The two-second rule

I come in praise of two short seconds. Eternity has to start somewhere.

It may in fact take three or four seconds to complete; but two seconds will, at least, get the miracle launched. And they do say the launch is the hardest bit of all.

So what are we launching?

It takes two seconds to withdraw energy from our negative reaction and to launch us towards something much freer, a healthy response.

Someone says something or does something and the reaction in us is immediate and intense. We want to dive in, make our judgement, have our say, put them right…hit them.

And we’ll know from experience that when reaction is given power, there’s really nothing it won’t do; and it doesn’t end well for anybody.

Reaction tends to be negative. It is always a feeling, which becomes a becomes a word, a resentment, a mood or an act.

We’re like a fish reeled in. We just can’t help ourselves!

Only we can.

Help is at hand with (dramatic music) the two-second super hero.

In two seconds, we begin to disentangle ourselves from the force of reaction; we begin a tactical withdrawal.

We feel a reaction arising, so one deep breath, two short seconds, and we withdraw from its power; or begin to withdraw, and it’s the beginning that’s difficult.

Instead of jumping on the reactive carousel, we jump off.


Buried in our long-ago survival needs, reaction can make us feel justified, vindicated or in control. But it also makes us insane. It makes machines of us, rather than humans.

This is why I come in praise of the two seconds it takes to escape a reaction, which arises from our damage, and launch a response, which arises from awareness.

At least once a day, usually more, the space provided by the two-second rule will save me.

One deep breath, two short seconds – eternity is here.


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