‘The 5 Second Rule’ By Mel Robbins Book Review: An Effective Decision-Making Technique

Last Updated: February 2, 2024 | by Paul Harstrom

The 5-Second Rule By Mel Robbins Review:

Did you know that one-third of Americans, around a hundred million, are dissatisfied with their lives according to research? This discontent largely arises from unfulfilled personal desires, primarily resulting from ineffective decision-making.

Mel Robbins has discovered the transformative tool to upgrade your work, life, and confidence and liberate you from the perpetual loop of worry that often entraps you. In this book review of ‘The 5 Second Rule’, you will learn an effective decision-making technique to revolutionize your traditional status quo.

5 Second Rule book

The 5 Second Rule, as explained by Mel Robbins, is a powerful technique to facilitate positive change in various aspects of life. The Rule involves counting from five to one to prompt immediate action, helping individuals break bad habits, overcome self-doubt, and initiate actions crucial for personal growth. 

Changing your life is not just about knowing what to do; it is about motivating yourself to do it. Hence, the 5 Second Rule provides a practical tool for enhancing motivation and overcoming procrastination, two common challenges in professional environments. 

The Rule’s simplicity makes it applicable across diverse scenarios, from decision-making and goal-setting to managing tasks and dealing with challenging situations. 

So, continue reading Mel Robbins’ “The 5 Second Rule” Book Review by LEAD Diligently to learn more about the power of making a five-second decision, drawing on the science of habits and captivating stories from history.

Book Summary: What Is ‘The 5 Second Rule’ By Mel Robbins?

Mark Twain, a prominent American author and humorist best known for his classic works, once said:

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.”

Mark Twain

Have you ever delayed something vital because you did not feel ready or motivated? Well, we all have. This book summary of ‘The 5 Second Rule’ by Mel Robbins explains how fear and self-doubt often prevent individuals from acting on great ideas, leading to a list of excuses for not taking action.

“Shielding yourself from judgment, rejection, or upsetting others through excuses and delaying may appear protective, but it ultimately hinders your ability to turn dreams into reality.”

Paul Harstrom

A moment that inspired Mel Robbins to create the 5 Second Rule it occurred when she saw a commercial on TV featuring a rocket launch. The thrilling countdown of 5…4…3…2…1 – go! inspired her to put this idea into action.

The following day, she used this backward counting from 5 to propel herself out of bed quickly, facing her problems head-on, like a rocket. Even though it was just a gut feeling, she acted on it. And because of that one decision, she is now the most-requested female speaker in the United States.


The 5 Second Rule is a straightforward concept. If you ever have an instinct or a strong desire to do something, you must take a physical action within 5 seconds. Otherwise, your brain will likely talk you out of it. In Mel Robbin’s words:

“The 5-second Rule is simple. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds, or your brain will kill it. Hesitation is the kiss of death. You might hesitate for a nanosecond, but that’s all it takes. That one small hesitation triggers a mental system that’s designed to stop you. And it happens in less than—you guessed it—five seconds.”

When you find yourself hesitating before doing something you know you should, count down from 5 to 1 and then immediately take action. This countdown helps overcome hesitation and propels you into motion toward your goal or commitment.

The Science Behind ‘The 5 Second Rule’ By Mel Robbins:

Mel Robbins came up with the 5 Second Rule during a challenging period in her life at 41 when everything went wrong – her marriage, money, job, and how she felt about herself. 

Her problems felt overwhelming, and each morning, it was a struggle for her to even get out of bed. Robbins realized that waiting for the “right time” was not productive. 

“Stop thinking about how you feel. Your feelings don’t matter. The only thing that matters is what you do. The time is always right to do what is right.”


The countdown, from five to one, helps shift your mental gears, interrupting default thinking and prompting you to take immediate action. The key is to act without giving your brain the chance to talk you out of it.

Mel Robbins emphasizes that this Rule is more than a motivational tool; it has a psychological basis. In psychology, it is referred to as “assert control,” as counting down helps you override your default thought patterns and focus on what truly matters instead of excuses. 

In psychology, a pivotal idea introduced by Julian Rotter in 1954 is the “locus of control.” This concept suggests that the more you perceive yourself as being in command of your life, actions, and future, the greater your potential for happiness and success. A surefire way to enhance your sense of control is through a proclivity for taking action.

Moreover, the 5-second Rule is a starting ritual that activates the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain responsible for rational thinking, decision-making, and focus. This activation, in turn, helps change behavior and overcome the barriers posed by procrastination and self-doubt.

