Use This 5-Second Life Hack to Make Your Biggest Decisions


There’s a favorite quote of mine that I’ve been thinking about lately. It is so simple, so true, and so brutally honest: “If more info were the answer, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”

Related: The Science Behind the 5 Second Rule

Search your feelings, my friend, and you know this to be true. The internet gives us literally any information we could possibly need to achieve our goals, but my guess is you’re probably not a billionaire or a model. So how can we have all the information we need but still struggle to reach our goals?

I had a guest on The School of Greatness recently who gave me a pretty incredible answer: “It’s because we don’t make decisions with our goals. We make decisions with our feelings. Ninety-five percent of the time, we make our decisions based on how we feel in the moment, not based on what we know is right.”

That eureka moment is brought to you by Mel Robbins. She is the most-booked female speaker on the planet, a CNN commentator and a best-selling author. And on my podcast, she shared a simple neurobiological hack that we can all use to make the decisions we know we should. She calls it the “5 Second Rule.”

Here’s how it works: Let’s say we’re faced with a decision that we know will move us in the direction of our goals. That decision presents us with a five-second window. It starts from the moment we know we should act to the moment we lose the will to do so. If we can stop ourselves in those five seconds, then we can act based on logic rather than feelings. We can make the decision we know we should rather than the one that’s convenient.

So how do we take advantage of that five-second window? We count down from 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

That’s it. That’s the hack.

I had the same reaction you did when Mel told me this. No way, I thought. That’s too simple, there’s no way that works. Then she explained the neuroscience to me, and it clicked. “Counting is an action,” she said. “Counting backward takes concentration. So, when you count down, you actually awaken your prefrontal cortex and give yourself the power to drive forward. Because now you’re not on autopilot. You’re in control.

Powerful stuff, right? This simple neurobiological hack gives us control over our minds, over our decisions and therefore, over our lives.

If you want to hear more from Mel, then get ready to laugh, cry and learn in Episode 452 of The School of Greatness. But before you do, commit to using the 5 Second Rule for the next couple of days. You’ll be amazed at the results.

Related: It Only Takes 5 Seconds to Change Your Life

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Lewis Howes, author of the New York Times best-seller The School of Greatness, believes that how you feel every moment is more important than what you do or what you have. As a lifestyle entrepreneur, high-performance business coach and keynote speaker, he was recognized by President Barack Obama as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the country under 30. 


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