Every man has 24 hours in his day. So what makes one squeeze every ounce of productivity in the 1,440 minutes while one man can not seem to get enough done? I recently read a book by Shawn Achor called Happiness Advantage where he lays out a principle called the 20 second rule that I believe answers this question.
This is not some theory about how long your food can lay on the ground before you can safely eat it. Shawn talks about how people who are successful systematically set up their lives to make success come easier. It’s not about will power because our will power can last only so long before we crack and go back to the easier path of resistance. He states if we make small adjustments we can “reroute” ourselves to doing the habits we know we should do to achieve greatness.
Hogwash you say! Let me tell you a real life example of how I applied this. I listen to at least three audio recordings a day from successful people to enhance my success in life. Recently my wife and I moved and I could not figure out why I was only getting in about 1 to 2 cd’s per day. What I found was that my habit of success was altered in my new setting thus taking me longer than 20 seconds to do what I new I should do for success but I wouldn’t because it was no longer just habit. I had to look at my new surroundings at set up this habit so every morning it took little thought and less than 20 seconds to start this principle of success. I set up a new pattern for myself and am now achieving back to and beyond the level I was previously doing.
Let’s take a more difficult example. We all now we should exercise, but how many of us do it? Why? Because when we wake up in the morning an hour early, the covers are much more appealing than sweating. When we wake up and start thinking about getting our clothes on and finding our shoes, if it takes longer than twenty seconds we have already lost and guilt will be with us the rest of the day.
The solution? Take the path of least resistance. If you truly want to make this a habit. Wear your exercise clothes to bed and put your shoes next to you on the floor. When the alarm goes off and you barely have to put thought into what you are doing your halfway out the door! Do this for 21 days and you have created a new success habit.
Try it! Try a small change that you have been hoping to make and see how it works. Nothing breeds success like success and you will be on to tackling bigger areas of your life. Steve Leurquin