There is a sea of self-help gurus out there, most of whom are essentially marketers posturing to put themselves in a position to peddle their snake oil to those looking for an external solution to an internal challenge. So when a title like Change Your Life 5 Seconds at A Time pops up in your news feed you may be quick to discard it  – but on this occasion I urge you not to.

Don’t get me wrong I am all about self-development and improving oneself, but I have also come to understand how products are theories are reversed engineered to extract sales from a lucrative and often susceptible demographic or audience.

However, every now and again a name begins to boil to the surface across industries and homes, from boardrooms to bedrooms as people begin to realise a person is the real deal, a thought leader and practitioner. And this is why I feel so compelled to bring the work of Mel Robbins to your attention in case you have not heard her work.

“That’s what it takes to get what you want. Not big scary leaps once a year. It takes small, but irritating moves every single day.” – Mel Robbins

“Mel is a Boston College Law School graduate and has led multi-year coaching programs at: Johnson & Johnson, AG Edwards, Bear Stearns and Partners Healthcare. The media has tapped Mel to host award-winning shows for FOX, A&E, Cox Media Group and now CNN. Mel is currently one of CNN’s most popular on-air commentators and opinion writers. Mel has an extensive television résumé as an expert on human behaviour and motivation for Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Oprah, The Today Show and Fox News. She was named America’s Outstanding News Talkshow Host at the 2014 Gracie Awards. Mel has also launched and sold a retail and technology company” –

Mel’s TEDx talk entitled “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over” recorded over 6 years ago is one of the top TED talks of all times amassing over 10 million views. Ok Ill stop building credibility – I’m sure Mel doesn’t need me to do that – this is just may effort to illustrate that this is not some pseudo motivational marketer!

The crowning jewel in Mel’s life work (thus far) is what she calls The 5 Second Rule. Something she openly admits is an embarrassingly simple principle and one which she stumbled upon whilst watching a late-night rocket launch by NASA with a glass of Bourbon in hand.

The Premise of The 5 Second Rule

“The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will stop you. 5-4-3-2-1 – Lets Go” – Mel Robbins

This simple act of counting down “5-4-3-2-1” is something I have found profoundly effective in my own life. Its getting me out of bed in the dark hours allowing me to get to the gym in the morning, its enabling me to deal with things I have been shifting to the bottom of the pile, to make calls I need to make and to move forward confidently instead of experiencing the mental vacillation that is procrastination. In essence the 5 Second Rule has given me a practical tool to improve my productivity and metacognition through the use of mental activation energy.

This post is not intended to provide a comprehensive review or explanation of Mel Robbins and The 5 Second Rule – if anything it is intended as a prompt or flashing neon light – to direct you to explore someone who openly admits that you don’t need to buy anything of hers to start using and benefiting from this thoroughly researched, scientifically backed, simple to understand and implement principle.

Check out the videos linked in this post – they may just prove to be the catalyst you need to get out of your own way and to begin running your day instead of your day running you.

Mel’s books The 5 Second Rule and Stop Saying You Are Fine are also available on Amazon.

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