What is the five by five rule?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. We’ve all heard this popular saying at least once in our lifetime. But I found another phrase with a similar meaning.
Ever heard of the five by five rule?
‘If it won’t matter in five years, don’t spend over five minutes worrying about it.’ No, it’s not very profound, but it’s simple enough to follow, right?
If you’re feeling a little skeptical about the rule that’s understandable. Trust me, I wasn’t a believer either at first. So, I asked myself, ‘how can I apply the five by five rule to everyday life?’
We can’t reject all the stressors of life by following a simple rule. Life would be a cake walk if that were the case.
What happens if you lose a job, or a loved one? Or, heaven forbid, the doctor diagnoses you with a serious illness?
Health and financial issues aren’t matters we can easily blink away. Then again, maybe this rule isn’t for that.
I searched high and low for examples and deeper research from the five by five rule author to only stumble across several related quotes with ‘unknown’. The rule may not have a specific creator, but that doesn’t make it any less useful.
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Believe it or not, practicing the five by five rule and applying it to certain situations throughout the day can be a stress reliever.
Imagine reflecting on the rule right before a confrontation or exacting revenge on a colleague because you didn’t get the promotion. Is a verbal spat really worth it? Take a chill pill. There will be future openings in the company soon.
In those moments, what if we asked ourselves, “will this matter five years from now?” I bet it would save us from a world of trouble and give our heads a break from the migraines too.
Spending countless hours mulling over frivolous things is a waste of time. The last thing you need to add to your list of to-do’s is starting a fight over who ate your leftover take-out, or the random lady who stole your parking place in the Kroger lot.
Preserve your sanity and clear your mental space of unnecessary clutter. Leave room for more important matters that will require your attention later.
Take five minutes to work towards a positive solution instead.
Will this matter in five years?
How do I distinguish between which things should receive my energy or not? Well, I’m glad you asked.
The average person gets upset over some of the most trivial things. Let’s be honest, here. Anxiety is real and many people are operating on a short fuse.
Below are a few examples of daily stressors that disrupt our thoughts, cause us to lose focus, and give us the flux.
- Bumper to bumper traffic or a delayed flight
- Losing a job opportunity
- Getting blocked by a friend or ex on social media
- Long wait times
- Poor customer service
- Failing an academic test
- Not getting asked out for a second date
This list could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. You get the gist!
Will any of these things matter in five years? The right opportunity for a new job, or a new partner or spouse will come in due time.
Take a deep breath and relax. The five by five rule is a calming strategy to use when you’re feeling overly anxious, or allowing a small slight to fester.
Stop pulling out your hair and get in front of the problem girlie.
Sometimes, we just have to step outside of ourselves and reassess the situation.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this an issue you really want to carry home?
- Is the problem draining your energy?
- How will the potential outcome affect your life years from now?
- Is addressing the issue a risk to your security and/or sanity?
Choose your battles wisely.
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We all know when we’re approaching a train wreck full-speed ahead. Do yourself a favor and get off at the next stop.
Too many times, we allow our emotions to get the best of us, and we make poor choices, as a result. There’s a way to dial back the ‘worry’ with daily practice of the five by five rule.
Reserve your mental space for things that will affect your livelihood, relationships you value, or your health.
Think long term before you send that unpleasant text message to a friend, or write an unprofessional email to your boss. Would you like to have that friend in your life five years from now? Does the income you receive from your job help you meet your needs? Sleep on the issue and revisit it in the morning.
Fully liberating yourself from worry and anxiety is the ability to live and let things go.
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I teach entrepreneurs how to simplify their life and business with less + own their time and maximize productivity towards their personal and monetary goals.