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The 90% Rule
Look at the above picture. You won’t find a better picture that represents life. It represents your body, your relationships, your business life, everything. It perfectly describes one of the concepts I follow called the 90% Rule.
-By Caleb Jones
90% Rule is very different and much more complex. It states this:
You can never have anything in your life be perfect, and you’re a moron if try to find or create such a thing. However, with some work and effort, you can get it to 90% perfect. There are two types of chronically unhappy people who violate this rule on a regular basis.
“Perfect or Nothing” People
Throughout my life, I have encountered people, men and women both, you think they deserve perfect. Literally, 100% perfect. They will deny this, and say that of course they don’t expect anyone or anything to be “perfect.” However, if you watch their actions, it’s quite clear that 100% perfect is what they want.
If they don’t get perfect, they get extremely uncomfortable at best, angry at worst.
These are women (usually Dominants, but not always) who get indignant and offended when they have a relationship with a man and he does anything wrong. I don’t mean getting temporarily pissed or frustrated when your partner (or partners) does something wrong; that’s human and normal. I mean they actually take things personally when anything goes wrong, and feel violated, let down, and often like they’re wasting their time. “Why can’t he just do what I say??? Ughhh!!”
These are also men (usually Alpha Male 1.0s, but not always) who get instantly pissed off any time the woman (or women) in their lives do anything wrong. They feel disrespected and start bitching and yelling. “Why doesn’t she just fucking do what she says she’ll do???”
Another type of “Perfect or Nothing” Person is a growing group of men and women who are taking themselves off the dating market altogether. They just stop dating, and often stop having sex. When men do this, they go extreme MGTOW and retreat to video games, internet blogs, porn, and other distractions. When women do this, they absorb themselves into their children, parents, or sisters.
In both cases, they want a PERFECT partner or a PERFECT relationship. And dammit, if they can’t find one, then fuck it! I’ll just be alone! “Today’s women are gold-digging bitches anyway!” or “I don’t need a man to be happy! I’m a strong independent woman!”
Most of us are familiar with the angry men online who do this, but I have noticed, in the last five years in particular, many women starting to do this too. Usually these are women over the age of 35, who already have a kid or two, and who are still decently attractive. After their divorce (or equivalent) they do serial monogamy for a while, quickly realize men aren’t perfect, and that the Disney fairytale their mom told them about probably isn’t possible (which of course it isn’t, as I’ve discussed in my podcasts.)
Their reaction to this is to throw their arms in the air and decide to write off men completely. They start to over-focus on their kid(s), and when they grow old and their kids grow up, they plan to move in with their sisters, parents, or close female friends. Any real hopes of a marriage or long-term boyfriend are gone. Sometimes they may grab a nearby guy for a brief FB relationship so they can get some sex, but that’s the extent of their dating life, likely for the rest of their lives.
It’s important to realize that I’m not talking about fat or hopelessly ugly women here. Usually fat/ugly women get laid a lot and like it. No, I’m talking about women who are still trim and decently attractive, what most men would consider 7s or even 8s, at least for their age. It’s not that they can’t get a quality guy. They can. They just choose not to. They want perfect, or nothing. They’re directly ignoring the 90% Rule. 90% isn’t good enough, dammit. I’m A Strong Woman™. I Work Hard™. I Deserve The Best™.
Every man or woman I have seen choose this path suffers from reduced levels of happiness, for reasons I hope are obvious. Perfect or Nothing is not a path to happiness; it’s a path to bitterness.
On the other side of the spectrum are the Tolerators, whom I've mentioned before. These are people (men and women both) who have longer relationships, but tend to have constant, never-ending problems in those relationships. The exact problems depend on the person, but they include things like:
1. Constant drama
2. Constant, semi-regular cheating (which causes constant drama)
3. Constant problems with children that negatively affect the relationship
4. Long-term buried feelings of resentment
5. Zero or near-zero sex
6. Abuse (physical or emotional)
When you point out the constant drama (or other constant problem) in their relationship to a Tolerator, he/she will respond with irrational, defensive comments like this:
“Well, no one is perfect!”
“Well, no relationship is perfect!”
“Well, c’mon, you can't NEVER have any drama!”
“Relationships aren’t about being happy.”
“Relationships are about compromise.”
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!"
Then they go right back to their near-constant problems and frequent unhappiness.
While “Perfect or Nothing” People demand 100% perfection and suffer constant unhappiness when they can’t get it, Tolerators put up with relationships that are 10% or 20% of perfection, and suffer regular unhappiness because their relationships suck.
In both cases, you have people suffering long-term unhappiness because of their direct violation of the 90% Rule.
Getting to 90%
A better way to long-term, consistent happiness is work towards a relationship (or a career, or a body, or a life) that is not perfect, but as close as you can get to it within reasonable, real-life constraints. In my experience, 90% is quite achievable, given time and effort.
