Consider a situation: You’re eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You curse. You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in tears.
After scolding her, you turn to your wife 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 wife must leave immediately for work. You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 80 km an hour in a 60 kmph speed limit. After a 15 minute delay and paying a $60 traffic fine, you arrived at school. Your daughter runs to the building without saying good-bye.
After arriving at the office 30 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 going home. When you arrive home you find a small wedge in your relationship with your wife and daughter. Why? Because of how you reacted in the morning.
Why did you have a bad day?
Did the coffee cause it?
Did your daughter cause it?
Did the traffic policeman cause it?
Did you cause it?
The answer is #4.
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 look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You and your wife kiss before you both go to work. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on how good a 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% is determined by your reaction.
Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 secret:
If someone says something negative about you, do not 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 the steering wheel till it 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 blue car ruin your drive.
Remember the 90-10 principle, and do not worry about it!
You are told you lost your job. Why lose sleep or get irritated? It will work out. Channel your energy and time into finding another job. The plane is late. It is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why vent out your frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on. Use your time to read, get to know the other passengers, etc. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse. Now you know the 90-10 secret. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results.
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