Mel Robbins on Why Motivation Is Garbage | Impact Theory
Tom: Everybody welcome to Impact Theory.
You are here because like me you believe that
human potential is nearly limitless but you
know that having potential is not the same
as actually doing something with it.
Our goal with this show and company is to
introduce you to the people and ideas that
are going to help you actually execute on
All right, today’s guest is one of the most
popular on air commentators and opinion writers
for CNN and her unique brand of raw and relatable
advice has made her one of the most sought
after speakers and media personalities.
Watching her you get the feeling that this
mother of three is just getting started.
Her well researched and really powerful insights
into what it means to be a human come wrapped
in both science and lovely mid-western charm,
allowing her to cut through the formality
of typical business jargon and grab her audiences
by the emotions.
She has made a name for herself by being;
blunt, unapologetic and yet totally vulnerable.
She says what everybody is already thinking
but is just a little too scared to say and
it makes people absolutely love her.
It is not hard to understand why her Ted Talk
titled; how to stop screwing yourself over
is one of the most watched Ted Talks of all
It’s also easy to see why she is an award
winning talk radio host who is trusted by
some of the biggest brands on the planet to
help motivate and advice their teams.
She has appeared on everything from Good Morning
America and The Today Show to Dr. Phil and
Somehow she has also made time to found an
inspirational news site called inspire52.com
and found and sell a retail and internet tech
Please help me in welcoming the former criminal
defense attorney who has been called an explosion
The bestselling author with a brand new book
titled; The 5 Second Rule.
The master of motivation herself; Mel Robbins.
It’s really good to have you on the show.
Mel: Oh my gosh thank you.
Mel: You called me the master of motivation
and I think motivation is complete garbage
so maybe we should start there.
Tom: That is a perfect place to start so I
totally agree with you but why do you say
Mel: You do?
Tom: I do 100%.
Now I said that in the spirit of I know what
you are trying to do so it is meant with absolute
reverence, but why do you say that it’s
Mel: Well and we’ll talk a lot about this
but I think it’s garbage because at some
point we all bought into this lie that you’ve
got to feel ready in order to change.
We bought into this complete falsehood that
at some point you are going to have the courage,
at some point you are going to have the confidence
and it’s total bullshit frankly.
Are we allowed to swear on this show?
Tom: Okay, it’s complete garbage so there
are so many people in the world and you may
be watching this right now and you have these
incredible ideas and what you think is missing
is motivation and that’s not true.
Because the way that our minds are wired and
the fact about human beings is that we are
not designed to do things that are uncomfortable
or scary or difficult.
Our brains are designed to protect us from
those things, because our brains are trying
to keep us alive.
In order to change, in order to build a business,
in order to be the best parent, the best spouse
to do all those things that you know you want
to do with your life, with your work, with
your dreams you are going to have to do things
that are; difficult, uncertain or scary.
Which sets up this problem for all of us,
you are never going to feel like it.
Motivation is garbage, you only feel motivated
to do the things that are easy right?
Tom: Why do you think that is?
Mel: I know exactly why that is because I’ve
studied this so much, because for me one of
the hardest things to figure out was why is
it so hard to do the little things that would
improve my life.
What I’ve come to realize and what we’ll
talk a lot about today is that the way that
our minds are designed is our minds are designed
to stop you at all cost from doing anything
that might hurt you.
The way that this all happens is it all starts
with something super subtle that none of us
ever catch and that is with this habit that
all of us have that nobody is talking about.
We all have a habit of hesitating.
We have an idea you are sitting in a meeting
you have this incredible idea and instead
of just saying it you stop and you hesitate.
Now what none of us realize is that when you
hesitate just that moment that micro moment,
that small hesitation it sends a stress signal
to your brain.
It wakes your brain up and your brain all
of a sudden goes, “Wait a minute why is
he hesitating he didn’t hesitate when he
put on his killer spiky sneakers, he didn’t
hesitate with the really cool track pants,
he didn’t hesitate with a NASA t-shirt now
he’s hesitating to talk something must be
Then your brain goes to work to protect you,
it has a million different ways to protect
you one of them is called the spotlight effect.
It’s a known phenomenon where your brain
magnifies risk, why?
To pull you away from something that it perceives
to be a problem.
You can truly trace every single problem or
complaint in your life to silence and hesitation,
those are decisions.
What I do and what’s changed my life is
waking up and realizing that motivation is
garbage I’m never going to feel like doing
the things that are; tough or difficult or
uncertain or scary or new so I need to stop
waiting until I feel like it.
Number two, I am one decision away from; a
totally different marriage, a totally different
life, a totally different job, a totally different
income, a totally different relationship with
Not like one decision I’m divorcing you
in a marriage example but one decision on,
you could be having a conversation with your
spouse and you feel your emotions rise up
and within a tiny window those emotions can
take over and can impact how your marriage
You can learn how to take control of that
micro moment and make a decision to act in
a way that actually shifts your marriage.
