The 5 Second Rule









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Here's Mel Robbins story >>> I'll never forget standing there in my bedroom. It was dark, it was cold, it was winter in Boston and for the first time in three months I had beaten my habit of hitting the snooze button.
There are so many people in the world, and you know, you may be watching this right now, and you have these incredible ideas and what you think is missing is motivation, and that's not true, because the way that our minds are wired and the fact about human beings is, that we are not designed to do things that are uncomfortable or scary or difficult.
Our brains are designed to protect us from those things because our brains are trying to keep us alive, and in order to change, in order to build a business, in order to be the best parent, the best spouse, to do all those things that you know you want to do with your life, with your work, with your dreams, you're gonna have to do things that are difficult, uncertain or scary.
Which sets up this problem for all of us. You're never gonna feel like it.
Motivation is garbage. You only feel motivated to do the things that are easy, right? (Why do you think that is?) Oh I know exactly why that is because I've studied this so much because for me one of the hardest things to figure out was why is it so hard to do the little things that would improve my life, and what I've come to realize, and what we'll talk a lot about today, is that the way that our minds are designed, is our minds are designed to stop you at all costs, from doing anything that might hurt you, and the way that this all happens is, it all starts with something super subtle that none of us ever catch, and that is, with this habit, that all of us have that nobody's talking about, we all have a habit of hesitating.
We have an idea, you're sitting in a meeting, you have this incredible idea and instead of just, you know saying it, you stop and you hesitate.
Now what none of us realize is that when you hesitate, just that moment, that micro moment, that small hesitation, it sends a stress signal to your brain, it wakes your brain up, and your brain all of a sudden goes, oh wait a minute, wait, why is he hesitating, he didn't hesitate when he put on his killer Nike sneakers, he didn't hesitate with the really cool track pants, he didn't hesitate with the NASA t-shirt, now he's hesitating to talk, something must be up, so then your brain, goes to work to protect you.
It has a million different ways to protect you. One of them is called the spotlight effect. It's a known phenomenon where your brain magnifies risk, why to pull you away from something that it perceives to be a problem, and so you can truly trace every single problem or complaint in your life to silence and hesitation.
Those are decisions and what I do, and what's changed my life, is waking up and realizing that motivation is garbage. I'm never gonna feel like doing the things that are tough or difficult or uncertain or scary or no so I need to stop waiting until I feel like it and number two I am one decision away from a totally different marriage a totally different life a totally different job a totally different income a totally different relationship with my kids, not like one decision I'm divorcing you, in the marriage example, but one decision on, you know, you could be having a conversation with your spouse and you feel your emotions rise up and within a tiny window those emotions can take over and can impact how your marriage goes or you can learn how to take control of that micro moment and make a decision to act in a way that actually shifts your marriage.
Your life comes down to your decisions and if you change your decisions you will change everything. I was 41 years old, I was unemployed my husband had started a restaurant business which was his dream, this is actually a funny story, when he got laid off from a big job in high tech, and I think he was really relieved, you know a lot of us wait to quit our jobs and we get laid off early and he said I'm not gonna look for a job I'm gonna go into the restaurant business and I think I said the most famous lines of our marriage at that point, I looked at him and I said, listen buddy, inspiration is for strangers you get your butt back to that job and you pay the mortgage, and again micro moment where I'm being a jerk instead of being a supportive wife but that's an example of where when he said he was not gonna go get a job but he was gonna start a business the first thing that was there was fear and so fear was making the decision for me.
I love that you can share that though that's so powerful, well so what happened is, the first restaurant was a home run and of course what do you do when things are successful? You grow it really big and so they decided to raise some money and we threw in our home equity line, the kids college savings, they tried to open a second and a third and at the same point a grocery store chain encouraged them to go into wholesale, so it basically got way too big way too fast and the wheels started to come off and they came off so badly that the second restaurant failed and they held on to it for too long, like a lot of us do, it's another trick our brains play on us called sunk costs, when you throw a ton of time and a ton of money at something it's really hard to let go of it and if you haven't done it in business we all have a relationship in our past stay way too long, that was a trick your brain played so by the time that they closed the second restaurant it was an $800,000 loss. I mean that meant our entire home equity line right with it, it meant kids college, I get just choked up just thinking about how terrifying it was and so I found myself at the age of 41 like just feeling like a complete failure and so did Chris and to make it worse not only had we lost all of our savings but so many friends and family members had invested and so there was this real tension between the truth of what was happening and what you had to do in public because it was public business.
Shame, failure, embarrassment and the lien started to hit the house, the phone started to ring and it was nothing but collection calls and I just remember feeling this tremendous shame and at some point I think we all hit that moment in life where things just are not going how you thought they would go and and what's amazing about those moments is we all respond very differently.
So my husband he would spring out of bed and he would head right out that door six o'clock in the morning and he would go meet his partner and they would go to the bank and they would dig right in and they would face their problems head-on. He's also a smart guy I mean he did not want to be in the house when yours truly woke up because I was a Raging Bitch at that point in our lives and the reason why is because when you're scared and you're afraid and you're jealous and you're overwhelmed with emotion it is so much easier to point a finger at other people. That's a decision by the way, sure one you may not be aware that you're making but you're still making it.
