Book Review: The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

I don’t know about you, but the reading list on my bedside table never seems to dwindle. There’s always a new book to pop on the top of the pile, and I’m the kind of person who has to finish it if I start it – even if I hate it. So we thought we’d bring you some hot tips in terms of book reviews to reduce your chance of buying duds when it comes to health and lifestyle books.

You’re welcome.

First cab off the rank is one I love. If you’re a procrastinator (or pro-snackinator, or pro-caffeineator as I’ve heard it called) this could help break you out of the loop and find courage to do and not just think.

A lot of us have ideas, but think we aren’t good enough to do them. We have dreams, but lack the courage to go and chase them. We have situations that we’d like to change, but we lack the motivation to change them. Or at least we think we lack what it takes to make it happen. Mel Robbins found a way out of this loop, in a time when her life was a mess.

Her marriage, finances, career and self-esteem were “all in the gutter” she says. She started each day with dread at the alarm going off. (I think a few of us can relate to that!) But then she started visualising NASA – a rocket about to take off. She’d count down from 5. “5-4-3-2-1” and then give herself a push.

That’s it. That’s the rule. “5-4-3-2-1 push.”

Years on, this is a best-selling book, a TED talk and for many, a way of life. I personally found it empowering. It works off a simple premise: Your brain is designed to stop you from doing risky things – things that might endanger your survival. According to Mel Robbins, it has two gears “Autopilot” and “emergency break”. If you want out of your rut, or if you want to chase your dreams, you need to find a way past the emergency break.

There is a window of time that happens with every wave of inspiration where things are possible, but you have to act on it then before your brain starts to shut it down. That window is 5 seconds. Can you change the world in five seconds? Can you overhaul your finances, your marriage or your weight in five seconds? No! But you can do something to get started, and therein lies the power of the rule.

I remember watching a friend bungee jump. She was shit scared. You could see it all over her face as she looked over the bridge to the half a kilometre drop below and thought “Nope! Nope! Nope!” But then there’s pumping music and everyone on the bridge yelling “5-4-3-2-1” next thing, before she knew it, before she had the chance to yell “I’m OCD, let me check the straps!” she was flying through the air in the biggest adrenaline rush of her life.

I guess that’s the 5-second rule in action, and it got her right past the emergency break. The rule is this: “The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must 5-4-3-2-1 and physically move or your brain will stop you.”

Why count backwards? Well it’s so much easier to count up, your brain will just keep doing it. The beauty of the 5 second rule is it takes your brain out of the fear pattern (in your amygdala and basal ganglia) and into your thought brain (prefrontal cortex).

The book is packed full of science and stories that prove this rule works – from finding courage you didn’t think you had, to breaking habits you never thought you could.

I love it. Whether it’s for a big meeting, asking a famous person for an autograph, having a difficult conversation with a colleague or friend, answering that pescy email in my inbox, going to the gym early in the morning or simply getting out of bed and not hitting the snooze button. The five second rule has changed my life and can change yours too. Get control of your mind, by doing something as simple as the 5 second rule. Start off with something small and before your eyes your life will change.

My suggestion would be that you buy the hard copy, check out @MelRobbins on Instagram and Youtube, or even better checkout her special ‘Kick Ass with Mel’ series on Audible. It will make you laugh, cry and learn things about yourself you didn’t think were there.

This book is right up our alley at The State of Me because its about living life on your terms in 5-4-3-2-1. Go out and Get It!

Happy reading

Dr Anthea


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