My life is 90% perfect. I’m tempted to say that these days it’s almost 95% perfect. Seriously. My life is awesome, though imperfect. Will it ever be 100% perfect? Nope. But that’s not my objective, because I’m not a moron. Knowing there will always be around 10% of my life that sucks to some degree, I accept this. The things that bother me I shrug off and let slide.
My relationship life, or my woman life as I call it in my book, is 90% perfect. It’s amazing. Granted, it took me several years of hard work to get it to 90%. When I was a married, monogamous beta male, my woman life was at about 40%. When I got divorced, and I started having sex more often and spending time with happy women, it shot up to 65%. 65% isn’t bad, and a hell of a lot better than 45%, but that’s not good enough for me, because I like to be really happy. Yet I always knew that 100% was impossible. 100% is Disney, and Disney is a fairy tale.
So I put in the time and effort, and pushed it to 70%, then 75%, and onward. It took me a few years, but today it’s at 90%. Some days it temporarily pops up to 93% or so, but that’s as far as it’s ever going to get. Thinking you can get your woman life, or any other part of your life, to 100% perfect is delusional in the extreme. (Many people get married because of this delusion.) But 90% is achievable. And 90% is amazingly awesome, believe me.
The only possible variable is your desire to put in the work and effort. You might view 70% as good enough, because you’re lazy and/or you don’t have the motivation to put in the work and time necessary to get that 70% to 90%. As I always say, that’s fine and it’s your life. I just better not hear you complain about your problems if you choose to live with them. I’ll be over here being happy.
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Ronin 2015-11-23 05:34:02
Happiness is a transient emotion often of short duration, often with gaps where you are not happy, Eg. your team won, an hour later your girl dumped you, you bought a new car, your boss annouces layoffs and cut your hours, rinse and repeat.... The trick is making these shitty gaps between as tolerable as possible, or better yet, plan better to avoid most of them entirely.
David 2015-11-23 05:46:11
Solid article, BD. Always good to have reminders that life is NEVER going to be a complete dream, but it can be pretty damn close. I'm just curious, do you believe there are particular standards the Alpha 2.0 can/should strive for to reach that 90% happiness level? I know you mention certain goals in your writing (i.e. minimum $75k income for most men). Would goals like that tend to create that particular happiness level for most in your opinion? Or is it going to be more arbitrary and based on each person's circumstances in life?
Blackdragon 2015-11-23 13:33:12
Happiness is a transient emotion often of short duration, often with gaps where you are not happy, Eg. your team won, an hour later your girl dumped you, you bought a new car, your boss annouces layoffs and cut your hours, rinse and repeatYou're talking about joy. I'm talking about happiness. I'm happy every day, from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed, pretty much every day, consistently. You're talking about isolated joyous events that temporarily boost happiness up to unsustainable levels. Two different things.
I’m just curious, do you believe there are particular standards the Alpha 2.0 can/should strive for to reach that 90% happiness level?Yep, you mentioned the $75k per year, and in my book I cover several others, such as regular sex, a flexible schedule, meaningful work, the ability to replace your income and your sources of sex quickly, etc.
Would goals like that tend to create that particular happiness level for most in your opinion? Or is it going to be more arbitrary and based on each person’s circumstances in life?They're not arbitrary, because just about all men on planet Earth would be happier with a higher income and/or more sex (possibly with hotter women), assuming all other things remained equal. The only difference is in degree. Getting double the amount of sex for Guy A might make him 35% happier, while with Guy B it might make him 150% happier, depending on their different personalities.
CrabRangoon 2015-11-24 08:23:32
Definitely a great piece as we get close to the new year. Good time to reevaluate things are see how close or far we are from the 90%. I feel there are a few areas in life that need some balance to keep consistent happiness which I believe you've touched on...Work/finances, sex, relationships, family and leisure would cover most of it. Generally speaking, it's tough to have all these areas firing on all cylinders at the same time but it's possible to get pretty damn close if you're smart about things. Be smart about money so you a blip in work life doesn't ruin you, abundance of women so if one falls off, you just move to the next. Nothing you haven't already tried to school the guys on in these parts. Cheers BD!
Ski 2015-11-25 02:27:10
Hey BD. Another great article. Could you explain how a rubix cube in a bottle is similar to life? I read the article but perhaps I missed the point in how it relates to life. Is it the fact that "I own a Rubix cube but I can't play with it without breaking the bottle?" Thanks!!!
BlindIo 2015-11-25 04:55:16
The part about "relationships being about compromise" is something I have heard as long as I can remember, mostly from my parents (who are, on the whole, a functional unit - just with more problems than I would personally put up with). My philosophy is that if I am with a girl my life must be better with her than it is without. Why else bother? I'm not looking for 100% or 90% or any other number, just an improvement in my life. Better to be alone than in bad company.
