How To Embrace the 90/10 Rule

So many principles, so little time.  Today, I want to tackle the 90/10 principle (10% is the unexpected good or bad, 90% is what you choose) in relation to our life and career.

For many years I was told by mentors and colleagues that the 90/10 rule was important.  In the early years, I didn’t want to have the responsibility for 90% of my life.  It seemed so permanent to face the consequences of my choices.  And I certainly didn’t like the idea of the 10%.  Who wants to be at the mercy of the unexpected?

It was about 10 years ago that I really became conscious of the principle.  So much so that it now is a part of my culture.  I use the term conscious because unconscious living leads to incongruent values (I say exercise is important, but I never do it) or plain old hypocrisy.  No judgment here, but you need to be awake.

Here’s how to embrace the 90/10 rule:

  • You must embrace because the 90/10 rule embraces you.  Like it or not.
  • When you embrace, your emotional intelligence goes way up.  All of sudden you think before you act.
  • You must tame the beast inside.  Call it misplaced ambition, preoccupation with the opinions of others or greed.  When you realize that 90% of life is what you choose, you’ll think twice about walking all over people.
  • You’ll begin to think about your foundation.  Is it sand or stone?  When the unexpected comes what will keep you anchored?
  • Embracing the rule will simplify things.  It won’t make life easy, but it will make you decide what’s most important in career and life.
  • You’ll make the breakthrough to realizing that no one/organization can make you happy.  Happiness is a choice (there’s that 90% again) and only you can make this one.
  • You’ll stop being afraid of your destiny and get on with the mission.
  • The Oscar for best motion picture should be your life.

Reach out to me if you need help or more direction.

That 10% Part

From six years gone by, worth another look.

In my last post I outlined the importance of embracing the 90/10 rule.  Today I have something to share from my own experience relating to the 10% part of the rule.  You can definitely apply this to your career and many other areas of life.

My wife and I moved our 8 year-old daughter to a new school back in December.  I won't elaborate on our reasons, but in the end we thought it better for her to be at a different school.  We prayed, we researched and we took action.

It was my thought that my daughter would transition well.  My main reason for thinking this way was her personality (social animal who has never met a stranger) wiring.  I felt she would make friends, rise to the occasion and the rest would be history.

Now here's what I didn't expect: a little girl that desperately wants everyone to like her.  I know those of you out there who are counselors would remind me that I didn't prepare her for the inevitable rejection she would encounter.  Fair enough. 

My main point here is that-smart or dumb-I really didn't expect this challenge.  And I am discovering things about my daughter that I didn't know before.  Fortunately, I have a wife who carries much wisdom and I am being sensitive to my daughter's movement through a big change.

So what if I denied that my daughter was experiencing this?  What if I ignored it?  You know what the results would be.

Here are some specific insights for dealing with the 10%:

  • You don't have to like what happens, you just have to tackle it head on (delicately in the case of my daughter).
  • Don't expect things to be easy (change is a process, not an event).
  • You will make mistakes in your dealing with the 10%.  Just ask my daughter on this one:).
  • Sometimes you're gonna be powerless to do anything.  That's OK, you don't have control over everything in life.
  • There's a reason the 10% could be considered the land of the crucible.  Fire makes impurities rise to the surface.  We need to get rid of those, and that can be painful.