Your life comes down to your decisions and
if you change your decisions you will change
Tom: That core concept comes through so powerfully
in your book which is phenomenal and I would
love it if you would take a second to tell
people the story of how, and by the way I
wore the NASA shirt because of the imagery.
Mel: Oh is that why you wore it?
Tom: Of course.
Mel: Oh my God I’ve like falling my glasses
off that is, I did not even get that.
I was going to ask you why you wore that shirt
oh my gosh, wow.
Tom: Break it down.
Mel: You actually do your homework.
Tom: Of course Mel absolutely.
Mel: Let me just take you back, so what you
are talking about is the five second rule
which has become literally my life’s work
and it was all a gigantic mistake.
I read up on you too and understand how quest
like was born out of misery.
The five second rule and my life now and my
20 year marriage and everything that I’m
doing and the companies that I’ve built
and sold and the company I’m building now,
it all comes back to a point in my life that
completely and utterly blew.
I was 41 years old I was unemployed, my husband
had started a restaurant business which was
his dream this is actually a funny story.
When he got laid off from a big job in high
tech and I think he was really relieved, you
know how a lot of us wait to quit our jobs
and then we get laid off and are like, “Yes.”
He said, “I’m not going to look for a
job I’m going to go into the restaurant
business,” and I think I said the most famous
lines of our marriage at that point.
I looked at him and I said, “Listen buddy
inspiration is for strangers you get your
butt back to that job and you pay the mortgage.”
Again micro moment where …
Tom: That is amazing.
Mel: … I’m being a jerk instead of being
a supportive wife.
That’s an example of where when he said
he was not going to go get a job but he was
going to start a business, the first thing
that was there was fear.
Fear was making the decision for me.
Tom: God I love that you could share that
though, that’s so powerful.
Mel: What happened is the first restaurant
was a home run and of course what do you do
when things are successful?
You grow it, you grow it really big.
They decided to raise money and we threw in
our home equity line, the kid’s college
savings, they tried to open a second and a
third and at the same point a grocery store
I encouraged them to go into wholesale, so
it basically got way too big way too first
and the wheel started to come off.
They came off so badly that the second restaurant
failed and they held on to it for too long
like a lot of us do.
It’s another trick our brains play on us
called [inaudible 00:09:18].
When you throw a ton of time and a ton of
money at something it’s really hard to let
go of it and if you haven’t done it in business,
we all had a relationship in our past stayed
way too long that was a trick your brain played
By the time that they closed the second restaurant
it was an $800,000 loss.
Mel: I mean that meant our entire home equity
It meant kid’s college, I just choked just
thinking about how terrifying it was.
I found myself at the age of 41 like just
feeling like a complete failure and so did
To make it worse not only had we lost all
of our savings, but so many friends and family
members had invested so there was this real
tension between the truth of what was happening
and what you had to do in public because it
was public business; shame, failure, embarrassment
and the lien started to hit the house.
The phone started to ring and it was nothing
but collection calls.
I just remember feeling this tremendous shame
and at some point I think we all hit that
moment in life where things just are not going
how you thought they would go.
What’s amazing about those moments is we
all respond very differently.
My husband he would spring out of bed and
he would head right out that door six o’clock
in the morning and he would go meet his partner
and they would go to the bank and they would
dig right in and they would face their problems
He is also a smart guy I mean he did not want
to be in the house when yours truly woke up
because I was a raging bitch at that point
in our lives.
The reason why is because when you are scared
and you are afraid and you are jealous and
you are overwhelmed with emotions, it is so
much easier to point the finger at other people.
That’s a decision by the way one you may
not be aware that you are making but you are
still making it.
What would happen to me is the exact opposite,
is Chris would be gone the alarm would go
off at six o’clock in the morning and I
would lie there.
I would think about the lien on the house
and I would think about the bankruptcy that
we were facing and I would think about how
much we had fought the night before and I
would think about the fact that I was unemployed.
I would hit the snooze button I mean why would
you get up when your life is like that?
Why would you?
I needed confidence, I needed courage I was
so tapped out.
In the scheme of life hitting the snooze button
is not that big of a deal but here is the
thing about life; none of us wake up and say,
“Today is the day I destroy my life.”
What we do is we kind of check out because
it feels overwhelming or we check out because
we’re afraid or we check out because we
start listening to self-doubt and then we
make these teeny-tiny decisions all day long
and we don’t even realize it.
