Sometimes, the toughest thing to do is to not do anything.
A common, thoughtless phrase goes something like this: Don’t just stand there, do something. Almost always, this is bad advice.
Our brains are hard wired to “do something,” much in the way that a deer runs across a busy road when he hears a random noise behind him. This impulse to “do something” may have helped us survive in the wild, but it no longer carries the same wisdom. “Doing something” tricks us into thinking we have control of the situation, and probably makes us feel less regret later, should things turn out bad. Unfortunately, doing something can get you into trouble.
If you have the courage to “not” do something, to stand still, you’ve just increased your chances of success.
This is Warren Buffett’s 5/25 Rule.
Now, I can already sense the eye-rolling, and eye-rolling rates has been linked to a marriage’s chance of success, so I take your eye-rolls seriously. Plus, invoking Buffett’s name will make some of you yawn, in the same way that talking about quantum physics at a gathering will bore everyone to tears (guilty as charged).
Here’s how you follow the 5/25 Rule. First, write down 25 things you need to do, and place them in order of importance.
Next, circle the top 5.
Keep in mind that, even though you’ve circled the Top 5 goals, the other 20 goals are still pretty important to you, right? Well, even though those other 20 things are super important–the Rule requires you to cross out the remaining 20 things on your list.
Under the 5/25 Rule, the bottom 20 goals are completely out of your life. Forget about them. Actually, Buffett goes beyond mere forgetfulness, he says these 20 things just became your “Avoid At All Cost” list. You may be tempted to work on #6, or #9, or #14, because these are still important things. But, you can’t touch them. You can’t do anything on this avoidance list until you succeed on your five most important things.
And that, my friends, is the 5/25 Rule. And that, my friends, is what we call FOCUS.
Imagine you’re a reporter, and you land an interview with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett sitting at the same table. their first interview together. This actually happened. And, imagine you ask them a simple question “What is the one trait that made you both rich?”
They both answered with the same word, at the same time. FOCUS. Continue Reading