Rick Goings on Why the Pareto Principle Saves Him From Burnout

The chairman and CEO of Tupperware Brands Corporation discusses his morning routine and the life hack that helps him remember what matters most.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global:  What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Rick Goings: I meditate — I have done TM since I was 30.

TG: What gives you energy?

RG: Working out. My daily workout consists of half cardio and significant weight training. Our muscles are, after all, the supports for our skeletal structure. Strong muscles keeps one standing erect even though aging.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

RG: It’s simple – the Pareto Principle … “only 20% of things matter most”. I always am sifting for what matters … and what doesn’t.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.

RG: I am a work in progress and so most of the books that I read contribute to the constant “improvement of me”.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?

RG: My cell phone and I have strained relationship. While it’s with me I almost never answer a call. I just noticed that I have 31 voice messages. My wife Susan’s ring is the Temptations’ song, MY GIRL — I always answer that one! Actually my cell phone is mostly a text machine and a camera.

TG: How do you deal with email?

RG: Here’s a clue … just noted I have 146 unread emails. Why unopened and unread?? Frankly, in the last 7 days I have traveled to Washington DC, Paris, Los Angeles and now I am writing this from Mexico City (as a favor to Arianna, who I adore). I never read emails before 10am and I tend to answer when a long trip provides the time.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

RG: Call someone I love to tell them I miss them. Most often my wife.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

RG: Rarely happens. Meditation, fitness, and the Pareto Principle tend to provide me with a warrior’s mental, physical, and spiritual centering. The “middle path”, according to Buddhist philosophy, keeps you from the soft shoulders which is where burnout is prevalent.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?

RG: I feel little failures every day. I have said that I have learned more from my failures and face plants than my successes. This morning it was a failure of “patience” with a hotel staff member. Good news is I punish myself (and apologize).

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

RG: “Life’s journey should be a quest to become a better version of yourself.”

Rick Goings is Chairman and CEO of Tupperware Brands Corporation. Throughout his career he has held a number of global senior management positions in Europe, Asia and the U.S.

Goings is a Steward of the World Economic Forum’s Gender, Education and Work initiative, as well as a UN Women (UNW) HeForShe Impact Champion and founding member of the UNW Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council. He serves on the boards of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Smithsonian Institution, the Global Peter Drucker Forum and Rollins College. He has been recognized by the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy as a “Knight of the Legion of Honor”, by the People’s Republic of China with the Marco Polo Award and was named CEO of the Year by the Holmes Group in 2013. Goings was educated at Guilford College, and is the recipient of a number of honorary doctorates. He served in the U.S. Navy on the Destroyer, USS Power.

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