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The 5 Second Rule

Lesson 6 from: How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence

Mel Robbins

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Lesson Info

6. The 5 Second Rule

Mel discusses how she came up with the 5 Second Rule. She shows how "in 5 seconds, you can change anything."
Next Lesson: What Is Self-Doubt

Lesson Info

The 5 Second Rule

I want to briefly, particularly for the people that are watching online that don't know the five second rule, I just want to tell you the quick story behind it so that you start to understand where my perspective is coming from. So in 2008 I was super stuck, I mean super stuck. I was 41 years old, or 40 years old rather, and I thought things were working out. I mean my husband had started this restaurant business, although I should tell you this story first. This is a really good story. My husband got fired from a job, and he comes home with a box, and I say, I didn't know he got fired yet. I say honey, what's in the box? And he says oh my stuff. And I say, you're stuff, why do you have your stuff? And he says, well I got fired. And so I immediately, you can't control what's happening, so I immediately go into cheerleading mode. Okay, that's okay sweetheart, you're going to get another job, it's going to be great. Call the recruiter, go work for the competitor. We got this, come one, l...

et's do this. Let's do this, right. And he puts the box down, and he says those three words you never want to hear in your marriage. He says, I've been thinking. I'm like, oh no, no, not in this relationship. We kind of agreed to that, if you refer to the vows, line seven, no thinking, that's what we said. And he said I'm miserable, I'm miserable. I hate my job, I hate working for other people. I know a lot of you feel that way. That you're working at something as you try to pursue the thing that you love. I don't want to go do another PowerPoint presentation for a company I don't own or I don't like. I really need to change. And so I say okay, what do you want to do? And he says, well, I'd like to open a pizza restaurant. I'm like, excuse me, with what money? What are you talking about, a pizza restaurant. Is there like some trust fund that was part of our marriage that I was not aware of when we got married? And he said, no, I've just always dreamt of owning a restaurant. I'm like, why am I just hearing about this for the first time? I mean, this as also not something that you chose to share. And then I said the most I think famous lines of our 21 year marriage. I said listen buddy, that's not the word I used, but listen, dreams are for strangers. You get your ass back to that job. You be miserable, and you pay this mortgage because that's what you do. And he said, no. And I'm going to be perfectly honest, this is one of those moments where you can't control what's happening, and boy oh boy were there feelings rising up, and they were not that nice. And I was a complete you know what for at least three or four months, like just nasty and wicked and condescending and defeatist. And some of you may even have people in your life that are like that with you right now, that they don't believe in your dreams. That was me. And you know a friend of mine then said to me, and this started to change everything, she said listen, Chris has made his choice, now it's time for you to make yours. You're either going to get on board with this because the train has already left the station, or roll the clock forward two years, and this is a really handy little tool, if you roll the clock forward two years and you look at how you're behaving right now, where does it get you? And if you don't like where it gets you, it's time to change. And I realized I'd be divorced. He probably wouldn't open the restaurant and he'd resent me, it was not what I wanted. And so I started to deal with my own emotions at that point, and low and behold they did open up a restaurant. And the first one, I was wrong, the first one was absolutely amazing, they won best of Boston. They had 40 seats, they, what's that? Stone Hearth, yeah, yeah. Oh yeah, cause there's one in Portland isn't there? I think there's one in Portland. You're from, or Seattle. Oh, oh wow, hey did you hear that? I was like a stone heart, hiss. (laughter) That was good, that was good. Yes I was, I was a stone heart. I'm going to steal that joke. That's a good one, yes. Yes, a stone heart, I had a stone heart, it's so true. Because I was afraid. I was afraid, I was falling into one of the traps of self-doubt. Fear, how are we going to pay for this? What's going to happen? Well so the first one was successful, and what are you going to do when things are successful in your business? Oh, you go all in. So we put in the home equity line and all the savings and the 401Ks and we leveraged everything we had because why would you get a loan? You gotta be an entrepreneur, stupid. And the second location was twice as expensive as we thought to get it built. The third one took a little bit longer, and when they opened up the second location, it was really great for about a week, and then it looked like this all the time. And fear set in, and when fear sets in, we're going to talk about this, it paralyzes you. And by the time they finally closed this, and it was right about this point that I lost my job. So we had all of our savings in a sinking ship, and me now in a mental sinking ship because I had lost my job. And by the time they finally closed this, it was an $800,000 loss. Kid's college savings gone, home equity line gone. So it wasn't even money we had, it was money we had borrowed that now we owed. The 401K was gone, it was terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. And then on top of it you've got a situation where you've got other restaurants open, and one's doing okay, we're trying to get the other open. And they're committed to fixing it. And so it just became this spiral of self-doubt. And you know I need to say something. This isn't the worst thing that could happen to you. Losing somebody that you love, way worse. Facing a health diagnosis, way worse. But the stuff that you're dealing with when it happens to you, it's personal to you, and it feels like the world is ending. Now how does this relate to confidence, here's how. When you need it most, you don't have it. When you need courage most, it's hard to muster it up. Now we all respond to change very differently. I mean Chris would spring out of bed, and he would be out that door at six o'clock in the morning. And he'd