The 5 Second Rule

Posted February 27, 2018 in What We're Reading

The Premise: Mel Robbins shot to fame in the motivational speaker space with her 20 minute TEDx talk on how to get unstuck and live your dreams. Her self-devised concept of the 5 Second Rule was almost a footnote at the end of the talk, but it turned out to be the part that struck a chord with viewers. When the talk went live on the TEDx website over a year later, it immediately went viral. The 5 Second Rule was working for so many people, and there was so much positive feedback, it sent Robbins on a quest for further research on why this technique was so successful – the result is this book. The 5 Second Rule came to Robbins in a moment of desperation. She and her husband were at a point in their lives where stress and pressure could not have been greater – a failing business, lost job, near financial ruin and major marital stress – making it difficult to even get out of bed in the morning to do anything to change the situation. Then Robbins saw a rocket launch on the news – 5-4-3-2-1 GO and the rocket launched – she thought this might be a technique to try to get out of bed instead of hitting the snooze button. She tried it, and the rest is history. The book gets right to the core of the problem with motivation and activation – the difference between feelings and actions. You may want to eat healthier, but you may not feel like making a salad. But if you act quickly 5-4-3-2-1 GO, you bypass the brain’s instinct to stick to habits and do the things you want to do. By doing things, you build courage to keep going, and this pattern of reinforcement keeps you moving ahead on any goal. The book is well written, easy to read and Robbins is a great storyteller. It’s full of testimonials from readers that reinforce the power of this rule, with lots of commonsense advice, research examples and encouragement.

The Bottomline: As a pragmatic person, this book appealed to my need to know how to change up routines and habits. I’ve read many books on courage, change, happiness, daring greatly and living big, but this is the first book that really outlined for me how to do it. I really liked understanding the rationale behind why this works – why the brain resists change and how to bypass the ‘emergency break’ as Robbins calls it, that gets engaged when we try to act, but I really liked how it presented a technique that is immediately usable and results-focused. I also liked how the book presented testimonials from people who have used the rule in all areas of life – for school, work, team management, sales, personal growth – a wide gamut of applications where the 5 Second Rule can be used to propel any goal forward.

Roundtable Rating: a worthwhile read for any leader who needs a push towards action, and would be great for teams as a motivational tool.


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