Mel Robbins: Why Motivation is Garbage

Mel Robbins: Why Motivation is Garbage

Oh, motivation. You tricky little devil. You come in and out of our lives as fast as we can hit the snooze button in the morning and miss that 6am spin class, again.


What gives?


According to former criminal defense attorney turned CNN contributor and best-selling author, Mel Robbins, we need to ditch our desire to “get motivated” out the window.


Robbins recently appeared on an episode of Impact Theory, the show that brought us Simon Sinek’s viral musings on millennials in the workplace.


Robbins says at some point we all bought into the lie that we have to feel ready in order to change. “We bought into this falsehood that at some point, we’re going to have the courage, it’s complete garbage,” Robbins said.


She explains how our brains are not designed to do things that are uncomfortable, scary or difficult. They are designed to protect us from these things to keep us alive, she says.


“In order to change—in order to build a business or to be the best parent—you’re going to have to do things that are difficult, uncertain or scary. Which sets up this problem for all of us. You’re never going to feel like it.”


“You only feel motivated to do the things that are easy.”


The key is to learn how to take control of micro-moments and make reality-shifting decisions within a matter of seconds. In those moments when we stop and hesitate, it sends a signal that wakes up the brain.


“You can truly trace every problem or complaint in your life to silence and hesitation,” she says. “You get trapped in what I call the knowledge-action gap. You know what to do, but you can’t seem to make yourself do it.”


In order to learn how to take control of those micro-moments, Robbins shared a concept she’s been developing for years, “The 5-Second Rule” for decision making.


“If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it”, Robbins explained. “When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action.”


There is a window that exists between the moment you have an instinct to change and your mind killing it. It’s a 5 second window. And according to Robbins research, it exists for everyone.

Robbins’ TEDx Talk on this topic, “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over”, offers more science to back her concept and has been viewed over 8 million times.


“Your life comes down to your decisions,” Mel says. “And if you change your decisions you will change everything.”