Decision to not get up on time, a decision
to not eat the right thing, a decision to
snap at your kids, a decision to not speak
at a meeting, a decision to not look for a
job, a decision to not deal with your finances,
a decision to not call your parents like whatever
All day long these tiny decisions that take
you so far off track and then you wake up
like I did and you look at your life and you
think, “How the hell did I get here,”
and more importantly how do you get back over
there and you have no idea.
I was to strapped and I know from your story
you felt the same way, like you knew that
there was more in store for you but you couldn’t
figure how do you close that gap.
How do you find the power that’s in you,
how do you discover your greatness, how do
you solve these problems I feel so overwhelming.
When you can … I mean I would go to the
grocery store and the items would scan and
I would be sitting readying my excuse because
there was no way that my check card was going
Mel: I got in this struggle with myself that
a lot of us find ourselves in and that is
you get trapped in what I call the knowledge-action
You know what to do but you can’t seem to
make yourself do it.
I mean every one of us is one Google search
away from a list of instructions that if you
follow any of them …
Tom: That’s a really good point.
Mel: … it will change your life.
How do you get out of your head and stop thinking
about what you need to do and actually do
In my case this stuff was pretty easy; get
up on time, make breakfast for the kids, get
them on the bus, start looking for a job,
be nicer to Chris, don’t drink so much.
Instead of isolating yourself pick up the
phone and call a friend, get yourself out
into the woods and go for a walk, start running
Like all these little things that I was capable
of but I couldn’t get out of here, could
not get out of here and if you are stuck that’s
The problem is you are in your head, your
That is the universal problem and it all starts
with this knowledge of what to do and then
you hesitate and you think about whether or
not you feel like doing it.
For a couple of months I was really stuck,
Chris would get up at six I’d hit the snooze
and then I’d hit the snooze and then I hit
the snooze the kids would miss the bus.
Then every night I’d do the same thing I’d
go in bed, have ever had one of those nights
probably before you started your company where
you would go in bed and you are like, “All
right Tom that’s it tomorrow it’s the
new me, tomorrow.
Tomorrow I am going to get up on time, I am
going to go to the gym, I am going to look
for a job, I’m not going to drink so much
it’s going to be amazing.
The new me, the future me whoa let’s do
Then you go to bed and you wake up seven hours
later and you are like, “I don’t feel
like the new me.”
Tom: Who was that?
Mel: Who the, that’s the stupidest … See
motivation is garbage, it’s never there
when you need it ever.
Here is what happened to me and thank you
for wearing the NASA t-shirt.
Tom: Of course.
Mel: It’s a really stupid story.
Tom: It’s a powerful story.
Mel: One night Chris had gone to bed I had
been struggling, we still had all the same
I we still had the lien on the house, still
facing bankruptcy, still fighting like crazy,
I was still unemployed.
They still hadn’t figured out the solution
yet for the business and I was about to turn
off the TV.
There on the TV there was this rocket launching
and I thought, “Oh my gosh that is it.
I am going to launch myself out of bed like
a rocket ship like NASA right here and launch
me out of that bed.
I’m going to move so fast that I don’t
I’m going to beat my brain.”
Now here is a really interesting point, I
talk a lot about your instincts and inner
wisdom and we can get into this a little bit
A lot of us talk about the fact that you have
a gut feeling, but what all these research
that I’ve done for the book and all the
speaking that I do.
What I’ve discovered that’s fascinating
is actually when you set goals, when you have
an intention on something that you want to
change about your life your brain helps you.
What it does is it opens up a check list and
then your brain goes to work trying to remind
you of that intention that you set.
It’s really important to develop the skill
and I say that word purposefully, the skill
of knowing how to hear that inner wisdom and
that intention kicking in and leaning into
For me my brain saying, “That’s it right
there move as fast as rocket Mel,” I wanted
to change my life.
I think most people that are miserable or
that are really dying to be great and dying
to have more; we want to change, we want to
live a better life, we want to create more
for our families, we want to be happier.
The desire is there again it’s about how
do you go from knowledge to action.
The first thing in this story that’s important
is realizing that the answer was in me and
my mind was telling me, “Pay attention.”
Could have also been the bourbon I mean I
had had a couple of Manhattans that night.
Anyway, the next morning the alarm goes off
and I pretend that NASA was there.
It’s the stupidest story I literally went;
five, four, three, two, one I counted out
loud and then I stood up.
I’ll never forget standing there in my bedroom;
it was dark, it was cold, it was winter in
For the first time in three months I had beaten
my habit of hitting the snooze button.
I couldn’t believe it and I thought, “Wait
a minute counting backwards that is the dumbest
thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life.”
Well the next morning I used it again and
The next morning I used it again and it worked.
The next morning I used it and it worked.
Then I started to notice something really
interesting, there were moments all day long
just like that five second moment in bed where
I knew knowledge what I should do.
If I didn’t move within five seconds my
brain would step in and talk me out of it.
