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The Five Second Rule...




Recently we have seen Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos launch into space. The thrill, excitement, anticipation and slight fear of the unknown – but oh the grand possibilities. What extraordinary courage and foresight.


Then comes the point of no turning back, 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 blast off.


A countdown equals commitment and courage. Think of bungy jumping. When the countdown starts by the unnaturally calm instructor next to you there is no turning back, even though every part of your body is resisting through fear, the fear of the unknown.


5, 4 - I don’t think I can, your mind gets hit with a white blinding flash of fear…

3, 2 - There no point of return, it’s happening – what if I……

1 - Whoosh, commitment.


And then you are flying…….


This is the 5 Second Rule.


“If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.” Mel Robbins, creator of the 5 Second Rule

Introducing a ‘5,4,3,2,1 – GO’ countdown in your life enables your brain to shift gears and replaces worrying, self doubt and fear with courage and confidence to act.


Benefits of the 5 Second Rule:

  1. Through little acts of courage, the 5 Second Rule makes you less afraid over time.

  2. There are three reasons the “right time” will never come, so you just have to start.

  3. The 5 Second Rule helps you override your feelings, it’s a psychological intervention.

With most of us in Australia living through very long lockdowns, the fatigue and sometimes overwhelming nature of pushing through is real. Survival of businesses, jobs, family, schooling, important milestones under pressure – we are all deep in the today. With that brings difficulty in thinking about tomorrow, the unknown, or in having the bandwidth to plan. If you’re sick of telling others and yourself you’re feeling “fine,” when you’re clearly not then the 5 Second Rule may be just the rocket you need to help you ignite.


5…4…3…2…1 – GO!


With each small action momentum builds and courage follows. 


We all want to change our lives one way or the other yet we can spend most of our time waiting for that change to magically occur. Our excuse is always the same: “I’m waiting for the right moment.” Of course, deep down we know that moment may never come.

Three things about change:


  1. Change is always new.

  2. It always comes with uncertainty.

  3. It’s always scary.

The beauty of the 5 Second Rule is it can be applied to all the daily tasks you may be struggling to be motivated for. From getting out of bed, to starting a side hustle or committing to an exercise routine every day. Lack of momentum or motivation can be given a shake up by introducing the 5 Second Rule. It seems too simple right?


Even if the first action you take is tiny, like an online search, setting a reminder in your phone or putting on your active wear in anticipation of exercising, it’s an action nonetheless and that’s the only thing that matters.


So why do we wait to ignite into action? Mel refers to world-renowned neuroscientist  Antonio Damasio‘s research which suggests as much as 95% of our decisions are ultimately decided by feelings, not facts. He therefore calls us “feeling machines that think, not thinking machines that feel.”


What usually occurs isn’t think, then act, but feel, then act. As a result, the simple reason we often don’t act at all is that we “don’t feel like it.”


By taking the 5 Second Rule approach, you are changing your behaviours to impact how you feel, rather than hoping for the reverse to happen. Just like Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos – it started with just one step, one act of courage.


So what are you going to act on now? 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1…. Go!






Mel Robbins - 5 Second Rule

Want to know more, Mel's book is available on Amazon

Love a snackable lunch break learning? Try You Tube, TED and 4 Minute Books who all have great summaries of Mel's work.



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