuff - we'd usually go drink green tea and play Go at Samurai Restaurant in Boston, go fight in the park, talk philosophy out at nightclubs, do stuff like that).

He wrote back to me about greatness and humility. I think this is a really beautiful piece, so I asked him if I could gently edit it and put it up. He graciously agreed. It's long, but go ahead and just start it and give it whatever time you have - there's a lot of amazing insight in here.

A Quick Favor Request - if you learn from this or it helps you, please send Brendon a quick email to mail@bobz.in - he was actually a little gun-shy about having such a personal piece put up with such raw power in it. He only agreed when I told him how many people it could help - so please, drop him a short line to say thanks if this teaches you as much as it did me.

Without further ado...

Could the 80/20 Principle be Wrong?

On DROdio

When I started this blog in 2006, my first post was about my belief in the 80/20 principle, also known as the Pareto principle.

I've lived my entire entrepreneurial career with the 80/20 rule as a guiding principle, and it's served me very well.  As an entrepreneur, you simply can't put all of your time into everything, so putting 20% into any one thing and reaping 80% of the benefits is a very time-maximizing way to live.

But over the past 2 years at PointAbout, I've begun to feel like it's also limiting, but I haven't been able to put my finger on exactly how.  Part of what I've been feeling I expressed in my Nov 2009 post on ABBA, which, as my co-founder Sean Shadmand puts it, is really just the thought that you have to be focused on what you're unfocused on (read the whole post if that doesn't make sense).

What's been gnawing on me is more than just a focus on preventing ABBA, though.  I've been wondering what's truly possible with extreme focus.

This very insightful post on "Why the 80-20 Rule is Wrong" by David Wurtz just put me over the edge.  I'm becoming a believer.

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