‘If you would go every day to a very large tree and take five swings at it with a very sharp ax, eventually, no matter how large the tree, it would have to come down.’ Ron Scolastico
When the book ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ became a number one New York Times bestseller, Time magazine hailed it as the ‘publishing phenomenon of the century’. Yet authors Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen were much more circumspect. They knew that there was nothing phenomenal about it at all, success had come as a result of hard graft and consistent action taken over a long period of time.
Inspired by the advice of Ron Scolastico, they had stumbled upon one of the keys to success. Canfield would go on to describe it in his book ‘Success Principles’ calling it the Rule of Five, a principle that he and Hansen used over a period of two years to reach their goal.
The Rule of Five
The Rule of Five states that when trying to achieve a goal you should do five things every day that moves you toward it.
Yet it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the things you need to do. You can forget to set clear goals and identify the steps that will get you there. Distracted and focused you don’t show up as consistently as you should to do what needs to be done.
The beauty of the rule of five is that it reminds you of all those things.
- You are compelled to figure out what you want and make those goals concrete. The result is a clear north star.
- The seemingly unachievable becomes more accessible as you identify the tasks you need to execute to move towards it.
- You realise that taking action on those tasks is the key to making progress.
- It reminds you that success doesn’t happen overnight, you have to take action every day over a sustained period of time. Consistency is key.
Just think, five tasks every day is the equivalent of hundreds over the course of months. What could the cumulative effect of hundreds of actions be? How much could you achieve?
No more excuses
And yes, I know there are days when doing five tasks is too much, and that’s okay. Life can get busy. Remember, whether it’s five, two or just one, the principle is the same. You have to take action consistently, or nothing will happen. Success will only come when you show up to do the work.
So, do you have a goal?
Is your lack of consistent action stopping you getting there?
Why not apply the Rule of Five (or maybe one to start)?
What could you do today to take one step closer to your goal?
Let me know in the comments.