Every human being has a five second window
might even be shorter for you, you have about
a five second window in which you can move
from idea to action before your brain kicks
in to full gear and sabotages any change in
Remember your brain is wired to stop you from
doing things that are uncomfortable or uncertain
It’s your job to learn how to move from
those ideas that could change everything into
acting on them in the smallest moment.
Tom: For anyone right now at home who is thinking
like this sounds too simple, too easy.
Talk a bit about your community, because reading
some of their comments it’s crazy how many
people like the sheer volume of the people
you quote in your book.
If you also go online and just look at the
people that are directly reaching out to you,
it is an avalanche of people that have stories
around the five second rule.
Mel: One of the reasons why I’m so excited
about this book and look you don’t have
to buy the book this is an idea that you can
use it’s free it’s backed by science,
more than eight million people around the
world have discovered it.
You are talking about the number of people
we’ve heard from more than a hundred thousand
people in 80 countries …
Tom: That’s crazy.
Mel: … that are using this rule.
We know of 11 people who have stopped themselves
from killing themselves using this rule.
Tom: I saw one of those outreaches which is
Mel: There is a guy Steve who wrote to us
who was a veteran.
He was suffering from post-traumatic stress
disorder, he boarded a ferry overseas with
the intention to jump over.
He walked over the railing and his inner wisdom
In that moment the five second rule; five,
four, three, two, one counting backwards moved
away from the railing asked for help saved
His story has inspired countless other people
that have heard me in the speeches that I
give around the world about this one tool.
The thing that’s so cool about this, and
I should tell you the science behind it because
I’m going to be honest with you it is stupid.
Had I ever thought that I would find myself
eight years after discovering it spending
my days telling people about the five second
rule, first of all I would have picked a different
name because it reminds you of the one where
you have to pick up food in five seconds off
Mel: It was my secret weapon this was something
I did, I never intended to tell anybody.
I went from getting up on time and waking
up on time to shaking up my entire life.
Because when you understand the power of a
five second decision and you understand that
you always have a choice to go from autopilot
to decision maker everything in your life
You will be a different negotiator, you will
different in sales, you will be unstoppable
on the gym because you will realize the amount
of garbage that you put in the way; of your
hopes, of your dreams, of your potential,
of your confidence, of your courage.
Everything comes down to the decision that
We all know what to do none of us know how
to make ourselves do it.
I started researching it why does something
so stupid work, why?
Why does something so silly create such powerful
and profound change?
Well here is why, the rule is a form of metacognition.
Metacognition is a fancy pants term that means
something real simple; you can out smart your
own brain in furtherance of goals.
Mel: There are tricks that you can use that
actually outsmart the tricks your brain plays
In furtherance of a higher purpose we all
know this, you can restrain yourself if you
are in a situation that calls for it.
You can jump into a raging river to save your
dog or your kid, you can direct yourself in
ways if it’s important to you.
The rule what it does is it does something
When you count backwards; five, four, three,
two, one what you are actually doing is you
are interrupting what researchers call habit
loops that get in coded as close loop patterns
in your basal ganglia.
That’s the part of the brain where your
feelings, where your emotions every habit
that you have which is nothing more than behavior
that you repeat that you don’t even think
Tom: I’ve heard it referred to as a gear
box, because you shift your attention from
Mel: Yes, so when you go; five, four, three,
two, one it interrupts what’s going on here
that’s spinning without you thinking and
it moves and awakens your prefrontal cortex.
When you hit one your habit has been interrupted
so you’ve interrupted self-doubt, you’ve
interrupted maybe snapping at your kids, you’ve
interrupted the desire to grab for drink,
you’ve interrupted procrastination.
You’ve also by counting backwards done an
action, it awakens your prefrontal cortex
that is the part of the brain that’s awake
when you are changing behavior, when you are
learning new things.
When you hit one it’s also a prompt.
In the language of research you’ll hear
people talk about starting rituals, that is
something that’s proven to help you learn
a new habit.
The five second rule when you repeat it becomes
a starting ritual that triggers you to act
with confidence, that triggers you that this
is a moment for courage, that triggers you
to shift gears.
Because you’ve also done the manual work
of awakening the part of the brain that you
need to change, you’ve set yourself up for
It doesn’t work if you count up because
you can keep going and also counting up doesn’t
require a focus.
If you count backwards; five, four, three,
two, one it again awakens the prefrontal cortex
and it prompts you to move.
When you start to use it and then you read
about it you’ll see that it’s being used
all over the place; they use it in the armed
services in order to align troops and get
them to start an exercise, they use it in
elementary schools; five, four, three, two,
one at big assemblies to get a huge room full
of kids to stop talking.
Tom: Exactly, a really simple and interesting
Mel: Because it requires you to focus it’s
not a habit.
