In today’s video, I’m going to share another 80/20 rule, and if you’re struggling with retroactive or obsessive jealousy, this is going to be useful for you.

So: what is the overall framework for overcoming retroactive jealousy?

Zachary Stockill: In a previous video, I spoke about an 80/20 rule. Anytime you have a problem in life, whether it’s obsessive, retroactive jealousy, or anything else, you should only devote around 20% of your time to defining that problem, whereas the other 80% of your time should be used to implement and work toward real solutions.

By far the most famous 80/20 rule is something called the “Pareto principle”.

Parado was an Italian economist at the end of the 19th century. He discovered that in any situation in life, you can attribute 80% of the results to 20% of the causes.

When I first encountered this principle, I was a bit skeptical. But then you start looking around. Trying to apply it to different things, events, and scenarios in life, it’s a little creepy. Because you’ll find that it applies to so much in life.

To give you an example, this YouTube video that you’re watching right now, I don’t make this video for 100% of my subscribers. Because as you see in these videos, not all 10,000+ watch all of these videos. In fact, I would imagine that I can attribute 80% of the entire views on my channel, to around 20% of you.

So if you’re watching this video shortly after I released it, I’m making this video for you.

I’m making this video for the most engaged members of my audience. The people who I believe are most likely to actually commit to this plan of overcoming jealousy.

Another example, only around 20% watching this video right now are the people who keep the lights on. The people who commit to investing in my products and services. Investing in one on one coaching, my online courses, buy my book, and leave a review on Amazon.

One more example, if you go to the gym, chances are 80% of your results in the gym stemmed from about 20% of the actions you take in the gym. Those final reps are when you feel your muscles starting to hurt. That final 20% of reps are likely for the vast majority of your muscle growth.

You can attribute 80% of the consequences to around 20% of the causes.

How does this apply to things like overcoming retroactive and obsessive jealousy? If you’re working towards overcoming retroactive jealousy, you’re struggling with unwanted intrusive thoughts and often obsessive curiosity about your partner’s past, and you finally committed to beating it for good, you started committing to someone’s program, whether it’s my program or anyone else’s. You’re reading books, going to therapy, meditating, exercising, watching your diet, you’re not drinking too much. You’ve stopped asking your partner more questions about their past and so on.

While all of this is likely attributing to your success, there’s a good chance that around 80% of the benefits of these actions can be attributed to around 20% of the actual actions you’re taking.

There’s likely only a pretty small handful of exercises or resources you’re looking at, or new habits you’re building, there’s probably only around 20% of that’s contributing to 80% of the positive results you’re experiencing.

If you’re already on the path toward overcoming something like retroactive and overcoming obsessive jealousy, be extremely critical of yourself and look at everything you’re doing with a very fine lens. Figure out in as much detail and as much clarity as possible what you’re doing that is most beneficial towards your success. The things that you believe are making the biggest difference in your life.

If you found a particular guided meditation, whether it’s mine or anyone else’s, devote more time and energy to working on that guided meditation.

If you found one book that you found particularly clarifying, devote even more time and attention to rereading that book. Taking even better notes, going through all of the exercises laid out in that book.

Look at everything you’re doing, and try to figure out what’s working and what’s not. This is the framework for overcoming retroactive jealousy.

Try to pinpoint which steps and actions you’re taking that are having the biggest impact on your life. Do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.

It’s so crucial to do this in life. Whatever it is, 20% of the actions you’re taking are leading to 80% of your results. And it’s really on you to get very clear about that 20% and then if you can, double down on it.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.