The 5 Second Rule

I got an audio-book recently called The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins. I hadn’t intended to get it, but I knew I wanted to listen to something that was inspiring because I just have so much work to do and it gets boring without listening to something that is intriguing. This book had great reviews and the “preview” kind of caught my attention, so I decided, Hell, why not.

The 5 Second Rule is basically this: Whenever you have an idea of doing something, immediately count down (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) and then get up and do it (ACTION).

The premise behind it is that usually when we have an idea, we talk ourselves out of it before we even have a chance to do it. By counting down, rather than up, it fires up the prefrontal cortex (because we are accustomed to counting forward, it takes more concentration), as we’re focused on counting backwards we aren’t listening to any doubts that may be in between the numbers had we been counting forwards.

Here’s the deal, I am queen of talking myself out of things. So, I got the book thinking it could be useful and I was also genuinely interested in how this worked. But, as soon as I listened to the preview and clicked purchase, I also counted down because I knew I needed to get up and unpack more of these boxes and create more organized areas for the contents of the boxes to find a home in. (It worked.)

Since implementing this idea (along with another idea I’ll talk about later), I’ve gotten quite a bit done. I’ve gotten out of bed at near six in the morning when I would have normally talked myself into staying in bed longer; I’ve studied more yoga; I’ve done more yoga; I’ve made more progress in the house; I’ve cooked more nutritious meals…. So, this has already been an obviously useful tool. It’s even how I decided to take the Hot Yoga class I was offered to teach on Sunday mornings. (I’d been saying I wanted to teach more and then an opportunity arose and I didn’t take it. I told my manager that I wanted to think about it — this was not because I didn’t want to teach it, but because I was tending to fears and worries about me potentially not being able to do it, not being able to find childcare, not wanting to commit more to the studio, fear of not meeting the students’ expectations, etc.) I 5, 4, 3, 2, 1’d it and told her I’d do it. I’ll figure out the details when they are pertinent.

This is also why I’m here now, writing. Because this is something I’ve continued to say I’ll do, but I never do it. I can’t really figure out why except that I always decide that I don’t really have anything valuable to say. (I don’t think they have a 5 Second Rule for that.) So here I am. Writing.

Yesterday I was listening to a video by Gabrielle Berstein and she addressed that fear. (“I don’t really have anything valuable to say.”) But she framed it this way, “Who am I to [XYZ]?” She said, “You have a transformation story, and it’s worth sharing. That’s what gives you the credentials.” And it’s true. Incidentally I have several transformation stories. Each one building off of the other.

So, who knows? Maybe I’ll be here tomorrow to share some of them.

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