There’s a beautiful line in the movie We Bought A Zoo that goes like this:
You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.
I’ve watched a lot of movies in my lifetime (and many featuring Matt Damon – I blame my wife!), but I’ve never forgotten that quote since hearing it. Sometimes it really does just take a handful of seconds to rip off the band aid and do something you’re scared out of your gourd to do. Whether that’s asking someone out on a date, stepping out on the field to play an important game, or rockin’ that major speech. The goals themselves typically take longer than an actual 20 seconds, but the point is that it gets you to START which is always the hardest part.
Now I don’t ask girls out anymore, but I’d like to think I’d harness this trick if I did :) These days I use a different one instead, which is more about helping me tackle stuff I have a tendency to push off – both in money and in life.
I call this the 15 Minute Trick, and it’s super easy to do. Every time I don’t want to do something I know I REALLY need to get done, I tell myself that I’ll just sit down for 15 minutes and knock a little of it out, and then get right back to my awesome life of playing dad or blogging or looking at my sexy old coins from the 1800’s (I know, I know – you’re jealous!).
And each time I activate this, one of two things happen:
- I go back to my fun life after exactly 15 minutes, feeling a tiny bit better about myself.
- I end up sitting there for however long it takes to knock off the task completely, and then pat myself on the back for tricking myself!
Do you want to guess which outcome occurs more frequently than the other? The 2nd one, of course! You’d think by now I’d be on to my own shenanigans, but for whatever reason 15 minutes seems to be just long enough to push the momentum far enough that you figure you might as well just finish the damn job now that you’ve already committed time to it.
It’s very similar to Matt Damon’s 20 second trick, only nothing super amazing happens at the end – you just have one less annoying task to complete on your list now :)
And I can come up with 101 ways we can use this trick right here and now (don’t worry, I’m only going to list a dozen or so as my creativity was used up Friday coming up with all those amazing acronyms for you ;)). I usually use it for the more menial tasks, but you can implement it with anything:
- Going over/starting a budget
- Reviewing your last bank/credit card statements for errors
- Balancing your check book (do people still do that?)
- Mowing your grass
- Going for a jog
- Doing piles of laundry
- Doing those piles of paperwork on your desk (what’s in there, anyways??)
- Doing your work while you’re actually at work! (I see you goofing off on my blog! :))
- Preparing your meals for the week
- Calculating how much longer you have until early retirement
- Getting your will started (this one has the highest rate of stopping at 15 minutes, haha…)
- Dropping off bags of stuff to donate (this is one of my favorites because it starts with 1 bag, and then you’re like “Well why the hell am I going to drive all the way to Goodwill just to drop off a single bag? Let me go scrounge up some more real quick and then head on outta here.”)
- Calling up car/life/business insurance companies for quotes
- Starting a blog
- Starting a band
- Starting a side hustle
- Starting a family! (That might even take less than 15 mins – zing!)
And so on and so forth… I went a bit crazy there at the end, but you get the point – You can get started on a LOT of things in “only” 15 minutes. Even if you do stop as soon as the timer goes off (I don’t recommend setting a timer fyi – you don’t need reminders when it’s up!).
Anyways, that’s how I get through a lot of my life :) If they make a sequel later – We Bought Another Zoo! – I hope they’ll keep the sentiment there and just swap in my idea to help keep it fresh… I can see the older, cooler, version of Mr. Damon dropping it like so:
“You know, sometimes all you need is fifteen minutes of tricking yourself, homeboy. Just literally fifteen minutes of sitting your a$$ down and doing your damn work. And I promise you, something not that amazing – but very successful! – will come of it.”
It’s already been an hour and a half since I implemented it here on this post ;)
Shout out to Money Smart Guides for reminding me of this.
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!