FOCUS: 10-10-10 Rule

DISCIPLINES: Personal Mastery, Systems Thinking

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes
but in having new eyes.
— Marcel Proust


New eyes? How do we get new eyes? I often think of this wonderful quote from Proust when I see something from a new perspective or am thrilled, as if for the first time, by the sight of the blossom trees of spring. New eyes.

And yet in this Fresh Views, I want to be more literal. I have recently realized that one of the things that stresses us pretty continually is tired, strained eyes. Human eyes were not meant to be focused on near- point activities like reading or working at a computer or watching television for hours at a time. Our eyes stay healthiest and most elastic when they switch from flat, close work to distant, three-dimensional views frequently. That’s where the 10-10-10 rule comes in. I know it sounds like lawn fertilizer, but in this case, it is eye fertilizer we all need, and here’s how it goes.

The 10-10-10 Rule

While you are engaged in any near-point activity (anything requiring you to focus on an object within 7 feet), every 10 minutes focus on an object at least 10 feet away for 10 seconds.

This may sound like a lot of work, but once you make it a habit, you will hardly notice you are doing it. And by doing it, you will relieve stress, allowing your ciliary muscle and lens to relax momentarily so that the eye does not adapt to this condition, leading to a loss of distant vision. Use the 10-10-10 Rule and teach it to your co-workers, your children, your friends and your family.

Distant Night Exercise

If you work in a small room or cubicle, or it’s dark outside, you can do the “Distant Night” exercise instead of the 10-10-10 Rule for 10 seconds. This also gives your eyes a break. Close your eyes while you imagine you’re looking into the distant night. Your eyes relax as they imagine looking out at a distance. You’ll get even more relaxation if you warm your hands by rubbing them together, and cup them over your eyes while doing the Distant Night exercise, leaning your elbows on a table or your knees.
(These exercises come from Vision For Life by Orlin G. Sorensen.)

We Are a System

The amazing thing is how much relief you can get from doing these little exercises. Because we’re a system, when our eyes are tired and strained, our whole body feels it. When our eyes stay fresh, so does the rest of us. Try it.

Coaching Tips

  1. Start practicing the 10-10-10 Rule or Distant Night regularly, NOW.

  2. Put a sticky note or a piece of masking tape on your computer monitor that says 10-10-10 rule as a reminder in the beginning.

  3. Make a bookmark with “10-10-10 Rule” on it to remind yourself to do it when you’re reading a book.


Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore the 10-10-10 Rule, Distant Night Exercise and other easy health tips we might each know. Call Thursday, May 15, 2008, at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific) 1-641-678-3404 x968. No need to register…just call at that time!

Read an excerpt from Liberating Greatness, the Whole Brain Guide to an Extraordinary Life, the book Hal and I wrote, at

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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