So what would happen to me is the exact opposite is Chris would be gone the alarm would go off at six o'clock in the morning and I would lie there and I would think about the lien on the house and I would think about the bankruptcy that we were facing and I would think about how much we had fought the night before and I would think about the fact that I was unemployed. And why would you get up when your life is like that why?
Would you, I mean I needed confidence I needed courage I was so tapped out and and you know it's in the scheme of life hitting the snooze button. It's not that big of a deal but here's the thing about life none of us wake up and say today is the day I destroy my life. What we do is we kind of check out because it feels overwhelming or we check out because we're afraid or we check out because we start listening to self-doubt and then we make these teeny tiny decisions. Decisions to not get up on time, a decision to not eat the right thing, a decision to snap at your kids, a decision to not speak in a meeting, a decision to not look for a job, a decision to not deal with your finances, a decision to not call your partner.
It's all day long these tiny decisions that take you so far off track and then you wake up like I did and you look at your life and you think how the hell did I get here and more importantly how do I get back over there, and you have no idea and so I was so trapped and I know from your story you felt the same way like you knew that there was more in store for you but you couldn't figure out how you closed the gap how do you find the power that's it how do you discover your greatness how do you solve these problems it feels so overwhelming when you can I mean I would go to the grocery store and and the items would scan and I would be sitting there reading it my excuse because there was no way that my check firm is gonna clear so what I got in this struggle with myself that a lot of us find ourselves in and that is you get trapped in what I call the knowledge action gap you know what to do but you can't seem to make yourself do it right I mean every one of us is one Google search away from a list of instructions that if you follow any of them it will change your life but how do you get out of your head and stop thinking about what you need to do and actually do it and in my case this stuff was pretty easy get up on time make breakfast for the kids get them on the bus start looking for a job be nicer to Chris don't drink so much instead of isolating yourself pick up the phone and call a friend get yourself out into the woods and go for a walk start running again like all these little things that I was capable of but I couldn't get out of here could not get out of here and if you're stuck that's the problem the problem is you're you're in your head you're thinking that is the universal problem and it all starts with this knowledge of what to do and then you hesitate and you think about whether or not you feel like doing it so for a couple months I was I was really stuck I I would Chris would get up at 6:00 I'd hit the snows and then I'd hit the snooze and then a snooze the kids would miss the bus and then every night I'd do the same thing I'd go in bed have you ever had one of those nights probably before you started your company but it where you go in bed and you're like alright Tom that's it tomorrow it's the new me tomorrow tomorrow I'm gonna get up on time I am gonna go to the gym I am gonna look for a job I'm not gonna drink so much it's gonna be amazing the new me the future me Wow let's do this right then you go to bed and you wake up seven hours later and you're like I don't really I mean it's the only whoo that's a stupid at seat motivations for it's never there when you need it ever ever ever ever and so here's what happened to me and thank you for wearing the NASA t shirt it's a really stupid story it's a powerful story so one night Chris had gone to bed I had been struggling struggling struggling we still had all the same problems I we stalled a lien on the house still facing bankruptcy still fighting like crazy I was still unemployed he still they still hadn't figured out like the solution yet for the business and I was about to turn off the TV and there on the TV there was this rocket launching and I thought oh my gosh like a rocket ship like NASA right here and launched me out of that bed and I'm gonna move so fast that I don't think I'm gonna beat my brain now here's a really interesting point I talked a lot about your instincts and inner wisdom and we can get into this a little bit later but a lot of us talk about the fact that you have a gut feeling but what all this research that I've done for the book and all the speaking that I do what I've discovered that's fascinating is actually when you set goals when you have an intention on something that you want to change about your life your brain helps you what it does is it opens up a checklist and then
your brain goes to work trying to remind you of that intention that you said and it's really important to develop the skill and I say that word purposefully the skill of knowing how to hear that inner wisdom and that intention kicking in and leaning into it quickly so for me my brain saying that's it right there move as fast as a rocket melt I wanted to change my life and I think most people that are miserable or that are that are really like dying to be great and dying to have more we want to change we want to live a better life we want to create more for our families we want to be happier the the desire is there again it's about how do you go from knowledge to actions so the first thing in the story that's important is realizing that the answer was in me and my mind was telling me pay attention I could have also been perfect anyway the next morning the alarm goes off and I pretended NASA was there it's a stupidest story I literally went 5 4 3 2 1 I counted out loud and then I stood up and I'll never forget standing there in my bedroom it was dark it was cold it was winter in Boston and for the first time in three months I had beaten my habit of hitting the snooze button I couldn't believe it and I thought wait a minute counting backwards that is the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my entire life well the next morning I used it again and it worked the next morning I used it again and it worked the next morning I used it again and it worked and then I started to notice something really interesting there were moments all day long all day long just like that five-second moment in bed where I knew knowledge what I should do and if I didn't move