This five-minute practice will change your story

by Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor on November 26, 2015

in This is Life

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“Five minutes are enough to dream a whole life, that is how relative time is.” – Mario Benedetti

I used to block off a minimum of four hours to get anything creative done on my passion projects.

Guess how much I got done that way?

Holidays were my only friend. When I woke up on a weekday and didn’t have to go to work, I’d be so dumbfounded that I actually spent some time working on my dreams. About four to eight times a year, I’d actually get something done that took me closer to the art, business, and life I wanted.

I thought this was the only way to work creatively.

Then I learned about kaizen, the Japanese philosophy of small daily improvements making awesome change over time.

But I didn’t truly practice kaizen until I was enlightened to the possibility held within just five minutes.

What are five minutes worth?

Five minutes a day translates to over 30 hours a year.

The Resistance convinces us that if we can’t get those 30 hours in a row, or spread over just a few days, that the time is worthless.

The Resistance is incredulous:

“Five minutes a day? That’s stupid; what can I get done in just five minutes? I won’t get anything good done so I’m not even going to bother.”

The Hustler is challenged:

“Five minutes? If that’s all I’ve got, I’ll get more done in those five minutes than most people do in an hour.”

You can take outward-facing actions – phone a client to say thank you for your business, send an e-mail with an article related to a past client’s hobby, make a personal connection on social media – but the most powerful actions you can undertake in five minutes are inward-facing.

I’m like everyone else: I make a bunch of ‘little’ mistakes on a daily basis, and they all add up.

But the best way to interrupt that pattern is to get control of your mornings.

Even just five minutes.

Especially if I didn’t follow my evening routine or go to bed on time or get enough sleep, my mornings start with sleeping as late as I can and then rushing to get everything done that I absolutely must before I head out the door for work.

This is such a crappy way to start the day. But almost everyone does it, every single day.

Give me five minutes.

Take five in the morning to:

  • Watch a video (on photography, on art, on marketing, on business, on motivation)
  • Listen to an inspiring audiobook
  • Read a motivational book

Doing this every morning steeps your spirit and subconscious in your art and business, and it puts your creativity to work on your dreams all day long.

Have you ever gone to sleep with a problem and woken up with a solution? Or maybe it came to you on your morning commute or during your evening shower. That’s the power of your subconscious at work.

Why not prime the pump with something that will move the needle on your dreams?

  • Meditate
  • Recite affirmations
  • Visualize your perfect day
  • Do a set of burpees, squats, or push-ups
  • Write a thank-you note and mail it

These five minutes can fuel a day’s worth of inspiration.

Never underestimate the power of putting your subconscious to work on your dream.

I’m not convinced that fear alone is the greatest threat holding us back from our dreams.

Distraction is a more subtle, nuanced, insidious form of The Resistance. It’s what pulls us, day by day, morning my morning, choice by choice, disappointment by disappointment, inaction by inaction further away from our dreams.

Fear demands attention and action.

Distraction lures.

Locking down as little as five minutes every morning, with as much habitual and absolute commitment as brushing your teeth or hauling your butt to work each day, is powerful inoculation against distraction. If you can’t make five minutes a morning happen to make your dreams come true, you’ve got much more important work to do on your vision, your perfect day, and your unique and powerful Why. First things first, right?

Set your alarm five minutes early for tomorrow.

Commit to five minutes of victory, of progress, of kaizen each morning. Give your dream the due it deserves.

In three months you’ll look back and be amazed at the progress you’ve made.

“A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.” – John Muir

Next Steps

  • Set your alarm for five minutes early for tomorrow.
  • Get yourself a big year-at-a-glance wall calendar, and apply the Seinfeld Method of productivity to your five minute morning sessions. For every day you make it happen, put a big red X on that day. See how many days you can string together into a streak. Remember: Don’t break the chain.
  • Get a copy of Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning when you’re ready to take your mornings – and life – to the next level. It’s one of the books that has most changed my life for the better in recent years.
  • Brainstorm Session: Get out your pen and paper. Make a (massive) list of things you can do to make your five minute sessions rock. Give me ten. Then give me ten more. Make your brain sweat. Then as many more than that as you can. No idea is too absurd when you’re brainstorming. The more five minute sessions you do, the more of a ninja you’ll become at it. You’ll know exactly how to search YouTube to find a motivational video. You’ll know exactly whose videos or audiobooks to enjoy during your sessions. You’ll have handy three (or more!) great books to grab off the shelf and dig into for five minutes. If you don’t know where to start, start with the inimitable Zig Ziglar.
  • Subscribe Today: It’s my calling to help you earn your first $5,000 to $50,000 as a part time professional photographer. I am truly grateful for your readership, and encourage you to subscribe to my e-mail newsletter at the top of any page of this site.
  • Do This Now: What’s the biggest struggle holding you back right now? E-mail me your answer (yes, right now!), and let’s make a breakthrough today.
  • Start The Conversation: If anything in this post has spoken to and inspired you, please comment below or drop me an e-mail. I’d love to hear how you’re hustling to better your art, life, and business!

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