The 12-Second Rule (yes, this might truly change everything)

It’s not that I disagree when people say “Be happy now —
don’t wait for some circumstance to change.” I just don’t FullSizeRenderfind it to be a helpful instruction, especially in the midst of a dark night of the soul.

But last week a mighty force for good pointed me to a practical, game-changing “how-to.” It’s like the 5-Second Rule… only inside out, backwards, and 2-1/2 times bigger. I call it:

The 12-Second Rule

Whenever you have a positive experience — even a very tiny one — pause for 12 seconds. Absorb it, and feel it integrating into your insides.

Ahh… feel that.

And as if that weren’t enough, science shows it actually makes you happier going forward. I think it’s worth an experiment on oneself to see.

All my best,


PS: I hope you check out this pleasant, short Tedx talk by Dr. Rick Hansen based on his in-depth book that describes this inner phenomenon’s neuroscience.  But I suspect you don’t need those details for “proof.” I suspect you’re “aha’ing” all over the place, thinking:

So THAT’s why Aunt Laura was so beatific.

I’ve HAD that experience.

Maybe that’s why we like vacations — we take the time to do this.

Maybe this is what Oprah does in her gratitude exercises.

Maybe this is why Eckhardt says the power is in the now.

Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he said the kingdom of God was at hand.

Maybe this is what the Buddhists teach in mindfulness.

Wait… there’s probably always some small positive happening to me that I can find, notice, and absorb. Like: a stranger holds the door open; the sky; breathing.

Maybe this is why the yogis of yore taught us to focus on the breath and to feel it nourishing us.

Did I really just put Aunt Laura, Oprah, Eckhardt, Jesus, Buddha, and  the yogis of yore in the same list? Yes… and I love that. I think I’ll wallow in that a second or 12.

I suspect you’re stringing more aha’s and 12-second-happiness-integration-sessions closer and closer together. I would love to receive a message, email, or comment from you about your experience — so I can soak in it too.

PPS: Thank you to my friend and colleague, Rena Rachar — a true wonder in this world — for bringing this to my attention. I recommend you find some excuse to work with her.


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1 Response to The 12-Second Rule (yes, this might truly change everything)

  1. Diane says:

    Brilliant! The 12 second rule cultivates mindfulness, changes/retrains the brain and builds good juju. Make that great juju, which perpetuates more. Will catch the Ted talk later.

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