A Look at Dr. Phil’s 10/7/5 Philosophy + My Results

I was listening to the Dr. Phil episode of Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, when Dr. Phil mentioned his 10/7/5 philosophy. I had never heard about this philosophy of his before, but I found it to be very interesting and wanted to share with you guys.

[Disclaimer: I’ve never been a huge fan of Dr. Phil… particularly because he violated Britney Spears’ family’s trust for his own benefit. That said, I do believe people change. I also have come to trust Dax Shepard, and listen to every single episode of his podcast with Monica Padman, so I gave it a shot.]

In the podcast, Dr. Phil said, “By the time you’re 40, you’re going to have experienced 10 defining moments, made 7 critical choices and can count 5 pivotal people in your life.”

I am 33 years old. So, while I know I still have a ways to go before age 40, I also know that life is moving faster than ever after becoming a mom. Because of this, I became curious about how many of my 10/7/5’s were already in place. After doing some research on Dr. Phil’s website, I found a better explanation of the three categories.

Ten Defining Moments: In every person’s life, there have been moments, both positive and negative, that have defined and redefined who you are. Those events entered your consciousness with such power that they changed the very core of who and what you thought you were. A part of you was changed by those events, and caused you to define yourself, to some degree by your experience of that event.

Seven Critical Choices: There are a surprisingly small number of choices that rise to the level of life-changing ones. Critical choices are those that have changed your life, positively or negatively, and are major factors in determining who and what you will become. They are the choices that have affected your life up to today, and have set you on a path.

Five Pivotal People: These are the people who have left indelible impressions on your concept of self, and therefore, the life you live. They may be family members, friends or co-workers, and their influences can be either positive or negative. They are people who can determine whether you live consistently with your authentic self, or instead live a counterfeit life controlled by a fictional self that has crowded out who you really are. 

“Defining Your External Factors,” Dr. Phil’s website

As I sat down to write mine, some came to me super easily and others… not so much. Some likely haven’t happened yet; others I didn’t want to voice out loud. Below are my lists so far.

10 Defining Moments

  1. Getting diagnosed with scoliosis at age 13.
  2. Quitting dance/pom due to a knee injury.
  3. Getting married.
  4. Getting diagnosed as a carrier of an awful genetic disease that would affect my ability to have healthy children.
  5. My dad abandoning my family.
  6. My dad’s sudden and unexpected death.
  7. Becoming a mom.
  8. TBD
  9. TBD
  10. TBD

7 Critical Choices

  1. Deciding to give Chandler a chance 🙂
  2. Deciding to go to Oklahoma State University, instead of the University of Oklahoma, at *pretty much* the last minute.
  3. Deciding to go into the ad agency world.
  4. Deciding to leave the ad agency world.
  5. Deciding to have a kid.
  6. Deciding to start this blog.
  7. TBD

5 Pivotal People

  1. The family who raised me.
  2. The family I’ve created.
  3. The family I married into.
  4. My closest friends.

(Yes, I know that’s way more than 5… but 5 pivotal people is super hard to do and it’s my list! Lol.)

This was honestly a fun exercise that caused me to really think back on my life. I highly recommend it. I’d love to see your lists, too!


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