The 10/10/10 Rule

We all have to make tough decisions. Hopefully not every day, but often enough that it would be useful to have a process to use to make those decisions. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a post on Fast about the 10/10/10 rule as an approach to making these hard decisions.

The Heaths suggest that a primary impediment to making good tough decisions is our visceral emotional response. They suggest that our initial emotional reactions will fade with time, which is why people say if you have a big decision to make you should sleep on it. Suzy Welch, a business writer for Bloomberg Businessweek and O magazine developed a strategy to avoid poor decisions driven by initial emotional reactions. She calls it the 10/10/10 method. She wrote a book about it.

The gist of this method is to think about our decisions and how we will likely feel about them in three time frames:

  • How will we feel about it 10 minutes from now?
  • How will we feel about it 10 months from now?
  • How will we feel about it 10 years from now?

In their Fast Company post the Heaths offer a fact scenario to describe how the 10/10/10 method might be used. It is about a woman who is trying to decide whether push her relationship with her boyfriend to the next level through a commitment of love. However the system can be used for any difficult decision.

The Heaths also suggest that our short term emotional response is not always wrong and at times may lead to the right decision. They offer that using the 10/10/10 method puts things in greater perspective for most difficult decisions. The post comes from the Heaths’ book, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (published by Crown Business, a division of Random House).

The 10/10/10 method offers us some perspective that can help us make difficult decisions. It does not necessarily make the decision making easier, but can force us to think about the decision for the long term.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.