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24 Aug

The 5 Second Rule

Remember when you got that really great idea? And then…
The phone rang, you got a new text, it’s was time for your next appointment, etc. Life took over.

While on a plane to Cleveland, I was listening to my newest acquisition on Audible, The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. And then I got this idea…Only this time, I acted on my idea and put it into action. You are reading this as a result of my idea: to share books and information that I come across with others. I created a Meetup group and Joyful Events was born.

In my Gift of Self Workshop, I explain to my Participants that the brain is always creating new baby brain cells, that we can train to create positive thoughts which become habits. These positive habits begin to replace the negative ones, as Carolyn Leaf explains in her book, Switch on your Brain.  I discovered that this is Principle 2 of the 5 Second Rule.  One of my favorite authors, Og Mandino wrote, “We are slaves to our habits. If we are going to be slaves to our habits, then let’s create good ones!”

As a Transformational Life Coach, I know the power of Cognitive Behavior Techniques and, I use these techniques to help my clients make changes in their lives. After reading The 5 Second Rule, I discovered a simple tool and technique that immediately causes a change to happen. And, Mel Robbins backs it up with the neuropsychology and science to explain the “why” behind this method’s success.

As humans, we are gifted with Metacognition – awareness, and understanding of one’s own thought process. We can review or thoughts, our choices, and the results we have created. We also have an incredible brain; which we use only a small percentage of in our daily activities. Yet, what we do use is amazing! The prefrontal cortex of our brain coordinates and adjusts complex behavior. It affects our impulse control, our emotional reactions, and our personality, just to name a few of its functions. The 5 Second Rule is based on these two facts about our brain. When we count backward – 5 4 3 2 1 – the brain stops thinking. Just for a few seconds – it stops doing what it is designed to do which is to keep you safe. And, anything that you want to do, think about, contemplate, etc. that is new, unknown, scary or risky – bam – the brain starts thinking of ALL the reasons why you shouldn’t – do or act on that brilliant thought you just had. And just like that, you don’t move. That little moment of hesitation allows that brain to keep us trapped in status quo, mental jail, and never going for our dreams.

So, there I was on the plane thinking of what I wanted to do next in my career and instead of grabbing the magazine and doing the crossword puzzle, I started jotting down ideas. And the more I wrote, the more excited I got about the next chapter of my life. Instead of allowing my mental demons to start telling me why I couldn’t do what I wanted to do – you know the things the self-critique can throw at you – you’re too old, no one will come, you’ll look silly, you don’t have the time, you don’t have the money, blah, blah, blah….I just wrote what I wanted to create and some ideas on the steps to get there. What I was activating was the prefrontal cortex of my brain. I was also using Principle 5 behind the 5 Second Rule – Activation Energy. It takes a lot of energy to start something. Anything. And, once started, it becomes easier. Like the rocket ship blasting off into space. It takes megatons of energy for lift off and then – smooth sailing.

I also gave my Self a pat on the back because I recognized that I operate from a Locus of Control and a Bias Towards Action – Principle 1. I happen to believe that I create my results and that I am not at the mercy or a victim of circumstances. I also lean towards taking action rather than getting ready to get ready. Now, I’ve also had to learn that there is a time when it is prudent to be cautious, slow down, and make sure my tank is filled before I jump into the sea for a scuba dive! However, for many people, the tendency is to over think or create paralysis by analysis and nothing happens. Which leads to Principle 3, Do Good, Be Good, meaning nothing changes with just thinking. You can’t think change. Change occurs with action. And the 5 Second Rule – 5 4 3 2 1 – Action – got me into action.

We all have triggers that create an emotional reaction. As a coach, I support my clients in discovering their triggers and to notice how they respond when triggered.  Principle 4 is the Golden Rule of Habits. You can not change things that trigger you. However, you can change your response. So, while on a plane flying to Cleveland, rather than check out and read a magazine and do a crossword puzzle because I get fidgety when strapped in an airplane seat – I took out my notebook and started writing. I did something productive with my nervous energy.

This is my condensed version of the 5 Second Rule. Check out Mel’s video and better yet, give your Self a great gift – buy her book!

“If you’re searching for that one person who will change your life, look in the mirror.” – Mel Robbins.

Need more support – call me for a complimentary coaching session. Life works better with joy!


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