The Five Second Rule and it’s Many Life Lessons

The Five Second Rule Life Lesson


My son dropped his Oreo cookie onto the floor and he looked mighty sad. He knew he was just supposed to have one cookie   I soothed his worry way by letting him know about the five second rule. That wonderful rule that seems to exists for especially clumsy people such as myself and those with my genetic code. The five-second rule states that food dropped on the ground will not be significantly contaminated with bacteria if it is picked up within five seconds of being dropped.  There have been research studies conducted to show that the five second rule may be ok to follow. Furthermore, studies have shown that people are inclined to eat dropped cookies and candy more often than dropped broccoli and cauliflower. And thus, I started indoctrinating my son with that bit of folklore and knowledge. One thing to note is that the five second rule may not apply to carpets and also ice cream. So, if your kid drops their ice cream scoop on the carpet don’t let them lick it up. Just a word of advice.


Back to the life lesson. My son was excited and delighted even more than usual in eating his cookie. He was eating salvaged food. He was delighting in something that seemed previously forbidden. It is amazing how wonderfully happy that five second rule can make a person. I, for one, do giggle when I eat something that just fell to the floor.


The five second rule isn’t made to just help one feel good about fallen food. Acknowledging the grand importance of five seconds is an all-round good rule of thumb for life. First off, an article from last year asked the question what would happen if “oxygen were to disappear for five seconds”. The answer: life would be very, very bad including the fact that everything above ground would immediately go into a free fall. Second, although somewhat trite-seeming compared to the importance of oxygen, a recent social media study has shown that 32% of consumers will start abandoning slow sites between one and five seconds.You have five seconds to make an internet impression. Third, one can apparently hypnotize someone in five seconds or so television shows like The Mentalist note. Fourth and more importantly, as Morrissey noted And if you have five seconds to spare, I’ll tell you the story of my life“. Five seconds may be all you need to know someone or get a feeling about a situation. The author Sue Monk Kidd noted in the Secret life of Bees noted:

“I have noticed that if you look carefully at people’s eyes the first five seconds they look at you, the truth of their feelings will shine through for just an instant before it flickers away.”


In all, you cannot discount the importance five seconds can have in your life. Talk about living for the moment.


Before getting into any elevator, always take five seconds before entering the unit. I have seen too many media reports of wayward elevators and people falling through elevator shafts. Before answering an angry retort with a similarly angry retort, take five seconds to assess the situation. How many times have you gone into a restroom or the bathroom and hurriedly went about doing your business when you realized the top was down? Five seconds is all it would have taken.
Five seconds goes by quickly but it is enough to step back and make sure one is steady in a situation. In the game of basketball, a team attempting a throw-in has a total of five seconds to release the ball towards the court. When you are watching the game on television you shout at the player to release the ball quickly but for the player those five seconds go by in slow-motion. Five seconds is all about perspective. Speaking of which, the great thespian Charlie Sheen noted:


You borrow my brain for five seconds and just be like dude, can’t handle it, unplug this bastard. It fires in a way that is, I don’t know, maybe not from this terrestrial realm. When you’ve got tiger blood and Adonis DNA, it’s like, get with the program dude.”


Word, Charlie Sheen. Word.








2 replies »

  1. I knocked my as of yet unused fork onto the floor of a restaurant the other day. I quickly picked it up and my girlfriend looked ta me and said “You’re going to use that, aren’t you?” I was like, “well, ya.”


I welcome your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s