By the time I am writing this, I am sure that we are all guilty of playing one dangerous game. That game involves “resting our eyes for a further five minutes” before waking up. This game is successfully orchestrated where we often set our alarms on a five-minute or ten-minute snooze delays depending on our preferred settings. Woe unto you if you are in employment and fail in this game! I do not want to explain how the rest of your day goes. If you are successful in this game, well done to you because you are a winner!
Image Credits: Gizmodo
Okay, let’s move away from the dangerous game and look into other events in our lives. Have you ever been indecisive when faced with certain situations? These situations could involve choosing what to eat in a fancy restaurant, choosing what to wear to special corporate evening dinner, or even seizing the moment to talk to that gorgeous lady that you have been planning to take out on a date. In most instances, indecisiveness makes us settle for less than that which we desire.
Image Credits: 3coze
On another note, indecisiveness makes us ineffective and inefficient. For instance, at your workplace, you may be contemplating on whether you should make a call or send out an e-mail to a particular client. Nonetheless, you could be in a meeting and you feel this burning desire within you to propose a particular point of view but before you know it, the manager has already moved to the next agenda and you are left to “die” with your proposal. Your work could also involve sourcing for new clients, and so you may be on your commute, and you spot a prospective client, but then one thing keeps you from pitching your idea to them. This thing is often indecisiveness that is plagued by the fear of the outcome – rejection.
Besides indecisiveness, there is another type of habit that makes us ineffective and inefficient. This habit is characterized by the feeling of not wanting to do something that you ought to do. Some individuals may call it laziness. For instance, you may walk into your room and find out that there is a quite large pile of laundry that needs to be done or worse still a huge collection of dirty cutlery and utensils. Frequently, you may not feel like cleaning the items especially if there are still clean ones that can be used at the moment.
So what are you to do to overcome the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness that are brought about by indecisiveness and the feeling of not wanting to do what you ought to do? Well, there is a solution. And the answer is simple yet so hard. The solution is this – the 5-second rule. The proponent of this rule is Mel Robbins, a renowned motivational and keynote speaker. In essence, the rule is summarized as follows: “If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds, or your brain will kill it.” This means, if you are meant to take a certain action, you ought to act within 5 seconds or else you won’t take any action. To fight the hesitation that often comes before you take a certain action, Robbins proposes that you should count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action. Easy, you may say. However, the challenge comes because you have to deal with “you,” you who within whom lies all the excuses and the triggers of hesitation! So, you need to push yourself into action the moment you reach the 1-GO stage lest you remain stagnant.
Image Credits: Four Minute Books
What makes the rule effective is that it tricks the brain into doing things that it would normally not do. The reason why 5 seconds is chosen is because there is a 5-second window between when we have an instinct to act and our brain coming up with excuses as to why we should not take action. The reason for counting backwards 5-4-3-2-1 is that the process requires our focus and concentration. Additionally, counting backwards wakes up our prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex switches our mind onto the decision-making process.
Let us get back to the beginning of this post and look at snoozing. For a long time, Robbins was having a difficult time waking up in the morning. It is only when she began applying the 5-second rule that she overcame the challenge. I was also having the same challenge waking up in the morning. It seemed like my bedding had conspired to make me enter the comfort zone and miss out on my morning routine! However, since I began applying the rule, waking up has become so easy. So at this point, I would like to pose a challenge to you that starting tomorrow morning; you will apply the 5-second rule when you encounter difficulty when waking up. I would be glad to hear your feedback.
Waking up without snoozing (Credits: Runtastic)
This rule is effective in overcoming the hesitation and indecisiveness that we face each moment that we are on the brink of taking action. There are situations where the rule operates on the premise: action now regrets later. These situations are those whose outcomes you are unsure of such as pitching to new clients or even talking to a lady that you have been admiring for a long time. In most cases, there are no regrets but joy for having taken action!
Left: Employee after successful deal (credits: Techedge)
Right: A successful date
Robbins opines that if you did things that you did not feel like doing, then you will have everything that you ever wanted. This is the motivating factor that ought to push you into applying the 5-second rule. Or best still, everything that you have ever wanted is on the other side of fear. On the same breath, I would like to state that everything that you have ever wanted is on the other side of indecisiveness. For instance, getting that client to sign up for that policy or even getting to take out that charming lady on a date or even proposing a certain idea during a tense corporate meeting or even talking to strangers. All the desired results lie on the other side of fear and indecisiveness.
So that is it on overcoming the challenge of waking up in the morning, indecisiveness, ineffectiveness and inefficiencies. Remember, 5-4-3-2-1-GO!
5-second rule visual summary (credits: Visual Synopsis).
More info concerning the 5-second rule may be found at: https://melrobbins.com/