Someone once said, “if you want to change your actions, you must change the way you think. Why? Thoughts determine feelings and feelings determine actions”. That’s when I discovered Mel Robbins’ book, The 5 Second Rule.
So, Who is Mel Robbins?
Mel Robbins is one of the most prominent self help speakers and authors in the world today and an inspiration for millions with her body of work, most centered around one rule, the 5 second rule, which will be the focus of today’s post. Prior to gaining fame she’s actually had a lot of challenges to overcome and lead a life that many can actually relate to.
She actually graduated in Law and was a criminal defense attorney, enjoying her job. That was before she had to find a new job after having moved to a new city. Unfortunately, her job, while still in the same field, left her miserable and she struggled with the day to day. Her family was struggling for finances and she struggled with postpartum depression after having her child. While at home, adamant she didn’t want to return to the job she hated, she struggled with her depression, her marriage was collapsing around her and she struggled to be productive day to day.
It was in her darkest moment that the solution came to her, an idea so simple she initially dismissed it as stupid, but decided there was no harm trying anyway. Surprisingly, it worked. So she thought she’d try it again and again, the same positive result. She kept doing it and from there, the 5 second rule was born. So what is the 5 second rule?
The 5 Second Rule
The general principle behind the rule is that you have roughly a 5 second period to perform an action before your mind will pull you out of it and stop you. The reason the mind stops you is because it naturally makes us take action for survival and comfort as a self defense mechanism.
If you’re having to think about an action, it means that action usually has some risk associated to it that could result in you feeling a sense of pain. Our brain is wired to avoid pain and so as we hesitate, it’s building up reasons in your mind as to why you shouldn’t take action.
Usually, most of us will then stop ourselves taking action we know that could benefit us due to this response. And that’s precisely to the point of the 5 second rule, it’s to override the doubts and fears we have and to take actions we know could be of benefit to us quickly.
How do You Apply The 5 Second rule?
So how do you apply the 5 second rule? It’s a simple two step process:
- The first thing to do is to acknowledge that you’re stressed. Don’t analyze or dissect it, but just accept that what you’re dealing with is not a fault, defect, or inability in you, but a reaction to stress and it’s driving your decisions. That takes a bit of the pressure off and enables your prefrontal cortex to play a role in the next decision.
- Make a 5-second decision that is directly contrary to the stress response. You do this by counting backwards from 5, like a rocket launch, and by 0 you need to push yourself to take action.
The 5 second rule is simple, and it has to be as if it isn’t then we’ll overthink the rule and still fail to take action.
The 5 second rule is about seizing opportunities in the day. The average person has a huge number of opportunities that come their way daily to get little wins and instead of taking them they let them float by. The 5 second rule is about acting to take the opportunities, not to wait for them to land in your lap.
So, What’s The Point?
Remember, The 5 Second Rule is a method to push you to do what you know you should but often fail to act on. So use the 5 second rule and seize the opportunities you have in life!Enter your text here.
How do you plan to use the 5 Second Rule?
This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.