What would be the most helpful thing?

William Liao
1 min readMar 24, 2023

According to the “80–20” rule, also known as the Pareto principle, about 80% of your outcomes are the result of 20% of your inputs.

In other words, one out of every five things you do will have a massive impact on your goals.

The other four, while useful, won’t be nearly as effective… which is kind of crazy to think about!

Obviously, there will be exceptions, but this rule generally seems to apply in many areas of life.

With this in mind, it’s important to survey your options — things you could do — through the lens of what would be most helpful in the moment.

What’s the one thing you could do that would make everything a little bit easier?

What’s the one question you could answer that would provide the most clarity?

What’s the one issue you could address that would remove a major roadblock?

By adopting a frame of mind that is constantly searching for the specific, high-leverage activities that help pave the rest of the way forward you can put yourself in a position to save yourself a lot of effort while making good progress.



William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)