شجاعت روزانه

کتاب: قانون 5 ثانیه / فصل 5

شجاعت روزانه

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Before I discovered the #5SecondRule, if you had asked me to give you examples of courage, I would have given you a list of history makers. I would never have said that courage is what it takes some days to get out of bed, speak to your boss, pick up the phone, or step on a scale. I would have told you that courage is a word used to describe acts of huge bravery.

Courageous people, in my view, were the Nobel Prize winners Malala Yousafzai, Leymah Gbowee, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, and Elie Wiesel. I would have thought about Winston Churchill and Britain standing up to fight against Nazi Germany, Rosa Parks standing up for her right to keep her seat on the bus, and Muhammad Ali steadfast in his religious beliefs and refusing to fight in Vietnam. I would have been reminded of Helen Keller, who triumphed over her own disabilities to advance the rights of others; of Sir Ernest Shackleton, who overcame shocking odds to rescue the crew of the Endurance; or of Galileo, who challenged the Orthodox Church to advance science.

But after using the Rule for seven years and hearing from so many people around the world, I have learned a very important certainty: Everyday life is full of moments that are scary, uncertain, and difficult. Facing these moments and unlocking the opportunity, magic, and joy in your life requires tremendous courage.

Courage is precisely what the #5SecondRule gives you. The Rule gave Jose the courage to believe in his value and ask for a raise.

Once he asked for one and got it, and there was a surprise waiting in his next paycheck—a bigger one.

The Rule gave Bryce the courage to put two years into writing and publishing a cookbook. And he didn’t stop there. He got Barnes and Noble to host a book signing. As Bryce puts it, “you can achieve anything that you are passionate about and are willing to work for.”

What’s even cooler? Bryce was only 15 at the time!

The Rule helped Martin push through nine years of “one excuse after another” and slamming “on those brakes hard” to go back to school and pursue a second master’s degree that will give him a more fulfilling career.

Juanita learned to listen to her inner wisdom. Instead of “thinking” about a job search and a company her friend recommended, she picked up the phone and called “right now”—and guess what she got? Exactly what she pushed herself to go and get—a dream job.

Learning about the #5SecondRule was a turning point for Gabe. After realizing “that I was responsible for everything that happened in my life,” Gabe used the Rule to change his life by starting his own Virtual Reality company. Today, he is creating the career of his dreams.

Kristin’s life has been forever changed because her boyfriend now has a way to battle his drug addiction. Whenever he feels the desire to go “back to one of those drugs,” he uses the #5SecondRule to fight his addiction and retrain his mind. He counts backwards 5- 4- 3- 2- 1 to himself to trigger new behavior and “his mindset completely changes and he goes about his day.”

Courage is, in fact, what I needed to get out of bed. It was scary to get out of bed because it meant facing my problems. It was difficult to look myself in the mirror and accept the fact that I was 41 years old and my life and career were in pretty lousy shape. It was overwhelming to consider I might not be able to fix the situation my husband and I were in.

Courage is what my daughter needs to put down the pen in her high school history class and raise her hand. It’s what your team needs to escalate its concerns to you and it’s what your kids need to tell you what’s really going on. Putting your online profile up on a dating site or blocking your ex on your phone can feel like an act of bravery. So can adopting new technology for your business or walking in the door of your home and facing your problems head-on instead of pouring a drink and zoning out in front of the TV.

As I began to write this book and started collecting stories of people around the world using the Rule, it became clear that inside every decision there exist five seconds of courage that can change everything in our lives.

The more the word “courage” came up, the more I began to wonder if there was something about one of the most historic moments of courage that would help me better understand the nature of courage itself. The first person that came to mind was Rosa Parks. You probably know the story of how Rosa Parks sparked the modern American Civil Rights Movement on a chilly December evening in 1955 when she quietly refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white passenger.

Her moment of courage teaches us all that it’s not the big moves that change everything—it’s the smallest ones in your everyday life that do. She didn’t plan to do what she did that night. Mrs. Parks described herself as the kind of person who tried to “be as careful as possible to stay out of trouble.” The only thing she planned on doing that evening was to get home after a long day at work and have dinner with her husband. It was just an evening, like any other evening—until one decision changed everything.

Curious, I dug in and researched everything I could find about Mrs. Parks, from the National Archives, biographies, radio interviews, and newspaper articles. What I found is incredible. Just weeks after her arrest, she gave a radio interview to Sidney Rogers on Pacifica Radio and the National Archives website has a recording of it. Here’s how she described that historic moment in her own words: As the bus proceeded out of town on the third stop, the white passengers had filled the front of the bus. When I got on the bus, the rear was filled with colored passengers, and they were beginning to stand. The seat I occupied was the first of the seats where the Negro passengers, uh, take as they—on this route. The driver noted that the front of the bus was filled with white passengers, and there would be two or three men standing.

He looked back and…demanded the seats that we were occupying. The other passengers very reluctantly gave up their seats. But I refused to do so…The driver said that if I refused to leave the seat, he would have to call the police. And I told him, “Just call the police.” Then the radio interviewer asked her the million-dollar question:

“What in the world ever made you decide to be the person who after all these years of Jim Crowe and segregation, what made you at that particular moment decide you were going to keep that seat?” She replied very simply,

“I felt that I was not being treated right and that I had a right to retain the seat that I had taken as a passenger on that bus.”

He pressed her again noting that she had been mistreated for years, and wanted to know what made her decide in that moment—and in the interview, she paused for a second and then said:

“The time had just come that I had been pushed as far as I stand to be pushed, I suppose.”

