Mel Robbin’s Five Second Rule promises to transform your life, boost your confidence, and help you reach your goals. But does it actually work?
Confession time. Since going self-employed, I’ve become obsessed with TED Talks, YouTube interviews, and podcasts. And, let me tell you, it would take a lifetime to consume all the amazing, free content that’s out there. But over the summer a video, titled The Five Second Rule to Change Your Life, between author Mel Robbins and School of Greatness founder Lewis Howes not only caught my attention, it kept me hooked for a full hour.
Who is Mel Robbins, Author of the Five Second Rule?
To give you a little background, Mel Robbins is a speaker, author, CNN contributor, and former criminal defense attorney. Her career as an in-demand speaker and writer centers on this simple mind-hack: “If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.”
As an overthinker, the Five Second Rule appeals to me. I’ll admit to procrastinating because I let doubt, fear, or uncertainty get in the way of what I need to do. This resistance can arise whether it’s time to clean the kitchen, get to the gym, start a new work project, or write this dang blog post.
Yet everything I’ve accomplished is a result of jumping in without all the information. Just start, right? But that’s always easier said than done. So, after watching the video, I bought The Five Second Rule book on my Kindle. It’s a quick read that builds on the ideas Mel shares for free in her TED talk and interviews.
How to Trick Your Brain through Neuroscience
The book cites research that explains how the human brain is wired to handle stress. If you’re interested in the details, I encourage you to read up on it here. I’m not an expert, but the theory is that our brains default to avoiding stressful or difficult situations. This is a habit we’ve all developed over years and years.
Overcoming this habit requires a conscious choice of action, which is something we’ll never feel like doing. So, waiting for motivation is a lost cause. The Five Second Rule is a game you play with your brain by choosing to act, and forcing yourself to move immediately after counting down from five.
Will the Five Second Rule Work For You?
Now, this book may not be useful for everyone. My husband doesn’t seem to need the Five Second Rule, and has no use for motivational videos. Every Saturday, he jumps out of bed in the morning before 6:00 am to go on a 40-mile bicycle ride. He has no problem activating himself to do it. And, he gets to work early every morning without coffee (which is unbelievable to me).
I, however, don’t like getting out of bed and exercising. I credit the Five Second Rule for getting me to gym classes that start at 5:45 am. So, as soon as my alarm goes off, I consciously tell myself that I will get up on the count of five. Then, 5-4-3-2-1 my feet hit the floor and I’m getting ready to go.
Those first 10 minutes after I wake up are almost physically painful as my brain tries to catch up with my body. It’s the mental equivalent of ripping a band-aid off a wound. But starting the day with an early morning spin class seriously changes everything about my day. So I count down from five, jump out of bed and get to it.
The rule applies to interpersonal relationships too. I can tell you from experience that it can help push you to walk up to someone new at a networking event, or pick up the phone and call a prospect.
What Action Do You Need to Take Next?
I’m coming to learn that the opportunities for self-improvement are limitless. And, as you’d expect, the number of available self-improvement books, videos, and websites is growing exponentially. The challenge for people like me is to strike a balance between consuming self-improvement ideas and actually doing something to improve ourselves (Two. Different. Things.)
That’s why I can recommend Mel’s videos, book, and articles. Need a little help bridging the gap between knowledge and action? Check out the 5-Second Rule today (5-4-3-2-1).
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