Refresh your life with the 10-10-10 tool

This past Sunday was 10-10-10–a date that will never occur again during our lifetimes.
A special day, as every day is special.
In my world, it was a special day because the college that has been the centre of our lives since 1966 inaugurated a new president and first lady–Dr. Perry and Dalene White.
During the past 44 years, we have seen presidents leave with regret and welcomed new presidents with hope. So once again, the whole college community has a spirit of hope as we welcome Perry and Dalene.
And I especially welcome their four-legged family member, Adelaide!
Another reason that 10-10-10 was an exceptional day for me was that I received an e-mail from “Bottom Line,” entitled “The Rule of 10.”
This e-mail introduced me to a very helpful book, “10-10-10: A Life-Transforming Idea.”
In chapter one of “10-10-10,” noted author Suzy Welch tells her own story and how she happened to formulate her 10-10-10 concept.
She was in Hawaii at the time and was way too busy. Feeling pulled this way and that, she knew she needed a better decision-making process.
Welch describes that turning point: “All I really had to do to reclaim my life, I realized that morning on my Hawaiian balcony, was to start making my decisions differently–proactively–by deliberately considering their consequences in the immediate present, near term, and distant future.
“In 10 minutes . . . 10 months . . . and 10 years.
“If I did that, I might actually have my very own ‘life management tool.’”
The tool worked so well in her life that Welch began telling people about it—and the word spread. So, by the time Welch wrote this book in 2009, she had gathered many interesting anecdotes related to 10-10-10.
In order to use the 10 minutes-10 months-10 years decision-making tool well, Welch suggests three steps:
1). Every 10-10-10 process starts with a question. Should I quit my job? Should I move to a retirement village? Should I update my will?
Make sure you know exactly what the issue is and what you’re trying to resolve.
2). The next stage of 10-10-10 is data collection. Figure out options. Do your research with a computer, in the library, just sit and think with pencil and paper in hand, or discuss your thoughts with a friend.
What are the consequences of each of the options in 10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years?
Welch warns that the 10s aren’t to be taken literally: 10 minutes means “right now,” 10 months represents a point in the foreseeable future, and 10 years means somewhere in the vague future–like seven or 17 years.
3). The last step of the 10-10-10 process is analysis. For this stage, you need to take all the information you’ve collected and compare it to your beliefs, goals, dreams, and needs.
Welch suggests asking yourself this question: “Knowing what I now know about all of my options and their consequences, which decision will best help me create a life of my own making?”
With the answer to that question, Welch says you have your 10-10-10 solution.
So why not try Welch’s 10-10-10 life management tool next time you have a thorny problem to resolve.
Or anytime you need a new sense of hope and purpose in life.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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