15-Minute Rule

I have two questions for you:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how proud are you?
  2. On a scale of 1-10, how selfish are you?

As a driven person, I know how it is to work harder than everyone else, harder than what the task requires. I can’t help it. It’s just a part of who I am. I also get a sort of “high” whenever I figure out a problem all by myself. It feeds my poor little egotistical heart.

However, this habit is exhausting and time-consuming.

After years of reading self-improvement books and working with amazing people, I came up with a solution — my version of the 15-minute rule. It’s not the rule that students use to explain why they’re late in class. It also has nothing to do with procrastination. This rule is for us to learn humility and selflessness.

To keep my pride in check, I use the 15-minute rule when solving a problem. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone, so I always try to solve problems on my own whenever I can — but not indefinitely. I’ll spend a solid 15 minutes on it. If I haven’t figured it out yet after that time, I wouldn’t be able to figure it out on my own even if I pull out all of my hairs trying. Then, I would know it’s time to ask for help.

Since I’ve already spent 15 minutes trying to solve it, I would be able to list down the things that didn’t work. The helper will then arrive at the solution more easily. They’ll be able to help you better. This also shows them that you value their time and expertise. And don’t worry about being a nuisance to people. I know only a few people who would get irritated when I ask for help. The ones worth keeping in your life will be more than happy to assist you with a problem, if they knew you’ve already spent time trying to solve it.

To return the favor, I also use the 15-minute rule. This means if someone needs my help and it would take 15-minutes or less, I’ll do it. If my friends can reach me, it means I’m only doing light tasks (I’m offline and holed up in my desk when I’m doing intense work), and therefore can spare a little time to be of service to them. If people go to your for help, you should feel flattered and blessed because it means you have the skills or tools they need.

The world will be a more pleasant place to live in if we know our limitations and advantages, not to feel sorry or proud about ourselves, but to know how we can help and be helped.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s just so that pride can have so many shades from simply being proud about some achievements to exaggeration of pride and becoming somebody who brags all the time and turns into some kind of narcissist. Just like love, pride can cause growth or destruction depending on the subject of pride.
    Being selfish to some extent is also good, but taking it to extreme causes person become an egoist. On the other hand, selfishness is necessary to person’s development, just as it’s necessary to learn saying “no” . There are just too many advantage takers out there and they’ll use a person and squeeze out like a lemon if this person always puts others first.
    Loving oneself is important and being somewhat selfish plays into that. Many decades of teaching have allowed to observe that everything, absolutely everything has 2 sides.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maia Stone says:

      Thank you for your insight, Inese. I agree with you 100%. I also admire your for looking at the bigger picture. At this stage in my life, I’m still learning how to lean more towards the “pride — being proud of my achievements” and “selfishness — of learning to say no if the task would be detrimental to my mental health.”

      I’m so glad that despite the downsides of the internet, there are still some great people here who gives great advice about life. ❤ I really appreciate it. Have a great day! 🙂


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