This page may contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
At some point in the last few years I came across the 10-10-10 rule which I have to say, along with a few others, is my go-to girl for putting a situation into perspective.
Given a stressy situation or a slap in the face moment – something which may seem an annoyance, a catastrophe or somewhere in between, stop and think about how you will feel about this in 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years.
I believe there’s a philosophy/book which takes this to another level and which also uses this as part of decision making, but I like to use this simple rule to calm me down if something riles or stresses me.
I have, however, changed this for my purposes to be 10 days, 10 months and 10 years because I personally find that chances are I will still be angry/fed up/scared in 10 minutes, but in a week and a bit – nah, not so likely.
I’ve found this particular strategy particularly useful at work. This is because a lot of the stuff which may wind you up, is often replaced with new stuff in the next week, and then newer stuff ever week after that.
Maybe someone has made a decision that effects your work on a project. Chances are something like this will happen more than once in the duration of the project, but also, wait and see – it could be to your benefit.
Admittedly, there are a lot of things that you may well think ’10 days is not long, this will DEFINITELY still be an issue then’.
Well, yes, quite likely, but the point is, it may still be an issue, but in 10 days time you won’t be feeling the same way you do now, in the initial throws of reaction. In 10 days you will have time to have digested it and to have had thoughts about how big a problem it is and maybe what you can do about it. I guarantee you will not be as angry/stressed/freaked out as you are at that first moment of impact.
You’ve learned that you’re being re-located to the 3rd floor next to the boiler room? Once you’re there you could realise the benefits as you don’t have to put up with loud Vanessa who you struggle to switch off from talking in detail about her love life (that’s the 10 days). Not reassuring? Because actually, you like to hear all about her love life – it makes yours feel less of a disaster! Well, how about 10 months? Weren’t you wanting to transfer to that other department soon anyway? And if that didn’t work out didn’t you tell yourself you were going to look else where? In 10 months you may not even be in this building, maybe even in a different country if you summon up the courage to submit that application to go and study horticulture in the Netherlands.
10 months is almost a year away. This is, for me, the most heartening of the trio. You don’t know what can happen in a year. That annoying neighbour may move out. You may move out. You may have a new partner, a new job, you may have a child, a new city or a new country. At the very least, in the time between, a million and one new experiences and thoughts will have come through and every day we re-prioritise what matters to us. It is ever changing. Even if this ‘thing’ is still around you might find you’ve grown used to it and it doesn’t bother you anymore. Hey, you might find you even like it (particularly common as it’s often fear of change which brings on anger and stress responses)!
And as for 10 years. Well… WOW! The thought of where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing in 10 years is so mind-bending it usually short-circuits my thinking wires so much that I forget about whatever was bothering me in the first place!