Five Second Rule
Most of you know exactly what you need to be doing in order to get what you want (and thanks to Google, if you don’t know, finding out is just one click away). Likewise, you already know that the opportunity for the growth and confidence that you are looking for lies in your ability to step outside your comfort zone. But you still won’t do those things.
Confused by this? If you’re like most people, you’ve no doubt been stifled by this conundrum before—knowing exactly what you wanted and how to get it but not being able to make the first move.
The reason for this is that your brain is “wired” to default in a certain way. When there is tension between what you know you should be doing and what you feel like doing, your feelings are going to win out.
So if you are needing to do something that you know is outside your comfort zone, you are going to have to have a few tricks up your sleeve to bypass your defaults. In Lesson 2, we talked about one of those tricks: the 4-7-8 breath. Your breath is critical in helping you jumpstart and do what you want to do.
Another trick/strategy is the “5 Second Rule.” This strategy comes from Mel Robbins, an expert on leadership. She discovered that the 5 Second Rule strategy moved her to take action. And by taking action, her confidence increased. I’ll first explain it and then describe the science behind it.
But first, a word of caution. Humans have an odd bias against simple solutions. So before you dismiss this idea as too simple to work, hear me out and give it a try for yourself. Actually, you’ll want to give it a couple tries, because repetition really is the key to making anything stick.
Here is how the strategy works. When you have an impulse to do something that is outside your comfort zone or to achieve something you want, you must physically move toward it quickly or you’ll come up with tons of reasons why you shouldn’t do it. And you’ll stop there. In order to move quickly, you simply count down backward from 5 at the moment you have the idea. 5-4-3-2-1. And when you get down to 1, you do what you need to do. No thinking about it, you just do it.
No, really, that’s it. Count down backward: 5-4-3-2-1. Think of it like a rocket being counted down toward lift off.
Now here’s the science behind why it works. It’s called the principle of momentum. It’s the same in science and in psychology. Research has shown that the initial amount of energy to start a reaction, the “activation energy,” is significantly higher than the amount of energy required to keep it going.
This is especially true in your personal life. The energy required to get you started toward something uncomfortable, scary, or uncertain is significantly higher than what is needed once you get going.
And then once you get going, you feel in control of your life. This directly cultivates what researchers call an “internal locus of control,” which means that you believe you have control over your outcomes and future success. Using the 5 Second Rule and taking action over and over continues to strengthen your “internal locus of control” and catapult your confidence.
Test it out for yourself. Today, practice counting down before doing something. For example, say you’ve been putting off dishes and really should just get them done. 5-4-3-2-1 and then jump to your feet, start walking toward the dishes, and do them.
Tomorrow you’ll learn a masterful way to hit your confidence target!
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