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Summary: The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins

“I was the problem and in five seconds, I could push myself and become the solution.” – Mel Robbins

When you silently count down from five, your brain knows something needs to happen after one; it’s the universal cue to act.

And when you take a deliberate action immediately after counting down you generate the joy of feeling in control.

“There’s an important concept in psychology put forth by Julian Rotter in 1954. It’s called ‘locus of control.’ The more that you believe that you are in control of your life, your actions and your future, the happier and more successful you’ll be. There’s one thing that is guaranteed to increase your feelings of control over your life: a bias toward action.” – Mel Robbins

According to psychologists, the ‘Golden Rule of Habits’ says to change a bad habit you must replace it with a different habit. Every habit has three parts: cue, routine, and reward. When you silently countdown from five (cue), take a small positive action (routine), and get a pleasurable feeling of control (reward), you’ve created a new habit loop.

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

Here are a few ways you can use a five‐second action habit to overwrite a bad habit:

  • If you want to break a bad habit of drinking wine before bed, notice yourself reaching for the bottle of wine at night and then silently say to yourself “five, four, three, two, one,” and put the bottle back of the cupboard.
  • If you have a habit of getting angry at people, notice the anger and then silently say “five, four, three, two, one,” and think of three people you’re grateful for.
  • If you have a habit of getting nervous before a performance, notice your anxiety and silently say to yourself “five, four, three, two, one…I’m excited!”

“I speak for a living. A lot. In 2016, I was named the most‐booked female speaker in America— 98 keynotes in one year. Amazing. Do I get nervous? Absolutely. Every single time. But here’s the trick: I don’t call it ‘nerves.’ I call it ‘excitement’ because physiologically anxiety and excitement are the exact same thing…When using this technique in experiments ranging from singing karaoke to giving a speech on camera to taking a math test, participants who said ‘I’m excited’ did better in every single challenge than those participants who said ‘I’m anxious.’” – Mel Robbins

“When you set a goal, your brain opens up a task list. Whenever you are near things that can help you achieve those goals, your brain fires up your instincts to signal to get that goal completed. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you have a goal to get healthier. If you walk into a living room, nothing happens. If you walk past a gym, however, your prefrontal cortex (front part of your brain) lights up because you are near something related to getting healthier. As you pass the gym, you’ll feel like you should exercise. That’s an instinct reminding you of the goal. That’s your inner wisdom, and it’s important to pay attention to it, no matter how small or silly that instinct may seem.” – Mel Robbins

Here are a few ways you can immediately start acting on your inner wisdom:

  • When you’re lying in bed in the morning and you know you should get up and work on your business idea, act on your inner wisdom and start counting down, “five, four, three, two, one,” and then get out of bed and walk to your desk.
  • When you’re in the office and have the feeling that you should stop checking email and start writing that proposal or presentation, act on your inner wisdom and start the countdown, “five, four, three, two, one.” Then close the email application and start writing.
  • At night when you’re about to watch new episode on Netflix and get the feeling that you should turn off the TV so that you can get a good night’s sleep and be more productive tomorrow, listen to that inner wisdom. “Five, four, three, two, one,” and then get your butt in bed.

“You can’t control how you feel. But you can always choose how you act.” – Mel Robbins


The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins is a self-help book that teaches you how to use a simple technique to overcome fear, doubt, procrastination and other obstacles that prevent you from achieving your goals. The technique is to count backwards from 5 to 1 and then take action, without giving yourself time to think or hesitate. The book explains the science behind why this works, how it can help you in various aspects of your life, and how to apply it to different situations.

The 5 Second Rule is a simple three-step process:

  1. When you have an instinct to act, don’t overthink it. Just start counting down from 5.
  2. By the time you reach 1, you’ll be physically moving towards your goal.
  3. Don’t stop until you’ve achieved your goal.

The book is based on the author’s personal experience of using the 5 second rule to overcome her own challenges, such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and financial problems. She also shares stories of other people who have used the rule to improve their health, relationships, careers and happiness. The book is divided into three parts: The Power of Five Seconds, The Courage to Change, and The 5 Second Rule in Action. Each part contains several chapters that cover topics such as:

  • How the 5 second rule can help you break bad habits, overcome fear of failure, boost your confidence and motivation, and make better decisions.
  • How the 5 second rule can help you become more productive, creative, focused and effective at work.
  • How the 5 second rule can help you improve your communication skills, deal with conflict, handle criticism and feedback, and express yourself authentically.
  • How the 5 second rule can help you develop more positive emotions, cope with stress and anxiety, overcome depression and addiction, and increase your happiness and gratitude.
  • How the 5 second rule can help you achieve your personal and professional goals, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, starting a business, writing a book, or pursuing your passion.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part, “The Science of the 5 Second Rule,” explains the neuroscience behind the Rule. Robbins argues that the 5 Second Rule can help to overcome the “fear of failure” and the “fear of success” that often hold us back from taking action.

The second part of the book, “The Power of the 5 Second Rule,” provides a number of practical tips for using the Rule in your own life. Robbins offers advice on how to use the Rule to break bad habits, start new habits, and achieve your goals.

The third part of the book, “The 5 Second Revolution,” is a collection of stories from people who have used the 5 Second Rule to change their lives. These stories are inspiring and motivating, and they provide a powerful reminder of the power of the Rule.

The book is written in a conversational and engaging style, with humor, anecdotes and examples. It also includes exercises, tips and tools to help you practice the 5 second rule and make it a habit. The book is suitable for anyone who wants to change their life for the better and unleash their full potential.

The book has received positive reviews from readers who have found it inspiring, empowering and practical. Some of the benefits they have reported are:

  • They have become more confident, courageous and assertive.
  • They have overcome procrastination, self-doubt and negative thinking.
  • They have taken action on their dreams and goals.
  • They have improved their performance and productivity at work.
  • They have enhanced their relationships and communication skills.
  • They have reduced their stress levels and improved their mental health.

The book has also received some criticism from readers who have found it repetitive, simplistic or unrealistic. Some of the drawbacks they have pointed out are:

  • The book does not provide enough evidence or research to support its claims.
  • The book does not address the underlying causes or factors that contribute to the problems it aims to solve.
  • The book does not offer enough guidance or support for implementing the 5 second rule in complex or challenging situations.
  • The book does not acknowledge the limitations or risks of using the 5 second rule in certain contexts or scenarios.

Overall, The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins is a motivational and practical book that offers a simple but powerful technique to help you change your behavior and mindset in just five seconds. It is a useful resource for anyone who wants to learn how to overcome fear, doubt and procrastination and take action on their goals. However, it is not a comprehensive or definitive solution for all your problems or challenges. You may need to supplement it with other strategies or methods that suit your specific needs and circumstances.

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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