“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
Throughout time, many self-help gurus have come up with their own life techniques to help people advance to success. Though aptness of each strategy depends on each individual, this certain approach stood out among the rest. As a matter of fact, this unique practice is being used by lots of popular personalities.
The 5 hour rule, used by the most thriving people like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffet, originated from one of the most well-respected statesmen, Benjamin Franklin. Basically, this technique is about investing an hour a day during weekdays for learning.
Franklin, though he dropped out of school at a young age, became an apprentice to his father. During his adulthood, he made sure he spent 1 hour a day to learn: that’s where the name of the 5 hour rule came from.
During my research, I discovered that Franklin had a learning a routine, which composed of:
- Starting the day early to read and write.
- Setting and tracking of goals for personal growth.
- Gathering people to form groups who want to improve themselves.
- Experimenting on ideas, which turned into realities, and sharing them.
- Answering reflective questions during morning and eve.
With these, the 5 hour rule can be summarized into three blocks: Reading, Reflecting and Experimenting. These buckets can serve as a guide for anyone who’d like to practice this life strategy.
The most successful people admitted they are voracious readers. Most of them never seem to get enough information. We shouldn’t also forget that reading is the best way to cultivate the mind. Therefore, though busy, most of the established individuals still find time to read.
In fact, Oprah Winfrey said books are mostly behind her success: “Books were my pass to personal freedom.”
Bill Gates, the well-renowned business magnate, investor, author, and philanthropist, admitted he can read up to 50 books per year.
CEO of the massive Tesla company, the genius, Elon Musk, grew up reading 2 books per day according to his brother.
Owner of the Dallas Maverick NBA and successful businessman, Mark Cuban, read more than 3 hours per day.
Reading expands knowledge and imagination. It’s like talking to someone who has mastered a particular field, and absorbing everything he has learned through reading his book. Unearth the joy of reading within you by grabbing a book that interests you the most. Treat it as a friend who you can talk to during your free time. Time spent in reading is one of the best investments in life.
A quiet time for reflection is even better than reading. Spend a moment to think about what the you read, or what you did for the day, and you will know yourself better, how you handle situations, and what you did wrong or what you did right. Learn from your experience by reflecting. In the future, these could be your best tools for success.
As a matter of fact, one of the most triumphant people in his field, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, makes sure his senior team devotes their four hours every week for just thinking. The founder of the $250 million-company O2E Brands, too, Brian Scudamore, said he uses 10 hours of his week pondering over thoughts.
The practice of reflecting can also be done in groups. People with mutual goals can get together, and share thoughts. Multiple brains are better than one, this also applies when reflecting.
Conversely, reflecting isn’t only useful in identifying what we want to learn. This practice also clears the mind. By doing this regularly, we would be able to get rid of thoughts that do not have value. Spending time thinking would help us filter our ideas and choose from it. We’d be able to keep in mind only the thoughts that lead to productivity.
After reading, reflecting and learning new things, the next step to know if the ideas work, would be experimenting. Mixing and matching, trial and error, most of the time these lead to creation of the most mind-blowing brainchild. Being creative and brave enough to experiment with new things mostly lead to sensational discoveries.
For this practice, the best example is Google. This successful company lets their employees spend 20% of their working time on projects that are not connected with their work. One of the most valuable fruits that Google had due to experimenting was Gmail. The people behind it developed this project outside of Google, which proves the power of experimenting.
Genius, Thomas Edison, also loved to experiment. He was keen with his trial and error approach. According to biographers, during his experiments, he identifies every possible solution to the problem, and carefully weighs and tests them one by one.
Edison’s competitor, Nikola Tesla, was also impressed with his systematic techniques for his experiments: “If [Edison] had a needle to find in a haystack, he would not stop to reason where it was most likely to be. He would proceed at once with the feverish diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search.”
Why you would want to practice the 5 hour rule?
Besides the fact that successful people credit this approach as a huge part of their achievements, the 5 hour rule is life-changing. If you want your goals attained, if you are a competitive and a dream-driven person, this rule wouldn’t only help you succeed, it would as well turn you into an efficient individual.