The 5 Second Rule

The most important part of success, the one part everyone talks about yet many people fail to apply. Taking action. Many people, including me, have believed for a long time that knowledge is power. However, in the recent few months, I experienced a major shift in my perspective on this issue. I realised that knowledge might be the beginning, but your behaviour is the finale. What is the use of having a wide range of knowledge without applying it? How can you solve a problem by thinking? If you have a roadblock in front of you, it is necessary that you make a move to overcome it. Thinking won’t solve it. This is also a major challenge for most. Taking action at the moment. Thinking and planning action is a very useful part of success. However, what makes the major difference is whether you actually make your move or not. Mel Robbins wrote a very useful book called “The 5 Second Rule” talking about this, where she came up with a very useful psychological trick to overcome that moment of doubt.

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The Moment of Doubt

For the sake of the explanation, let’s use an example of approaching a stranger you want to talk about. Your aim is to connect and deepen the conversation. Sounds simple right? Well, it is very easy to think about it, but actually doing this is fairly complicated for most of us. How come? We all have this slight sense of anxiety built into us – be it because of the way social media and digital communication affects us, be it because of our introverted personality or due to any other reason. The few seconds of doubt when we start thinking about approaching that new person is usually the few seconds it takes to persuade us to back up. This issue doesn’t only appear in this case, but also in many other areas of our daily lives. A few more instances include getting out of the bed, raising our hand in a meeting or starting a workout. It’s the little snaps of doubt before you do something that hold you back.

The Rule

The rule is fairly simple, which makes it super useful and effective. It consists of 2 parts. In the first part, you essentially want to identify the target (eg. I want to talk to that person). In the second part, you want to start counting 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then move. It is super, super important that you physically move when you get to 1. This is because what this method focuses on is overcoming that doubt in your mind. Thus, timing is crucial. You want to really integrate this in order for it to work perfectly. When you get that idea of talking to someone or doing something that requires some kind of stepping out of your comfort zone, you instantly want to start counting and then take action when you say 1. If you don’t, your doubt will come and it will put you in that disgusting situation where you start arguing with yourself. Eventually, you will identify a logical excuse that will hold you back. It is important to execute this with precision and focus.

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Bearing that in mind, it will obviously take time to practice this rule. Overnight success is simply not a thing in the area of personal growth. You can not imagine how many times I made a fool out of myself before I got it right… You will mess up and you will be challenged. The only way you will succeed is through consistent and persistent practice and failures.

Why do you count from 5 to 1 and not from 1 to 5? This is very simple. The reason is purely psychological. If you count from 1 to 5, your mind will feel like counting further and prolonging the process. That is what you do not want. Since you count from 5 to 1, there is nothing following, thus the only step remaining is to move. Do bear in mind that you can play with this rule a little bit. You can make it a 3-second rule if you feel like 5 seconds is too long. It is up to your personal preference.

I strongly recommend you read the book mentioned above. It is one of the books that will make a change in your daily life. It also includes loads of testimonies and experiences of the people who follow the rule every day… So useful!!

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