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90/10 Principle of 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 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 take 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 when the 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," 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.

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Comments on this photo:

Nov 12 2010 19:47 GMT mbz
excellent word!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!perfect shot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nov 12 2010 19:55 GMT senna3
A very recognizable story, and a marvelous Rest Friday entry!!
Nov 12 2010 19:58 GMT martini957
Thank you MBZ....I quite agree with the principle....but taming that 90% is rather difficult for me : ))
Nov 12 2010 19:59 GMT martini957
Thank you Peter : ))
Nov 12 2010 20:01 GMT Pea2007
Interesting entry.
Nov 12 2010 20:24 GMT caferr
me too, interesting...
Nov 12 2010 20:26 GMT gafaway
this is a great 10% I came here and read this : )
now improve the 90%
thank you so much for these words and entry on restfriday...
the power of positive words, create change...
always good to be reminded, we will fail from time to time...
and we continually need to try!
beautiful entry and have a wonderful weekend my friend!
Nov 12 2010 20:26 GMT martini957
Thank you Pea : ))
Nov 12 2010 20:27 GMT martini957
Thank you Caferr : ))
Nov 12 2010 20:35 GMT martini957
Thank you Pam....made me stop & think....more than half of my headaches & heartaches too stem from my annoying reactions....need to keep both oars in those troubled waters and keeping my little canoe moving on : ))
Nov 12 2010 20:51 GMT abojovna PRO
Thank you for this topic to think about. Have a beautiful weekend!
Nov 12 2010 20:57 GMT LizSA
wow, that 90 % in our own hands... what a thought for the weekend.
we will try and remember this amazing stitistic.....
beautiful capture.....sisters...!!
Have a wonderful weekend Nancy, and thankyou for the comments on my nature entries.
Nov 12 2010 20:58 GMT jomoud PRO
Thanks for reminding me of the principle.
Although I have known this for many years, from time to time I fail to adhere to it and have the wrong reactions.
I have added this to my faves, so I can remind myself from time to time.
Great entry
have a wonderful and happy weekend my dear friend!!!!!
Nov 12 2010 21:08 GMT clintonfolks
so very true.!!!!! love it..
Nov 12 2010 22:23 GMT martini957
Thank you Abojovna : ))
Nov 12 2010 22:25 GMT martini957
My pleasure Liz, my mom will be pleased on the word sisters ...& Thank you too : ))
Nov 12 2010 22:35 GMT martini957
Thank you Jomoud...something to keep in mind for future reactions....sure would be mighty useful in controling the size we tend to make of molehills huh? : ))
A wonderful & happy weekend right back at you : ))
Nov 12 2010 22:36 GMT martini957
Thank you Bro : ))
Nov 13 2010 02:34 GMT Studio88
100% For A Great Photo and another 100% for Wisdom ;-)
Nov 13 2010 03:11 GMT martini957
Thank you Studio88 : ))
Nov 13 2010 05:08 GMT aquiles PRO
LOVELY SCENE !!!!!!!!!!!!!.. WISE WORDS INDEED !!!!!!!!
Nov 13 2010 06:41 GMT Annamaria
Beautiful picture, Nancy!!

And you are so right about the 10% story.... people most of the time first react and then think. Like John (and everybody on the world) I have failed sometimes, but on the other hand I know by experience that no reaction isn't always the best either...

Have great weekend, Nancy!!
Nov 13 2010 07:55 GMT soldier
Lovely ... stunning entry my friend!!!!!!!!!
Nov 13 2010 08:15 GMT sini
Great rest entry!:)
Nov 13 2010 09:38 GMT hans55 PRO
a beautyful picture and very interresting story and reactions !!! :-))
Nov 13 2010 18:32 GMT rose79
very nice shot
Nov 13 2010 21:41 GMT kamilla
Nov 14 2010 04:36 GMT MargNZ
Wonderful and thought provoking entry Nancy :))
Nov 14 2010 12:47 GMT martini957
Thank you Aquiles : ))
Nov 14 2010 12:52 GMT martini957
Thank you Anna-Maria : ))
Nov 14 2010 12:52 GMT martini957
Thank you Soldier : ))
Nov 14 2010 12:53 GMT martini957
Thank you Sini : ))
Nov 14 2010 12:53 GMT martini957
Thank you Hans : ))
Nov 14 2010 12:53 GMT martini957
Thank you Rose : ))
Nov 14 2010 12:54 GMT martini957
Thank you Kamilla : ))
Nov 14 2010 12:54 GMT martini957
Thank you Margaret : ))
Nov 14 2010 16:07 GMT annieann PRO
very well put my friend . so totally true and we are all guilty of this at some point in our life x
Nov 15 2010 01:05 GMT martini957
Thank you AnnieAnn : ))
Nov 15 2010 02:07 GMT will
I think most people realize things like this, it's just the practice of trying to keep this in mind as we go forth in our daily lives that is at times rather difficult. But, if we can keep our focus on what is truly important obvioulsy we are far better off, than if we don't. And not to sweat the small stuff and give it power over us. In so doing, I think we'll be in a better position to deal with the bigger, larger issues should they come knocking, which eventually they always do. So, practice keeping calm, and reacting calmly, it's a great principle to try to live by. Some real food for thought here, thanks! :)

And maybe a little less caffeine too, perhaps, hey? I know....grrrr..:)
Nov 15 2010 12:33 GMT martini957
Thank you Will : ))