I have previously talked about how 80-20 principle can be used to optimize your life and it has been a game changer for many across the globe.
Another such rule which isn’t quite famous is the 90-10 principle and not many know how to implement it in their lives. While 80-20 principle was focused on making the most out of your situations and, 90-10 principle is all about eradicating your stress and living a happy life.
Stephen Covey defines it as:
The 90-10 principle basically says that our life is 10% made of what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.
Let’s suppose this for an example.
You have a very important meeting with a client tomorrow. You need to take the earliest flight to be there. You set up an alarm for the same but it couldn’t wake you up. You wake up all of a sudden, see the time and panic. You are late. very late. You need to make to the airport in half an hour. You start rushing things, take a cab and now there is unexpected traffic. Can the day get worse? You manage anyway, run for a while, take another source and catch the flight just on time. You are relieved but the stress has taken over you. You can hardly think for yourself and there is some negativity surrounding you.
It sounds too much for a day right?
Doing the maths, a day has 24 hours and that makes up 86400 seconds. The story I just narrated to you would cover around an hour or two maximum? That makes up around 7200 seconds. Now, this doesn’t involve rocket science to understand that you still have 79,200 seconds left you and that remarkably makes up around 90% of your day. The day which you thought to be turning ugly still has a lot left to it. It’s not over yet.
What I really mean to say is that you had no control over what happened to you in the morning. You woke up late and you were caught in traffic. These are some things you can hardly control. What you can control is how you react to these situations. And this is the most important part. If you choose to let that 10% define you for the remaining 90% of the day, you are going to end up stressed and unhappy. Chances are you might end up losing that deal too.
Here’s how you can use 90-10 principle to your advantage:
Let’s just retreat back a little. You are at the point where you are stuck in traffic cursing yourself for missing the alarm. Let’s analyze the current situation. Put on your Sherlock Cap
You are already late and stuck in traffic. There are two things you can do now. The first involves repeatedly cursing yourself for what you did, being angry at small things happening around you and panicking about what to do next. Even if you make it to the airport at this rate, you would still have that tinge of negativity and hatred towards yourself towards the end of the day and you might end up doing an average work at the meeting.
You wouldn’t want this right? Sadly, this is the thing we repeatedly do. We constantly blame ourselves for things to have gone the other way, surround ourselves with negative energy and blame ourselves again when you screw up the big deal due to these.
Now, Let’s look at the other way of handling this situation:
You are already late and stuck in traffic. This time, you choose to be content with whatever has already happened. You understand this was something not in your control and blaming yourself for it wouldn’t make any sense. You, in fact, are grateful that you managed to wake up and rather than wasting your energy on negativity, you plan what to do next. You make it to the airport, feel good about yourself and do a great job at the meeting. We as humans are hardwired to feel good about ourselves and act confident after crossing an obstacle. Once you choose to ignore the bad and see good through it, you already act victorious. This, in turn, helps you to do even better.
Whenever something bad happens to you, focus on what you should do next rather than worrying about what has already happened. Your problems are too small and your destination is too beautiful to ignore. It’s basic transfer of energy. The negative energy that makes you feel bad about yourself has to be converted into a positive one that pushes you to do even better.
90-10 Principle works wonder for relationships too!
What do you feel is the prime cause of dispute in a relationship?
I would always blame it on the misunderstanding. Relationships don’t work because the partners don’t communicate too often. Or even when they do, things don’t work out really well.
At this stage, 90-10 principle comes to the rescue. It explains how people focus more on conversations that offer less importance towards a relationship and less on meaningful conversations that actually define a relationship.
Statistically speaking, we talk 90% of the things that are not much important and leave that small 10 % of things that actually hold the potential to turn the table around.
In order to make your relationship work, write down the 10% things or statements or questions which make your other half happy. Once it’s done, life would be much simpler. You just need to do that 10 % of things more often. That would make your significant other happy and you would have more understanding and passion in your relationship.
These are just a few of the examples I can share. The 90-10 principle holds an infinite potential and once you start using it to your advantage, you can see your life changing around you.