The 60/40 rule of life

When something happens, either good or bad, it can be hard to find out if you have to blame or reward yourself for it, or that there was something else at play. Therefore, I live by my 60/40 rule of life. This means that I am responsible for 60% of what happens in my life and the other 40% is due to external factors, like other people or the weather. Generally, this rule seems to work for me, so I’ll explain it in a little more detail.

When does it work?

Almost always! For instance, when I don’t feel happy, it is usually for 40% because of deadlines or being in a fight with someone, or just because I feel tired. However, those things either have a cause that lies with me or that I can change. When I have deadlines, I maybe should have started earlier or not taken as much on my plate. When I am in a fight, maybe I wasn’t a 100% right, which is almost always true. By looking for what I could have done differently, it can calm me down and be more grounded. When I feel exhausted, I probably haven’t taken enough time for my body in terms of sleep, exercise or diet.

Why use this rule?

Especially in fights, I always try to be as reasonable as possible. However, I am still human, so my emotions can cloud my judgement. Being aware that 40% is the other persons fault eases my defences. I’m then more likely to accept that the other 60% could’ve been my way of dealing with the situation. On the other hand, the rule also protects me from blaming myself too much.

This works the same in for instance job interviews; 60% is due to my preparation, my career until this point and how I present myself in the interview. However, if they have specific qualifications I can’t meet (yet) or I would just not fit in with the current group of employees, it’s not my failure.

It’s all about how you look at it

The rule therefore helps to put things in perspective for me, in both ways. I do firmly believe that a lot of your destiny is in your own hands. Namely, because a lot of situations are based on your own reactions towards it. However, you can’t blame yourself for not being able to do anything all at once or fit in everywhere. The only thing you can do, is to find the places that fit you and to plan your life as much as you can (and want to).

On the other hand, it also makes me be aware of the luck I have. I was blessed with good health and a good IQ, the best parents and I live in a wealthy country. Many good things, like me being able to succeed in my study, is not only due to me working hard. It’s also due to the fact that my parents have the money to let me go to university. A lot of people don’t have this as an advantage. Therefore, the rule also humbles me, without losing sight of the things that I did achieve thanks to myself.

How to implement this rule?

I learned to use this rule of life pretty automatically now, but what I used to do was write everything down on paper. When something upsetting happened, I would write down why I failed. This was often the easiest, which is why I would start with that. Then, I’d write down what was not in my control or what I was right about. It left me feeling much more positive, because I ended with the things I could not change. I thus had to accept them, but I mainly would feel more balanced. The phrase ‘don’t worry about the things that you can’t control and change the things that you can control’ would help with accepting situations. The most important lesson for me was, when I felt very hopeless during my depression, but then I finding out the huge effects my diet could have. It empowered me.

On the other hand, you can also relativate your successes this way, by being aware of the fact that you should not take things for granted and that you have to keep working hard. I implement this by always thinking of what would happen if I were to lose those advantages. For instance, when I get my salary, I don’t spend it all. Instead, I try to save as much as possible, because I could always lose my job due to a recession or being ill. By being aware, you don’t brag as much, you’ll be able to live in other people’s shoes better and you are more prepared when bad things do happen.

I hope this rule of life will help you. Let it make you think of upsetting things in a more balanced way. Let it make you appreciate the luck you have more. What is your favourite rule to live by? Please comment below!

Lots of love,


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Hi there! My name is Lisa and I am the author of Mind and Body Intertwined. I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in psychology. During my study, I found out how much the mind and the body are connected and it fascinated me, which is why I started my blog. Would you like to join me on this little corner of the world?

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