5 Subtle Patterns of Reality

Nicely ingrained in most aspects of our lives

5 min readMay 10, 2021
Photo by Gian Cescon on Unsplash

There are laws that shape our reality the way it is, and then there are certain patterns, patterns which affect us in incomprehensible ways. While some are pretty obvious, some are really subtle and meta.

These patterns are —

  • Observations made by some really smart people
  • Nicely ingrained in most aspects of our lives

And although this article doesn’t deal with how and why these patterns emerges, I hope you can use this information to make your life better in some way or other.

Here they are in no particular order:

1. Pareto’s Principle

Also known as the 80/20 Rule or the power law, which states that 80 percent of the results come from 20 percent of the causes.

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I personally believe that the ramifications of this principle are highly understated.

Pareto is pretty apparent if you’ll look into Income and Productivity disparities, but it goes deeper than that.

Here are some 80/20’s that you may find around yourself —

  • 20% of your apps that you use 80% percent of the times.
  • 20% percent of your vocabulary you use 80% of the times.
  • 20% of your personality that you reveal 80% of the times.
  • 20% of those memories that you keep going back to.
  • 20% of the keys you use 80% of the time on your keyboard.
  • Those 20% of your friends that give you 80% of the friendship 🤍
  • Reasons for the 80% of your suffering.
  • Those 20% of your life decisions (like college, marriage, occupation etc) that’ll effect 80% of your life.

And you know what, 20% of the examples makes 80% of the sense, so why don’t you try it yourself (and share with us in the comments! 🤘🏻) —

  • 20% of _______ causes 80% of _______! . (Be creative!)

2. Matthew’s Law

The Matthew effect of accumulated advantage.

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Here’s a prose from the almighty bible itself:

For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

Matthew 25:29, RSV.

This one’s pretty apparent in the matters of fame, status and money.

Rich getting richer and poor getting poorer is also an example of Matthew’s effect.

The rationale behind this effect seems pretty befitting, as the more you do something the better you get at it.

3. Law of Impermanence

Greatly talked about in Buddhism as ‘Annica’.

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Jobs, relationships, good times, bad times, our thought and feelings, our loved ones, our own selves — literally everything we know of or perceive — will pass out of existence. (Even your favorite Ice-cream 😭)

When we start to understand the nature of impermanence, our tendency to cling to outcomes and expectations will begin to diminish.

So have humility in your highs and hope in your lows coz change is the only constant here dawg!

And remember —

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
Alan Wilson Watts

4. Murphy’s Law

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You might know this already—

“If something can go wrong, it will.”

Here’s how I tend to think about this —

Everything that can happen, even the most minute of the possibility, given enough time, will eventually happen, and since we humans are evolutionary biased toward negative events for survival reasons, hence the Murphy law!

Here are some murphies to think about —

  • You always find something in the last place you look.
  • A shortcut is the longest distance between two points.
  • The chance of a slice of bread falling butter side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.
  • The other queue always moves faster.
  • Anything good in life is either illegal, immoral or fattening.
  • Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.
  • Anything you try to fix will take longer and cost more than you thought.
  • Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
  • If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.

And they say Murphy was an optimist.

Maybe this Universe wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for something going wrong at first place. 😉

Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he will not be disappointed.

5. Lindy Effect

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I came around Lindy in the book Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, this law states that the older something is, the more likely it will be around in the future. It estimates how long a non-perishable idea, technology and things like trust, style, entertainment-value, or popularity will last or remain relevant.

Time and its ravages are the real experts and judges of things.

Lindy can be helpful in situations like —

  • While picking books to read.

“Books that have been around for ten years will be around for ten more; books that have been around for two millennia should be around for quite a bit of time, and so forth.”

  • Choosing which stocks to buy.

“A nice golden rule would be to invest in businesses with 25+ years of steady or rising dividends. These are ‘Lindy Effect Approved’ businesses that have proven they can withstand the test of time.”

  • Choosing your grandma’s wisdom over the Know-It-All economists & journalists.
  • Look around you for Lindy approved items like chair, table, wheels etc.

“The observed lifespan of that non-perishable item is most likely to be at its half-life”

The wind of time enriches the antifragile, vanishes the fragile…