How to Handle Problems Like a Pro

Use the 90/10 Rule to manage stress and keep moving.

Since nothing is perfect in life, it helps to have a philosophy about how to look at problems. You aren’t going to be able to get away from them, so why not adopt a philosophy that allows you to keep moving and stay in a happy, balanced and positive frame of mind. Let’s analyze the issue.

Perspective: 90% Goes Well

If you think about things in life you’ll find that nine times out of ten or 90 percent of the time most things turn out okay, but 10 percent of the time things go haywire. It’s important to realize you don’t have to fall apart when they do and you don’t have to let it ruin your day.

Breaking Down the 10%

Half of it’s your fault

If you analyze the 10% you’ll usually discover that about 5%, or half of what goes wrong, is your fault. You can’t escape the blame. You messed up, but on the other hand it’s only 1 out 20 that comes back on you. Apologize or do whatever else you can to make it better. Then move on.

The other half is somebody else’s fault.

It might be an institution, a situation outside of your control, or another person. That 5% is somebody else’s fault, but the result is the same—it’s still a problem that affects you. They messed up, you get hurt. If you are expecting perfection, justice and fairness out of life you have an opportunity to get really upset. It’s not fair! I’m outraged! So what. It doesn’t help the situation.

Choose Your Focus

What is more profitable for you to focus on, the 90% that goes well or the 10% that doesn’t?

It’s a simple choice. If something’s gone wrong and it’s simply not going to turn out right, no matter what you try to do to fix it, you can either make yourself miserable by focusing on it or make yourself productive by focusing on the other 9 things that went well.

Consider air travel…

If you fly a lot, one time out of ten you’re probably going to have a bad flight, it’s unavoidable. Nine times out of ten it will probably go smoothly but eventually you’ll get one that goes bad. There will be a delay, bad weather, mechanical problem, or something else. You’ll be late, sit on the runway or even have a cancelled flight. It’s infuriating, it ruins your plans and sets off a domino effect of other problems. So what are you going to do? You can rant and rave all you want but it won’t change anything except increase your stress level. However, if you step back and look on it with perspective, you’ll realize this was only once out of 10 flights and just decide it’s basically a price you pay for flying and shrug the annoyance off. Of course, sometimes you can have problems with several bad flights in a row and it seems like you’re trapped in a downward spiral, but over the long haul it evens out.

When problems come, remember the 90/10 Rule. It will save you a lot of stress!

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