Saturday, January 24, 2009

Curious about Proportion: How Does It Relate to and Affect Our Lives, Businesses and Beliefs?

Definition of Proportion: The relation or adaptation of one portion to another, or to the whole, as respect magnitude, quantity, or degree; comparative relation; ratio. A part considered comparatively; a share. To adjust in a suitable proportion, as one thing or one part to another; as, to proportion the size of a building to its height; to proportion our expenditures to our income.

When I decided on “Proportion” for this week’s theme, I was answering so many of the e-mails and articles I have recently received recently about business and goals. If you haven’t read, heard, or experienced the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle), I will start with it. The amazing part is that it does work in every area of our lives, businesses and beliefs.

One of my favorite bloggers, Yaro Starak, has written an excellent article about it, called, “What Is the 80/20 Rule and Why It Will Change Your Life.”

Let me clarify:

  • 80% of our income results from 20% of our clients; 20% of our income comes from the other 80% of our clients.
  • 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts – so it is important to figure out what the 20% are.
  • 80% of our beliefs are formed by 20% of what we read and hear.
  • Even in the area of weight: 20% of what we weigh results from the exercise we do, while 80% results from what we eat. So watch those calories.

I challenge you to find and determine if and in what areas the 80/20 rule is affecting proportion in your life.

However, there are many other ways and habits that affect our proportions. How much of your time is spent watching TV, surfing the Internet, reading, playing games, sleeping, working on relationships, talking on the telephone, and more?

In addition, there is a plethora of interesting proportion quotations that speak to the wide area of thoughts by the experts about proportion. I will share here a sprinkling of the many I found:

  • The results you achieve will be in direct proportion to the effort you apply.” - Denis Waitley, American writer
  • Do a little bit more than average and from that point on our progress multiplies itself out of all proportion to the effort put in.” - Paul J. Meyer, American businessman
  • A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” - Henry David Thoreau, American author
  • We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.” - Christian Nestell Bovee, American author
  • The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” - Vince Lombardi, American coach
  • We will receive not what we idly wish for but what we justly earn. Our rewards will always be in exact proportion to our service.” - Earl Nightingale, American entertainer

A few more:

  • The overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt, American President
  • The man who can speak acceptably is usually given credit for an ability out of all proportion to what he really possesses.” - Lowell Thomas, American journalist
  • The older I get the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first. A process which often reduces the most complex human problem to a manageable proportion.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower, American President
  • We get real results only in proportion to the real values we give.” - James Cash Penney, American businessman
  • Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem.” - John Galsworthy, English author
  • Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience.” - George Bernard Shaw, Irish dramatist

So, what do you think? I would love to read your comments.