One of my favourite books this year is by a foul-speaking author called Mel Robbins.
I say foul because she uses swear words that are downright unprintable. Most people in America may not find such swear words offensive, but where I come from in Africa, use of curse and swear words is sternly frowned upon.
Nevertheless, her book, The 5-Second Rule, and a few of her inspiring videos, have ignited in me a desire to start questioning why I do the things I do; and why I don’t do other things as I should.
Mel contends that we all have a 5-second window between the time we decide to do the right thing and the time our brain convinces us not to do it. If you don’t act within this 5-second window, you will procrastinate, hesitate and finally switch into inaction.
The Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do”. In effect, what Paul is saying here is that he does not understand why he keeps on sabotaging himself.
Have you ever made New Year resolutions, or goals, but then you immediately start doing everything else but that which you need to do to get to your goals?
Why is it so difficult to carry out the very tasks that take us to our goals? Why do we stay silent when we could have spoken up and provide a solution to a problem at hand? Why is it so hard to take action; immediate action?
The answer can be summed up in one word: hesitation; the moment between knowing you have to act now and the time your brain convinces you not to.
You see, your brain does not want you to go out on a limb. It’s configured to secure you and help you avoid any discomfort, pain and inconvenience. But you and I know that success does not come on a silver platter. Hard decisions must be made at the opportune time.
For instance, ask yourself; why do you hit the snooze button of your alarm clock and yet you are the same person who set it to wake you at that time?
Next time the alarm clock goes off, use Mel Robbins 5-second rule by counting backwards from five (5-4-3-2-1) and then, without hesitation, launch out of bed.
Your brain will protest but as soon as it gets used to the idea that waking up early won’t kill you, it will start supporting your decision to wake up early.
A lot of people have missed out on great opportunities just because they hesitated. Some have missed out on their dream jobs for arriving late to an interview after hitting the snooze button.
You need to realize that most of the time you will not ‘feel’ motivated enough to do the hard tasks that move you forward.
When you feel this way, you need to overcome your hesitation by ‘forcing’ yourself to do what has to be done to get to your goals; no matter how you feel.
When we force ourselves to do something that is hard and inconvenient, we in essence start programming our brain to start accepting such tasks. This is how supportive habits are formed.
Great opportunities are all around us. But timing is as important as the opportunities themselves. If you hesitate to take action when you should, you will lose.
But if you take action when you should, without hesitation, a world of possibilities and breakthroughs awaits you.