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Required Reading for Entrepreneurs: The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Ready for a book that has the potential to change your life?

I promise, that’s not something I say lightly.

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins is a book that can teach you to complete rewire your brain, help you break bad habits, and become a more courageous, confident person.

Sounds fluffy, I know, but there’s science involved. That’s one of the things I really like about Mel Robbins, is that she backs her content up with science.

The 5 Second Rule: What Is It? (And No, It Doesn’t Have Anything To Do With Food)

No, the 5 Second Rule is NOT about how much time you have to pick food up off the ground and it’s still safe to eat. Also, that’s apparently a myth. If food falls on the ground, it’s contaminated. Sorry to burst your bubble.

But in THIS case, the 5 Second Rule is something Robbins used to help her get out of bed in the morning when she was at one of the lowest points in her life.

All it is, is saying 5-4-3-2-1 and then by the time you’re done counting, you get up and do what you’re supposed to do. Because if you wait any longer than that, then your brain is going to start coming up with excuses to talk you out of it.

And that’s really not hard to do, because your brain WANTS you to take the easy way, and will do everything in its power to get you to do that, even if it’s not what will benefit you, especially in the long run. You have to TRAIN your brain to think of the long-term benefits, and it’s not easy. So that’s where the rule comes in.

The 5 Second Rule can help you change your behavior, do things you may not want to do, and even treat people differently. And because you’re focused on counting, you’re not focusing on whatever task you’re thinking of doing. More importantly, you’re not thinking about the excuses your brain is trying to use to talk you out of it.

The 5 Second Rule: It’s Not Just Robbins And Her Stories

One of the fun parts of The 5 Second rule is that it’s not all just Robbins’ story. The book is FULL of social posts, comments, emails and messages from all the people Robbins has impacted with the rule, as shared through Ted Talks and the speaking engagements she does around the country.

While I will admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of some of the stories (mostly because they were short tweets that I didn’t feel really impacted the material), there were a lot of amazing stories and messages from people who have completely changed their lives thanks to the Rule.

It’s from people who have used the Rule to get out of bed on time (like I do), and people who use it to get the courage to speak up and share their ideas at work, and even people who decluttered their lives both physically and emotionally by using the Rule.

The 5 Second Rule: How It Helps You Make The Absolute Best Of Your Day

We all have just 24 hours in a day, and if you want to make the most of them, use the 5 Second Rule.

With the 5 Second Rule, if you think of something you need to do, then 5-4-3-2-1, do it. Don’t think, just do. Instead of sitting and thinking about what you should be doing, you’re just doing it. Don’t let your brain talk you out of doing things that might be hard, might be a little scary, the things that might drive you to the edge of your comfort zone.

Using the Rule means less time deciding and more time doing, which leads you to accomplishing a TON.

The 5 Second Rule: The Importance Of Your Screen-Free Morning Routine

This is one of the most important parts of the book. Well, all of it is important, but your mornings influence your entire day, and if you don’t have a good morning, it’s going to be that much harder to make a good day of it.

Robbins emphasizes the importance of one, putting yourself in an environment that allows you to be successful. And that means putting your phone far, far away from you. It stops you from checking your phone in the middle of the night, and also stops you from doing the same first-thing in the morning.

Because if you don’t start your day checking your emails and texts and social media notifications, then you’re going to be able to start your day focusing on the most important thing: you, and what you want to get out of your day.

I want to challenge you. For one week, don’t check your phone first thing in the morning. I promise, the emails, the texts, the social media notifications can wait. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, take those 10 minutes for yourself and set your intentions for your day.

If you’ve committed to doing it, leave a comment and let me know. And once your week is up, let me know how it went!

The 5 Second Rule: The Two Types of Procrastination

Did you know that there are actually TWO types of procrastination?


I will be the first to admit that I am a world-class procrastinator. When I was in college, I wrote many a paper late in the evening before they were due. I even put together my entire poetry portfolio in one day. It’s not something I’d recommend, but that’s neither here nor there. I would do a lot of things INSTEAD of finishing my assignments and that is called “Destructive Procrastination”.

On the flip side is a concept called “Productive Procrastination”, which Robbins credits as helping her finish this book. Productive Procrastination is when you set aside your project so your mind can marinate on it. So you can grow that project and think of different ways to make it even more awesome than it already is. And if it means the project is delayed a little, then that’s okay.

The chapter also delves into the connections between procrastination and stress, and how you can overcome procrastination to then lessen your stress. Procrastination usually happens because you’re avoiding a task that you don’t know how to handle, and it stresses you out, which makes you procrastinate more. And it continues, in a vicious cycle.

But if you buckle down, use the 5 Second Rule to encourage you to start, then you can figure it out and get that task off your plate and dealt with.

And it’s probably a lot easier than you think!

The 5 Second Rule: On Forgiveness

I didn’t think of it before I started reading this book, but forgiveness is SO important to reframing your mindset and rewiring the way your brain tackles necessary tasks.

And when it comes to overcoming the stress-driven procrastination cycle that I mentioned above, it’s all about forgiveness.

Forgive yourself.

That’s the first thing.

Forgive yourself for avoiding the things you’re avoiding. It’s okay. That was what the past-you was doing. Present you can change the script and do things differently.

