Q: The 80:20 Rule is a good theory but does anyone actually apply it?

A. Yes, actually. Some people do, and it can make a positive difference in their lives. A woman who did apply The 80:20 Rule recently shared her experience. Her e-mail went like this:

I recently heard Dr. Taylor speak at an Elderhostel event that I attended in Northern California. I enjoyed her presentations very much. On my journey back to Alaska I had an opportunity to practice some of the techniques that she introduced to the group.

I arrived at the Oakland airport around 1:00 p.m. for a 2:30 p.m. flight and discovered that my flight had been cancelled. My reservations now indicated that I was to leave Oakland at 9:00 pm but connections in Seattle were unavailable. That clearly was not going to work for me. After some searching, the reservation agent found a flight leaving San Jose at 2:15 p.m. with a connecting flight in Seattle.

The shuttle van picked me up and I asked the driver if he could get me to San Jose in time for a 2:15 flight. He said that he would try. So I thought of what I had learned at the seminar. Putting on my seatbelt, I took a deep breath, got out my Sudoku puzzles and started to work on them. The driver looked at me and said in an astonished, "You so calm. Most of my passengers would be highly agitated if not yelling at this point in their travels!" 

I shared information about the 20:80 rule, outlined some of the stress management techniques I had learned, described how cortisol has a deleterious effect on one's brain and body, and thanked him for doing the best he could to get me to the San Jose airport on time. I could not ask for more.

We had a very interesting conversation all the way to the airport, and I learned a lot about business enterprises that were previously unknown to me. And I made my flight in San Jose with time to spare.