To make the most of the 5 Second Rule, it is essential to remember a few fundamental principles:

  • First, act quickly. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to talk yourself out of taking action. 
  • Second, be consistent. Practice the 5 Second Rule regularly to reinforce it as a habit and train your brain to respond quickly. 
  • And finally, embrace discomfort. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be challenging, but it’s where growth and transformation happen.

How Does “The 5 Second Rule” Help Business Leaders Transform Their Life And Work?

Business leaders can significantly benefit from Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule as it provides a practical and actionable framework for making decisions aligned with their long-term goals. In a professional environment, where decisions are often time-sensitive, this Rule serves as a powerful mental tool to transform life and work.

Business leaders constantly face choices that either propel them toward success or hold them back. The 5-second Rule becomes a game-changer when a leader identifies a goal or opportunity. Instead of succumbing to hesitation or overthinking, the countdown of 5-4-3-2-1 triggers immediate action. 

For instance, if a leader aims to improve team collaboration, the 5-second Rule can be applied when hesitating to initiate a team-building activity. This immediate action based on instincts and goals prevents procrastination and promotes a proactive mindset.


The Five-Second Rule also helps business leaders overcome the emotional barriers that often influence decision-making. Emotions can play a significant role in a business setting, especially when facing tough choices or potential risks. 

“Pushing yourself to take simple actions creates a chain reaction in your confidence and productivity.” 

Mel Robbins

The 5-second Rule encourages leaders to separate their feelings from their actions, allowing them to make decisions that align with their strategic objectives rather than being swayed by momentary emotions. This is particularly valuable when quick and strategic decision-making is crucial in high-stakes situations.

Moreover, productivity is a crucial aspect of leadership. Business leaders constantly juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities. The Rule comes into play by helping leaders manage distractions effectively. In a world filled with constant interruptions, the ability to focus on what truly matters in the big picture is paramount. 

Whether it’s avoiding the allure of checking emails incessantly or staying focused on critical business priorities, the Rule prompts leaders to prioritize their goals over short-term distractions, hence enhancing productivity.

“Every phase of your life and career will require a different you. Using the Rule, you’ll become the person you’re meant to become in this next phase of your life.”

Mel Robbins

The beauty of the 5 Second Rule is its versatility. You can apply it to any area where you want to make positive changes. Whether you’re trying to build healthy habits, improve productivity, or face your fears, the 5 Second Rule can be a game-changer.

‘The 5 Second Rule’ An Effective Decision-Making Technique:

‘The 5 Second Rule’ is no doubt an Effective Decision-Making Technique. In the words of the author:

“You are one decision away from a completely different life.”

Mel Robbins

As discussed earlier, The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins is a method of counting from 5 to 1 to make quick decisions and take action. This helps overcome hesitation and fear, allowing you to leave your comfort zone. 

For instance, when faced with a decision, instead of overthinking or delaying, you can use the Rule to count down and push yourself to take action. It’s beneficial when dealing with feelings of fear or when procrastinating on tasks.

Mel Robbins suggests that our feelings often guide our decisions. The Rule encourages treating feelings as suggestions rather than absolute barriers. It acts as a small intervention to change your behavior positively.

“Your feelings don’t matter. The only thing that matters is what you do. You’ll never feel like doing what you must do.”

Mel Robbins

Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s research sheds light on the role of feelings in decision-making. According to Damasio, as much as 95% of our decisions are influenced by feelings rather than facts. He describes humans as “feeling machines that think, not thinking machines that feel.”

Damasio’s research shows that emotions are crucial in guiding our actions. This aligns with the premise of the 5 Second Rule, which acknowledges the powerful influence of emotions on decision-making.

Mel Robbins recommends learning from professional athletes who treat feelings as suggestions rather than absolutes. Thus, individuals can override their emotions to push towards their goals.

The 5 Second Rule, acting as a psychological intervention, provides a practical method for individuals to alter their behavior positively, even when faced with challenging or uncomfortable situations.

Seneca’s “Do good, be good” philosophy resonates with the reciprocal relationship between behavior and feelings. Individuals can influence and improve their emotional state by choosing positive behavior through the 5 Second Rule.

Seneca’s wisdom encourages individuals to focus on actions that align with goodness, creating a cycle where positive behavior begets positive feelings.

“You have been assigned this mountain to show others that it can be moved.”

Mel Robbins

In a nutshell, the 5 Second Rule is a practical and backed-by-research technique to help you stop overthinking, overcome procrastination, and make effective decisions that lead to positive changes in your life.

The Power Of The Push And The 5 Second Rule: 

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins provides an initial push for bigger changes in our lives. Activation energy, as explained by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, refers to the initial push of energy needed to initiate change. In decision-making and behavior, this represents the effort required to break free from inertia and start a new task or habit.