It will become a habit that prompts you to
have confidence and courage, but in the beginning
it interrupts patterns of behavior that you
do on autopilot, it helps you assert control
and it teaches you how to become the kind
of person that moves from thinking about something
to actually doing it.
Tom: It’s incredible so there is so many
things in that story and guys I’m telling
you it’s, you are going to love the depth
of brain research that is put in the book.
It’s really quite extraordinary you really
have an amazing grasp of the brain and it
really, really came through in the book.
For me it was a wonderful balancing act between
the raw emotion of the people writing in and
some of the stories that you are sharing and
the imagery of the rocket ship which you are
very open about.
It’s sort of a silly visual metaphor, but
because it’s effective that silliness is
Mel: What’s incredible is in five seconds
flat self-doubt can take over and rob you
of your power and rob you of joy and rob you
of your potential or in five seconds flat
you can actually use one stupid little trick
to push yourself to grab it.
Tom: What I loved in the book is because you
paint the picture so very well you are also
just a good writer, so you paint the picture
like I could feel the crisp winter air of
Boston stalking you out of the under the comforter.
I could really feel that I was there with
you as Chris’ business is struggling, so
you really feel all of that.
The moment when you do the countdown you spring
out of bed and you are almost like taking
yourself by surprise and you are like moving
before you realize it.
But you are reading it from the perspective
of I already knew who you were, so it was
it gave me the chills.
It was more difficult to picture you as stuck
than it was to know, “I know where she goes.”
I had already seen the Ted Talk by the time
I read the book, I knew what you were doing
from a media perspective, I knew how many
people and companies you would help.
For me it was like watching it in reverse,
so I’m watching it from the safety of, “I
know she crushes,” it so if this is the
thing and I love that this isn’t your first
This was the secret that you planned to keep
hidden in the drawer forever.
Mel: Yeah I was not going to tell anybody
because it was stupid and it also worked so
it was my thing and it’s not your thing.
See the real thing that happened for me and
this is something that is a really important
topic for me, is that there is when you talk
about personality so extroverts, introverts
a lot of us really I know I did this I was
all wrong about what confidence meant.
I thought confidence was a personality trait.
Tom: I love this tell me more.
Mel: I thought that people that are outgoing
are the confident ones and the truth is confidence
is not a personality trait at all, it’s
A lot of the extroverted people that you know
are actually very insecure, I used to become
I used to be the kind of bossy class loud
mouth; that didn’t believe in myself, that
didn’t believe in my ideas, that didn’t
have the confidence and the courage to really
be the real me; who I am, who I’m not flaws
There are tremendous number of introverted
people that feel uncomfortable putting the
attention on themselves, but they are very,
very confident in their ideas.
They definitely believe in themselves.
When you start to separate confidence not
as a matter of personality but as a skill
that you can acquire because confidence is
the ability to move in my opinion from thought
Because when you are a confident person you
believe enough in yourself and your capability
that you are willing to try, that you are
willing to share.
To me confidence isn’t the assuredness that
it turns out, it’s the willingness to try
and that was a huge insight for me.
What a lot of people don’t know about me
although I share this on stage and I’m extremely
open about this because this is a topic that’s
really important to me.
The single most profound use of the five second
rule is mind control and I say that as a lawyer.
I will tell you, you can use this stupid trick
to cure yourself of anxiety.
Tom: Yeah I wanted to talk about that, so
you struggled very profoundly with anxiety
so walk us through some nuts and bolts of
how you use the five second rule.
I think, so my hypothesis and he reason we
founded Impact Theory is that the world is
living through two pandemics; the pandemic
of the body which everybody understands because
it’s so visual; being overweight, dying
of diet related diseases such as diabetes.
Because the second pandemic the pandemic of
the mind is invisible people don’t realize
how pervasive a suicide is and I think it’s
the leading cause of death among young men
I mean it’s crazy.
Then that there are ways that they can go
about attacking that and fixing the problem,
so walk us through that.
Mel: Sure I would love to.
First of all I literally have struggled with
anxiety my entire life and anxiety for this
conversation the way I define it is it is
the habit of worrying spiraled out of control.
You may say that you are a worrier that’s
not true you have a habit of worrying.
A habit is a pattern of behavior or thinking
that you repeat without realizing it.
Anxiety happens when that pattern of worrying
about things spirals out of control and now
it starts to marry and manifest itself with
physical sensations too, that’s all that
I know that I said that that’s all that
Me personally I struggled with anxiety I think
my entire life, it became quite acute when
I was in my late teens and early twenties.
I became medicated in the middle of law school
I took Zoloft for two decades.
When our first daughter was born who is now
17 the postpartum depression and the cascading
panic was so terrible that not only was I
medicated and couldn’t breast feed, but
I couldn’t be left alone with her.
