I read The 5 Second Rule because of an amazing TED talk Mel Robbins gave, which led me to Mel’s YouTube channel, which led me to her book! I was immediately drawn to her personality and honesty, and I think you will be too.
The central thesis of the book is essentially a micro version of the advice, “just get started,” a thing we hear all the time in business because all of us procrastinate. In Mel’s approach, to counter procrastination, we should count down from five before we start something, even as simple as waking up in the morning. Like a countdown for a rocket launch, once you get to five seconds, you’re basically committed and should just do what you know you need to do.
I really enjoyed Mel’s language and style too. She’s funny, which makes her enjoyable to read. There are also mini lessons throughout the book that show the reader it really all comes down to taking action on that micro level. I was also very curious, how could such a simple rule, like a countdown from five before you begin something, actually work, and how could she turn such a simple idea into a whole book? But of course it’s the stories and examples of how she and others have used this rule to transform their lives. (And no, it has nothing to do with picking up your food after dropping it within five seconds, haha!)
But I did immediately put this five-second rule to the test! In the morning, when I hear my alarm, I count down in my head “5…4…3…2…”, and then I get up. I use this when I’m at conferences and I want to meet someone. Once there’s a window of opportunity to chat with them, I count down “5…4…3…2…1…” and then just do it. Before I work out, before I get online and do a live stream, whatever it may be—this five-second rule is so simple, but it really works, and you’ll accomplish so much if you stick to it. There are similar books that are about small little tasks that add up to big changes, such as Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World by William H. McRaven and Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning.
It’s the small changes that can make a world of difference, like what James Clear talks about in his book Atomic Habits. And Mel Robbins definitely paints an amazing picture and encourages all of us to take action, even in a small way, with this truly simple trick. Try it! I think you’ll really love it.