Success in 5 Rs

Client: Jeff B. Cohen, Esq. - Partner Date: 04-19-2017

“I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s.” - William Blake

From the moment we wake up, the world is screaming for our attention. Check the morning news. Check your Facebook feed. Get the kids to school. Check in with the office. Should I reply to that e-mail now?

And all of that’s fine, but we can’t lose sight of our goals. We we want. If we march too far down the path of being a cog in someone else’s machine we become lost and kind of miserable. Then we’re no good to anyone, especially ourselves.

“Time is at once, the most valuable and most perishable of all our possessions.” - John Randolph

Time stops for no one. Nothing we can do to stop it or slow it down. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and freeze up. The day turns to night and we are no closer to our goals than we were in the morning.

For my life, I’ve developed a simple methodology to help counter that. It keeps me on track, focused and moves me slowly and steadily towards my goals. I call it the 5 “Rs.” It’s a derivation of the traditional 3 “Rs” of a balanced elementary school education: Read’n, Rite’n and Rith’metic aka Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

My 5 Rs are: Run’n, Rite’n, Read’n, Rith’metic and Rest’n. It’s my weekly goal to do the 5 Rs Monday thru Friday. I leave my weekends free for shenanigans as I’m not a complete masochist…


Start the morning with some form of exercise. Yoga, jogging, the elliptical machine. Whatever you need to get the blood flowing. The movement. The breathing. The endorphins. This sets you up for success for the rest of your workday.


I find to be the act of writing to be important and cathartic. I like to journal because it’s a safe and private place to work out my thoughts, my goals, my fears. Writing is also an act of creation and personal expression which is fundamental to keeping the flame of our spirit vibrant. It doesn’t have to be journaling, perhaps it’s a blog post or sketching the sunrise or sharing your opinion about the matters of the day on Facebook.

God created the Earth and I am creating this little article. This humble act of writing, of creation, brings us closer to our Creator or to the Universe, if you prefer.



Rite’n is output, but Read’n is input. We need fresh ideas to inspire us and make us challenge our status quo. That’s why I feel it’s important to read (or listen) to a set number of pages of a book that is helpful to your professional or personal growth each day. For me, I read twenty pages each day. It’s not a lot, but it adds up. New books allow us to receive new ideas and expand our emotional and intellectual horizons.


At its essence, business is about relationships. Rith’metic is about nurturing existing relationships and cultivating new ones. Each day I reach out via phone or e-mail to at least one existing relationship that I haven’t connected with in a while and one new person that may have some synergy with my business as an entertainment lawyer. That may not seem like much but the Rith’metic adds up. Two reach outs per day times five days a week times four weeks a month is forty connects a month. That’s almost 500 connects per year.


After a busy day at work, you are going to need some rest if you are going to be able to get up early and do it all over again. Ideally the perfect weekday has 8 hours of work, 8 hours of play and 8 hours of sleep.

“Acting in this like the skillful archer, who seeing that the object he would hit is distant, and knowing the range of his bow, takes aim much above the destined mark; not designing that his arrow should strike so high but that flying high it may alight at the point intended.” - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

I find this ancient quote highly applicable to the 5 Rs and obtaining success generally. Great archers don’t aim at the distant target. They aim above it.

Want to make a million bucks? Set a goal to make five.

Want to run five miles? Set a goal to run ten.

Want to write twenty articles a year? Set a goal to write forty.

It’s a fine line of course. You don’t want to set a goal that’s completely unrealistic and dispiriting. But, the 5 Rs are an aspirational goal. If you can hit every one each day of your work week. Awesome! You rock. If not, all good. You are still making progress, growing, evolving and wisely using your time, your most precious and perishable possession.