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It has been said that 80 percent of the problems and drama in our lives come from 20 percent of the people in our life. It has also been said that 80 percent of our results come from 20 percent of our actions.

It’s known as the 80/20 rule and its message is clear: Most of the positive and negative experiences in our personal and professional lives are connected to a small number of people or activities.

This begs two very simple questions – why would we continue to surround ourselves with the 20 percent of negative people and why would we continue to waste our time on the 80 percent of unproductive activities? The answer is not always as simple as the question but it usually comes down to one of a few things.

1. Perhaps you were unaware of the 80/20 rule. If that is the case, that’s fine, but now it is up to you to make the necessary changes.

2. You may have been aware of this principle but have never taken the time to recognize who the people are in your life that are time suckers and drama magnets or which activities you follow that bring you the greatest results.

3. You understand this principle but you feel so connected to certain people that you just can’t imagine not having them in your life, even if they do not help you get closer to whatever life goals that you have. This same principle applies to unproductive activities. Some of us have become so addicted to Facebook, email and long conversations on the phone that we can’t imagine a world without them in excess.

If you don’t remember anything else from this article, remember this one thing – you can usually gauge how successful somebody is going to be by how many awkward conversations they are willing to have.

People who choose to live by the status quo will always get the results that the masses get. But if you are reading this and you want superior results then do an audit of your time and the activities that you follow on a day-to-day basis and the results that come from each activity.

Don’t stay busy just to be busy by filling your time with worthless activities. Figure out what the most productive activities are that you follow and multiply them.

In the same way take a look at the people you surround yourself with on a regular basis. Do they add something to your life? Do they get you closer to your goals? If they do not fall into one of these categories it is time to either have some awkward conversations and cut bait or just start reprioritizing your schedule for the people that contribute to 80 percent of your happiness.

Jared James is the CEO and Founder of Jared James Enterprises, an internationally sought-after speaker and trainer. James built one of the fastest-growing real estate teams in the country, was inducted into the International Hall of Fame for one of the world’s largest real estate companies and wrote a best-selling book—all before the age of 28. As an acclaimed speaker, James keynotes events for major real estate organizations and conducts regular webinars and training for nationally known organizations like NAR, CRS, Yahoo Real Estate, Trulia and Zillow Academy and blogs regularly for RISMedia.

To stay in touch with Jared James, visit and visit his website at