Anon. 2015-11-25 06:48:05
It’s a 94.4% perfect Rubik’s Cube. In a bottle. 🙂
Blackdragon 2015-11-25 11:32:59
Could you explain how a rubix cube in a bottle is similar to life?There's a Rubix cube that's ALMOST perfect, but you can't get it to 100% perfect because it's locked away in the bottle. And that slight imperfection is really obvious and staring you in the face. You're just going to have to accept it, and enjoy the other 90% (or 94%) that's perfect. (Yes, you could break the bottle, and that would represent possibly getting one area of your life to 100%, temporarily, at the sacrifice of other important areas.)
The part about “relationships being about compromise” is something I have heard as long as I can rememberMe too. We all have. It's Societal Programming at its best. I've said this before: If you have to make any non-minor compromise to a woman to maintain a relationship with her, SHE'S THE WRONG WOMAN FOR YOU.
Chris Field 2015-11-26 21:40:07
fwiw, breaking the bottle wouldn't help anyway since that cube is in an unsolvable state
Anthony 2015-11-29 02:29:29
This is the attitude I have taken as far as my training in the gym goes. Will I look 100% like Schwarzenegger? Nope, but I definitely see more muscle and less fat on my body and that is what pushes me to keep going back to the gym and eat healthy. My ex was one of those "perfect or nothing" types. In South Korea, society really pushes this crap because you are suppose to be married and have kids by 30(she just turned 29) and have some plush job at Samsung or Hyundai. Never mind that South Korea has the HIGHEST suicide rate in the industrialized world. In addition, right before we broke up, my ex told me, "people aren't happy living here." Let her stay with her perfect or nothing mindset, I'll focus on getting myself together physically, financially, and spiritually. All the best BD!!!
OldJoe 2015-12-25 19:30:57
I'm 46. 6'2" 255. Too much fat and my fitness is in the toilet, and has been since my divorce started in 2013. For nearly three years I have been in a sea of unbelievable shit. Anyhow. Fast forwardin through all that shit. I'm not willing to let thsee experiences to continue to kill me. I just don't know how to shut this monkey mind of mine down, and where to begin? One thought after having read one of your books is that I don't know if I'm a beta or an omega or afree reading this article a tolerator. I know what I don't want. But I'm not sure what I want. So what do I do? I have so many opportunities at my feet, a good pension, a good job, a house, the divorce is turning around for me. The law, applied somewhat equitably, has a way of bringing out the psycho in her.
Blackdragon 2015-12-26 12:07:49
So what do I do?Too general a question. My too general answer is to pick just ONE area of improvement and start diligently working on it.
Fraser Orr 2015-12-27 11:13:33
Too general a question. My too general answer is to pick just ONE area of improvement and start diligently working on it.I suggest (as someone in a similar situation) that a great approach would be to read your great book on becoming an Alpha 2.0, and consequently start with the groundwork -- articulate a mission, a personal code, and from there derive some measurable goals in the life areas he wishes to advance the most. However, there is nothing that restores a guy's confidence and drive after the emasculation of divorce as getting laid a lot does. BTW, if you are trying to loose weight I highly recommend Tim Ferriss's book, the Four Hour Body. I used it, followed it to the T, and lost sixty pounds in less than three months, along with my energy going through the ceiling. The diet also wasn't particularly hard to follow.
Miku 2016-04-02 06:58:21
I'm curious,what would happen if more men decided to go the "Extreme MGTOW" route? I believe you've said that the reason the majority of women have become more bitchy,demanding and unreasonable(and you're absolutely right btw)is because the majority of men are/have become betas who put up with such behavior. But if instead of slaving away as betas,those same percentage/number of men decided to drop out of the dating game,instead spending time on whatever hobby they choose while either using porn/escorts for their sexual satisfaction. Do you think women would actually start to behave? (This is just a what-if,I know its incredibly unrealistic for this to happen. its amazing the sort of unreasonable things a lot of men will put up with for pussy/love.) Oh and,I'd like to ask your opinion about another thing. Do you think there are men out there,who really would be better off dropping out of the dating game entirely? I'm not talking about the average beta,but the bottom-of-the-barrel omega male. He might have repulsively ugly looks,micro-penis,crippled,is a midget,has mental issues,or perhaps even all of the above preventing him from getting it on with reasonably attractive women. Some might say that such a person should learn to "settle" with a woman who is his equal,but I honestly think that would be a much less appealing option than him becoming a MGTOW who uses escorts or/and learning how to lucid dream.
joelsuf 2016-04-02 07:45:21
I’m curious,what would happen if more men decided to go the “Extreme MGTOW” route?More homicide and suicide. If dudes can't have sex, they'll be violent instead. And then those who WERE strict MGTOW will look at that and be like "man I gotta get laid, I've been dry for like two years!" Guess who had that epiphany...me! It was my reaction to Sodini in 2009. Humans are sexual and social beings. There will come a time when your left hand and your fleshlight just WILL NOT do it for you anymore. That's why I troll the crap out of strict MGTOW (if I'm even able to, they usually ban me after my first post just for disagreeing with them). They want a world they only think they want cuz they want everyone to be just as "imprisoned" as they. Now what OTHER group does that remind you of?
