What I Learned “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins

The 5 Second Rule Book Summary and Review

The 5 Second Rule
The 5 Second Rule

What is the 5 Second Rule

The 5 Seconds Rule is a Rule to Make your Habits Work on you. It Emphasizes that you will never like doing good habits such as working out, reading, waking up early and so much more. The thing it is we are wired to not like it because it is a form of a delayed gratification which is tagged as bad by our brain. The 5 Second Rule skips it by making a habit of counting 5 to 0 a habit to counter all those problems.

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The 5 Second Rule Summary

Recently, I have been losing motivation on my work, especially on making videos. I keep coming up with excuses not to make scripts or videos. Excuses such as I am tired today. I didn’t have enough sleep, It’s too noisy to record audio and so much. Don’t get me wrong with this. I find making videos fun and exciting since I am creating things I like and I have a freedom on what to do on these videos. But recently, I just can’t.

I just kept reading books and it feels like I am productive enough, even though I am fooling myself. Real productivity should be to start working on my output, not preparation only. I am glad that before I lost all motivation to do things, I stumbled and read the book of Mel Robbins called “The 5 Second Rule”.

What makes us an adult? How are we different from children? From what Mel Robbins said, as children, the only actual difference is that we have parents and guardians that tell us what to do. That is also the reason why we are so screwed up as an adult. Suddenly, we don’t have anyone to tell us to clean the room, study, sleep on time, get up early and many more. We are all waiting to feel like we need to do it. Here is the problem, WE WILL NEVER FEEL LIKE IT.

The problem with us in our early years of adulthood is that we are new to the adult world, where no one tells us what to do anymore. Everything is in our hands. As I said in my other book review for extreme ownership, we should be fully responsible for our own lives. And we don’t know how. That’s also what I felt when I don’t want to create videos. I am waiting for the time to get motivated. The thing is it won’t happen.

The Motivation Myth

We were all told that we just need motivation to do things. That’s why there are always motivational videos to make us feel like it. Here is the problem with that. Motivation is temporary. After watching a motivation video, okay you are ready to take on everything that comes your way. Yeah, but for about a few days. After that, you will return to what you initially are. To be able to do amazing things in life, we need to do things consistently over time. Motivation is not the key to success. As you can see, if I only relied on my motivation, I won’t be making this video you are watching right now. What we need is a system. A system that will make us do the things we don’t want to do. That’s where the 5 second rule will come in play.

Imagine a Rocket taking off. 5… 4…. 3…. 2…. 1…. Boom! That’s what I want you to imagine every time you use this rule. Because that worked for me. I don’t watch to wake up early. 5.. 4… 3… 2… 1… Take off, get out of bed. I don’t want to make this video. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… take off. Go take the camera. I don’t want to work out. 5… 4…. 3…. 2…. 1…. Take off, go to exercise. That is the 5 second rule. We make a habit that makes us do the things we don’t want to do.

It seems very simple,  just count down from 5 to 0 then go do the thing you want to do. That’s the point. We don’t need complicated systems to be effective. What we need are simple and easy to follow things because we need to quickly apply things to help us achieve our goals in life. There is no use for complicated systems if we can’t follow them. As with many things in life, the simpler, the better.

So how does the 5 second rule work? There are lots of explanation in detail taught in the book, but the bottom line is this. “Don’t think, just execute.” The more time we give our brain to think, the more reason it will come up for you not to do it. That’s just how we are wired to do things. Here is how we think in a nutshell. Our brain want to find instant things that are pleasurable, and prevent instant suffering. That’s all. for Example: Working out? Instant suffering ; Waking up early? Instant suffering ; Cake? Instant Pleasure ; Playing? Instant Pleasure. We are not really wired to think of the future. Just what feels good right here and now.

That’s how the 5 second rule comes to play. By counting backwards, we shut off our brain thinking of ways to get out of pain. That’s because we are wired to focus on only one thing at a time. This makes us not think of it. If you are wondering why 5 seconds? It’s because it usually takes 5 seconds for the brain to come up with ideas to get out of the things you want to do. But here is a warning for you. The 5 second rule, did not worked for me before.

Why the 5 Second Rule Doesn’t work

Wait?! Am I saying that I tried the 5 second rule before and it didn’t work? Exactly. A few years back, I’ve watched Mel Robbin’s TED talk about the 5 second rule. It seems nice and I tried it. But it didn’t work. I tried counting backwards, but I just stayed in bed and slept till noon. I tried counting backwards but I can’t try to read books, I don’t like reading books before. It just as I read her book now where I know the reason why.

So to prevent you from making the same mistake that I did, here is the important thing you need to remember about the 5 second rule: It is not a magic pill. It’s a habit.

What habit? A habit where you count down and tell yourself to do the things you don’t want to do. Because it is a habit, it will be hard at first. But the more you do it, the better you’ll be at it.

That means making it a habit that when start counting down to 5,4,3,2,1 you are ready to do the thing you need to do. Not counting backwards and stay where you are. You need to build a habit where you countdown and once you read 0, you get up out of bed, you do your homework, do your job, clean your room. Do it all the time for it to be a habit. Once it becomes a habit, it will be with you forever.

So here is the thing. Why do we need a habit like this to succeed in life? Because as one of the lesson in this book says and I want you to remember this: The Result Does not Matter as Long as you did the action. 

Here’s how it works. It took 500 free throws every morning since childhood for Larry Bird to become a legend. Thomas Edison failed a thousand times to make the light bulb. It took 5,127 prototypes to make the first vacuum cleaner for me, it usually takes hundreds of high quality videos to get noticed on YouTube. We are taught by TV and the Media that we all deserved the happily ever after after just one action. That is not how the world works! We need to be consistent in taking action even if we don’t see any results.

I like Mel Robbin’s example in the book where she told about a guy using the 5 seconds rule to chat with the girl he likes. She said the result didn’t matter. The girl might be married, or has a boy friend, the girl might not even like him. Or She could be the love of his life. THE RESULT DOES NOT MATTER. THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS YOU ACTED ON IT. So what if you failed. So what if the video you make that you thought will be successful only gets 20 views, yes I’m talking to myself. In the end, the things that you will regret, are the things you didn’t do. We need courage. That’s what the 5 second rule is. To give us a boost of courage to take on our dreams in life. Because in the end, many of us regret the things we didn’t tried to do. That’s why people say that the richest place in the world is the graveyard, it is because there a lot of dreams unfulfilled in that place. So for you, your goals only takes. 5…4…3….2…1… Go. See you in the next video.




Jason Ong is a YouTuber and the one who owns this site. He shares what he learned to people and make videos if necessary. He was a former lecturer. The things he taught are topics related to Clinical Laboratory Science or what others call Medical Technology. Right now, he is also working part-time in an app company as a production supervisor. You can visit his YouTube Channel on https://ongjason.com/youtube

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