The 5 by 5 Rule

While I was looking for some motivational talk or idea to direct my life towards success and positivity which was going otherwise for last few years despite my efforts, I came across the 5 by 5 or the 5 second rule. A detailed reading of this idea made me realize the effectiveness and practicality of this rule. It says that one should give a thought to any problem or situation and decide whether it will matter in the next 5 years or not and then act accordingly. Ideally this should be done in 5 seconds. Mel Robbins has discussed this idea in her book The 5 Second Rule in detail.

Practicing the 5 by 5 Rule can affect your life positively. First of all, it will help you get rid of unnecessary stress and worries in your life. We often spend hours, days, weeks and months overthinking about a certain problem. We give so much of our energy to it without realizing whether the problem is worth having so much of our energy and attention or not. The 5 second rule will help you prioritize within five seconds as to what is important and what is not. Within just 5 seconds you will be able to make a decision about how much of your energy does a problem need or whether it needs any of your energy at all. Prioritizing from among the conflicts that you face will cut down the inessential stress from your life giving you a happier version of you.

The 5 by 5 Rule can help you deal with the habit of procrastination. Mel Robbins views procrastination in a different perspective. According to her procrastination is actually a behaviour meant to help us cope with stress. Whatever we are putting off is linked to something that is stressing us. “What we are avoiding isn’t the task but rather the stress that we are associating with the task.” Now, with the 5 by 5 Rule you can gauge the impact certain task is going to have on your life and will have the power to cope with the stress that it is causing.

Moreover, this rule can shift your attention from the trivial and will direct it towards bigger and important things in life. Insignificant and petty issues take up most of our energy which could otherwise be invested in grand and productive things. The decision about how minor or major a matter is and its impact on your life in the next five years would help you focus your energy and attention to what matters and you will be in a better position to focus on bigger and important things.

An important part of human life is human relations. Healthy relations at home and work place guarantee peace of mind and happiness. Practicing the 5 by 5 rule in dealing with people around can also be effective. Selecting between important and unimportant matters by considering their impact on your life in five years can avoid arguments and stress and ensure healthy relationships.

The 5 by 5 rule can bring significant positive changes in your life, be it making decisions—big  or small, trying to achieve your goals, maintaining healthy relationships, living a stress free life—all these, if viewed through the 5 by 5 Rule lens, seem easier and manageable without negative stress and waste of energies.

The writer is a Quetta based freelancer & a graduate of International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI). She has recently completed MS in English Literature and Linguistics.

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