“In folklore, the five-second rule states that food (or sometimes cutlery) dropped on the ground will not be significantly contaminated with bacteria if it is picked up within five seconds of being dropped”, states Wikipedia. What if we transfer that to our lives?
When we have a hear or have a great idea, we pause… what happens in that pause? Those next thoughts will determine our course of action. It is in that pause that we decide to procrastinate or to act. Tell our selves excuses or do something. How many times have we had a thought and than told ourselves stories instead of acting. Stories of how busy we are or how we will look into that later. I heard someone say that humans tell themselves stories and sometimes they are true, sometimes really good, but they are just that… stories. There are those that do and those that do not (often making stories for why they are not doing the thing they said they would do). Thus, when I have a pause, I try to be honest with myself. I try to often decide in the moment, if I will act or not, because I tend to believe in the idea of the new 5 second rule (which is not a literal 5 seconds), not waiting which will allow for bacteria growth.
Bacteria growth can be any excuse or reasons. It can say that you need to do research and don’t have the time. That you need to do such and such first. That you will get around to it…. As mental bacteria grows, you can even convince yourself that this will be hard, and so you need more time to prepare. All before you even started to make a plan on how to do it!
For example, say that you were talking to a friend about cutting sugar out of your diet. You both decide that “you should do it” and that some good research is required first. Your friend finds it overwhelming but rather than admit it, they make excuses about how much they will crave sugar. How they need to buy some books, watch some videos, and look on google about it. A month passes and they are planning very seriously on doing this, but now have been paying attention to the messages online social media about have addictive sugar is and how hard it is to cut it out. They realize this is a huge project and will be harder than they thought, and are building up a fear about how daunting this is and braces themselves for the someday, when they get around it to. They have bought a book, but haven’t had time to read it yet (insert all the busy things they have to do first). After hearing that cutting out sugar is hard, they have a small list of foods that they will allow in their diet, that does have sugar. All before they have evens started down the road!
You, on the other hand, made it a priority. Since you believe that people make time for their priorities, and that our actions show our real priorities (not our words), you get right on this and do some quick research (enough to get started) and within a week you are eating without sugar. After your first week you realize that you will allow some sugars in (such as cheese) and change your diet to less than 10% sugar in your diet. You have a month of healthy eating under your belt, while they are still waiting to get around to read their book.
Now let’s say that there is yet another friend that had this conversation with you both. This friend had a different response in the pause. They said “Look this sounds good, and I may revisit this idea, but right now my cousin died and I am helping the family, I have a huge project at work, and I have a commitment to myself for exercise as well. I like this idea but at this point in my life I am going to shelf it and this is my choice, not making excuses and experiencing guilt and a sense of life controlling me because I can’t get around to the things I say I will do but never get a chance. This is not a priority to me right now but I may revisit the idea later”. This is an action, not an excuse. An active choice. It is just as honest as the person who did act immediately and moved forward with the plan.
The last two were honest. They didn’t allow for mental bacteria to grow. In the pause they made a decision and were proactive. They were a “do-er” and took charge, unlike the first person whose life seems to control them. All types of people have their purpose and one is not better than the other. For the purposes of this blog however, the first person is one that does not necessarily fill their life with things that they want to do with it, and does not work towards their goals.
What do you do in that pause? What do I do in that pause? Do we choose and act, or do we leave it so long that mental bacteria grows on it and our moment of opportunity turns into another piece of “food” (or goal, or great idea, or a moment of inspiration) left on the ground to grow moldy and old? Let’s be honest with ourselves. Let’s take control of our own lives. Let’s do something with our big and small ideas in life, even if it just as simple as being honest with ourselves and choosing. Bend over and pick up that idea before it grows old and uninspired.