Last Wednesday, I was annoyed by a situation that I was rushing to go up to rectify the situation. I did not go up via lift but decided to go up the stairs instead. I had enough annoyance in me that I would have been faster than the lift. In my annoyance and rush, I miscalculated the height of one step that I fell forward. I only stopped myself from being another statistic in A&E by grabbing on the rails. My face was just a few inches from another step. Without missing a beat I carried on going up, ignoring the pain on my forearm and the inquiries by the OTs who were going down the stairs at that time. Whilst it was only a split second incident, it helped calm me down. I carried on to my destination and objective but now less fueled by annoyance.
Yesterday, I noticed the bruise on my forearm and remembered the incident. If my reflexes were not quick enough, I could be sporting more bruises now or a new nose! This made me think about the 90/10 principle. This was explained to me by a friend years ago. I wrote a blog about it too. The incident made me realised that the 90/10 principle is indeed true.
What does the 90/10 principle mean? In quick and easy terms, it explains that 90% of what happened in our lives are within our control (e.g. How we react to things) and only 10% are out of our sphere of influence.
There are some people who love playing the ‘victim card’ and claim that the whole world had it in for them. The things is, though, we can only become ‘victims’ in life if we allow it. Sink or swim. Deal or be dealt with. Fight or flight. Stand up or crumble. It is all up to us.
I am not disallowing that life can be unfair at times. Yes, it might seem that work is piling up or that your texts are getting ignored or a loved one snapped at you unprovoked. These are the 10% that you will have no control over however it is how you react to these that will determine how things will flow in your life. In the first situation, you can go to your boss and complain at the amount of workload and throw a tantrum or you can take stock of the situation then think of the best way of dealing with it. The second one, you can decide to take offense, think that person doesn’t like you anymore and start ignoring the other person without asking for a reason or you let it go because in the grand scheme of things, the slight is miniscule compared to the love in your heart. I think we create the drama or the absence of it in our lives. I am not saying that this is easy especially when feelings are involved, when rejection and unreturned love or betrayal breaks your heart into pieces and all you want to do is lash out or ran away.
It is always a good idea to step away from the situation and weigh all the other options. As they say, ‘do not make a permanent decision based on a temporary feeling.’ True, we may dislike some aspects of our jobs on some days or we may be hurt by a carlessly spoken word but if you step back you realise that there are more good days than bad moments at work; that you love your beloved more often than being angry. Decisions will differ when done in the heat of the moment or with a cool head. That decision could easily influence how 90% of our lives will unfold.
My bruises have disappeared now and I cannot even recall what caused me to be so angry at that time. It only goes to show that situation wasn’t life altering otherwise I would have remembered it.
I will do my best to be mindful of my reactions to things. I need to be more aware of the 90% that I can influence. I aim to choose love, kindness and fairness when faced with an emotion eliciting situations. I have to remember that a harshly spoken word is capable of burning bridges that I may want to cross over and over again in the future. It will be difficult to erase the hurt these words may have caused as once spoken, words and the emotions they have provoke are difficult to take back.
90/10… Most things in our own lives are within our control. We are not mere victims of circumstances. Our lives are the product of our own decisions and actions. We are the captains if our destinies so choose to make it a good one.
Love. Laugh. Live.