Monday, April 16, 2007

Discover the 99/1 Principle

Got this fwd sometime back. Good one!

What is this principle? 1% of life is made up of what happens to you. 99% of life is decided by how you react/respond to it. What does this mean? We really have no control over 1% 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 1%. The other 99% is different. YOU determine the other 99%. How? By your reaction. You cannot control a red light, but you can control your reaction to it.

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 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 60 km an hour in a 40 kmph speed limit. After a 15-minute delay and throwing Rs. 500/- 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 RESPONDED. You really do not have any control over what happens to you. But you have complete control on how you respond to it......choose your response and celebrate life!!!


Satheesh said...


This is very true. I could not agree more on this.
Note: I understand that 99/1 is not based on any scientific research (sometime back, this is called as "90/10 principle"). However, the numbers are catchy, gets the message to the reader easily. Till someone finds a better title, I think this will live.

Pavan Pochu said...

Thats interesting. This is the first time I got this fwd. I didnt see 90/10 principle. Though the numbers are catchy, the message can still be conveyed with any number combination. I liked the message.