Mel: When I say you can cure yourself of anxiety
I don’t say that lightly.
Four years ago after I had been using the
five second rule to change my behavior; how
I spoke to my husband, how I negotiate in
business meetings, how I conduct sales, the
kind of parent that I am, my health habits,
my eating habits, curbing the drinking.
I thought, “I wonder if I can use this;
five, four, three, two, one thing to get control
of my thought patterns.”
Not my behavior patterns, my thought patterns
yes you can.
Mel: We’re going to build this conversation
because I want to start with something that
we can all relate to and that is how do you
stop worrying and how do you stop listening
to self-doubt, this is how you are going to
All day long you are going to have moments
where your thoughts drift and I use that word
Because for me there is a physical sensation
when you start to use the five second rule
and you start to wake up, not only on time
in the morning but you wake up to your life
and the opportunities in your life.
There is your thoughts drift, like you’ll
just be hanging out with your friends and
then suddenly you are like, “I’m not sure
that that person likes me anymore.
I haven’t heard from my kids lately I wonder
if they are dead or I was going to check,”
you just start worrying about stuff why?
Because it’s a habit.
Because when you are not paying attention
your brain shifts from you being a decision
maker and paying attention to you just spending
things on autopilot and one of your habits
The second you wake up and you notice, “Holy
cow I’m talking some negative garbage to
myself right now,” five, four, three, two,
one you’ve just shifted the part of the
brain that you are using.
You have shifted from the basal ganglia which
is where your habit loops are spinning and
you have awakened your prefrontal cortex.
You’ve also interrupted that pattern.
Now what you are going to do because your
mind is actually ready to receive a different
thought because of the counting, now you can
put in an anchor thought.
Like if you have a mantra, if you have a vision
about the way that your business is going
to turn out in five years.
If you just have a thought that makes you
really happy and proud insert that.
Now why does this work?
It works because of the counting and I’m
We know based on research the positive thinking
alone not effective.
In some instances trying to force yourself
to think positive can actually make the worries
Well the reason why is because it’s really
hard to just change the channel, what we have
to do first is basically interrupt it and
turn off the TV and then turn it back on with
the prefrontal cortex awakened, so the counting
You can start using this today, you catch
yourself talking garbage to yourself because
we all know if I were to put a speaker on
your head and broadcast you wouldn’t be
sitting here in the audience you would be
in an insane asylum because the crap that
you say to yourself is insane.
The problem is we listen to it, you’ll be
in a sales meeting and you’ll be undermining
yourself, “They are not going to buy oh
my gosh I’m in trouble,” you are not even
present; five, four, three, two, one switch
Get back to that vision that you have about
toasting your success or this customer being
really happy or you being proud of yourself.
Whatever that vision may be you can control
your thoughts and this is not just us talking
about it, this is a tool that you can use.
Let’s take it a step further, so worrying
if you let it go unchecked what will happen
is you will get used to worrying.
You will get used to living in a state where
you are slightly agitated all the time.
Let me talk a little bit about agitation,
so what we know based on research is that
physically in your body so physiologically
being excited is the exact same thing as being
Let me say that again because it is so important;
in your body being excited is the exact same
thing as being afraid.
Your body doesn’t know the damn difference;
your heart races, your armpits sweat, you
may get tight in your throat, you may your
cheeks may get pink like mine do when I get
The only difference between excitement and
fear is what your brain says and the problem
is if you have a habit of worrying, guess
what you are going to tell yourself is going
on that you are freaking out.
That you are not excited that something must
be wrong, oh gosh why would you say something
is wrong because you got a habit of saying
that all the time.
Even as I became a speaker for a living where
I would be on CNN when I first started doing
it I would be freaking out back stage.
Even though like just last week he is standing
back stage about to go on 8,000 people; heart
races, armpits sweat, my hands get clammy
I’m not nervous though not at all I’m
I developed this technique and research out
of Harvard not based on my technique but something
very similar proofs that if you basically
right before you are about to do something;
take a test, run a race, pubic speaking, a
business negotiation, ask somebody to marry
Whatever it may be that gets your heart racing
just do this go, “I’m excited.
I’m excited to give that speech, I’m excited
to ask him or her, I’m excited to do this
race, I’m excited.”
What happens is you give your brain context
so your brain doesn’t escalate the stuff
going on in your body, your brain is not worried
Mel: You can combine this with the five second
We know how to do worrying you catch your
thoughts through a; five, four, three, two,
one anchor thought.
If you start to feel your heart racing; five,
four, three, two, one to awaken the prefrontal
cortex and then start going, “I’m really
excited to do this.”
Another technique that you can use is ask
I think they call it interrogatory questions
where instead of giving yourself a pep talk
say, “Well why I’m I ready to do this?
Why I’m I ready?”
