Emotional intelligence and the 30% rule: less is more

About: Focus only on the essential and the best

Steve Jobs already said it, after returning to Apple from Next, while being involved in Disney. Focus on the incredibly good ideas and leave the rest. He himself was an example of an abundance of creativity and focus on “beautiful things”. But maybe sometimes a little bit too much to be successful with them. Examples are the Lisa Computer, the original Macintosh and the Next computer.

But he was finally able to learn from his mistakes. This is were emotional intelligence comes to play an important role. He really learned from being fired from Apple after he made mistakes, and he also learned from the mistake he made with the Next project. But after returning to Apple, he did not make these mistakes anymore and discarded any not really excellent product on the roadmap.

Also, by correcting an another mistake made before during Apple times. Changing the focus on hardware to a focus on software. He brought in the software he created for Next as the next software platform for Apple products in general. To keep and make things simpler. Another example here is to change from the Motorola chip sets not to the IBM chip sets but to the Intel chip sets and finally to ARM chip sets. So, the focus on software allowed for flexibility on the hardware side.

The same is true for Elon Musk with all of his companies and products, simplicity and flexibility. He can change the rockets being built from carbon fiber to stainless steel foreseeing problems and difficulties while the concept stays the same. A rocket powered by methane and oxygen, because methane can be harvested on Mars. But what is really important in his concept is the focus on software not on hardware. The Tesla cars will get a completely new software soon for Self Driving, which he himself is already using and testing. This is because basically Elon Musk is a software guy, his first product was a game he created himself. And a focus on simplicity. If you look at all the ideas that led to companies than you can clearly see this.

Interestingly because both Apple and Tesla are known for their innovative and beautiful hardware. A Tesla is a driving computer or actually it is a driving big smartphone. The hardware can be adjusted to the needs of human beings. Made more beautiful or more comfortable, more usable. The focus on the human being is on the hardware side. This is what makes Apple and Tesla stand out. The focus on emotional intelligence, things that appeal to human beings and not only to nerds.

Another example that immedately comes to mind is Mozart. Maybe even the best example. He could create very complex music, as Bach did with his fugues. But his most well known pieces are simple such as his father Leopold created (the Children Symphonie). Think of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik composed right after his father died. But also Rondo Alla Turca and the melody for the Dutch national hymn Wilhelmus. And above all the Magic Flute which reached other audiences than just the elite. His Requiem is a magic and wonderful combination of complexity and simplicity which he wrote for himself when he felt his end coming near (Agnus Dei). Mozart had a very productive life next to being creative and having a lot of ideas all the time. He was able to create a vast repertoire by focusing on the really beautiful ones mostly driven by important things that happened in his life such as love and death.

It is not only about focus here, but to apply emotional intelligence into your everyday life. Jobs, Musk and Mozart are very good examples. Apart from all of their technological brilliance (Zu schön für unsere Ohren und gewaltig viel Noten, lieber Mozart). Just enough he replied). They were and are able to translate their talents into really useful products and solutions for the benefit of other human beings and humanity in general. This is the real genius and what can be called the 30 percent rule.

Why do you need the 30 percent rule? We live in an age of distraction. Never-ending notifications, instantaneous communication, and easy access to endless information. Fear of missing out moves us motivates us to try to do everything that our minds and hearts desire. But as we quickly move from one thing to another, preferably using our mobile phones (actually we have become computers more or less) we discover that we can’t do everything. If we try, we will not do anything well.

Jobs knew this. Elon Musk know this and acts upon this because he wants to achieve a goal. Mozart learned to do this from a very early age being asked by his father to perform for royalty. It could not only be a gimmick but hat to be really appealing music. The total becomes more than the sum of its parts. By focusing on the 30 percent, the best of the best, we can create a simpler and a better life that is really enjoyable and productive. How to make the 30 percent rule work for you? Find things that are fun and interesting to work on. But don’t forget that everything takes time and resources which are limited.

So, you have to ask yourself if you make the best use of your resources. Are you focusing on the best of the best you can do? Am I wasting time on useless things? What is the most important is to take time to analyze and reflect objectively. Do this every day or every week. Learn from your mistakes. They are not really mistakes but learning points. Make changes if needed, correct the mistakes or don’t take them anymore. If you think things through, choose wisely, and work hard–you can do it right and create the most beautiful, complex complex and simple things. As Einstein used to say: Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. Use your emotional and social intelligence. We are already smart enough anyway.

Recommendation: Make a list of things that you want to achieve, follow it the next days. Look at what you already have achieved and what is not important. Add more and better goals.

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