72 Hour Rule: The Rule That Changed My Life

by John Onanuga

Embarrassing things happen to people everyday. But it’s how you react and handle those situations that show your true character.

In my life, countless embarrassing things have happened to me — but because of the 72 hour rule, I was able to overcome those moments with maturity. The first time I had heard about the “72 Hour Rule,” was when my mother explained it to me in middle school.

I was drinking from the water fountain, and it malfunctioned and spilled on my pants. Instead of my mom bringing me a new pair of pants, she let me walk around with the wet ones; causing me to get laughed at.

When I got home my mother sat me down and told me about the 72 hour rule. The 72 Hour Rule is when something happens to you or someone does something to upset you, don’t show your emotions, and take three days (72 hours) to let the situation simmer down.

On the first day is when you’ll feel the heat of the situation and you’ll go to sleep thinking about it. The second day will come, and the heat will be less than the day before. By the third day, someone will have already done something more embarrassing than your situation so that it will all be forgotten. Even though I was still mad at my mother, I still listened to every word that she said. That rule saved me in many situations that could’ve easily gone the other way.

Although the 72 hour rule has saved me from many embarrassing situations, it has also kept me from getting into trouble in high school. Most kids in high school get into trouble at least once during that stage, but that wasn’t the case for me. I’m glad to say that because of the 72 hour rule, I never got suspended or have been in a physical fight in my life.

There was an instance however when I was in high school where I almost broke the rule. This was also a moment when I realized how powerful the rule was. I was in tenth grade when my friend and I were play fighting in the hallway, and I accidentally pushed him on the ground.

The push attracted a crowd, and he felt pressured to do something so he got up and punched me. Now the usual reaction to being punched would be to throw a punch back — that wasn’t my reaction. My first reaction was in my mind when I said to myself, “he really just punched me.

My second reaction was that everyone was watching to see what I was going to do; and my last reaction was another thought to myself, “what am I going to do about it?” All those thoughts happened in a matter of seconds. The punch wasn’t too painful, and I wasn’t bleeding, but for some strange reason I chose not to do anything and walked away. I could’ve hit him back and caused a bigger scene, but the 72 hour rule held me back.

At that moment while I was walking away, I realized how powerful the rule my mother gave me was. I trusted that the rule would work its magic in this predicament even if I didn’t know exactly how it would turn out. A couple of days later, he came to one of my classes and apologized to me.

I was surprised because I didn’t think something like that could happen. I told him not to worry about it and we were cool from that point on. The 72 hour rule has helped me sustain many relationships throughout my life because of how I react and compose myself in certain situations.

That rule has taught me to be more calm and relaxed everywhere I go, and I have my mother to thank for that. Without that rule, I would be a different person.

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