What is 10-10-10?

Advice columnist and best selling author Suzy Welch’s new idea is sweeping the nation. Known as “10-10-10”, there is a lot of buzz about this new idea. What is 10-10-10?

10-10-10 is a process of decision making that involves looking 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years into the future to consider the ramifications of every decision. This idea is generic enough to allow it to be applied to literally every life decision. For instance, as I was reading about 10-10-10, I was preparing my
breakfast. What would the consequences of my cholesterol laden scrambled egg breakfast be?

Well, in about ten minutes I’d probably have heartburn, and without proper
exercise I’ll see the effects of all those
calories and fat in about ten months. And in ten years when I’m pushing forty, this one meal could contribute to high cholesterol or even heart disease issues. I opted for
bowl of Cheerios
and whole wheat toast with a glass of juice. In nothing else, Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10 idea had a huge impact on my morning meal. And that’s just one relatively small decision in a day filled with larger ones.

All of us want to lead a good life, one that is filled with decisions we make on our own, with little external input. I’d like to think that I can make my own best decisions, but in today’s world of instant credit decisions, lightning fast
email, and constant exposure to temptation, it is easy for me to get overloaded with
stress. We live in a time of “information overload”, and we are all faced daily with confusing options — we could all use a system whereby we can make good decisions for ourselves, without being steered by commercial influence, stress, or the need for haste.

I hate wondering day to day if the decisions I’ve made are the right ones, or if my entire life is being controlled externally by the demands of society, or the simple demands of each and every moment. Using the 10-10-10 system, Suzy Welch offers a solution to transform our stressful decisions processes with a strategy to help us regain control of our choices and our futures.

That’s all well and good for Suzy Welch, but many people will be arrogant or skeptical about applying such a simple principle to their every minute decision. I am fed up with the “self help” genre — I review tons of books, and am up to my ears in new Age advice that has been about as useful to me as
a unicycle.

10 Minutes, 10 Months, 10 Years by Suzy Welch


The difference with 10-10-10 is that Welch concentrates on giving you greater control over your decisions with little effort. Welch’s ideas have a huge impact on the way you approach making decisions about your life without having to really change your way of life. This is because the basic idea behind 10-10-10 is so elegantly simple.

Whenever one is faced with that kind of every day decision that you can’t seem to make with confidence, DON’T listen to your gut. Welch postulates that your immediate “emotional” response, and that energy that comes “from the gut” should be put aside, so that you can clearly think about the implications of each option. Consider the ramifications of each action 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years from now. Suzy Welch’s book “10-10-10” illustrates this process with personal stories, both from herself and from others she has taught it to, and when you read the stories, the brilliance of the idea is all too obvious.

In “10-10-10”, Suzy talks about her own personal experiences using the 10-10-10 philosophy, and in sharing the stories of just a few of the thousands of people who have undertaken the philosophy and used it in their own lives, Suzy Welch seems to hit all the high notes. Regardless of your big concerns, be they your love life, career building, friendships, raising kids, marriage, or any of the “biggies”, there will be an anecdote or personal story that illustrates the use of the 10-10-10 philosophy.

The tone of the book is conversational. You never get the sense that Suzy Welch is somehow scamming you into a
self help philosophy or selling a philosophical “quick fix”. Welch comes off as genuine — she truly believes in the idea that all problems should be thought through — beyond the moment and into the future. Welch illustrates how decisions we arrive at that may not make our immediate lives happier, but they can lead to an eventual improvement. If I had to summarize the 10-10-10 philosophy, I’d say something like this — making the right choice is always better than making the easy choice.

In her typically clear and instantly compelling prose words, Suzy tells of her own experiences in applying her 10-10-10 philosophy, as well as the experiences of many other people she has counseled in this concept over the last several years. I only wish I’d had this book a few years ago, before I took out all those
student loans.

I was also engaged by the personal stories Suzy Welch has captured in the book — maybe I’m a kind of social voyeur, but truly, each ‘case study’ Welch covers reflects something I can identify with. The story of her first road trip (made with her then boyfriend and now husband Jack Welch) was so familiar to me, I had to show it off to my girlfriend. The situations and decisions that Welch and the other “characters” in her book encounter are familiar to all of us.

Not just a book of stories, “10-10-10” offers notes on scientific research about how our brains work when faced with decision making. Almost all decisions have a serious impact on our lives — both in the short term and long term. Everyone is faced with these kinds of decisions, those that have great consequences for our well being and our happiness, and the “10-10-10” system is so simple as to be easily embraced by all her readers. Suzy Welch is a solid writer — she can boast credits as a
New York Times bestselling author as well as having been Editor of
The Harvard Business Review – and this book is a fun read, plain and simple.


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