The 2 seconds rule: How to become more productive? 

It is fair to say that procrastination has become your N°1 problem. Instead of dealing with the most important task, you always start with meaningless tasks. And since your environment is exploding with means of entertainment, you enter the vicious cycle of making bad choices that end up with you laying on bed and wandering aimlessly between your TV, smartphone and computer.

After 8 years of studies in psychology and personal development, I found that the brain is a pattern machine that likes habits and that would do anything to protect your feelings and avoid any hurtful emotions. It is also very creative. When faced with a choice, your brain will come up with wonderful ideas to make you choose the easy option. But easy brings nothing.

So how can you trick your brain and use the 2 seconds rule to always pick the right option? And how can you become more productive in your life?

Intro

Usually, around dinner time, I would watch personal development videos on Youtube. Recently, I came across Toastmasters’ videos (cf. video below), an international organization that can help you master your communication skills and public-speak, and decided I was going to visit one of their clubs in Paris.

It was two weeks ago when I set foot as a visitor in the meeting room of Toastmasters Agora 75 club. After some quick introductions, I was on for a 2 hours session. It started with the president of the club. As expected, his speaking was truly amazing. It sounded and looked like a politician elocution.

A quick decision

A few minutes later, improvisations, one of the classic exercices of Toastmasters were about to start, when the president suddenly asked for some participants among the visitors. It stroke me, first because unexpected and second because supposedly we were allowed only twice to: introduce ourselves and give our feedback at the end.

The game was on so I raised my hands within 2 seconds. 5 other people did the same, 2 visitors and 3 members. Decisions were made. And participants started rolling in front of the public composed of about 30 people with their chairs arranged in a U form.

Time for the show

First participant, an old member around his 30s, showed a great sens of humor and interacted amazingly with the audience. Second participant, a visitor with more than 10 years experience working in theaters, proved she was a terrific actress. After two other good young members it was the last participant’s turn, a manager with about 15 years of experience, who did unexpectedly great for his first time.

During this time, my mind was exploding with negative thoughts. I was very stressed, clueless, helpless. All kinds of fears came crawling at once. Fear of rejection, humiliation, public. I was definitely out of my comfort zone. Luckily however, I wasn’t accounted for when I raised my hand. In the end, I couldn’t know how the public truly felt about me.

Now with this slight experience, I have decided to take my revenge, enroll and be accounted for, for real this time 🙂

In Summary

In my example here, I used the 2 seconds rule to accept an improvisation in front of 30 people seated in a U form. Had I thought about it, my brain would have came up with excuses to avoid any physical or psychological threat and would have prevented my participation. It is how your brains are wired. It’s called survival.

Nothing is easy, but who wants nothing ?

Now that you know how your brain works, use the 2 seconds rule to trick it. You can use it in all your daily situations for each tiny decision you make. It is a very powerful tip. So use it wisely 😉

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