90-10 Principle

Hi winners,

One of my favourite principle is Pareto’s 80/20 principle,  Since long time, I was thinking about spreading it and now I got the opportunity to broadcast this.  I was looking for an apt article to demonstrate this principle.   Fortunately, when I was archiving my mails I got a forwarded mail from one of my friend Abdul Basid.  This thought was created by renowned motivational trainer “Stephen Covey”.     Enjoy reading this principle……….

10% of life is made up of what happens to you…AND…90% of life is decided by how you react…

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 the 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.  However, you can control your reaction.

Do not let people fool you. YOU can control how you react.

Let us use an example…

You are having breakfast with your family.   Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee Onto your business shirt.  You have no control over what has just 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 wife and you 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 her breakfast and getting ready to go to school.  She misses the us.  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 per hour in a 30 mph speed limit zone.  After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60.00 traffic fine away, you arrive at school.  Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye.   After arriving at the office 20 minute late, you realize 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 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?

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. 

Lets image for a moment that you had been provided another chance to respond to this situation(But in real life there is no rewind button).  Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffe splashes over you.  Your daughter is about to cry.  You gently say: “It’s okay, honey, you just need to be More careful next time.”  Grabbing a towel you go upstairs and change your shirt. You grab your briefcase, and 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 a cheerfully greet the staff. 

Notice the difference?

Two different scenarios.  Both started the same.  Both ended different.  Why?

Because of how you reacted or responded.  You really have no control over 10% of what happens in your life.  The other 90% was determined by your reaction/response. 

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 Principle.

If someone says something negative about you, do not be a sponge.  Let the attack roll off like water on glass.  You do not have to let the negative comments affect you.  Respond properly and it will not ruin your day.  A reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, or getting stressed out.

How do you react if someone cuts you off in the 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?  Who cares if you arrive 10 seconds later at work?  Why let the cars ruin your drive?

Remember the 90/10 Principle and don’t 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 to find a new 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 stress 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?  You will see it by yourself!  Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and headaches.

We all must understand and apply the 90/10 Principle.  It can change your life! 

My few cents of worth thought is to depict the difference between RESPONSE and REACTION.   Reaction is mentioned in the negative sense and Response in the positive sense.  For eg., if a patient is undergoing a treatment and if the treatment creates an adverse effect on the patient’s health then the doctor will say that his body is reacting to the treatment, on the other side if the patient’s condition improves then he will say that his body is responding to the treatment.   Now you could get the difference between these two.

Have many wonderful moments.



“Start responding to the situation instead of reacting to it, this will make your life wonderful”


  1. 1
    nimmu Says:

    Hi Saran,

    It is great to refresh the mind with valuable blogs. Keep it up. In a nutshell ‘Life is 90% of what you make it and 10% of what you take it”. If we do not give attention to this 10%, life is doomed. The example is wonderful to understand it.

  2. 2
    Dilli ur junior Says:

    Hi Saran, nice words from u, thanks for making recalling

  3. 3
    VJ Says:

    Good Post Saran…

    A small clarification…How this principle works if the samething happens frequently…

    Consider this Scenario : If your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee frequently, What will you do?

    If this happens to me, I will follow the 90-10 principle initially. If the same thing happens frequently, I have to react (meaning I will curse my daughter)

    My Personal opinion : There is a limit to follow 90-10 principle.If it exceeds, Start to react…

    • 4
      BalaG Says:

      Hi VJ,
      Nice thought. How do you always think out of the box? Can you let me know the secret of your thought?

    • 5
      Saran Says:

      Dear VJ,
      I had not advised anybody to follow it up 100%, lets start marching towards that. Lets not be pessimistic, if my son knocks over a cup of coffee once, thrice or even 10 times, I need to educate him (still that is my duty). But if he continues to do that for a long time then there is some psychological problem in him, I will avail the help of my parents, friends or even a doctor.

      But still its your choice, whether you want to screw up your relationship or continue to maitain your respect and teach your kid.

      Even though it is difficult to digest, it is a fact that “YOU ARE THE DRIVER OF YOUR LIFE, EMOTIONS ETC.,”. I urge you to take control of this rather than these taking control of you. You will definetly feel the difference. Start thinking optimistically, it will not cost us anything, but it will create a major difference in our life.

      Thanks alot for your wonderful comment to trigger lot of people thoughts. Keep posting your valuable comments.


  4. 6
    VJ Says:

    Hi BalaG,

    There is no secret 🙂
    All happens in our day to day life.
    Just sharing my thoughts…

  5. 7
    Ashok Raj Says:

    Hi Saran,
    It’s a clear and good explanation to realize that we are the master of our own life.
    We have 2 options, 1 to let others to rule our life or (2) moving forward with our own decisions..!

    • 8
      Saran Says:

      Hi Ashok,
      You had hit the nail on the head. We need to be the driver of our life and at any cost we should not give up this control. Thanks for sharing your thought.


  6. 9
    Suresh Muthuvel Says:

    Hi Saran,
    Great Principle,but very hard to follow in the real time.For most of the problems people will react instead of responding.Once started to implement this principle in the real time then as you said our life will have wonderful moments.

    • 10
      Saran Says:

      Hi Suresh,
      Yeah most of the good habits in the world are quite challenging to achieve, but once you achieve them then those will become part of your life and culture. My favourite role model is ZigZiglar, I got mesmerised by his speech on “How to Respond to life rather than reacting to it”. If we could not achieve it 100%, atleast lets start marching towards that, you will feel the difference.


  7. 11
    BVN Says:

    i worried about you SARAN…dont know whats happening to you.

  8. 12
    Zella Says:

    Good day! I know this is kind of off topic but I was
    wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my
    comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

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