Because that will force you to answer the
question which then convinces you.
“Why I’m I ready to close this sale, why
I’m I ready to give this speech, why I’m
Those are two strategies that you can use
backed by science that are proven to actually
make your performance be much better.
Now let’s take it a step further to anxiety.
Anxiety is what happens when the habit of
worrying spins out of control, your body gets
really agitated and then you allow your mind
to escalate it into a full blown panic attack.
For those of you that have not had the pleasure
of having a panic attack let me explain what
Have you ever been in your car and you are
driving down the road and you go to change
lanes and then all of a sudden there is like
oh my God there is a car right here.
You swerve a little bit and then your heart
is like and you may sweat a little bit and
you grip the wheel really tight and you are
super locked in on the road ahead of you.
Then that car pulls away and the near miss
scenario passes and your mind starts going,
“Okay you are all right now that’s it.”
That’s what a panic attack is only it happens
while you are standing in front of your coffee
You have that same, “Oh my God [inaudible
00:38:55],” and your heart’s racing and
the problem for your brain is that your brain
can’t look around and say, “Holy cow we
almost got hit by a car.”
Your brain is saying, “What the hell is
wrong with her, she is making coffee and she
is freaking out,” so now your brain is the
problem because what’s our brain’s job
it’s designed to protect you.
Your brain will now do whatever it can to
magnify the problem remember we talked about
the spotlight effect.
It will start telling you all kinds of crazy
stuff because it can’t figure out contextually,
“What the hell is going on she is just making
coffee now her heart is racing and she is
breathing really, holy cow maybe she is having
a heart attack.”
A lot of people that have panic attacks say,
“I think I’m dying oh my God what’s
happening,” or you see them do the deer
in the headlights thing where they got to
get out of the room.
That is the spotlight effect in your brain
now taking control and magnifying everything
to get you out of whatever it was.
Here is how you use the second rule; you use
it to stabilize your thoughts before the panic
Then what happens is it drifts into worry
and then it disappears.
The second you feel worry you catch it you
train yourself to do that.
If you start feeling yourself getting your
heat racing you can; five, four, three, two,
one and use the, “I’m excited, I’m excited.”
If that doesn’t work literally; five, four,
three, two, one and just give yourself an
anchor thought literally of you being okay.
I’ll give you another quick example because
this is one that we have a tremendous number
of success with and people that hear the example
use it immediately and are blown away.
I used to be terrified of flying, terrified
every bump I’d be freaking out.
I started using this strategy with the plane,
so the second that you feel yourself getting
nervous; five, four, three, two, one and then
your anchor thought is a vision of what you
are going to do when you get to where you
When I get on the plane tomorrow to fly back
to Boston I’ll think about walking in the
house and the place is like a disaster.
It’ll look like everybody’s stuff got
loaded into a can and then fired all over
the first floor.
If we hit turbulence; five, four, three, two,
one I’ll think about that vision because
cognitively for my brain if I’m walking
in the house and it’s a disaster the plane
made it that’s the power of this.
Tom: What I love about you Mel is that a,
I love how raw and real you are about your
own situation which … Because people are
going to look at you and the first thing they
are going to want to do is make you extraordinary
way not to have to live up to your standard
because what you have accomplished really
is astonishing and seeing you on stage is
You are so good at that and I know that it
comes from working your ass off but wow it’s
very, very impressive.
Mel: Thank you.
Tom: Then that you use techniques like that
you’ve got answers for how have I done this
I’ve done it like this and I’ve had cast
sit across to me that that’s not their stake.
Like they have done truly extraordinary things
with their life but they seem just like totally
blind to how they did it.
The fact that you can walk people through
it is so cool.
Mel: Well I think we are all flawed and that’s
the beauty of who you are.
Instead of trying to make yourself perfect
in every area it’s so much easier when you
accept the things that you are terrible at
or that are your weaknesses or that are things
about your wiring.
Look if I were diabetic I would take insulin
I happen to be somebody that’s wired for
anxiety no big deal.
Figure out how to instead of fighting those
things actually trick it, because the truth
is that you are never going to feel ready
to make these changes.
You are never going to feel like doing them
but you can always make a decision that’s
always in your control.
Staying with somebody that treats you like
garbage is a decision, it is.
Staying at a job that you hate is a decision.
Staying in the body that you are not proud
of is a decision.
Is it going to be easy?
No it’s not going to be easy to change it’s
simple, do a Google search and then use the
five second rule to force yourself to do that
Change comes down to five second decisions
and this is why the five second rule is important
for everybody to know.
It’s your job to push yourself and I don’t
care if you are Dr. Martin Luther King Junior
or you are Michelangelo or you are Lin-Manuel
Miranda who wrote Hamilton you will struggle
Everybody that you admire everybody and the
list is the same; Oprah Winfrey and I want
to be like Tom and I want to be like Branson
and I want to be like Jay-Z and I want like
… Everybody is listed as a Bill Gates.
