My 95-5 Rule: | by Sahil Bloom

Sahil Bloom


3 months ago

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My 95-5 Rule: In any arena, there are: (1) A few simple, boring building blocks that will get you 95% of the results. (2) A long tail of complex, sexy solutions that may get you the last 5% of the results. Always make sure to nail (1) before thinking about paying for (2).

People will try to sell you the sexy solutions. The signs: • They typically sound exotic and impressive. • They usually have some fancy name. • They are just 3 easy payments of [X]. • They market “easy” or “quick” or “hacks” Beware these people. Focus on the boring.

Example: Physical Health (1) 95% Building Blocks: • Eat real, whole foods • Sleep 7-8 hours • Get daily sunlight • Exercise for 60 minutes daily (2) 5% Solutions: • Keto, IF, Carnivore diets • Supplements • Cold exposure Nail everything in (1) before thinking about (2).

Example: Personal Finance (1) 95% Building Blocks: • Solid savings rate • Auto-investing in index funds • No credit card debt • Basic retirement savings (2) 5% Solutions: • Stock picking • Options and derivatives trading Nail everything in (1) before thinking about (2).

This rule came out of a reflection on my own failures. Most of the mistakes I made could be characterized as “unforced errors”—a direct result of my focusing on 5% solutions before I had a deep connection with the 95% building blocks. Don’t make that same blunder.

The playbook for when you enter a new arena: • Identify the 95% building blocks • Execute against them consistently Two paths from there: (1) Save the time/energy and stick with the 95% building blocks. OR (2) Deploy more time/energy to execute the last 5% solutions.

I’m a nerd and like to go down rabbit holes, so I generally go with Path 2 in every arena. I get a lot of energy out of the process of exploring the fringe concepts. (Hence why you see me sharing content on cold exposure, blood panel testing, food sensitivity testing, etc.)

But if you’re not a nerd—or if you’re time constrained and don’t want it to consume your life—just stop after nailing the 95% building blocks. You’ll save a whole lot of money, time, and energy in the long run. You can put those savings to better use elsewhere in your life!

I don’t think this is a supremely novel concept—it’s a simple modification of the Pareto Principle—but it does help me contextualize and avoid unforced errors. Hopefully it helps some of you! Follow me @SahilBloom for more writing on wealth, personal improvement, and growth.

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