I’ve written about decisions a time or two because I find them fascinating. A boss I once had refused to make any decisions. He was so worried about making the wrong one, he made none. From him, I learned it’s better to decide on something and perhaps change your mind later, than to not decide at all and leave everybody around you wanting to pummel you with a wiffle bat.
Recently, I was acquainted again with the 90% rule. The concept coined by author Greg McKeown in his book Essentialism is simple and brilliant. When you’re trying to decide on something, unless you’re 90% sure, just don’t do it. 50% is no. 75% is no. It makes things a lot easier.
With big life decisions, I’ll still use the method of deciding which person I want to be in the scenario. Do I want to be the suit-wearing, meeting-attending professional? Or the shorts-wearing, homebound voice-artist and writer? As you know, I chose door #2.
But for smaller things, especially those that involve other people, the 90% rule eliminates guilt and stops any wavering. Am I at 90% on this? No? Then it’s not going to happen. Done, and done. We all know we only have so many f***s to give and we are in charge of them. Getting asked to do something is like answering a ringing phone. It can ring all it wants, but it’s not a call unless I decide to answer it. It’s the same with requests people make for my time. I’m often happy to give it. But when I’m on the fence, it’s less stressful to apply the 90% rule and let it go without dithering, wondering, worrying about letting someone down or giving in to guilt. Free yourself, you beautiful human being! Time is a precious commodity. Spend it wisely.