Why You Should Only Implement 10%

PerryMarketing Blog41 Comments

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A lot of people feel GUILTY. All the time.


Because they have all these courses, books and training, and have gone to a bunch of seminars and haven’t hardly implemented any of it.

Guilt. Blame. Self condemnation.

Well, if you’ve done NONE of it, you *should* feel guilty, and get your hind end in gear.

But if you’re like most successful people, you’ve done 10-20%, and you’ve probably skimmed the best cream off the top. So if you lock yourself in your cave resolving to do the other 80-90% before you get more education, you’re violating 80/20. And you’re stuck.

Case in point:

In my office I have something like 1000 books.

I’ve read maybe 200 of them cover to cover. I still have yet to crack 200 and the rest I’ve only skimmed.

That’s about right. That’s perfect 80/20 implementation. (It also means I’ve read several of them 5-10 times.)

I could completely stop going to masterminds, stop buying books, stop buying courses and attending seminars for the next 5 years. I suppose, in theory, I’ve got so much existing material I could just coast on that.

But I would never, ever do that. Ever. Here’s why:

1) I am ALWAYS watching for the opportunity to sweep a $1 million strategy off the table, in favor of a $10 million strategy.

2) The education and information I’ve collected to date reflects my state of mind in this year, last year, the year before, etc. It does not reflect the evolution that I must make next year and beyond.

"So many options for growing my business, but what should I do NOW?" Tell me your most pressing business problems and I'll show you your BEST next step.

3) Quantum leaps always involve rejecting the good in favor of the great. Almost every quantum leap I’ve ever experienced has been a direct result of being with other people in a context of brotherhood and camaraderie and iron sharpens iron with highly competent, sharp people.

So when I go to a seminar or mastermind, if my mind is in top shape, I’m prepared to re-interpret everything I THINK I know in terms of some new, groundbreaking insight. I am actively looking for that insight.

That’s how I keep my diamond-tipped saw blade sharp.

That’s a strategy that will serve you well.

Perry Marshall

P.S.: Almost none of this has anything to do with “The internet is constantly changing” and all that hype. That is an extremely shallow reason. Yes, I could make that argument but frankly I’m not interested in learning much of ANYTHING that is going to be obsolete in a year. And you shouldn’t either. Not unless you want to keep rebuilding your lame-o digital shanty town lemonade stand every six months for the rest of your life.

That is NOT what this is about. This is about expanding your capacity to absorb and implement deeper principles, larger strategies, and become so AGILE that nothing can stop you.

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

41 Comments on “Why You Should Only Implement 10%”

  1. Hi Perry,

    I appreciate you letting me know that I only need to implement 10%-20% of the new things that I learn about; its makes perfect sense, it was an “aha” moment the first time I heard that, one of those times when you hear something for the first time and your gut knows it is the truth. It was a new way of thinking that enabled me to wheel my head trash cart to the curb.

    I have been following your email nuggets and using those to shape my business and ministry strategies since 2014 when we met at a Lance Wallnau Dream Trip in Cabo San Lucas. I just finished “Memos from the Head Office” after participating in a couple of memos calls during the past year. I used the Memos book as a part of my 2-3 hour Renaissance Time each day, took a couple of months to slowly read and digest. I am excited about the opportunity to connect with you again during the Chicago City Tour event.

    May the sun rise ahead of you, the rain fall behind you, the wind follow you, and angels guard your travels.

  2. Agility—when your timing is always perfect.

    It’s like your posts show up at just the right time to guide me in the right direction. Thank you.

  3. Perry,
    After attening Dale Carnigie courses, learning in the “real world” of business for termty years, and studying books I have learned more from your posts, books, and courses in te last year than the previous ten years combined. Value and knowledge is always ongoing as you have intoned. Constant evolution, as taught in the service is my mantra as supported by your thought process. I have truly become a student, sempi to kohi, sensi to student, master to learner of your thiught process and thinking which has made me smarter and more focused. Thank you for what you offer the workd, which is aplicable to the business world as well as life in general. The greatest martial arts teacher in the world, Bruce Lee, had the most extensive library of martial arts books, having studied more than 300 martial arts before creating his owm Jeet Kun Do. He said,” take what you can use, discard the rest”. Sounds familiar right? Making others better is truly a higher calling, and you do that in spades. Please continue making the world a better place by strenghtening us all.

