10-80-10 Rule of Human Behavior – 10% Will Handle a Crisis

The 10, 80, 10 rule

The 10-80-10 rule. Some call it the 10-80-10 principle. It has to do with the general behavior of people, and is applied in a variety of contexts. Most commonly, teamwork and leadership. However I will put a slightly different twist on this..

The 10-80-10 survival rule. Lets talk about its meaning, and how it might help you understand a few things. How people generally handle a crisis situation, how they may be influenced, and what to look out for. Recognizing “who’s who” is a good thing to know for preparedness sake.

Meaning of the 10-80-10 Rule

We’re talking about percentages of people. It’s just a generality. Exact percentages aside (which will vary among many factors), I believe it to be good guidance for the sake of the following discussion..

First, a quick online search top result explains it as follows.

Every team or organization consists of three groups: The top 10 percent: disciplined, driven, self-motivated, want to be great, and work relentlessly. The 80 percent: the majority—those who do a good job and are relatively reliable. The bottom 10 percent: disinterested and defiant.

Understand which group you may be part of – during a crisis situation, SHTF, emergency, disaster, survival setting, an alarming event, a sudden break in life’s normalcy, you get the idea…

If you’re not already in the first 10% group, I suggest that you strive to be there.

10% of the people will be relatively calm and rational.

10 percent of people will handle a crisis with a relatively calm and rational state of mind. They pull themselves together quickly. They accept the situation, make decisions to improve it, take control, lead, and take action.

80% of the people will do nothing and be mostly helpless.

The vast majority of people, 80 percent, will be immobilized, stunned, and bewildered. They will ‘freeze’ and won’t know what to do. The will do nothing (or little to nothing meaningful or helpful to their situation). Most will wait for help to come, or someone to tell them what to do.

10% of the people are counterproductive, and may utterly panic.

This is the group that can really cause problems. The 10 percent of people who will be counterproductive. It’s worse than not taking action. They may freak out, panic, and make the situation worse for anyone else involved. Even so far as influencing some of the 80% to believe or do stupid things.

Life Experience Supports The 10-80-10 Rule

This all sounds about right to me, given my life experience. The VAST majority of people are not proactive doers. Especially during ‘upsetting’ events. I’ve seen it in life. Even in the workplace.

Only an apparent small percentage are the one’s who get the most work done (for example), or who don’t need supervision. Or who can make mostly good decisions during crisis or hardship.

I’ve witnessed it during tense situations. It’s like people’s brains seize up for a while as they process what’s happening. Incapable of making a decision, never mind a good decision!

It’s largely due to normalcy bias in my opinion. Probably coupled with a laziness and lack of motivation. We all succumb to the normalcy of routines to an extent. Our normal expectations of day-to-day life as we go about our lives. But, Wham, when something goes “tilt”, that’s when the brains of the 80% go ‘blue screen’. Nothing there, but a blank stare.

And how many of you have experienced the 10% who panic or freak out? Oh my… I can think of many examples. Those people can become big problems. Why? because they begin to affect the 80% who are looking for direction. And those of the 80% who listen to the horrible advice coming from the 10% stupid group, well, that’s not going to be good for them!

Understand How The 10-80-10 Rule Can Be Applied

Once you understand the generality of the rule, it helps to explain a lot of things.

For one thing, the 80% are fairly easily manipulated and ‘used’. Actually, 90% (the 80% plus the 10% stupid group).

Sheeple Manipulation by Media

My first thought was correlation of the 80% to the general “sheeple” group. Mostly followers who may be fairly easily influenced.

This, for example, is why the control of information is so important to those who are pushing an agenda. For instance, the mainstream media is VERY powerful in this regard. They know and understand this power. Politicians and Government know this too (the power of influencing the 80+10=90%). So do lots of other entities. Influencing and Shaping the Sheeple. It’s big business (and not good for your freedoms and liberty either).

You might also say that 90% of people are not critical thinkers. Most have been trained NOT to question. Just GO ALONG. It’s even worse today because those who question, are being persecuted, punished, and prosecuted in many ways. There’s a long list of things that you shall not question.

But I digress.

10-80-10 Survival > Dealing With Others

In the context of a crisis type situation (near infinite examples of this), understand the following..

If you are among others during such a time, make sure to realize that most everyone else there will not know what to do. Even if you’re not exactly sure what to do, just know that most others will be waiting for leadership.

And especially know the following..

There will be the 10% who will immediately become a problem for the rest. Maybe it’s one person. Maybe more. You might call it Bad Leadership. Someone being stupid. Hopefully you will immediately recognize it for what it is.

Given the complexity of discussing the many scenarios of crisis, suffice it to say that by simply recognizing this generalization of human behavior will hopefully help your own decision process during such a time.

Maybe you become compelled to lead the situation. Maybe you break off on your own, given what may be happening. It all depends.

Greater success can happen when you are able to bring over some of the 80% to the productive side of things during a SHTF, crisis, etc.. Just beware of that other 10%.