within five seconds my brain would step in and talk me out of it every human being has a five-second window might even be shorter for you you have about a five-second window in which you can move from idea to action before your brain kicks into full gear and sabotages any change in behavior because remember your brain is wired to stop you from doing things that are uncomfortable or uncertain or scary it's your job to learn how to move from those ideas that could change everything into acting on in the smallest moment for anyone right now at home who's thinking like this sounds too simple too easy talk a bit about your community because reading some of their comments it is it's crazy how many people like the sheer volume of people you quote in your book but if you also go online and just look at the people that are like directly reaching out to you it it is an avalanche of people that have stories around the five-second rule well one of the reasons why I'm so excited about this book and look you don't have to buy the book this is an idea that you can use it's free it's backed by science more than eight million people around the world have discovered it and you know you're talking about the number of people we've heard from more than a hundred thousand people in 80 countries they were using this rule we know of eleven people who have stopped themselves from killing themselves using this for us I saw one of those yes yes there's a guy Steve that wrote to us who is a veteran he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder he boarded a ferry overseas with the intention to jump over he walked over to the railing and his inner wisdom kicked in in that moment the five-second rule five four three two one counting backwards moved away from the railing asked for help saved his life his story has inspired countless other people that have heard me in the speeches that I give around the world about this one tool and so you know the thing the thing that's so cool about this and I should tell you the science behind it because I'm gonna be honest with you it is stupid had I ever thought that I would find myself eight years after discovering it spending my days telling people about the five-second rule first of all I would have picked a different name because it reminds you of the one where you have to like pick up food within 5 seconds off the floor right it was my secret weapon this was something I did I never intended to tell anybody because I went from getting up on time and waking up on time to shaking up my entire life because when you understand the power of a 5 second decision and you understand that you always have a choice to go from autopilot to decision-maker everything in your life will change you will be a different negotiator you will be different sales you will be unstoppable in the gym because you will realize the
amount of garbage that you put in the way of your hopes of your dreams of your potential of your confidence of your courage everything comes down to the
decisions that you make we all know what to do none of us know how to make ourselves do so I started researching it why does something so stupid work why why does something so silly create such powerful and profound change well here's why the rule is a form of metacognition metacognition is a fancy-pants terms that means something real simple you can outsmart your own brain in furtherance of goals their tricks that you can use that actually outsmart the tricks your brain plays on you in furtherance of a higher purpose we all know this you can you can restrain yourself if you're in a situation that calls for it you can jump into a raging river to save your dog or your kid you can direct yourself in ways if it's important to you and so the rule what it does is it does something really remarkable when you count backwards five four three two one what you're actually doing is you're interrupting what researchers call habit loops that get encoded as as closed-loop patterns in your basal ganglia that's the part of the brain where your feelings or your emotions every habit that you have which is nothing more than behavior that you repeat that you don't even think about I don't refer to as a gearbox yeah shift your attention yes and so when you go 5 4 3 2 1 it interrupts what's going on here that's spinning without you thinking and it moves and awakens your prefrontal cortex so when you hit one your habit has been interrupted so you've interrupted self-doubt you've interrupted maybe snapping at your kids you've interrupted the desire to grab for a drink you've interrupted procrastination you've also by counting backwards done an action it's awake and your prefrontal cortex that is the part of the brain that you need that's awake when you're changing behavior when you're learning new things when you hit one it's also a prompt so in the language of research you'll hear people talk about starting rituals that is that is something that's proven to help you learn a new habit the five-second rule when you repeat it becomes a starting ritual that triggers you to act with confidence that triggers you that this is a moment for courage the trick to shift gears and because you've also done the manual work of awakening the part of the brain that you need to change you've set yourself up for success it doesn't work if you count up because you can keep going and also counting up does it require focus if you count backwards 5 4 3 2 1 it again awakens the prefrontal cortex and it prompts you to move when you start to use it and then you read about it you'll see that that it's being used all over the place they use it in the armed services in order to align troops and get them to start an exercise they use it at elementary schools 5 4 3 2 1 at big assemblies to get a huge room full of kids stop talking simple and interesting example yeah because it requires you to focus it's not a habit it will become a habit that prompts you to have confidence courage but in the beginning it interrupts patterns of behavior that you do an autopilot it helps you assert control and it teaches you how to become the kind of person that moves from thinking about something, to actually doing it.


You know you want more ... so go after your dreams. Let nothing stand in your way! Get THE 5 SECOND RULE book right here!

Lisa Whatley, xoxoxo

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I am a Modern Day Mystic, Energy Intuitive, Heart-Centered Soul Whisperer, Reiki Master Teacher/Energy Healer, Life Transformation Coach, Spiritual Growth Practitioner, Certified Hypnotherapist, Meditation Guide, Law of Attraction Expert, Rebel Light Worker, Indigo Warrior and a Soul Aligned Entrepreneur who lives life on my own terms and absolutely refuses to be limited by other people's rules and ideas ... but it wasn't always that way!


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