When Jack Canfield was trying to get Chicken Soup for the Soul off the ground, he asked a number of best-selling authors and publishing experts how he should go about it.

He received more advice than he could possibly act on — he was overwhelmed  with possibilities and had no idea where to start.

Then a man named Ron Scolastico told him, “If you would go to a very large tree and take five swings at it with a very sharp ax, eventually, no matter how large the tree, it would have to come down.”

Out of this advice Canfield developed what he called The Rule of Five: every day he did five specific things that moved him toward the goal of getting Chicken Soup on the best seller list.

He might do five radio interviews, or send out five review copies, or call five bookstores, and on and on.

Eventually the ax felled the tree; two years after the book came out, it made the New York Times best seller list, where it stayed for many months.

Where can you apply the Rule of Five in your life?

Can you make a five-minute phone call of encouragement to one of your leaders every day? Or send five ‘thank-you’ emails each morning? Or read five pages of a book each day? Or review five memory verses?

As you survey the areas of your life and ministry that present the greatest opportunities for growth, think about how you can apply Canfield’s Rule of Five. How can you take five strong swings at the tree day after day?

Solomon said, “He who works his land will have abundant food.” (Proverbs 12:11)

The rule of five is a great way to start working your land.


Did you enjoy this post? It’s one of more than 500 One Minute Messages by Steve May in the illustration archives of PreachingLibrary.com