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Book:  The 5 Second Rule

Author:  Mel Robbins

Purchase:  PrinteBook | Audiobook

Citation:  Robbins, M. (2017). The 5 second rule : transform your life, work, and confidence with everyday courage. Place of publication not identified: Savio Republic.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. The 5 Second rule is simple. Whenever you feel an instinct fire up to act on a goal or a commitment, or the moment you feel yourself hesitate on doing something you know you should do, use the Rule. Start by counting backwards to yourself: 5- 4- 3- 2- 1. The counting will help you focus on the goal or commitment and distract you from the worries, thoughts, and fears in your mind. As soon as you reach "1," move. That's it. The longer you think about something, the lower your urge to act becomes. We are amazing at fooling ourselves into staying exactly where we are. As soon as that impulse to act kicks in, you start rationalizing it away. That's why you've got to move faster - so you can break free of your excuses before your mind traps you. (pg. 51)

  2. Are you waiting for someone to ask you, pick you, or catapult you into the spotlight, or are you willing to find the courage to push yourself? Sometimes there is no next time, no second chance, or not time out. Stop waiting. It's now or never. You are deliberately convincing yourself "now is not the time." You are actively working against your dreams. You may think you're protecting yourself from judgement, rejection, or upsetting someone, but when you make excuses and talk yourself into waiting, you are limiting your ability to make your dreams come true. I'm amazed by how much time I've wasted in my life waiting for the right time. (pg. 82)

  3. Life is not a one-and-done sort of deal. You have to work for what you want. Rovio launched 51 unsuccessful games before they developed Angry Birds. Mark Ruffalo auditioned 600 times before he landed his first role. Picasso created 100 masterpieces ... in a total of 50,000 works of art. Success is a numbers game. And you're not going to win if you keep telling yourself to wait. The more often you choose courage, the more likely you'll succeed. (pg. 88)


Other Key Ideas:​​

You may be afraid of finding out that you suck. Let me tell you what really sucks: being older and regretting that you never went for it. Being 30 and realizing you let fear of what others thought keep you from ever really putting yourself out there. Being 56 and realizing you should have divorced your spouse ten years ago. There is no right time. There is only right now. You get one life. (pg. 83)

The only difference between the idea for a novel you want to write and E.L. James who wrote Fifty Shades of Gray is that she didn't wait for permission or the right time. She didn't wait until she had a book deal. She started writing on a blog. She found the courage to start in small ways, and put herself out there until she built up the confidence to write a book. It was self-published by a working mom who wrote in her free time. (pg. 83)

"I have a hard time finding the balance between not beating myself up when it doesn't happen as fast as I'd like it to, and not wasting time while I wait for it to happen." - Lin-Manuel Miranda (pg. 95)

Scientists have recently discovered when you hit the snooze button it has a negative impact on brain function and productivity that can last up to four hours. We sleep in cycles that take about 90 to 110 minutes to complete. About two hours before you wake up, these sleep cycles end and your body starts to slowly prepare to wake up. When your alarm rings, your body is in wakeup mode. If you hit the snooze button and drift back to sleep, you force your brain to start a new sleep cycle that is 90 to 110 minutes long. When the snooze goes off 15 minutes later, it won't be able to snap awake - it needs 75 more minutes to finish what the snooze button started. That's why you feel so groggy when you get up after hitting the snooze - because you started a new sleep cycle and then interrupted it. (pg. 137)

Don't leave your phone within reach of your bed. A majority of adults read emails before they get out of bed, and one-third of adults and one-half of those under the age of 35 actually wake up and check their phones in the middle of the night. When you wake up in the morning, don't immediately look at your phone. Because the second you do, you will lose focus. The moment you check email, read the news, or surf social media, someone else's priorities jump in front of yours. Do you think Bill Gates and Oprah are lying in bed scrolling through social feeds? (pg. 138)

What is the secret of high-powered CEOs? They work at home in the morning for 90 minutes because they are able to concentrate. The first 2 to 3 hours of the day are the best hours for the brain to focus on the tasks and goals that advance your own personal or professional goals. Filling that time with unimportant stuff is stupid. For your own happiness and to protect the time necessary to focus on the deep work, the first few hours of your day must be grabbed. Fight for it. (pg. 140)

If you are working on a creative project, research shows that procrastination is not only good, but it is also important. The creative process takes time, so when you set the project aside for a few days, your mind can wander. That extra time spent mental wandering gives you the ability to come up with more creative, "divergent" ideas that enhance your project. The creative process takes time, don't beat yourself up or get burnt out. If you don't have a fixed deadline, let your work sit for a few days. It's the creative process. Those fresh new ideas will make your work even smarter. (pg. 145)

The Legacy Project has interviewed 1,200 senior citizens to discuss the meaning of life. Most people near the end of their lives have the same regret: "I wish I hadn't spent so much of my lifetime worrying." Their advice was devastatingly simple and direct: worry is an enormous waste of your precious and limited lifetime. (pg. 165)

I use the reframing strategy as a public speaker. I have never gotten over my fears and nerves: I just use them to my advantage. Do I get nervous? Absolutely. Every single time. But here's the trick: I don't call it nerves. I call it excitement because physiologically anxiety and excitement are the exact same thing. The only difference between excitement and anxiety is what your mind calls it. If your brain has a good explanation for why your body is freaking out, it won't escalate things. This is called "anxiety reappraisal." Reframing anxiety as excitement actually makes you perform better on math tests, speaking, and so forth. (pg. 177)

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