Mel Robbins emphasizes the significance of activation energy in the 5 Second Rule. The Rule catalyzes by providing the necessary push to overcome the initial resistance to change. For instance, getting out of bed in the morning may seem challenging initially, but the subsequent actions become easier once you start moving.

The idea is that many people wait for the perfect moment to make significant changes in their lives, like losing weight, making more money, or starting a new relationship. 

Mel Robbins explains three reasons why this perfect moment never really comes:

  • First, change is always challenging as it involves doing something new. 
  • Second, it comes with uncertainty—you can’t predict the outcome.
  • Third, change is inherently scary.

Whether you’re considering your goals tomorrow, next week, or six months from now, these factors persist. According to Robbins, waiting for a day when these challenges magically disappear is just an excuse and a waste of time.

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins – An Effective Decision Technique

The 5 Second Rule is presented as a solution to this problem. It is a tool to overcome the hesitation that comes with waiting for the “right time.” Instead of procrastinating, you count down from 5 and take action, pushing yourself to face the challenges associated with change head-on.

“If you dare to start, you dare to succeed.” 

Mel Robbins

In business and leadership, historical figures and heroes are often admired for their courage and bravery. However, what is often overlooked is that they were just as fearful and hesitant as anyone else.

The critical difference is that they consistently made small, courageous choices, accumulating over time and defining their legacy. 

For instance, Rosa Parks’ simple act of refusing to give up her seat on a bus and subsequently recruiting Martin Luther King Jr. led to significant change despite the uncertainty of the outcome. This is where the 5 Second Rule, popularized by Mel Robbins, comes into play. 

The Rule encourages individuals to act on their impulses within 5 seconds, whether approaching someone they admire or speaking up in a meeting. By following this Rule, individuals can build courage over time, as each small act of bravery leads to the next, ultimately resulting in a courageous and fulfilling life. 

The message is about recognizing that there is never a perfect time for a change, and by using the 5-Second Rule, you can break free from the cycle of waiting and start making progress toward your vision.

“You validate your Ideas by Pursuing them.”

Mel Robbins

Everyone in the organization must play their part in helping to change the business trajectory, but this won’t assist in correcting the course if the senior leader fails to lead by example. Talking about and making plans to change is easy, but carrying out those plans is much more challenging.

Success is a result of action based on planning. It’s obvious that things need to change, but the question is, do you ‘have to’ change? Take action today. Visit our website and discover how LEAD Diligently can empower you to become the influential leader your organization needs.

Wrapping Up Book Review Of “The 5 Second Rule” By Mel Robbins:

The Book Review Of “The 5-Second Rule” By Mel Robbins is especially for those people who struggle with self-doubt and procrastination. The 5 Second Rule is a remarkably straightforward concept and an effective decision-making technique: when faced with a moment of decision or opportunity, you count backward from five to one and then take action.

Why does this simple technique work? The 5 Second Rule interrupts the habit loop in your brain that often leads to inaction. By counting backward, you activate the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for decision-making and deliberate action.

This brief countdown disrupts the autopilot mode that keeps you in your comfort zone and gives you the push to act.

So, If you ever find yourself hesitating to take action, whether it’s starting a new project, making a phone call, or stepping out of your comfort zone, then don’t forget to use “The 5 Second Rule” By Mel Robbins

Would you like to use the 5 Second Rule to overcome challenges or make important decisions? Share your experiences and insights in the comments below!

How LEAD Diligently Can Help You

Lead Diligently offers expert-led leadership development programs to help you build business executive skills & advance profitable enterprises.

We are on a mission to help our clients gain the clarity they need to wholly pursue their God-given purpose and grow profitable enterprises.


What inspired Mel Robbins to develop the 5 Second Rule?

Mel Robbins developed the 5 Second Rule after experiencing a period of feeling overwhelmed and stuck in a cycle of procrastination. Her understanding of the science of willpower and the concept of a “cue” led her to create this simple yet powerful tool.

Is the 5 Second Rule effective?

The effectiveness of the 5 Second Rule has been supported by numerous success stories and testimonials. It is a practical and actionable method for taking control of one’s mind and breaking patterns of hesitation and self-doubt.

Has the 5 Second Rule been well-received by readers?

The 5 Second Rule has received a mix of reviews, with some readers praising its practicality and impact, while others have expressed that the book’s content could have been more concise and less repetitive.

How can “The 5 Second Rule” be applied to business and leadership?

The 5 Second Rule can be applied to business and leadership in various ways, such as reaching out to new clients, generating innovative ideas, preparing and delivering presentations confidently, tackling tasks and projects immediately, speaking up in meetings, and increasing overall productivity and efficiency.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *