Book Reviews

The 5 Second Rule Book Review

This month, I’m going to tell you about The 5 Second Rule. It’s a book you should get and read more than once. Or, get the audio version and listen to Mel tell you her personal story and tool to trick your brain.

The beginning of the book explains the 5 Second Rule and how to use it. Then in later sections, Mel Robbins tells how to specifically use the 5 Second Rule to change your behaviour including ending procrastination and worry. Then she sums up the book with the fifth section on how to use courage to live a more fulfilled life

5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins is a book about how to find inner courage. Courage is the ability to do what you need to do in the moment before you talk yourself out of it.

The Big Takeaway

Every decision we make is based on our feelings. We’re feeling beings that think.  So we have to find a way to trick our brains into just doing it whether we feel like doing it or not.

Mel Robbins tells her private story about the worst period of her life, and how she discovered the 5 Second Rule to help her get her life back on track. She counted back from 5 to 1 and told herself to “blastoff” to get up in the morning instead of hitting the snooze button.

It’s funny and endearing hearing her talk about her challenges. And she even admits how hard it is when you’re the one going through the problems. You don’t see the easy answer that everyone else does.

Nobody Feels Like It

The big difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people do the things that unsuccessful people don’t want to do. Successful people don’t want to do it either. But they find a way to motivate themselves to achieve it.

The 5 Second Rule tricks your brain into taking action.

We all suffer from inaction. Our brains are wired that way. So why don’t we hesitate before making a cup of tea?

Well, we might if we hesitate. When we pause before taking action, it triggers our brain as a warning of danger. So in the next five seconds, our brain talks us out of taking action.

Even a cup of tea? Well, what if you hesitated about the type of tea. Next thing you know, you’re contemplating if you’d rather have coffee instead. Or maybe you’d rather have it iced instead of hot. Should you include a snack?

I think you’re laughing. I know I am. But it’s so true that when we hesitate, we don’t take action. And our brain floods with every reason why we shouldn’t.

So we need to trick our brain, and we do that through metacognition.

What Is Metacognition?

Metacognition is thinking about what you think about.  It’s like you’re taking a step back and evaluating yourself.  You may find yourself overthinking things. Metacognition allows you to take a step back and identify when this is happening. And the 5 Second Rule is a tool that helps you get from overthinking to just doing.

Watch this video of Mel talking about how the 5 Second Rule will help you.

How The 5 Second Rule Ignites Your Life

You can change behaviours that have become habits that you no longer wish to keep. You can create new habits. You can learn to speak up. You can learn to not react.

Ignite Your Relationships

Mel Robbins talks about how she used the 5 Second Rule to save her marriage. She stopped snapping or picking at her husband. Instead, she was able to hit the pause button and say what she meant rather than react to being upset.

Do you want to go meet or talk to someone?

Rejection is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Not living a fulfilled life is. If you don’t take a chance, you won’t be available when the opportunity comes knocking on your door.

And this goes beyond personal relationships. This could also include professional relationship building as well. You never know when that one person you meet will know the perfect opportunity or client for you.

Ignite Your Health

If you find yourself making unhealthy choices, you can 5-4-3-2-1 Blastoff away from it. Mel talks about how people have been able to overcome drug and alcohol addictions by using this rule.

When you catch yourself going towards what you don’t want, like a doughnut, you can do the pattern interrupt and make a different choice more easily. The important thing is to recommit to your healthy goal each time and remind yourself why you’re making the smarter decision.

Her own husband is a runner and uses the 5 Second Rule to go out running every morning. He doesn’t always want to go out, and this technique helps him just do the right action instead of talking himself out of it.

Ignite Your Wealth

Do you hold yourself back at work from speaking up and acting like an authority because you are afraid people will think you’re stupid for speaking up? Build real confidence in your beliefs. And realize that the fear of looking stupid is far worse than achieving your dream life.

Choose your dream. Then spend time each day working towards it.

And do you sometimes go on spending sprees without thinking? You can catch yourself in the act and interrupt the autopilot that’s having you buy something you don’t really need.

If you own your own company and are afraid to prospect for clients, you can use the 5 Second Rule to break free. Sometimes, picking up the phone and calling is the most terrifying because we all fear rejection.  And did you know that sometimes you have to make five or six phone calls before you break free of the paralysis?

So if you can choose to make one call after another, pretty soon, you’ll be enjoying reaching out to people.

You can also use this technique for meeting new people at networking events.  They will remember you as the friendly person who came up to chat with them.

What I Loved the Most

The book is one solid coaching session after another. When I was reading it, I kept wanting to put it down and push myself to do more.

And there were so many excellent suggestions and stories.

Since I can only pick one thing that I loved the most, it was the morning routine. Mel talks about finding two things to do each day that will push you personally forward. And you need to decide on that and schedule it before you read email or go into the office.

Often, we’ll have an idea of things we want to do such as work on a novel or spend time meditating. But we let ourselves get sucked into the drama of social media or potential problems in our email inbox. It’s time we put ourselves first.

And the best way of doing that is first thing in the morning.

It will feel uncomfortable at first. We often want to put everyone else’s needs before our own. But that’s a mistake. You deserve an amazing life starting today.

Final Thoughts

You can purchase The 5 Second Rule through your local bookstore, or online. I enjoyed listening to it from an Audible book. Mel Robbins reads the book herself, and it added in that personal touch.

Mel Robbins initially used the trick to get up in the morning when the alarm went off instead of pushing the snooze button. She still uses the trick today to get up and go to a yoga class.

She still doesn’t like getting up early in the morning. Mel said she will never be a morning person. But the 5 Second Rule helps her to get up and get going for her health and happiness.

It’s ok that you may never like speaking up or making smarter choices for yourself. The important thing is that you make the small changes every day to build up momentum towards your ideal life.


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