Do you think there are men out there,who really would be better off dropping out of the dating game entirely? I’m not talking about the average beta,but the bottom-of-the-barrel omega male. He might have repulsively ugly looks,micro-penis,crippled,is a midget,has mental issues,or perhaps even all of the above preventing him from getting it on with reasonably attractive women.Yes. I know who you are talking about. People (not just dudes) who can't function normally but still have the emotional capacity of a normal person (mentally or physically disabled or disfigured) not only are better off dropping out of the dating game, but also out of the LIVING game as well. Ever since adolescence, I've been a staunch proponent of assisted suicide, and when someone's life is literally more painful than being dead, then they should have the right to get themselves killed. Hell if someone related to me was in that condition, I would be completely supportive of it! I saw my dad, who had cancer before dying, puke up black bile before he died. I remember crying hysterically out of sadness, shock, AND fear after seeing that. Could you imagine the emotions going through your mind DOING it? I wanted the plug to be pulled on him. I didn't want to see him go through that kind of pain, or anyone for that matter. I know I'm not BD, but your question was interesting.
Blackdragon 2016-04-02 11:57:21
I’m curious,what would happen if more men decided to go the “Extreme MGTOW” route?... Do you think women would actually start to behave?No, because women behave this way not because of the extreme losers, but because of the normal, everyday betas. If the extreme losers dropped out of the market, women wouldn't even notice. Now if the billions of everyday betas stopped kissing women's asses, then yes, women would start to behave better. But like you said, that's not going to happen. Quite the opposite; it's going to get worse.
Do you think there are men out there,who really would be better off dropping out of the dating game entirely?Perhaps, but even those men are still men and still need to have sex regularly. That means either hookers or sugar babies. Never having sex is a terrible idea regardless of who you are.
Miku 2016-04-04 09:55:05
People (not just dudes) who can’t function normally but still have the emotional capacity of a normal person (mentally or physically disabled or disfigured) not only are better off dropping out of the dating game, but also out of the LIVING game as well.I support the legalization of euthanasia as well,people should have the option to painlessly/peacefully end their lives if they feel they cannot cope/do not want to live anymore. However,I'm an atheist(well,a closet-atheist in real life. I live in a religious family/neighborhood,its not worth risking my reputation and potentially ruining my life/relationships just to reveal my true beliefs)so I also believe that once you end your life,it truly is game over. I feel its a good effort to at least find ways to improve your less-than-ideal life before you give up. In this particular topic,we are discussing about men who are so unattractive that they cannot succeed in the sexual marketplace. When I mentioned MGTOW,I wasn't referring to celibacy(that would be suck indeed...),but rather forgoing relationships altogether and live on escorts/prostitutes. Of course,its still nowhere near an ideal way to live(it also requires money),but its a way to make the most of things if you were dealt such an unlucky deck I'm sorry about your father btw,that's a horrible way to die. BTW I do remember "Elliot Roger",another guy who went on a rampage because he couldn't get laid(he had mental issues,right?),so yeah. going celibate is definitely not for most people. I actually happen to know an exception. but that's because he's a...um..well,a unique case,he has a certain "fetish" that replaces his desire to have sex.
Félix 2016-12-01 00:09:35
Does this concept also applies to confidence and outcome independence? Meaning one can never be 100% confident or outcome independent, but you could get to 90-95% if you really put in the effort?
Blackdragon 2016-12-01 10:46:47
Does this concept also applies to confidence and outcome independence?No. Those are internal feelings. The 90% Rule applies to external conditions.
Nagolbud 2017-11-16 08:47:13
Actually I travel the world. I've lived in Mexico for several months now and have even started my own business here. I went MGTOW because I noticed women in every country, in every aspect of life, generally act the same. I would say its more like 99%. Especially now that feminism, atheism, evolution, and liberalism is forced down the throat of every civilized nation. There is an agenda. And it's obvious. The fact you feel the need to shame men that identify as MGTOW means you have no valid points of reason. I have owned several Audi's, had my own business, owned my own house, went to college. I've done all your beta check list bullshit things and I still KNOW 99% of women are like this. I've fucked around 500 of them and dated several more. I don't go MGTOW out of anger. I do it to protect myself and my soul. Modern women are emotional vampires and you fit the bill for one too. To be honest, this article is simply gas lighting. Another manipulative girly technique to get attention and narcissistic supply.