10 Good Stories: The 5 Year Rule For Your Impossible List
How many times have you run into someone that’s still talking about the good old days, but the good old days were high school and they’re 40?
They sound like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite
“How much you wanna bet I could throw a football over them mountains?”Uncle Rico
So how do you fix this? If you find yourself looking back – wishing for the good old days. Wanting to go back. Or, you just find yourself talking about the one cool thing you did
Force yourself to live in the present.
I’m not going to tell you to meditate, do yoga, or even take cold showers.
This is something completely different. It’s about how you look at life.
It’s called The 5 Year Rule
Here’s what I mean:
Once you create your IMPOSSIBLE list, you also create an expiration date for all of your accomplishments. Pick a time frame – any time frame you want – but the default is 5 years. You can make it shorter if you want, but it can’t be longer than 5.
After that set time, you have to stop talking about your accomplishments like it’s something you’re currently doing or did. You pretend like they didn’t exist.
See, it’s easy to push your limits, break out of your comfort zone and then immediately…get comfortable there again.
In fact, when you start, it’s easy to see quick progress in a short period of time. When you workout, they even have a term for it beginner gains.
But when the gains get harder, then it’s tempting to set up shop and get used to the new normal.
But that’s not good for anyone.
So the rule is, after 5 years, you have to stop talking about your accomplishments. If that’s hard for you, you can go full nuclear and pretend that they never happened.
Make an expiration date for your accomplishments. Pick a time frame, but don’t make it longer than 5 years.
Then force yourself to do something new, make something different and start a new story.
So what happens when you play this out over your lifetime?
If you read this blog at 20 years old (good for you), start today, and live until 70 – that’s 50 years. With 5 years for every story, that means you’ve got 10 good stories in you.
10 good stories.
That’s a lot of living.
And you can likely do even more. Not to mention that you’ll likely have smaller stories within the stories. But either way, your big character arcs expire after 5 years.
If you want to go full Jason Bourne, you can absolutely just start over every 5 years and recreate yourself from scratch. But the stories don’t have to absolutely disappear. You can still pull them out every 6 months, or when you’re going through something tough, to remind yourself of what you’re capable of doing. Reference points matter.
But they should be (and this is important) fuel on the way to do the next thing – not a weight to waddle in the past.
So if you’re stuck in the past and find yourself talking about stuff that happened years ago.
Stop selling yourself by reliving one story on repeat for the rest of your life.
Put a 5 year expiration date on your accomplishments.
Cut it out.
Pretend it didn’t happen if you have to.
Go pick out something on your impossible list and chart out a new path. A new project. A new story.
Something at the edge of your limits. Something IMPOSSIBLE.
Then go do it.