The 90/10 Principle

This will change your life. Atleast the way you react to any situation from now on ! Lets pass it along and try to adhere to it shall we?

Author: Stephen Covey

What is this principle? 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you choose to react.

What does this mean? We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us.

We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which
throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic.
We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the
other 90%.

How? ……….By your reaction.

You cannot control a red light. but you can control your reaction. Don’t let people fool
you; YOU can control how you react.

Let’s use an example.

You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee
onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just happened.

What happens next will be determined by how you react.

You curse.

You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in
tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and criticize her for placing the cup
too close to the edge of the table.

A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus.

Your spouse must leave immediately for work. You rush to the car and drive your
daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph
speed limit.

After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your
daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye.

After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it  continues, it seems to get worse and worse.

You look forward to coming home. When you arrive home, you find small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter.  Why? …. Because of how you reacted in the morning.

Why did you have a bad day?
A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?

The answer is “D”.  You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5  seconds is what caused your bad day.

Here is what could have and should have happened.
Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say, “Its ok
honey, you just need to be more careful next time”.

Grabbing a towel you rush upstairs. After grabbing a new shirt and your briefcase, you come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves.

You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss  comments on how good the day you are having.

Notice the difference?

Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different.

Because of how you REACTED.

You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens. The other 90% was
determined by your reaction.

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle.

If someone says something negative about you, don’t be a sponge. Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You don’t have to let the negative comment affect you! React properly and it will not ruin your day. Now you know the 90-10 principle. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. You will lose nothing if you try it. The 90-10 principle is incredible. It CAN change your life!!! Enjoy….

Download it here the10_90rule.pdf .


4 Responses

  1. Supriya,

    Stumbled across your blog while doing a research on Buffalax and his infamous benny lava video. Very well written thought. Keep up the good work.


  2. Sorry to say, This is Bullshit, or may be i didn’t understand it right, How can one give percentage’s to the random life events, where ever event, that is enacted or felt is just for that moment.
    If you strongly repeate the definitions of Action and reaction, you shall sooner or later realise that both are on, and you can never differentiate what is action and what is reaction, this in our vedic terminology, also we though speak the law of karma, but then, one simple question, an act when performed, one will never know, if he is creating a new karma, or nullifying the previous. the same way, is this too in my knowledge, i have written concepts like this in my blog, when you are free, feel free to dabble on my blog, to find more ways of looking into the same issue. Regards Gosay

  3. Hello Gosay,

    Thanks for your comment, totally insightful. I went to your blog, have bookmarked it. Very well though out.

  4. Theoretically…yeah possible…not be a sponge…
    Practically…in most cases, you cannot do that! Simple things may be you can ignore…but don’t you need to draw a line?? You cannot have another person walk all over you by not reacting…Don’t think I will.
    Maybe ideally not reacting is the best way to deal with things…but…don’t really think it works that way in life most of the time!

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