Exploiting your values
The 80/20 rule
The grass is always greener on the other side...or is it? Computer science has a term for this inevitable unknown, the explore-exploit trade-off
. How do we know if something better is coming along?
: Exploration is taking a gamble, dabbling in lots of things. Exploitation is capitalizing on one sure thing. For instance...
After months of hunting, you landed your dream job. Life is good. You're happy.
You're exploiting deeply. You happily eat, sleep, and live for your job for 6 months.
...a LinkedIn recruiter hits you up about a job that seems like an even better fit 😱
So, do you go for it and explore a new opportunity?
Or do you stay and continue to exploit your current job for all it's worth? 🤔
It's near impossible to know where the greenest grass is, hence why "trade-off" is key in the explore-exploit concept. We can only do one at a time. When you find that thing that feels so right (like that perfect job), it's easy to dive deep into exploit mode.
But how do you know this thing will make you the most fulfilled if you're not allowing yourself to explore what else is out there? Insert the 80/20 rule.
of your time goes to exploiting the "thing" you've finally found
to exploring new things
The 80% is your baseline for green grass. The 20% is your trick to prevent negative feelings of pre-mature settling and regret. Use 20% of your time for pure exploration. This time may be really good or really bad...that's part of the gamble. As you're exploring, gauge if you're indeed exploiting the right "thing." Ask yourself...
Do I still enjoy my main "thing" more?
Does my gut tell me I'm still focusing on the right "thing"?
Am I still more excited to do my main "thing?"
If you err toward "yes" for each question, chances are, your grass is pretty damn green. If you start to lean toward "no," it might be time to re-evaluate how you're spending the bulk of your time.
We often feel dissatisfied when we're ignoring our core values or take actions that go against them. Our values change as we grow. Balancing exploration and exploitation can help ensure you're exploiting things that are most meaningful to you.
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