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How the two-minute rule makes the impossible possible

(EDITORIAL) When you’re stressed out about any decision, this former marine suggests you follow the two-minute rule.


When a project seems too big

How do you manage tough jobs that almost seem insurmountable? We’ve all had those projects that seem to be too big and complex to really do a good job. If you’re like a lot of people, you might procrastinate and worry about doing your best.

You waste time and energy in frustration and fear. Then, you have less time to get the job done because it’s now 10:00, instead of 8:00, and you don’t know what happened to the last two hours.

A better response

Andrew D. Wittman, a former Marine, police officer, and federal agent, author of “Ground Zero Leadership,” offers a different take. It’s called the two-minute rule. When you have a stressful situation, spend two minutes thinking about what you would do if you could do the job. You’re allowed to feel stressed.

[clickToTweet tweet=”What happens when you focus on doing the impossible? Your brain comes up with the right answers.” quote=”But what happens when you focus on doing the impossible? Your brain comes up with the right answers.”]

Beyond possible

In 1895, Lord Kelvin stated, “heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” This was a man who did work in the emerging field of thermodynamics and electricity. Just eight years later, the Wright Brothers would prove him wrong.

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In 1934, Albert Einstein believed that it would be impossible to harness nuclear energy. It would only take eight years to produce a chain reaction using nuclear energy to produce an explosion. The United States used the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.

Granted, these inventions took years rather than minutes. Your brain may not have years to solve a particular problem, but it certainly can get a job done when it has to.

My favorite method of handling the fear of starting a huge project is to just work in 15 minute increments.

I say to myself, “I can do 15 minutes to get started.” Typically, my brain will get in line and we get the job done.

The next time you face a mountain that seems impossible, set the timer on your phone and brainstorm for two minutes. Find a solution quickly to turn your mountain into a molehill.


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Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

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