The 90/10 Rule

Published on 28 June 2023 at 17:17

We have no control over the world.

It's a scary thought, right?

Nevertheless it's an unfortunate truth that we have very little control over the events that happen in our lives.

That's where the thinking behind the 90/10 Rule comes from.

The 90 refers to the vast majority of things that happen to us. The 10 is the what we can control and the only thing we can control is how we respond to events.

There is good news though - that 10% of control we have can have a huge impact on the other 90!

Let me paint a picture for you:

It's morning and a man sits down to breakfast with his family. He asks his young daughter to pass the sugar and as she reaches over she knocks his coffee all over his shirt.

He explodes. He shouts at his daughter. He shouts at his wife. His daughter bursts into tears. He storms up stairs in a fury, angrily changing his shirt and in his anger pops buttons off his replacement shirt. Swearing at himself now he changes his shirt yet again and storms back downstairs.

It's all taken so long that his wife has had to leave for work. His daughter is so upset, in floods of tears so the man has to take time trying to reconcile with her (to no avail). This takes so long that she misses her bus to school so the man has to drop her off on his way to work. This makes him late to work meaning he misses an important meeting.

For the rest of the day he is so angry with himself and the world that he makes silly mistakes and is off with his colleagues.

His manager notices and calls him in to the office. The manager doesn't say it but the man knows that his behaviour will not do him any favours in his upcoming performance review.

He gets home after a long and tiring day. His wife and daughter are still upset with him. They don't speak to him so he decides to go to the pub where he drinks too much.

He doesn't sleep well and wakes up with a hangover and so on and so on.

Now consider this alternative:

The exact same situation occurs but instead of getting angry the man gently tells his daughter to be more careful, cleans up the mess and changes his shirt. His wife takes their daughter to school. He goes to work and has a brilliant day etc etc

Now, the man had no choice in the events that happened to him, he had zero power over the coffee being spilt but what he could control was his response.

In the first instance he reacted and reacted badly.

In the second, he paused and had a much better response and as a result had a calmer and happier life.

So next time the universe throws some shit at you, take a moment and choose the best response - if you make a habit of this your life will improve beyond measure!


Add comment


There are no comments yet.