Just stop thinking and make that action.

The 5 Second Rule: Required Chapters

The 5 Second Rule is broken into, naturally, five parts: 1) The 5 Second Rule, 2) The Power of Courage, 3) Courage Changes Your Behavior, 4) Courage Changes Your Mind, and 5) Courage Changes Everything. There are between three and four chapters in each part.

While Chapter 1 introduces the book, Chapter 2 introduced how Robbins discovered and began implementing the 5 Second Rule into her life. Robbins is a fantastic storyteller, and she does an amazing job showing just how difficult things were for her and her family and marriage prior to her use of the rule. If you enjoy stories of people crawling their way up from rock bottom, then this is for you.

I also recommend Chapter 10, which is all about increasing your productivity. For side hustlers, that’s a must. This chapter details the importance of morning routines, which I covered earlier on in this post. Robbins talks about how productivity all boils down to focus. If you can focus, then you’ll find success.

Chapter 16 is also a must-read, because it talks all about the importance of pursuing your passion. But not only that, it covers how to find out what your passion IS. So, if you don’t know that, then you can figure it out. One thing that Robbins also emphasizes is that it’s never too late to follow your passions. If you want to be a 44-year-old college freshman, because it means pursuing a degree you’re passionate about, then 5-4-3-2-1, get yourself to campus and register for class.

The 5 Second Rule: Actually Using It Part One

I’ve told you all about a book that’s telling you to do a thing that will make your life better. Now, I don’t want to sound preachy, but I know it works because I actually use the tips featured in it. And here are two stories that show that yes, it does work.

In March 2019, I caught the flu. It sucked. I was out of commission for two weeks. If you watch my live stream series, 10 Minutes Before Dinner, you know all about it, because I mentioned it a lot, and went live, even on day when I was sick. Thanks for bearing with my and my inability to breathe.

Anyway, before I got sick, I would be out of bed at 6 a.m., right after my alarm went off. After that, not so much.

So, after reading the first few chapters of The 5 Second Rule, I decided to take the challenge. As soon as my alarm went off, I started counting back from 5, and by 3, I was out of bed, stumbling to the bathroom to do my business. And I’ve been out of bed on time ever since.

The 5 Second Rule: Actually Using It Part Two

Story number two:

I am a homebody. I just really enjoy being at home. That’s not to say that I don’t like going out and seeing my friends, but I’m only REALLY comfortable when it’s just a group of people that I know.

Recently, I was invited to a surprise party celebrating one of my friends (and former coworkers from the days when I worked in sports), who was moving on to another job within the department. I was happy to say yes to going, but to be honest, nervous because one of my closest friends who was invited too, couldn’t go. Meaning: I was not going to know as many people at the party as my brain would have liked.

As I was driving to the party, I felt that twisting sensation in my gut, but instead of giving into it, I said out loud, in my car, “I am excited to spend the evening with my friends, and it is going to be a good time.” And like in the book when Robbins talks about her son repeating over and over how excited he was to go to his friend’s house for a sleepover, it worked. By the time I got there, I was calm, and excited to see the friend I was celebrating, and in fact, ended up seeing some other friends that I don’t get to see all that often.

So, of course, it worth going.

And those are just two very powerful ways that the 5 Second Rule can help you rework your brain and make it cooperate better, therefore making your life a lot more manageable.

The 5 Second Rule: Want More From Robbins?

First of all, pick up your copy of The 5 Second Rule.

Second, pick up your copy of the 5 Second Journal, which I use every day and is one of my favorite parts of my morning. Using the journal, I acknowledge how I feel every day when I wake up, why I feel the way I feel, and how to raise my energy. It kickstarts my day, sets it off on the right foot, and makes it all the more likely that my day is going to be a good, productive day.

Want to really reinforce what you learn from this book and put it all into practice? Then I highly recommend checking out her free video series called Mindset Reset. This series is all about reframing your mindset, breaking bad habits, and changing the way you look at the anxiety or worry you may feel during a given situation.

Mel started the series at the end of 2018, with the intent of planning for an awesome, mindful 2019. The entire playlist features 35 (36 is you count the two-minute intro) videos that cover every single live stream she did during the series, which are all up on YouTube.

The series features a lot of the content that is featured in The 5 Second Rule, but also features Q&As from the people who participated in the series live (like I did—though, I didn’t ask any questions), and reinforces the importance of things she touches on, like having a mindful morning routine (read: device free). She also goes in depth on the science of sleep and why you shouldn’t hit the snooze button, and also how to reframe your anxiety.

You can access the complete playlist of #MindsetReset videos on Youtube.

Plus, she’s pretty hilarious. Her dry humor, which leaps off the page in the book, REALLY pops off the screen in all her videos, even the ones where the technology doesn’t work like it’s supposed to.

The 5 Second Journal

More From The Required Reading Series

Looking for more from Required Reading? Here are the rest of the books featured in the series.

Required Reading: F.U. Money by Dan Lok
Required Reading: The Science Of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles
Required Reading: Rich 20Something by Daniel DiPiazza
Required Reading: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Required Reading: Winning Her Business by Bridget Brennan

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