The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage

The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage

by Mel Robbins

The TEDx Talk about The 5 Second Rule was viewed over 18 million times on YouTube. The 5 Second Rule itself was the top nonfiction book on Audible and sixth most-read book on Amazon in 2017, and it was named Audible's 2017 Book of the Year in the category of self-development.

Using the right tools, it takes just five seconds to become confident, break the habit of procrastination and self-doubt, beat fear and uncertainty, stop worrying and feel happier, and share ideas with courage. The secret isn’t knowing what to do—it’s knowing how to make ourselves do it. The 5 Second Rule gives us the answer for how to push ourselves.

Summary Notes

The 5 Second Rule

If you're searching for that person who will change your life look in the mirror.

The 5 Second Rule can be used in many aspects of our lives: to push ourselves to go to the gym, to control our emotions, or to rise every day with confidence and courage. The most difficult are the smallest things like speaking in a meeting, stepping onto a dance floor, hitting “send” or “call,” or raising a hand.

It is not good to wait to “feel like doing it” or for the right moment. There is a powerful connection between our brains and the instinct to act. In five seconds we make a decision and push ourselves. If not, we lose the momentum—there is a five-second window between the initial instinct to act and losing the courage to do something. Counting distracts from excuses and focuses our minds on acting.

If we want to change a bad habit, we must replace the behavior pattern. If we use the 5 Second Rule every day, it will become part of our behavior and will trigger new, positive patterns.

Actions to take

The Power of Courage

You validate your ideas by pursuing them.” 

Courage is a push that unlocks opportunities that are behind what is scary, uncertain, and difficult. We cannot wait for the “right time” to improve our lives. That is an excuse. We avoid an action only because of fear of rejection, failure, or looking bad. We can be afraid and do it anyway.

Our feelings are responsible for our decisions, even when we know they are not the right ones. We cannot control how we feel, but we can control how we act by ignoring our feelings. The counting back interrupts the usual pattern of behavior and distracts from feelings. By changing our behavior, we change our self-perception.

The moment you move, you’ll discover your strength. You can know the result only if you try.

Actions to take

Courage Changes Your Behavior

Nothing will work unless you do.” -Maya Angelou

The 5 Second Rule is very helpful in the areas of health, productivity, and procrastination. All diets, exercise programs, workout classes, yoga, and other things that have a positive impact on our health have in common that we HAVE TO DO them. Although we feel that it won’t be easy, the 5 Second Rule can help us start acting.

When you want to increase productivity, the key word is focus. We have to manage distractions to focus on what’s truly important. We are most productive in the first two to three hours of the day, so it is good to plan to do the most important tasks in the morning.

Many people think that procrastination is the result of avoiding work. The truth is that it is caused by stress and the fact that we want to feel good right now. If we cope with stress by knowing the reason for procrastination, we can eliminate it.

Actions to take

Courage Changes Your Mind

Rule your mind, or it will rule you.” -Horace

Worrying doesn't solve problems. Think about it as a default setting of our minds when we don’t pay attention. You can stop worrying just by refocusing your mind: remind yourself to look at positive aspects of your situation and life in general. 

Anxiety is another common problem. The key to beating it is understanding what stands behind it. Remember, the only difference between excitement and anxiety is what your mind calls it. You can easily reframe a negative feeling as a positive one.

To beat fear, it is important to find an “anchor thought"; something positive that we can expect to experience after overcoming the fear. This will give you the motivation and confidence to face that fear.

Actions to take

Courage Changes Everything

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” -Walt Disney

Confidence in ourselves is built through acts of everyday courage. It is created by the small things that we do every day that build trust in ourselves. Too often we downplay the importance of small things that in reality are not small at all. Nothing is easy until we practice it.

Passion plays an important part in our lives. Finding it is an active process and should be based on our curiosity. Also, if we are jealous of someone, that can be a clue to what we really want.

To take care of our relationships, it is crucial to not avoid having a conversation, asking hard questions, or saying “I love you.” And one of the worst enemies is silence, which creates distance. If we want to say something but are afraid, then 5-4-3-2-1 SAY it!

Actions to take

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