Thursday, August 16, 2007

Be careful how you react!

“Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” - John Maxwell

The 90/10 Principle of Stephen Covey

You might have come across this, but I believe this is still worth sharing. Do apply this principle and you'll see the difference in your life!

What is this principle?

10% of life is made up of what happens to you.
90% of life is decided by how you 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 what 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 terribly.

As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home, When you arrive home, you find a 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, "It's 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. Why? 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. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc.

How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you lose your temper? Pound on the steering wheel? A friend of mine had the steering wheel fall off! Do you curse? Does your blood pressure skyrocket? Do you try and bump them? WHO CARES if you arrive ten seconds later at work? Why let the cars ruin your drive?

Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it.

You are told you lost your job. Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out. Use your worrying energy and time into finding another job.

The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take out your frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on. Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse.

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. Very few know and apply this principle. The result? Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and heartache. There never seem to be a success in life. Bad days follow bad days. Terrible things seem to be constantly happening, one after another !!! There is constant stress, lack of joy, and broken relationships. Worry consumes time. Anger breaks friendships and life seems dreary and is not enjoyed to the fullest. Friends are lost. Life is a bore and often seems cruel.

Does this describe you? If so, do not be discouraged. You can be different!

Understand and apply the 90/10 principle.
It will change your life.

(Source: Internet; Author: Stephen Covey)

Photo 1 by brappy! taken from this source
Photo 2 by shoothead taken from this source
Photo 3 by heather taken from this source
Photo 4 by seanomatopoeia taken from this source

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Mr. Biggs said...

Sam, I would say very well put. 90-10 i will remember it. Thanks for the inspiration !

Sam Chan said...

Hi Mr Biggs,
Thanks for your kind support and encouragement! It means a lot!

Best Wishes to you my friend.

lilifxt said...

hello sam great post it is very simple and clear it shows the importance of positive thinking in order to react in the best way coz many incidents are built up according how we react this 10% and 90% example is very true i loved that post it taught me something i should not forget
thx very much
best wishes

dani said...

Hey Sam! Love your comment on my blog.. full of deep meaning.. any chance you be my 2nd guest blogger?

Definitely will come to your blog more often..

surjit said...

Another great post in your kitty, Sam Chan.It is full of wisdom and motivation.
I fully agree with you that reacting to any situation is in our control. But we often forget this on the spur of the moment and get ourselves trappd further.
"Self preservation is the first law of nature."
Thanks.God bless you.

WaterLearner said...

Hi Sam!

I have read this story about bad day caused by spilled coffee before. But your post brings me to view it from a now different perspective. Thanks!

How often do we blame our bad mood or bad day on people around us? Especially those that are closest to us?

Thanks for reminding me to take charge of my own state of Mind. And take charge of my own Life!


Phil said...

Sam, I heard long ago the analogy that we are all containers, either filled with honey at best or battery acid at worst. People come along and bump into us. Depending on the condition of our heart, we either spill over honey or battery acid. Your post reminded me of this valuable lesson. Thanks, Phil

Sam Chan said...

Hi Lili,
Thanks for the feedback. It is very true, we all need to react positively.

I really do hope everybody can understand and apply this great principle. Then we could see more happy people and families.

Blessings to you, Lili

Sam Chan said...

Hi Dani,

I would be glad to be your guest blogger. Thanks for your visit. And, thank you for your compliment on my blog.

Best Wishes to you, Dani

Sam Chan said...

Hi Surjit,

Credit goes to Stephen Covey for the great principle. He is one of those guys that are bestowed with great wisdom.

Indeed, it is sad that many could not react positively on the spur of the moment.

Thanks for adding your insightful views. I really value your participation.

My Best Wishes

Sam Chan said...

Hi Karen,
I am glad to know that this post had helped you to view it from a different perspective.

Indeed, let's remember to take charge of our state of mind which affect our life.

Thanks for your continuous support. Best wishes to you, Karen.

Sam Chan said...

Hi Phil,

I really like the analogy you gave. That's really a very nice illustration. It is true.. we are all containers of good or evil.

Let's encourage one another to fill this containers with goodness.

Thanks for adding the fabulous analogy to this post.

Many Blessings to you, Phil

FL Sam said...

Great Posts. Very enlightening. If everyone follow this 90/10 principle, the world will be such a perfect place to live in. :)

Sam Chan said...

Hi FL Sam,
Very true, if everybody follow this 90/10 principle everybody can live happily in this world.

Thanks for your encouraging words.
My best wishes.

haze said...

thanks for the your good words Sam...I often react badly with my time management especially. Very bad result indeed.

Jennifer said...

Sam... can I elect you president of the United States? (smile)

You have such great thoughts and present us with ideas that are life changing!

Thank you so very much!



Sam Chan said...

Hi Haze,
I do hope this post could help you so that you could react better with your time management!

Here are some quotes for you:
“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.”

“Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.”

My Best Wishes to you, Haze

Sam Chan said...

Ohh... me President of United States? When I was in USA, I only knew Uncle SAM was referring to Income Tax by US government when my colleague addressed me Uncle SAM :-)

I am glad that you like this post. The credit should goes to Stephen Covey! I only happen to find that article is still worth sharing and makes it better by adding some photos.

Take care and have a great weekend, Jennifer!

Honman said...

Great Post. Think before we react will save us from regret later on. Our mindset influences our actions and our actions determine our Life. Postive mindset gives positive actions whereas negative mindset gives negative actions.

Sam Chan said...

Hi Honman,
Indeed, we have to remember to think before we react by thinking positively in all occasion.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
I really appreciate it.

Best Wishes to you, Honman

Cornucopia Chronicles said...

Isn't it hard Sam? I mean I admit I am on the stage of missing home, pressuree of my job and at the same time deppressed of the weather and looking after the kids. I rarely have time for myself or even just to two of us having dinner or something that is adult time. But anyway we made up before the morning and he was all sorry after all, hehehehehehe. Sometimes I have to cut-off this putting-off the to do list in the future so I dont need to panic, right. Time management, thats right! I

Thank you so much Sam.

Sam Chan said...

Hi Haze,

It is great to know that you and your hubby had make up. I am really happy for you.

You are right! It can be difficult at times. However, how we react can definitely affect our life.

Blessings to you, Haze