A video I saw today made me rush to my laptop and write this article, a decision that would have otherwise been dismissed on a lazy, snowy afternoon on the first day of Spring.

The 5 second rule. Basically, “you can outsmart your own brain.” Mel Robbins, a CNN commentator, television host, author, and motivational speaker, introduced this rule in her talk about the secret to self-motivation. The 5 second rule does something remarkable. As you count down, 5..4..3..2..1, “what you’re actually doing is interrupting your habit loop,” behaviors you do on autopilot mode that you don’t even think about, ones that become patterns in your life and unconsciously control your day to day decisions. And while we all enjoy a set life plan, an organized daily schedule, and a specific “it’s just me” identity, we are blinded by a false sense of comfort that shields us from taking THE steps forward.

The 5 second rule is a revolutionary principle. It calls for action, but not just any action. It calls for immediate action. Waiting, wasting time, procrastination, laziness, and excuses -- however convincing they may seem -- are detrimental to the process of becoming a motivated individual who gets work done. The passage of time only weakens one's drive -- and once enough seconds have passed, your plan faces the danger of being sabotaged.


These are few key points about the 5 second rule that are worth acting upon:

1. Motivation is fictitious.

You create your drive. You give rise to the best in you.

2. We are one step away from revolutionary change in our lives.

The “motivation” to make those conscious decisions after understanding the principles and the line of action comes from throwing yourself onto the front lines.

3. When you’re afraid, vulnerable, or emotionally imbalanced, it is so easy to point the finger at other people.

But it’s precisely during these moments that we truly take the real test these struggles came for. Our decisions in those make or break moments are life changing.

4. It’s a skill to hear the inner voice in us that’s shielded by the comfort zones we have created.

As Robbins says, the real question is, “how do you go from knowledge to action?” And never will the answer to that question come from following what the norm has set as “rules.” They come when the barriers are removed and the rebel in you takes a firm step forward to do what you know is the right move at that right time, right when your brain rejects it as unfamiliar territory.

5. We all know there is more in store for us.

We are awaiting larger, more intense life challenges. "Brace yourself" means prepare for the unexpected, but don’t lose sight of your principles.


Perhaps it's time that the “Think, then Act” posters in our schools change to “Act. Then Think.” Because remember, "your brain is wired to stop you from doing things that are uncomfortable or uncertain or scary. It’s your job to learn how to move from those ideas that could change everything, into acting on them — in the smallest moment.”