I’m going to teach you a principle that I call the “5-Second Rule” and I believe it holds the secret to overcoming any obstacle, unlocking any goal and achieving anything you want in life says Fred Auzenne.
The 5- Second Rule is a simple concept that our brains work on an “Automaton Principle”. This simply means that every single time we have an impulse/decision to do something; there are actually at least five seconds between stimulus and response.
In those initial five seconds your brain decides HOW to respond based on a number of different factors including:
1) Your beliefs about what can or should happen
2) What has happened in the past?
3) What you think other people will say
4) The results you’ve seen before from similar actions
5) Your physical health
6) How tired you are
7) The amount of stress you are under
8) The amount of time available before you needs to be somewhere else
9) Your level of hunger & thirst
10) How much sleep you got last night
11) Whether or not you’re in the mood/mood you were in when you first had the impulse to act.
Your brain then subconsciously decides whether or not to follow that impulse with your action based on these factors, and once it makes a decision, it takes another five seconds for the signal to travel down your nervous system so that your body can respond says Fred Auzenne. When someone cuts us off while driving we often find ourselves getting mad five seconds after they’ve moved into our lane! It’s crazy how this works!
Another really cool thing about the nature of our brains is that each time we have an impulse to act, our brain starts working on the plan for how it’s going to do so, even if we never take action. This means that when you have an impulse to do something your brain almost immediately tells your body “This is what needs to happen”. When you’re at home all alone and suddenly think “I need a drink” or when you see someone across the room and get an idea in your head that pops into your mouth, “Hey there!” It might seem like its taking forever but technically speaking, five seconds have already gone by between stimulus (seeing them) and response (saying hey)!
Now here are 5 simple, yet powerful ways to use the 5-Second Rule in your everyday life:
1. Before you make a phone call or send an email, give yourself five more seconds to think through what you want to say and how it will be said.
2. Five seconds before each elevator ride; “I choose to get off on the next level”.
3. After brushing your teeth at night; give yourself five extra seconds before standing up and walking away (This can help you shave almost 4 years off of your life!)
4. When you feel yourself getting angry towards someone else or another situation, take five seconds for yourself until that feeling has passed explains Fred Auzenne.
5. Finally, just imagine how much further along we would be if we gave ourselves that extra five seconds before acting or speaking all day long!
The 5-Second Rule will help you learn how to:
1. Think before you act
2. Be mindful and aware of your thoughts and actions (Note: This is not a substitute for meditation)
3. Utilize the power of those first few moments after an impulse/decision to make better choices, now and in the future!
I’ve used the 5-Second Rule successfully in almost every part of my life from school, dating and even as simple as what I eat for breakfast each morning. The only real limits are the limits you place on yourself! Call me crazy but I believe it’s also literally changed who I am and how I see myself. It’s like a superpower: Once you start using it, you can’t stop!
In my humble opinion, the 5-Second Rule is a MUST READ book for anyone looking to live a happier and more successful life says Fred Auzenne. If you find yourself making excuses, procrastinating or just going through the motions on a daily basis, I really believe this book will change your life!