  4. Useful insight! Good way for me to apply your 80/20 book TODAY… oftentimes I feel overwhelmed. This is a good counter-explanation for what’s happening.

    I love finding more and better ways to interpret what I’ve learned from that incredible book.

    Slowly applying… and gaining ground.


  5. You’re correct that “the internet is always changing” is a weak reason for improving oneself. But things are not as they once were either. Back in the day if you bought from Perry you could implement or not. Learn and improve or not.

    However, I think Perry has evolved and is stretching people like me into ways I never expected. The Rosetta Stone event has been terribly hard to implement. Because I had to first see everything differently and then figure out how to change to capitalize on the “new world”. Change is hard, but when you know its necessary and know it’s time – it’s good to have someone to give you accurate information on the path ahead.

  6. Good post–do not feel so guilty now always kept up in School–in fact, was ahead of the game but anxiety came from shiny objects –came to the point that it had to stop—feel like $ thrown away and by the time I get to some of those programs –they will be obsolete–but have read all your stuff including the 80/20 book

  7. To be honest I’ve only read 20% of your book. I’ve not reached implementation yet. But your daily emails have become invaluable and they motivate me to get my hind in gear. I should probably read the book too though.
    Thanks for also selling your book basically for free so I could have the opportunity to read such great content.

  8. Dear Perry,

    If there was one sentance that holds truth I’ve found wading in, spending on books and mentoring and guides me through the learning curve I have as a copywriter…
    it’s the following quote from Perry’s article.

    “This is about expanding your capacity to absorb and implement deeper principles, larger strategies, and become so AGILE that nothing can stop you.”

    So glad you wrote this post, Perry.

    It’s true value to me – since I came upon this truth deep within me – is you echoing this truth from where you hail.

  9. So true. I’ve spent years trying to learn everything and reading every book before implementing. Now I’m focusing on the one or two best strategies and my business is taking off.

    Thanks Perry!

  10. Dear Perry,

    Guilty as charged. Stop. Comments above mostly from kindred spirit writing stuff out of MY head. Stop. So much like confessions from ‘Procrastinator-non reading-book buyers Anonymous’. Stop. There is hope for me yet. Stop. I think…

  11. Like most martial arts, theres the theory and then theres the practice. I was mind boggled one day trying to find a way before I start. Then one day I decided to launch even though it may only have been 10% of what I know. From that 10%, the knowledge and progress just piles onto that 10% and still growing.

  12. Perry, I agree with the main point of this post, but coming from you arguing for continuing to buy seminars might be considered as special pleading. I’m curious. How many seminars, mastermind courses etc have you paid for in the past? Thanks.

    1. I have been to hundreds of seminars. I’m spending five figures to be in one single program right now and it’s not the only one. My friend Kevin Thompson spends nearly $200k/year on his marketing education. You never stop learning.

  13. I just got off the phone with your customer service person, Sam, and I have to say it was a wonderful experience. She was warm, patient, and very helpful.

  14. Perry, you somehow communicate the ideas in my head that my subconscious is unable to interpret, and you always do it with clarity and finesse. Thank you :)

  15. Perry, this is from the heart.

    I bought your book 80/20 Sales and Marketing, which I think is excellent.

    You are extremely smart and clearly successful, which I admire.

    But the gut feeling I get from your communications, sometimes directly, but often indirectly, is your real intention is to sell me something, not to help. Some will disagree, and they are of course entitled to their opinion. But so am I. And my gut feeling is you are really a salesman who wants to sell more stuff.

    There are marketing and business consultants who always have something new to sell. Regardless of whether most customers honestly get value from it or not. They constantly have a new webinar, seminar, course, CD set, DVD set, or book to sell. But their real intention is to make money, because they know a certain percentage of their customers will keep coming back and buying more, whether they use it or get value from it.

    Some people are okay with that.

    I’m not.

    The longer I live the more I trust my gut feeling about whether someone truly has my best intentions at heart, or if they are just out to sell me something else.

    A good analogy is going to visit your doctor. How would you feel if every time you went to see your doctor, even if just for a check up, he or she always had something new medical device or treatment to sell you? Or who quickly recommended a very costly service?

    I’ve been to a doctor or two like this, and my gut feeling was their primary intent, their core motivation, was to get as much money out of my pocket as possible – not what was in my best interest.

    I left and never returned.

