The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins was published in 2017 by Savio Republic.

As is obvious from the title, this is a personal development book, and being the self-development junkie that I am, I just had to include it in my non-fiction book reviews.

I usually get a few nuggets of gold from each book I read, even if it’s just reminding me of things I’ve forgotten or reframing ideas in a different way.

Many concepts in this book are not new, but Robbins has a unique and very practical approach.

The 5 Second Rule By Mel Robbins

The 5 Second Rule By Mel Robbins Book Cover

Rave Reviews For The 5 Second Rule

This book became an international best seller when published in February 2017, breaking self-publishing records.

It was named the #1 audiobook in the world and the fifth most read book of the year on Amazon.

It has 2809 reviews on Amazon with an average 4.5 out of 5 star rating. Here’s what some of the reviewers had to say:
‘This book is going to make you take action and make a positive change in your life…it makes you think differently, it makes you think bigger.’ (Ally Saunders, Life Progression Project)
‘Personal development books run the gamut from being preachy to overly scientific. The 5 Second Rule is a happy medium that gives just enough research and solid psychological information to create trust in the process and explain what you need to know about how it works.' (Sassy, Healthy Fit)  
‘The gist of the book can be summed up pretty quickly. What makes it worth reading are the stories Mel Robbins shares in the book. Millions of people have used this simple technique to make major life changes.’ (Stay At Home Fit)  

The 5 Second Rule Synopsis

The 5 Second Rule is essentially a tool to stop your brain sabotaging you from achieving your full potential.

Our brain is hard-wired to protect us from danger, which means it will naturally gravitate to the negative rather than the positive.

It stops us from taking actions it perceives as risky and fills our minds with anxiety and fear.

Our brain causes us to act impulsively on emotion – reacting, rather than making a purposeful choice.

Countdown To Blast Off

The 5 Second rule is simple – when you feel yourself procrastinating or talking yourself out of doing something you should or want to do, you count backwards to yourself – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.

This is just long enough to distract the brain, which is being controlled by emotion, and flip the switch back to the pre-frontal cortex.

This part of the brain is responsible for concentration, planning and problem solving, enabling us to begin our task straight away. 

It’s interesting how this works – it’s like a countdown to a rocket blasting off. 

Once you get to 1, the brain knows it has to act. (Try doing it the other way, counting from 1 to 5; it doesn’t work).

Everyday Acts Of Courage

Robbins explains how you can use this strategy to manage anxiety and fears.

It helps you to break the habits of waiting, doubting, holding back, wasting time, staying silent, feeling insecure, avoiding, worrying and overthinking.

The theme of the book is courage and how the 5 second rule helps you to find the courage to change your thoughts, behaviour and subsequently your life.

Mel Robbin's Writing Style

Robbins writes in a down-to-earth, conversational style, which makes the book easy to read.

She has done many years of research into the scientific and neurological principles behind the working of our brains and how and why the 5 second rule works.

But it’s all explained in an easy to digest manner.

Motivation is Garbage

In the process, she debunks many self-help myths. For example:

Forget motivation; it’s a myth.

I don’t know when we all bought into the idea that in order to change you must “feel” eager or “feel” motivated to act.

It’s complete garbage. The moment it’s time to assert yourself, you will not feel motivated.

If you want to improve your life, you’ll need to get off your rear end and kick your own butt.’

We’ve all been told a million times before that nothing will happen until we get our butts into gear.

But it’s illuminating to acknowledge that it’s pointless waiting for motivation.

We’re never going to feel like it and we have to constantly push ourselves into action, even to do something we love.

For me, the most interesting parts of the book are the anecdotes of the many people who have used the 5 second rule and made significant changes to their lives.  

Unfortunately, they are presented in the format she received them, often as Facebook posts and Tweets, which makes them hard to read at times in a print book.

How The 5 Second Rule Began

The book is written from a personal point of view; Robbins formulating the 5 second rule when her life was a mess and everything was falling apart.

As she says, ‘And by everything, I mean everything: my marriage, finances, career and self-esteem were all in the gutter.’

She started by using the process to get herself out of bed on time in the morning instead of hitting the snooze button.

Gradually she got her life back on track by applying the 5 second rule to all other facets of her life.

She gives an honest and candid account of this, which creates empathy and connection with the reader, and the sense that ‘if she can do it, so can I.’

After all, we’ve all been there!.

Potential Criticisms

My only criticism is that Robbins repeats herself a lot, which does become tiresome.

But this is common in personal development books, and I guess the upside is that she really hammers the points home and you don’t forget them.

The book ends on a positive, uplifting note with a final quote: ‘The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 and physically move, or your brain will stop you.’ 

And there’s a bonus. Robbins invites you to visit her website and sign up for 31 days free mentoring.

This consists of daily links to 31 short YouTube videos on different aspects of the 5 second rule.  

This is worth doing, as Robbins is an engaging speaker and she covers topics not discussed in the book.  

Author Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins Author

Mel Robbins Author of The 5 Second Rule

Mel Robbins was born in 1968 in Kansas City, Missouri in the US.

She began her working life as an Ivy League educated criminal defence attorney, and has since become an entrepreneur, life coach and sought-after commentator on TV shows such as Dr Phil and Oprah.

She is an internationally recognised speaker, TV presenter of syndicated talk show The Mel Robbins Show before it was cancelled, and best-selling author.   

Robbins now lives in Sherborn, Massachusetts with her husband and fellow entrepreneur, Christopher Robbins and their three children.

Mel Robbins On Youtube

Her Ted-x talk How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over is one of the most popular of all time, with over 18 million views.

Youtube Cover Mel Robbins The 5 Second Rule

Other Books By Mel Robbins

Robbins’ first book Stop Saying You’re Fine – The No B.S. Guide To Getting What You Want was published in 2012.

It was a best seller on how to stop procrastinating and achieve your goals by using the latest neuroscience research.

To accompany The 5 Second Rule, she has also created a journal called The 5 Second Journal.

This journal guides you through a daily journalling method to help you put into practice the strategies in the book.

She has also written three audiobooks called Work It Out, Take Control of Your Life and Kick Ass, available on Audible.

To learn more about Robbins, her books, videos and courses, go to her website.

The 5 Second Rule Review Conclusion

If you’re into self-development, I guarantee you’ll find some worthwhile gems of information and inspiration.

But don’t expect to find motivation.

To live the life we dream of, we have to constantly push ourselves outside our comfort zone – and we’re never motivated to do that!

As Robbins says, ‘You’re never going to feel like it!’

The 5 Second Rule

The 5 Second Rule By Mel Robbins Book Cover

Other Books By Mel Robbins

Work It Out


Work It Out By Mel Robbins Audible

Stop Saying You're Fine

Stop Saying You're Fine By Mel Robbins Book Cover

Take Control Of Your Life - Audible

Take Control Of Your Life By Mel Robbins Audible

Read more of Robin's personal development reviews here. For fiction reviews, click here.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}