Why 80% Will Never Succeed in His Life

Most people have heard of the Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 Rule. The premise is that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. It can and does apply to most things in life:


  • If you’re in business, 20% of your clients bring you 80% of your revenue.
  • If you look in your closet, you likely wear 20% of your clothing 80% of the time.
  • In any group of people, 20% will be top high achievers and 80% will struggle to reach high levels of success.


A few years ago, I was privileged to read a “secret” fax that Dan Kennedy (“millionaire maker”) sent to some of his advisors. He was warning them of a further application of this rule that he had seen in his 30+ years of working with business owners.

Here in part is what it said:

“Take any population (salesforce, high school, small town). It divides itself 5/15/80. 5% are stars, 15% are pretty good and 80% are clueless and useless.” (Dan’s words – not mine!)

“And if you take all the wealth away from the 5% and divvy it up amongst the 80%, in short order, the 5% will get it all back. Not really because they’re so exceptional. More because the 80% choose to be so unexceptional.”

Dan Kennedy is not one to mince words. But ever since I read this, I have paid attention to it and I see this concept everywhere.

The 5% excel NO MATTER WHAT. It doesn’t matter if they have no money, no mentors, no education – they succeed by doing whatever it takes.

The 15% have potential. It seems that if they do get the coaching, the education, or the right opportunity at the right time – they embrace it and will succeed.

However, the 80% – it doesn’t matter if they have the perfect circumstances, money, opportunity right in front of them, guidance, mentorship – they STILL won’t move!

And this is what we all have to remember. WANTING success or happiness or wealth isn’t enough. EVERYONE wants those things. But only 20% ever get them.

So the “moment of truth” question for you is – are YOU in the 20%? Here’s how you will know.






If you want something but are unwilling to do what it takes to get that thing, you are in the 80% who will languish at the bottom of success in any area.


  • If you want freedom + but won’t quit your job = frustration
  • If you want a relationship + but won’t do the necessary introspection to find out why you keep repelling people = frustration
  • If you want more money + but aren’t willing to quit shopping = frustration
  • If you want a successful business + but aren’t willing to invest in yourself or the business = frustration


This isn’t meant to discourage you. If anything, it’s a wake-up call. As Dan said above, it’s not that the 20% are so exceptional. It’s that the 80% CHOOSE to be unexceptional.

It’s a choice.

By Nancy E Roberts