He asked her if she planned it—and she said,


He asked her if it just sort of happened. She agreed that it “just sort of happened.”

This is a critical detail: Rosa Parks didn’t hesitate or think it through. It happened so fast, she just listened to her instincts telling her “I was not being treated right,” and she pushed herself to follow them.

Since she didn’t hesitate, there was no time to talk herself out of it.

Coincidentally, four days later, in that same city of Montgomery, Alabama, on December 5, 1955, there was another five-second decision that changed history. The Montgomery Improvement Association was formed in response to Mrs. Parks’ arrest and a 26-year-old black preacher was voted by his peers to lead the 381-day bus boycott that ensued. On being nominated to lead the boycott that night, the young preacher would later write: “It happened so quickly that I did not have time to think it through. It is probable that if I had, I would have declined the nomination.”

Thank goodness he didn’t think it through. He would become one of the greatest civil rights leaders of all time. His name was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King was pushed into the spotlight by his peers. Rosa pushed herself. They both experienced the power of a push. It’s a moment when your instincts, values, and goals align, and you move so quickly you don’t have time or a valid reason to stop yourself.

Your heart speaks and you don’t think, you listen to what your heart tells you to do. Greatness is not a personality trait. It’s inside all of us and sometimes it’s hard for us to see it. Mrs. Parks was described by all who knew her as quiet and shy, and Dr. King famously struggled with self-doubt and fear in the beginning days of the Civil Rights movement.

Reflecting back on the radio that night in 1956, Mrs. Parks said, “I hadn’t thought I would be the person to do this, it hadn’t occurred to me.” It probably hasn’t occurred to you either what great things you might be capable of achieving at work and in your lifetime. Her example shows us that we are all more than capable of finding the courage to “act out of character” when the moment matters.

It is true, as Rosa Parks explained on air in that 1956 interview, that she was pushed “as far as I could stand to be pushed” by a system of discrimination. But in that singular moment, she was pushed forward by something way more powerful: herself.

That’s what courage is. It’s a push. The kind of push we give ourselves when we stand up, speak up, show up, go first, raise our hand or do whatever feels hard, scary, or uncertain. Do not look at our heroes in history, business, art, and music and assume that somehow they are different than you. It’s not true.

Courage is a birthright. It is inside each and every one of us. You were born with it and you can tap into it anytime you want. It’s not a matter of confidence, education, status, personality, or profession. It’s simply a matter of knowing how to find it when you need it. And when you need it, you’ll probably be alone.

It’s going to be just you sitting in a meeting at work, standing in your kitchen, riding the subway, looking at your phone, staring at your computer, or thinking about something—and all of sudden, it will happen. Something will go down, and your instincts will come alive. You’ll have an urge to act. Your values and your instincts will tell you what you should do. And your feelings will scream “NO.” That is the push moment. You don’t have to have all the answers. You just have to make a decision in the next five seconds.

Dan is alone at his computer thinking about registering for summer classes. He wants to earn his college degree but at the age of 44, the idea of starting as a freshman is nothing short of terrifying.

Courage is what Christine needs as she’s sitting in a marketing meeting in Plano, Texas. She has a great idea to share but wonders, Is this going to sound stupid?

Tom is standing in a bar in Chicago. The moment he sees her he can’t look away. He can either turn back toward his friends and pretend to care about the football game they’re discussing, or find the courage to start walking toward her.

The entire sales organization of a financial software company feels discouraged in Nashville. They’ve hit their numbers three years in a row, and quotas just got raised yet again.

Alice in England needs to push herself out the door to go on a run. She’s inspired by her friend on Facebook, but feels discouraged by how long it’s been since she last exercised.

Halfway around the world, Patel can’t stop thinking about a friend whose son just died in a car accident. He doesn’t know what to say, and the thought of losing his own son terrifies him. He tells himself, It will be easier if I wait a few days, but the urge to pick up the phone, stop by the house…to do something lingers.

In China, Sy has just signed on as a distributor for a new skin care line. She has at least a dozen people she wants to call. She looks at her phone and hesitates—what if they think I’m being pushy?

In Queensland, Australia, Todd knows exactly what he wants to do with his life, and it isn’t studying law, it’s physical education. But before Todd can take control of his future, he’ll need to face his parents’ disappointment.

And Mark is lying in bed in Auckland, Australia, where it’s 10:30 p.m. He turns and looks at his wife as she reads her book. He would love to make love to her, but he assumes she’s not in the mood; he wants to lean over and kiss her shoulder but he fears rejection. He needs courage to lean toward her after so many months of feeling like her roommate.

These stories are real and they are just the tip of the iceberg. They highlight the struggle between our desire to change our lives and our fear of it. They also reveal the power that everyday courage has to transform everything.

Seth Godin once wrote “a different part of our brains is activated when we think about what’s possible rather than what’s required.” I believe the same is true when we think about being courageous, rather than focusing on the fears that stop us. It’s the difference between focusing on the solution rather than the problem, and that tiny switch is mentally liberating.

There’s something powerful about framing my struggle to get out of bed, Patel’s struggle to call his friend, a sales organization’s struggle to embrace a higher sales goal, and Alice’s struggle to exercise as acts of everyday courage.

After all, courage is just a push.

When you push yourself, you may not change the world, the laws, or spark a civil rights movement but I can guarantee you’ll change something equally as important—you’ll change yourself.

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