be meeting with his business partner trying to fix it, and ultimately they did. Ultimately they did kind of pull this crashing plane up and go on to stabilize it and open more restaurants, and take care of their investors. And we ended up not getting our money out of it, but it was at least something that Chris and his business partner were able to do an amazing job of rescuing and stabilizing. He's also a smart guy, and he knew he did not want to be in the house when I woke up, because I was a first class stone heart, right here. And that's because it's easy to do one of these, right. It's easy to say it's your fault, it's the boyfriend's fault. It's the economy's fault, it's that stupid customer's fault that said that to me. But whenever you do this, there's three fingers pointing right back at you, and it's a way to remind yourself that the power is in here. Now I didn't know this at the time. I was struggling. I was struggling because I had no confidence. I was struggling because I had no job. I was struggling because I was just swallowed by self doubt. And every morning when the alarm would go off, it was this amazing moment. It was a moment like Hector's. It was a moment like when the phone, he calls his wife, she's not there, the emotions immediately take over. He knows not to do that. You know in that moment not to be a jerk, not to sound off, not to get jealous. You know, but that doesn't help. I would have the alarm go off, and the second it went off that wave of emotions came up. Failure, I'm a loser, you know, I'm going to lose everything. I'm the worse mother, like I'm so angry at Chris, I'm terrified, just so stuck. And within like moments I'd be hitting snooze. Because self doubt triggers action, and we're going to talk about that in the next section that we're going to be doing. So I was stuck like a lot of us get stuck. You get stuck between knowing what you need to do and actually not doing. It's the curse of knowledge. I don't want you to walk out of this course thinking about the stuff we've talked about. I want you to walk out of here actually knowing how to change. So I was drinking too much, I was hitting the snooze alarm four or five times a day, I was not looking for a job. I was not exercising, I was isolating myself. I was torturing myself with the wet blanket of horrible thoughts, and it was pretty grim. I mean Chris was sleeping on the couch, the bankruptcy letters were arriving. It was really bad, and then one night the commercial went off and I saw this rocket ship, and I had this epiphany. Now this is where being a creator comes in. Cause your work is driven from here. Your wisdom is driven from here. These instincts that you have that nudge at you, you've got to learn how to listen to them, so for whatever reason, I was like that's the answer. Tomorrow morning, tomorrow morning I've got five seconds to get out of bed. I'm going to launch myself out of bed like a rocket ship. That's what I'm going to do. And I'm going to move so fast that my own mind can't talk me out of it. Now it might have been the four bourbons that I had had that night that gave me that idea, but for whatever reason I went with it. So the next morning, same thing, same situation as with Hector. The alarm goes off, immediately the feelings rise up, right. Because you can't control how you feel. I felt overwhelmed, I felt like a loser. I felt like a bad mom, I did not feel like getting up. Feelings are normal, but you can always choose what you do and what you think. So I went five, four, three, two, one, I know the dumbest story you've ever heard, but this is actually what happened. And I stood up. And I'll never forget it you guys, it was a really strange moment. It was one of those chapters beginning. Because what happened as I was standing in my bedroom, it was Tuesday in February, in Boston, Massachusetts. And I thought, what the hell just happened? That is the dumbest, five, four, three, two, what. What, like, I literally I thought I might be a witch. I thought like I had invented some spell that worked, okay. And the next morning, the alarm goes off, and I had that Hector moment. We're going to now call it the Hector moment. I'm the stone heart, he's the Hector moment. I had the Hector moment where the emotions rise. The alarm goes off, I don't feel like getting up. I'm still angry at Chris. We still have all these problems. I'm still the loser mom. Five, four, three, two, one, I'm getting up. The next morning, five, four, three, two, one, I'm getting up. And that's when it hit me. It hit me that oh my God, in five seconds flat, either self doubt wins or you do. In five seconds flat, either your feelings dictate what you're about to do, or you do. In five seconds flat you can change anything, and that changes everything. And so I made a little bet with myself. I said okay, let's see if this is actually a spell that works. Let's test this sucker out, okay. I decided if I found myself in a situation where I knew what I should do, and I caught myself hesitating, shrinking, or hiding, I would use this stupid thing. And I'd go, five, four, three, two, one. And I would push myself to move. And so I started using it, and the damnedest thing started happening, it was the craziest thing you guys, like I would five, four, three, two, one, get up. And then I'd walk into the kitchen and see Chris, and I'd be like I want to kill you, and I'd go five, four, three, two, one, and I'd be like I love you. (laughter) What can I do to help you today? I was aligning with five second decisions my values and the outcome that I wanted with how I behaved in the moment. Flying off the handle with jealousy, drowning yourself with a wet blanket of self-doubt, that's not aligned with your values. You can, when you reduce your life down to these windows of opportunity, where you can take control in a moment, you win, you win ever single time. Now the five second rule is really simple. The moment you begin to hesitate, count five, four, three, two, one, and move forward before your mind stops you. You've got to count backwards, five, four, three, two, one. You cannot count up because you can keep going. And it does not require any focus. Do not count out loud because it scares people if you're sitting in a meeting. Five, four, three, two, one, I'm talking now. Yes, no, don't do that. (laughter) And it comes back to this point. Feelings are natural. Your behaviors and thoughts are a choice. And the five second rule, we're going to unpack the signs to show you how it works with the signs of confidence, how it works with the signs of self-doubt. How