10.02.2015

Solid B Minus - Music and the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule describes the non-linear relationship between effort (input) and results (output). I've done the calculations, so trust me when I tell you it basically boils down to the following:

20% effort = 80% results
40% effort = 96% results
60% effort = 99.2% results

Above 60% effort, you begin to experience a much stronger effect of the Law of Diminishing Returns, where it takes disproportionately greater effort to eek out small gains in your results. So I won't even give you the results percentages for that. But if you ever need more than 99.2% output (a solid A+), you can use the 80/20 non-linear function to figure out what you need to put in.

When I do music, I tend to aim for somewhere between 96-99% results, which means giving it about 50% effort, ballpark. This usually manifests itself as solid, relatively biff free performances when I play live music. I could get by with 80% results (20% effort), a solid B minus, the baseline threshold of acceptability for most things in America.

But I like to go the extra mile (or extra 20% effort). Thus, I put in more time and effort to achieve at least 96% results. I have that luxury due to an awesomely supportive girlfriend who loves my music and recognizes what a defining and important thing it is for me, and also I have no kids. 40% to 50% effort on music is compatible with my work schedule (underwriting for music, requiring about 20% effort) and social life (30% to 40% effort), which account for the remaining 50% to 60% of my equally productive and satisfying waking life.

My punk rock band, EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE, is my favorite group to play with because all the members strive for at least 96% to 99% quality results. They challenge me to work hard and the music and performances show it. I've realized I can't really settle for less than A work (96%) in my musical pursuits, so I seek opportunities that encourage that. Sadly, EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE is taking a quasi-hiatus, so I am seeking additional opportunities to fill the void. My guitarist buddy Derek wants to put together a super band and I am totally behind the idea, but thus far we have not put in the needed effort to make it a reality. I am hoping to remedy that once the EDDIE quasi-hiatus is in full effect, starting this Sunday October 4, when drummer Frank (aka Dano) leaves for a thrilling six month travel adventure supporting another touring musician as the sound guy. I think EDDIE is still going to perform here and there with a sub drummer, but not sure. We are definitely going to work hard on finishing our studio album while Dano is jetsetting about the globe.

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