    On the other hand, there is my primary care physician whom I have seen for 12 years. I trust him deeply. I know in my heart he truly has my best interest in mind. He would never recommend something just to make a buck, only if he felt it was honestly the best option for my health.

    Before doing business with anyone, I often think of my doctor, and ask myself, ‘Does this person truly have my best intentions at heart?’

    If my gut tells me ‘no’, then I move on.

    Also just installed Ghostery and see that when I visited this page today, Ghostery blocked fifteen trackers. I’m sure you have a solid business justification for doing this, but sorry, I value my privacy and do not think this is cool.


  16. Thanks Perry for freeing me from the ‘need’ and releasing me to keep growing!

    I especially loved your point:
    Quantum leaps always involve rejecting the good in favor of the great. Almost every quantum leap I’ve ever experienced has been a direct result of being with other people in a context of brotherhood and camaraderie and iron sharpens iron with highly competent, sharp people.

    Thanks for being one of my sharp people!

    Andy Mason

  17. Perry thank you for sending these encouraging messages to brighten my day. Even though I know better I spend 80% of my time toiling over the next move and 20% actually moving. Then at best 80% stoked and 20% fearful (stressed) If there is a simple way to remove fear from risk I sure would be interested. Everyone I know including myself goes through fear, yet fear is what always turns off perfect manifestation. Even my 20% fear 80% stoked seems far from the mark, how do I quit fear cold turkey?

  18. I have studied so much that I have no idea what to do with it all.
    Seems pointless in retrospect.
    Wish I had just bought some houses to fix up instead or gone on some nice vacations.

  19. Heads up eyes open, couldn’t ‘ t agree more with importance of being mindful in choice we make in self- development and what we do to invest in lifelong lerarning, but it is more important to use what we learn, and integrate it into daily habit forming.
    For me work in progress, and this both personal and professional stakes, I ve recently qualified in Tai Chi Movement for Wellbeing teaching, as well as attended workshops in marketing success, mind body and soul vital

  20. Definitely agree, I’ve been trying to stack & arrange my life according to 80/20 (prioririds like spiritual health, psychological health, physical health etc…and the results are are conclusive with what ur saying Perry thanks a lot and keep em coming!

  21. 80.20 all the way.
    We are moving target, work in progress a collection of concepts and misconceptions. As we evolve and grow each bit of teaching can affect us in a new way. Dan Kennedy five years ago told me this, now he tells me that. Dan is still saying the same thing but i have changed.
    Scan, take the cream, bin the rubbish, keep on file the good stuff and when you are ready it comes to the surface again.
    I love the idea of immersion in one teachers set ideas. Till you could say them in your sleep, but web teaching is not like that it is more superficial, guilt ridden and shallow.

  22. HI, Perry,

    I’ve been hanging around Planet Perry since about 2007…and I’m always surprised (but probably shouldn’t be) when you hit a nerve.

    This post hit a nerve.

    I too, have a library ( but only about 300 books) in my office…and they stare at me every day, challenging my manhood:

    “Dude, why haven’t you done what you read in me? You know I’m right! What’s your problem, you slacker!”

    The result: Paralysis

    It’s like eating three thanksgiving day feasts for lunch, and then having to choose between going for a 5 mile run or sitting and watching the Lions lose another one…

    Thanksgiving Day coma-on-the-couch wins every time! (closely followed by guilt, self-loathing and remorse.)

    Your advice on only trying to implementing 10% makes a ton of sense. It’s akin to talking a walk around the block a couple times (instead of the 5 mile run), followed by watching the second half of the Lions game.

    Thanks once again, Perry!


  23. This is by far one of the best articles I read recently about business implementation and self improvement. I struggled for years with guilt and self blame, and therefore procrastination – because the information I absorbed with my mind though books, webinars, coaching programs etc – was huge compared with very little implementation I did – and to make things worse, I felt compelled to deliberately avoid any implementation before completely 100% reading and understanding everything. Of course, that made things worse…Your post was perfectly inline with what I need right now. Thanks

  24. Hi Perry,

    Thanks for this post. I was about to feel guilty about purchasing a few courses I haven’t go through completely yet.

    But at some point in the future I’ll connect the dots, as Steve Jobs used to say.



  25. Curious what the books you’ve read 5-10 times are Perry? Scientific Advertising is one I’m sure…..: )

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