it works with all of the research around habits. We're going to be coaching you using this, and using a lot of the research around habits and self doubt and fear, and you know, I just said it. In five seconds, you can change anything, and that's going to change everything about your life. Because this is the secret to self monitoring. Whatever it is that you said that you wanted, you wanted more money, you wanted more the ability to be able to focus, you wanted to change your relationship. It comes down to changing who you're being. Every single time. And the fastest, the simplest way, to do that is to reduce the things you need to do into five second windows. Now I never intended to tell anybody about this. Because first of all it sounds really stupid, just count to five, it'll change your life. I'm done, mic drop. The other reason why I didn't tell anybody, honestly, is that I didn't know why it worked. Like I honestly thought I was a witch. I honestly thought I've figured out something like the secret, but it really works, you know. And Chris started to use it, and our kids started to use it. The other thing is it was sort of like my thing, and it was classified, because I was now starting to get in shape and make more money and negotiate, and I all of the sudden wasn't procrastinating. And it was crazy how it was working, and so why would I want you to have it. I mean this was like for me. And then I gave that talk. And at the very end, I think because of the panic attack I was having, I let it slip. Like if you re-watch that talk, you'll see at the very end, I'm like oh by the way, there's this thing I do. I don't explain it because I still didn't know why it worked, and then I walked off that stage, you already know the story. It went up a year later, and then something crazy started to happen. People from around the world started to write, and they were all writing about the five second rule. They were doubling their business in 18 months, and being present with their kids. They were finding the courage to call executives and grow their business. They were using it as a selling tool to make cold calls because the phone does not dial when you think about it. And there is a momentum to calling. And if you engage in the hesitation and the hiding that gets triggered by self doubt, you will not make the sales that you want to make. Selling is all about action. Building a business, all about action. Remember it goes back to the head and the heart. It's so easy to teach to your teams. You were talking about how you, you know, have a team. This is something that you can easily teach to your teams. You're going to get addicted to it because it's so easy, and it's stupid, and it works every time that you use it. We see people using it to break habits, even 23 years of smoking, being sober. We see them using this in PTSD therapy and CBT therapy. I'm going to show you the science behind it, because it turns out that this thing that I invented is a starting ritual, a very powerful one. It's a form of metacognition that switches the gears in your brain. And so we're going to unpack the science of how you can use it. You're going to find that you're more productive than you've ever been because you can't hide from yourself. Like it's such a direct line to you and the things that you do to screw yourself over, and now you've got a way to just yank yourself out of the mode that we get in. And you know I think the thing that I'm most proud of is we know of about 17 people that have bothered to write us that have stopped themselves from killing themselves by using this rule. This gentleman, Steve, had boarded a ferry overseas, and he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, he was a veteran, and he boarded the ferry with the intention, the intention of jumping overboard. And he walked up to the railing, and you know this is something that I truly believe, and that is this. That I don't care how low your life gets, or how high things get in terms of being amazing, your wisdom, that inner wisdom, it never leaves you. In those critical moments in your life, it is speaking to you. And so Steve is standing there, he had the intention to jump overboard, and his wisdom was like this is not the answer. So he goes five, four, three, two, one, he turns, he get help, and now he's doing better, much better because he's in therapy. And he's addressing it, and he's learning the skills of self monitoring. And so what happened for me in my life is, it's one thing if you're a witch, and you come up with something that works for you, it's another thing when a quarter of a million people in 90 countries write you. And they are doing things that are wildly profound. So I felt a moral obligation to figure out why does something so stupid work in such profound ways. And that is what led me to become a student of personal development, and research confidence, and research self-doubt, and try all this stuff out so that I could understand it myself. And now that's what I'm sharing with you. Hey if you wanted the license plate, it's gone in Arizona, and I just want to say if you get a tattoo that's on you, and I need to say that because people keep getting this tattooed on their body. And so the cool thing about the five second rule is this comes back to the confidence competency loop. It all begins with trying because when you try, you succeed or you survive. And when you succeed or survive, you now learn something. And when you learn something, you build a skill. And when you build a skill, you start to build competency. And when you build competency, you now have confidence. So this all relates to the five second rule because this is a tool that you're going to use to push yourself to try. This is a tool that you're going to start to use once we educate you on the four traps of self doubt, it's the tool that you're going to use to break free of it. And you know if confidence is the decision to try, self-doubt is the decision not to. This is a really important beat because I want to take self-doubt out of the realm of the thinking, and I want you to walk out of here and understand that self-doubt is something that you do. If you manage a team of people that sell, and they are not hitting their quota, I guarantee you self-doubt is at play because they are not doing what they need to do. And it's getting triggered by doubts. And there are four ways that self-doubt triggers you. It is a decision. We talk too much about the feelings. Oh I feel insecure, I feel this way, that's normal, but self-doubt triggers you to actually do something.

