The 5-Second Rule

Sand falling through an hourglass

Change your life with a simple countdown.

Mel Robbins produced an excellent TEDx talk called How to stop screwing yourself over.” It currently has over 35 million views! Here are the big ideas:

Getting what you want is simple

Pick exactly what it is you want. Be specific. 

Next, find out how. Research the experts, books, blogs, videos etc which give you the how. 

Now you know how —  get out there and do it!

Getting what you want is simple…

So why do people not achieve what they want? This simple formula is incredibly hard to follow through on. This is because people shrug their shoulders and say they’re “fine.” This feeble word prevents action, it gets you off the hook and removes your motivation. 

“You convinced yourself you are fine not having the thing that you want.” — Mel Robbins

What are the odds of you being born? 

1:400,000,000,000. One in four hundred trillion. 

The fact that we are here is amazing. Why do we live out our days being content with “fine?” Why do we snooze in bed, rather than seize the day? Why don’t we go out and get what we want?

“You’re never going to feel like it” — Mel Robbins

We operate on autopilot. The activation energy required to switch to something new is often too much.

Mel’s challenge

Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier. When it goes off don’t snooze or delay. Throw those sheets back, stand up and start your day!

Pushing yourself out of a warm bed and into a cold room trains that activation energy capacity. Win every morning and train that capacity.

The activation energy required to get straight out of bed in the morning is the same activation energy that’s required to get what you want. When you have that energy, you can move away from being just fine.

It’s simple to get what you want (but it’s not easy) — you have to force yourself

We live most of our lives on autopilot. The routine is killing you. 

You have to force yourself out of your head and past your feelings. Stop caring about your feelings and start caring about what you want. Your feelings are generally not aligned with what you want. Get outside your comfort zone to move away from fine.

The 5-second rule

This is a fantastic tool for gaming activation energy. When you have an impulse to do something, act within five seconds. If you don’t act quickly, the impulse subsides. The idea dies.

We all have great ideas that we never act on. We kill them with inaction. 

Mel Robbins expands on this rule in her book “The 5-second rule.” 

We’ve all seen the TV commercials with a 5-second countdown. When you have to do something, give yourself a launch countdown. Count backwards from 5 and launch yourself like a rocket. ACT.

“The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must (count) 5–4–3–2–1 and physically move or your brain will stop you.” — Mel Robbins

Sand falls through an hourglass
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Closing thoughts

Get your repetitions in when your alarm goes off in the morning. If you have a regular practice, the 5-second rule will be at the forefront of your mind. You can then apply it to other areas of your life. 

Apply this to those annoying 2-minute tasks that generally get put off. Apply it to putting on your trainers and getting out the door. Apply it when you feel you should speak up, but something is holding you back.

Make it fun. Visualise a rocket launch as you countdown. Overcome sluggishness and act with urgency. 

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