Have you ever noticed how the smallest things can feel so hard?
Getting to the gym, waking up on time, facing the pile of bills, saying how you really feel, admitting that you’re wrong, asking for help, sticking to a plan, speaking up in a meeting, staying positive, finding time for yourself…these things can often feel impossible.
When the little things feel like they’re out of your control, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking your entire life is spiraling, too. If you can’t get up on time, how can you possibly fix any of the bigger problems that you’re facing?
I used to feel this way: overwhelmed by the little things, stuck in analysis paralysis mode, and having a hard time making progress on what mattered most.
Seven years ago, I decided to make a change in my life. I created a tool called the 5 Second Rule and made a commitment to myself: every time that I had an instinct to do something small that would actually make my life better, I would do it within 5 seconds and without hesitation.
As I began to use this technique all of the time, I noticed something incredible. I had replaced my habit of hesitation with the habit of courage.
Yes, courage. Courage isn’t reserved for a chosen few world changers.
Courage is not a state. It’s an action that you need to practice everyday.
In moments of hesitation, those times when your feelings of doubt and worry creep in, you have a critical opportunity. It’s the opportunity to seize the 5 second window and practice everyday courage.
You can either take courageous action or you can submit to your feelings of self-doubt.
When you practice everyday courage, you feel proud, powerful, build authentic pride in yourself, and create real confidence.
Just like courage, confidence is not a state. It’s not a feeling. And it’s definitely not a personality trait.
Confidence is the willingness to listen to yourself, to believe in your instincts, and to trust your inner wisdom. It’s the skill of believing in and listening to yourself.
Confidence doesn’t just occur. It’s a skill, one that’s built through repeated acts of everyday courage.
Every time that you truly listen to yourself and your inner wisdom, you build the skill of confidence.
When you continue to practice everyday courage, something really amazing happens. As your confidence increases, you will also find yourself no longer defaulting to fear.
Where you once needed to courageously push yourself to overcome hesitation, you will find that doing so is now easy.
Over time, you won’t feel the fears you feel right now. You won’t feel the same self-doubt. You will have built up a pattern of confidence.
When faced with doubt or fear, use the 5 Second Rule to push through hesitation with an act of everyday courage.
Right now, think to yourself: what “small thing” is the hardest for you? How can you take courageous action–immediately, without hesitation, right now–to improve your life?
Life is too short to stay trapped by fear and self-doubt. With just one act of courage each day, you can, in the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you’ve imagined.”