The 10/10/10 Rule For Tough Decisions | The Edge

Have you ever considered the possibility that your power to act is independent from thinking and feeling?

Thinking and feeling are movements that happen to a human being, and the human being has no control over whether or not these streams of movement happen. However a human being does have the power to act independently of these streams of thinking and feeling.

– Consciousness Coaching Academy


This is particularly true when the task at hand is a promise to yourself to go running every morning, for instance. Some days you just do not feel like it, you would rather stay in bed. However, you have the power to get out of bed and go running – and stay true to your word. After all, your achieving your goals is directly proportional to your integrity. Another example of acting independently of your thinking and feeling may be that important project you are working on. You have given yourself ample time to complete the project within the given deadline. At some point you feel tired  and bored with it. Yet, you do not need to like the task in order to get it done, and the deadline does not wait for the “right” moment of inspiration  – you have the power to follow through and finish the project within the time-line you set rather than the inevitable “procrastination” driven rush at the end.

The power to act independently from your thinking and feeling is possible and challenging when the situation is emotionally charged. As stated by Chip and Dan Heath, in their Fast Company article, “It’s easy to lose perspective when we’re facing a thorny dilemma. Perhaps our worst enemy in resolving conflict is short-term emotion, which can be an unreliable adviser. When people share the worst decisions they’ve made in life, they are often recalling choices made in the grip of visceral emotion: anger, lust, anxiety, greed. Our lives would be very different if we had a dozen “undo” buttons to use in the aftermath of these choices.”

They go on to say that visceral emotion fades, which is true and our actions (independent of our emotions) require a strategy that perhaps goes beyond the folk wisdom that advises when we’ve got an important decision to make, we should sleep on it.


One tool we can use was invented by Suzy Welch, a business writer for publications such as Bloomberg Businessweek and O magazine. It’s called 10/10/10, and Welch describes it in a book of the same name. To use 10/10/10, we think about our decisions on three different time frames:

  1. How will we feel about it 10 minutes from now?
  2. How about 10 months from now?
  3. How about 10 years from now?

The three time frames provide an elegant way of forcing us to get some distance on our decisions.

10/10/10 helps to level the emotional playing field, according to Heath and Heath. What we’re feeling now is intense and sharp, while the future feels fuzzier. That discrepancy gives the present too much power, because our present emotions are always in the spotlight. It’s not that we should ignore our short-term emotions; often they are telling us something useful about what we want in a situation. There is the distinct possibility that even though we are able to act independently from our thinking and feeling, our actions may be emotionally tainted. We need a “sanity check”.

10/10/10 forces us to shift our perspective, asking us to imagine a moment 10 months into the future with the same “freshness” that we feel in the present. Whereas 10 month provides a reality check, the 10 year timeframe really consciously provides context.

Of course, we don’t always check our emotions at the door of the office even though we should; the same emotion rebalancing is necessary at work. If you’ve been avoiding a difficult conversation with a coworker, then you’re letting short-term emotion rule you, say Heath and Heath. If you commit to have the conversation, then 10 minutes from now you’ll probably be anxious, but 10 months from now, won’t you be glad you did it? What are the chances that the outcome would be different and certainly more desirable? Some situations in a working environment are fraught with potential conflict. A classic is under conditions in which decisions are made without consulting the people they affect the most.  What is the possibility that your reaction to the decision will have a positive, mutually beneficial outcome without applying the 10/10/10 rule.

Are you open to the possibilities the 10/10/10 rule may offer you under emotionally charged circumstances?

via The 10/10/10 Rule For Tough Decisions | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

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