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Ratings and Reviews

Michal Levi

Let me start by saying I bought a book of hers and could not get through it. I just tuned in live today out of curiosity.. with low expectations. BUT WOW. THIS WAS FANTASTIC! As someone who teaches professionally (and has won teaching awards), I have to say I was in AWE of what a great teacher she was. Also, while she is not a licensed therapist, which some have complained about, she is so gifted in this area. WOW she has a talent! Watching her with individuals from the audience was moving, informative and inspirational! UTTERLY AWESOME! Truly glad I took the time just in case there was any value to it. THERE WAS IN FACT A LOT OF VALUE! Thanks Mel! Hey, I may even try to pick up that book of yours again. BRAVO!

Go2 Norway

Wow! The science-behind-typical-human-behaviors that fuel self-doubt AND clear ways to understand how to acknowledge those, and move into confidence-through-action. Easy and interesting ways to remember the points! Marvelous presenter skills -- a real model, and inspiration. Actual coaching sessions within the class to make it real. Mel is totally herself, and vulnerabilities become her strength in real-time, which class participants also lived out in real-time as well. Very memorable. And, the explanation of anxiety as a high energy state matching excitement more than calm was significant, as well as the myths about confidence (such as confidence is not about a personality; rather, action). Well organized, made sense, and I will integrate multiple parts daily! THANKS, MEL!!!

Wild Flower Murals

I'm training to be a life coach and have been a public muralist for years. I've been researching creativity, self initiated empowerment and positive psychology from various angles for many years- in hopes to make it accessible to many. I initially came across Mel's book and was wholly impressed by how effective yet simple the 5-4-3-2-1 book was. I am so glad I took this course, it is the best of the best of the best!!!

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