50 pages 1 hour read

Mel Robbins

The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2017

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Part 1, Chapters 1-4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: “The 5 Second Rule”

Chapter 1 Summary: “Five Seconds to Change Your Life”

The #5SecondRule fundamentally teaches people about how to change. Practically, it aims to help people face situations that are “difficult, uncertain, and scary” (20). This is the key to turning thoughts or excuses into action, Robbins argues. Although it has many applications and aims to help people in many different ways—from recovering from depression to running a marathon—Robbins says that it ultimately works because it brings the greatest parts of a person to light: It builds what Robbins calls “Real Confidence” (20).

Robbins came up with the Rule at the lowest point of her life, when her finances, career, marriage, and future were all in jeopardy. She wondered what held her back from making the decisions that would expand her career, health, and relationships. She realized that her doubts and excuses would emerge seconds before making a decision to act. Thus, to enact change, she concluded that she needed the courage to make five-second decisions on a daily basis. Robbins calls this “everyday courage.” Life-changing decisions are often made instinctively: They are the result of courage in the moment rather than rational weighing of risks and benefits. Robbins calls this “heart-first decision” (23).

Chapter 1 draws from a variety of social media posts with success stories to sell the #5SecondRule and to demonstrate its diverse applications.