Price’s Law – The Weird Principle To Supercharge Your Career

Disclosure: The following post may include affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy to learn more about how we work with partners.

Here’s something a lot of us might hate to admit – and it has to do with Price’s Law – at some point in your life (possibly even now), you were absolutely useless at your job! A bit harsh? Nope! It’s a fact. The good news though is, there is something that you’re good at, which is what you should be investing most of your time into.

That way, you’ll be able to provide more value and find yourself among the outliers who perform really well. Nobody wants to be bad at their job, unless you’re solely there for the salary, but it shouldn’t be that way… which brings me to Price’s Law.

What is Price’s Law?

In a nutshell, Price’s Law is psychology law that explains why most of the work in a company is done by the minority of the people who are really good at what they do. No matter how much of an overachiever or supposed jack of all trades you are, you can’t be good at everything.

Price’s Law, also known as Price’s Square Root Law, comes from Derek Price who was a physicist and scientist. Price’s Law states that 50% of all the work will be done by the square root of the total number of people who take part in the work.

What does this mean for you? This means that you should find whatever it is that you’re good at and pursue a career in that field if you want to excel, be happy, and be the star of the company! We all have strengths and weaknesses, and what Price’s Law says is that you need to put those strengths to use.


Because let’s face it, how many people have built successful businesses or been top performers as a result of their weaknesses?

My point exactly.

What does it mean for everyday life?

Do you want a short or long answer?

The short answer is, when applied to everyday life, Price’s Law is simply saying you should just do what you’re good at!

Is that it, Mr.FIREescape? Is that really all that this article is about, doing what you’re good at? In a way, yes.

Let me paint a picture for you. Think about the last time you went to buy a car. When you walked into the sales office to sign the paperwork before walking away with your flashy new toy, you might’ve noticed a board or something similar with the names of everyone in the sales team.

Now, if you were really attentive, you might’ve noticed that the board was a record of the sales made by each person over a given period. Of the 36 people in the sales team, Johan, Sally, Tom, Tamsin, Owen and Ben might’ve been killing it! I’m talking 5,000 cars sold in just two weeks (a bit of an exaggeration, I know, but you get my point).

Then you have the other 30 team members who might’ve been coming along slowly, making a sale here and there, proving that there is merit to Price’s Law.

If you know anything about sales, you’ll know that it requires a combination of skills – from effective communication to interpersonal skills and the ability to negotiate, which not everybody is cut out for.

So, while the other 30 might’ve landed up there because there was a vacancy at the company and they needed money to pay the bills, that’s not entirely the case with the top 6. They’re good at it. Therefore, they provide value and contribute to the majority of the work being done – in this case, cars sold.

That’s not to say that the nameless 30 are useless, they are probably just in the wrong career. If they were to go into teaching or engineering or something other than sales, you’ll find that they might be the top performers there because it would be something they’re great at!

Price’s Law isn’t about telling you how terrible you are at your job, Price’s Law is about getting you to wake up and discover what you’re good at so you can provide substantial value!

What does Price’s Law mean for your life’s goals?

Good question!

A lot of people wake up and play dress up in the morning. They dress up in preppy suits to close deals that mean nothing to them, or they dress up in legal attire to represent clients they don’t believe in from cases they couldn’t care less about. Unfortunate, isn’t it?

That’s the result of merely living to do what “you’re supposed to do” by pursuing the “safe” route. I can’t think of anything more boring, to be honest. So, what does Price’s Law say about all of this?

Keep reading.

Do what you’re good at

Price’s Law means that you should just do what you are motivated to do and are good at.

Back to the car dealership again.

The top 6 quite clearly know their business and have the necessary skills to succeed in that role. They’re good at it. That’s why they’re reaching their sales targets and are the dealership’s MVPs.

Your goals should also align with whatever it is that you’re good at if you want to have a happy and valuable life. It’s not unheard of for people to set goals for the sake of appearing a certain way in society or because that’s what’s expected of them. That’s not what Price’s Law says.

I had a childhood friend whose goal was always to become a doctor. But if you were to ask him why that is, he’d tell you because his parents said so. Because he’s smart, and smart people become doctors – so they say.

Where is he now?

He’s a serial entrepreneur with several successful businesses under his belt because that’s what he’s good at – not saving lives.

Read more: Make Monday your best day: Monday Motivation (and 32 quotes)

Focus on maximizing your $/hr

Ideally, everyone should just work on that and not do anything else. In this way, you’re able to maximize your $/hr and if you do well enough, you can just not work for the rest of the time. If you’re good at something and are considered a valuable player in your industry, you’ll be compensated accordingly.

When you’re good at something, you’re able to get through a lot more work than the average person. It sort of comes naturally to you.

I used to see this with other kids in school. Math and science weren’t really subjects I struggled with, but boy did a lot of my peers! I got through most of my classwork and homework in less time than they did because they were still figuring it out.

If we were getting paid for solving math problems, I would’ve definitely been right up there with the other top earners😉

But if we had to look at subjects like the arts or music, basically anything creative… Well, that would’ve been a completely different story. Yet again, proving the validity of Price’s Law.

Pursue goals where you’ll be able to provide the most value

Your goals should be motivated by providing value. So, whatever it is that you’ve set out to achieve, I’m pretty sure the goal is to be valuable in that space. Otherwise, why is it even a goal in the first place?

I think as people, we typically want to know that we’re making some sort of contribution and not just consuming oxygen pointlessly, which is the basis of Price’s Law. You want to be a high value person and your goals should speak to that.

You can’t really provide value if you’re depending on your weaknesses. In order to be valuable, you’ll draw from your strengths and the things that you’re naturally good at so that you’re not struggling all the way to reaching your goals.

Have you ever noticed how when you’re good at something, you can get through it in a fraction of the time that you get through something that you’re merely doing because it’s part of your job description?  

Explore things you’re passionate about

If you’re struggling to find what it is that you’d be most valuable at, take some time out to think about your passions. See, here’s the thing, all jobs come with their highs and lows, but if you’re not really passionate about it, then the lows will hit you harder than they should, and you’ll probably end up quitting somewhere down the line anyway.

BUT, if you’re passionate about what you do and it aligns with your goals, then you’re more likely to stick it out when the going gets tough.  

If you’re passionate about travel and sightseeing, then a job at a bank doesn’t really speak to that. The only traveling you’d be doing is in between the various tellers. While the salary might look good and allow you to travel, that’s probably the only reason you’re still at the job and probably only doing the bare minimum.

Definitely not providing much value there.

Don’t let anybody pay you to forget about your goals and aspirations

This is what happens when you get stuck in the rat race and allow your salary to dictate what you can and can’t do. In fact, this is where a lot of people are in life. Sad but true. That’s why when you walk into some government offices the team there isn’t friendly or they look overworked and bothered by your presence.

That’s the general attitude when you’re only there for the money.

I get it, yes you’ve got bills to pay and a life to finance, but surely that’s a horrible life to live? Getting away with just doing the bare minimum at your job and in your life in general?

Your goals shouldn’t be tied to a salary package, because once a recession hits or worse – a pandemic – and salary cuts are introduced, then it’s only downhill from there. Tie your goals to something greater than that.

Also, you’ll find that once you do something in line with what you love, the money will follow.

Get creative – think outside the box

Setting goals can be difficult. Especially when it’s a balancing act between doing something you love and making a living. My advice? Don’t let the latter cloud your judgment.

Get creative, find ways to make a living from whatever it is that you genuinely love! There’s bound to be people that are in need of your expertise and special skill set, so take advantage of that. What’s the point of being just a number in a huge company when you could rather be a valuable team member elsewhere?

Think about your unique abilities. The problems you could solve with your passions. Once you’ve done that, find a company that’s willing to pay you for that. That way, you get to do what you’re good at and still provide value.

Establish a name for yourself

Think of the greats in your industry. How did they get there? Not by being the weakest link, I can tell you that for free.

Greats become great by providing value (I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I need you to get this) – and they get paid for being great!

Here’s a piece of advice: most leaders appreciate all their team members, but they appreciate the valuable ones even more. Without them, the company would be nothing.

Don’t just go with the flow

Everything that I’ve said so far about Price’s Law can be summed up in this one point – don’t just go with the flow. If you go with the flow, you might drown. You really need to pay careful attention to your goals and see if they match up to what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at, otherwise you’re wasting your time.

In fact, you should ask questions before just going with the flow. You should ask questions like “Where are we flowing to?” “Are my goals where the flow leads to?” “Am I good at flowing?”Better yet, you should ask yourself if you’re a valuable “flow-er.”

Price's Law

Read more: I Don’t Want to Work Anymore – 15 Realistic Solutions When You Face That Dread

Price’s Law FAQ

What is Price’s Law?

Price’s Law, also known as Price’s Square Root Law, comes from Derek Price who was a physicist and scientist. Price’s Law states that 50% of all the work will be done by the square root of the total number of people who take part in the work.

The Best Way to Take Charge of your Money

You likely read a lot about money. But did you know you probably missed the real first step to taking control of your finances? Make it easy! Everyone should start by making assessing thier finances easy and the easiest way to do that is with Personal Capital (it's free!). It automatically:
  • Aggregates all of your bank and investment accounts
  • Adds up your fees
  • Points out your cash flow
  • Estimates your retirement readiness
You could not sign up but then everytime you want to think about money, you need to log into ALL your accounts, mentally tally it up, maybe even write it down. THEN you can start thinking. I'm not a lazy person, but when something is harder I do it less. Make your finances easier so you can spend your mental energy in the right places. It's well worth the few minute signup!

Mr. FYFE's Top Tips to get into Financial Shape

#1 - Inflation Protection. Have you ever worried about inflation or recessions? Well, clear your mind with some farmland! It's totally uncorrelated to normal financial markets and it magically returns >12%/yr! I recommend Acre Trader because it's awesome.

#2 - Hands-off Real Estate. Real estate investing has made more millionaires than any other investment over history and it can be EASY. CrowdStreet has been returning 17.3%/yr over 9 years and I have fallen in love. Even better, it's free to signup to see what deals are available!

#3 - Free Automated Index Investing. Everyone should invest in index funds. Everyone should also have an automated investment platform to keep your life simple. I tested them all to find the free M1 Investing to be king.

Leave a Comment