Franklin’s ‘5-Hour Rule’: How That Will Work for the Entrepreneur?

Ben Franklin, one of the most outstanding individuals in history whose legacy inspires awe, had a secret to his success. That secret was the 5-hour rule, and today, the majority of entrepreneurs who became millionaires use it. This rule boils down to deliberate learning that allows one to improve constantly. Every entrepreneur who wants to succeed will benefit from it as the 5-hour rule helps build up their skills.


How to Use the 5-Hour Rule: Entrepreneur’s Guide

The best thing about the 5-hour rule is that using it is very easy. All you need to do is to spend an hour learning every day. Of course, time off is also very important for progress, so you get to enjoy your weekends. Hence, the ‘5-hour’ as you learn every weekday.

As an entrepreneur, one must learn all the time as being stagnant means your business won’t progress. What this rule does is to set a clear goal and ‘enforce’ your personal development. Unlike the generalized concept of ‘lifetime of learning,’ the 5-hour rule requires immediate results.

Strategies on how to use it as a busy entrepreneur include:

  • Reading
  • Reflecting
  • Experimenting

To make the most of this rule, you must spend your special ‘learning hour’ on one of these activities. Combining them will also work, but only if you are sure that the shortened time spent on one thing is enough.

Each activity is equally important for your development, so you’ll need to practice all of them. Try doing it this way:

  1. Reading an informative piece of content for 2 days.
    This can be a book, report relevant for your industry, articles on an educational website for entrepreneurs, or a business journal. Be sure to make notes as this will help with reflection.
  2. Reflecting on how to use your new knowledge for a day.
    Simply sit down (or go for a walk) and think about all the material you’ve read. What did you learn from it? How can it help your business/personal development? How can you apply this knowledge in real life? What are the risks and disadvantages of this new method/skill/etc.?
  3. Experimenting with your new knowledge for 2 days.
    Deliberate practice is what differentiates an expert from a regular person performing the same job. According to K. Anders Ericsson, a psychologist who specialized in studying this behavior, it’s the ‘how’ of practicing that matters over frequency. This means that when you practice a skill deliberately (thinking through every action, noting its results, and reflecting on it right away), you achieve much better results.

Of course, you don’t have to follow this specific schedule as each person, skill, and area of learning are unique. Use it as a guide for planning your learning program. Remember how much difference being deliberate and thorough makes for improving one’s skills.


Entrepreneurs Who Own the 5-Hour Rule

Benjamin Franklin wasn’t the only one to use the 5-hour rule of never-ending learning. All the most successful entrepreneurs of today also learn and reflect daily. Josh Waitzkin, a chess grandmaster, acclaimed author, and world-champion martial artist says he leaves ‘slack in his day’ that he spends on learning and creativity.

Oprah Winfrey, media figure extraordinaire, actress, and philanthropist credits her success to books. Oprah’s Book Club has thousands of members and being featured there is a sure road to success for a book. Elon Musk reads two books a day and ‘deconstructs’ new knowledge to get to the bottom of it. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Marc Andreessen, Reid Hoffman, and dozens of other successful entrepreneurs all utilize the 5-hour rule.

Some might go beyond 5 hours a week; others might come up with some special activities for this time. However, one thing remains common, they all learn constantly. That’s the real meaning behind the 5-hour rule. It’s also the one you’ll need to embrace in order to use its power for personal and professional progress.

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