5-4-3-2-1-GO!!

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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5-second rule visual summary (credits: Visual Synopsis).

More info concerning the 5-second rule may be found at: https://melrobbins.com/

 

 

Hiatus

Wow! Just wow! What a while it has been!

Sincerely, I missed blogging. It has almost been a year since I last composed a blog post (314 days to be precise). Well, I attribute it to a hiatus, a hiatus pegged with many factors: work, travel, reading, business, and worse of it all – writer’s block.

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Image Credits: Wine In

On the one hand, I would say it was necessary that I have the long break from what I used to do best. On the other hand, I feel that I have missed out on a lot regarding the advancement of the mckanyanga brand. Essentially, this is the first blog post for 2018! Just imagine what I have missed for the past eight months!

The hiatus has taught me about life’s brevity. There are so many moments I told myself that I was going to finish the next part of Almost doesn’t count. I had even mapped out the story’s outline. However, I just could not come up with the words to fill it up! I was stuck. I suffered the writer’s block. There are other moments that I wrote a paragraph, and before I knew it, I had hit the backspace key to clear it! I could not feel the flow of the words. I could not make sense of what I was writing. Many writers will tell you that they often have to feel the flow and make sense of their work before they publish and share it with their audience.

During the hiatus, I have learned significant lessons about life which I would like to share with you.

It is okay to be tired, but never to give up

“I think that writing/business/ministry/accounting/sport/law [insert any pursuit here] is not my thing…”

Many are the times we have heard people complain that a particular profession, pursuit, or job is not their thing. In most cases, they reach this point after a long period of trying here and there. It is common to hear them say,

“I did everything right, I followed the rules, I put all my effort, I dedicated myself to the course, but things are not working out at all!”

Perhaps, such comments are made when one is tired, and their mind is clouded with negative energy as a result of the toil. During such time, it is necessary to unplug and do whatever you like – taking a walk, cooking your favorite meal, munching your favorite snack, watching your favorite series, or even listening to soothing music. Such activities have the effect of “deceiving” your mind into forgetting the negative and focusing on the good vibes only.

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Image Credits: Virgin

Remember that it is never that serious. Being tired is okay. Being tired makes us human. In essence, being tired shows that you are putting in the work and that is good! However, take care not to be chocked up in the negative mood that is brought about by fatigue. In this case, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing – focusing on your work.

The break is necessary

When one suffers a writer’s block, they cannot achieve much. It is at this point that taking a break becomes handy. The break is necessary because it helps calm down your mind. Research shows that the brain generates fascinating ideas when it is at rest. As a writer, one of the most important assets to have is a creative mind, and that mind is often achieved when one is at rest. It is advisable that one writes up the fascinating ideas that come through their mind during the break. These notes are necessary for coming up with future blog posts.

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Image Credits: Meet, Plan, Go

Perhaps, breaks are essential in clearing up your mind and hence enable you to come up with better ideas. Additionally, taking a break is instrumental in shaping up your view of the world. In essence, during the break, you tend to focus on other things besides writing, and these activities influence you to see the world from a different viewpoint. Besides, these other activities may give you the answers or inspiration that is needed to fuel your passion.

So, the next time you feel stuck, remember to unplug from what you are doing and take that break.

Consistency is key

Consistency, or lack thereof, can be the defining factor between failure or success. Let’s say that I decide to do a blog post every fortnight and stick with it; it would somewhat be predictable for you to check into my blog for a new post, wouldn’t it?

Consistency enables you to measure your performance. For instance, in the above case where I choose to blog every fortnight, it would be right to say that I would come up with two blog posts every month and twenty-four in a year. My work would somewhat be predictable, and this would prompt me to come up with the best pieces.

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Image Credits: Quotefancy

Besides, consistency breeds accountability. Perhaps, if I know that I should have a blog post two weeks from now, I will start coming up with an outline soon. I would not want to miss the satisfaction that comes with the successful completion of the blog post. This satisfaction and the desire to be consistent in coming up with blog posts would be the catalysts that will enhance my accountability.

Do not chase the result

Your whole focus ought to be on the process. In writing, there is the tendency to focus on the number of likes to your blog post, the target reach, the number of individuals visiting your blog, and the money you make out of writing. It is worth noting that these parameters are not the main goal. I was guilty of focusing on the result, and I was frustrated when I never got the anticipated feedback. Eventually, I forgot the passion, the first love – writing.

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Image Credits: Float Universe

What I appreciate is that I have learned my lesson. When you focus on chasing the result, you will rarely get them. Instead, you ought to focus on the “why” of your work. Perhaps, it could be to inspire lives of teenagers out there or to guide first-time parents on how to raise their first child.

Remember, chasing after things and results only produces a tiring life. Essentially, focus on the “why,” and in no time, individuals will recognize it and start giving you what you are seeking – be it likes, readership, or money.

Have fun

During the hiatus, I invested more time into my business. It is less than a year old and is yet to break even. Of course, as a businessman, there are other great businessmen that I look up to for inspiration. One of them is Sir Richard Branson. Branson is known for his mighty exploits in business through his company named Virgin. I happened to study his autobiography titled Losing My Virginity (I am not talking about what you think here), and one of the essential lessons that I have learned is that you got to enjoy the process. Branson prides himself in having fun at work. If you look at the company’s structure, it is evident that he prioritizes the needs of the employees. He understands the importance of having fun in attaining the desired results. Well, I also transferred the same idea into my work plan. I would rather have fun while writing than being grumpy and grinding out an unsatisfactory piece of writing.

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Image Credits: AZ Quotes

Well, that’s it. Remember the break is necessary but do not give up yet. Consistency matters. Focus on your passion and have fun while at it.

Cheers!

[Featured Image credits: bradsknutson.com]