Willpower and Power Laws

In 1896, an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, noticed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population and that same trend can be found in wealth distribution.

As Pareto described it, the second wealthiest person has half of the wealth of the first. The third wealthiest person had half of the second. And so on.

It was later coined the 80/20 rule and it is also known as a power law. 

Our ability to make difficult decisions follows a similar arc.

We see this all the time in the field. A student doesn’t like a certain adventure activity because in the moment their feet are sore, quads are tired, hands are cold…

The experience is rewarding after a good nights rest—not during the dip.

The bottom line: Our ability to make difficult decisions decreases as the day wears on. Don’t make difficult decisions when you’re tired.