Do you know what those people do, they do
not have the habit of hesitating they trust
Tom: Now really fast before we go tell us
about the million dollar mornings and setting
Mel: Yes, I have a gift.
Here is the thing I did one thing other than
the five second rule that has changed my life,
my marriage everything.
I do not have the phone in my bedroom.
The phone is designed by people like your
phone you should not have your phone in your
bedroom and here is why; because what’s
on your phone is not your dreams.
What’s on your phone is stuff that’s been
designed by people that studied game theory.
You know why you check your email all the
You know why you are constantly looking at
It’s called random rewards.
It’s a psychological principal that explains
why we pull slot machines, because every six
or seven times we get a little random reward
so we keep going back.
I know most emails blow but every once in
a while you get a good one that’s why you
I created this course called The Million Dollar
Morning; whether you want to make a million
dollars a year or in a morning or whether
you want to wake up and feel like a million
This is the science backed strategy step by
step for how to wake up because it’s not
when you wake up that matters it’s how you
wake up that matters.
We filmed it at the house I walk you through
all the science, I show you the whole routine
and we’re giving it to your audience for
Tom: Wow thank you.
Mel: You are welcome, because look I want
you to use things.
It’s one thing to talk, talk, talk and think
it’s another thing to actually take action.
The more that you can provide, that I can
provide that shows people what to do and the
more tools that we can give people to get
out of their heads and into action the more
the world is going to improve, the more your
life will improve.
Tom: All right I get the feeling that this
whole time has sort of been answering this
question but I’m going to ask it anyway;
what’s the impact that you want to have
on the world?
Mel: The impact that I want to have is I want
to teach people how to discover the power
that’s inside of them.
To live fully in the open and share themselves;
who they are, who they are not like there
is so much fear that we live with.
I want to teach people how to live with more
courage because courage is nothing more than
the ability to do things that are uncertain.
In today’s world we have the internet you
can literally learn, launch, do anything.
The only thing that’s truly stopping you
are the limiting patterns that you think;
the self-doubt, the fear, the habits that
you have and you can break them.
You can break them five seconds at a time.
The impact that I want to have is I want to
teach people a simple way to discover the
power that’s locked inside them and then
to unleash it and go out and live the life
they’ve always dreamt of.
Tom: Awesome Mel thank you so much for [crosstalk
Mel: I want a hug get over there.
Tom: Got it.
Guys you are going to want to dive into the
very warm waters that are this woman’s world.
It is absolutely astonishing I’m talking
raw vulnerability but what I love is no matter
how silly some of the things she may say they
are, they are incredibly powerful.
You will see her community they will reach
out, you will see them talking about how they
have changed in real time whether it’s stepping
back of a ledge and not making a catastrophically
Whether it’s just truly jumping out of bed
and attacking their life, unleashing the power
that they have within themselves to live the
life they were meant to live, to finally own
what they actually want which is something
that she really, really encourages everybody
to do especially our community.
It is unbelievable and you guys will benefit
so tremendously from somebody who is able
to convey the difference between motivation
which is bullshit and action which is real.
That is where she has made a name for herself,
she is all about action you guys.
Heard it today she breaks things down into
the not always easy but the always simple
steps and if you follow those steps you will
be able to transform your life really in five
seconds or less.
It’s absolutely breathtaking she backs everything
up with science.
Mel where can they find you online?
Mel: Anywhere just Google Mel Robbins seriously;
I’m on Insta, I’m on Facebook, I’m on
Twitter, we’re on Snap, we’re on LinkedIn,
website is melrobbins.com or email me no joke
Give us a couple of days to respond but we
respond so there you go and don’t troll
Look I’m on CNN people talk about the turkey
neck they write nothing but trashy stuff all
the time, so don’t go there.
If you write you need help you need more advice
and we have so much free content; so many
videos, so many articles so just go to melrobbins.com
and you’ll find all kinds of cool stuff.
Tom: Go check it out guys and have the life
that you’ve always wanted.
One more time please help me in thanking this
incredible woman with the amazing shoes Mel
what a pleasure I’m coming in for one more
All right guys it’s a weekly show be sure
to subscribe and until next time my friends
be legendary, take care.
Hey everybody thanks so much for joining us
for another episode of Impact Theory.
If this content is adding value to your life
all I want to ask is go to iTunes and Stitcher
and rate and review.
Not only does that help us build this community
which at the end of the day is all we care
about, but it also helps us get even more
amazing guests on here to share their knowledge
with all of us.
Thank you guys so much for being a part of
this community and until next time be legendary
How did we do?
If you rate this transcript 3 or below, this
agent will not work on your future orders