How to stop screwing yourself over | Mel Robbins | TEDxSF

How to stop screwing yourself over | Mel Robbins | TEDxSF

Translator: Judith Matz
Reviewer: Tatjana Jevdjic Bigger welcome!
Hello, San Francisco! TEDx – oh my God, blinding light! Hi, everybody! How are you? (Audience cheering) Fine?!
Oh my gosh! Okay, so… My name is Mel Robbins,
and for the last seventeen years, I have done nothing but help people
get everything that they want. Within reason! My husband’s here. So, I’ve done it in the courtroom,
in the boardroom, in the bedroom, in people’s living room,
whatever room you want to be in, if I’m there, I will help you get whatever
you want by any means necessary. For the last three years –
I host a syndicated radio show. Five days a week,
I go live in forty cities and I talk to men and women
across America who feel stuck. Do you know that a third of Americans
feel dissatisfied with their lives right now? That is a hundred million people! That’s insane! And I’ve come face to face with it
in this new show that I’m doing, which is also insane,
it’s called “In-laws”. I move in with families across America –
(Laughter) You guessed it! – who are at war with their in-laws. We move them into the same house,
I verbally assassinate everybody, we open up Pandora’s box, and I get people to stop arguing
about the donuts and who is hosting
Thanksgiving dinner, and talk about the real stuff. And that’s what I want
to talk to you about. I’m here for you. I’m going to tell you everything I know
in less than eighteen minutes about how to get what you want. So I want you to take
a millisecond right now and think about what you want. You! And I want you to be selfish. Screw Simon and the “We” thing.
This is about me, right now! (Laughter) (Applause)
Sorry, Simon. What do you want?
And here’s the deal. I don’t want it to sound good
to other people. Being healthy will not get your ass
on a treadmill. Losing your manboobs,
so you can hook up with somebody, now that’s motivation.
(Laughter) So, I want to know: What do you want? Do you want to lose weight?
Do you want to triple your income? Do you want to start a nonprofit?
Do you want to find love? What is it? Get it, right here. You know what it is, don’t analyze it
to death, just pick something. That’s part of the problem.
You won’t pick. So, we’re going to be talking about
how you get what you want. And frankly, getting what you want
is simple. But notice I didn’t say it was easy. It’s very simple. In fact, if you think about it, we live in the most amazing
moment in time. So that thing that you have up here,
whatever it may be, you want to use healthy eating
to cure your diabetes, you want to figure out
how to take care of the elders and start a new hospice center, you want to move to Africa
and build a school… Guess what? You can walk into a book store
– right now! – and buy at least ten books
written by credentialed experts on how the hell you do it. You could Google it. And you could probably find at least,
I don’t know – a thousand blogs documenting the step, by step,
by step transformation that somebody else is already doing. You can find anybody online
and cyber-stalk them! (Laughter) You can just walk in their footsteps –
just use the science of drafting. Follow what everyone else has done,
because somebody is already doing it! So why don’t you have what you want, when you have all the information
that you need, you have the contacts that you need, there are probably free tools online
that allow you to start a business, or join a group, or do whatever
the heck you want!? It all comes down to one word: F*©#. Shut the front door,
you know what I’m talking about? The f-bomb. It’s everywhere! You hear it all the time! I honestly don’t understand
what the appeal is of the word. I mean, you don’t sound smart
when you say it. And it’s really not expressing
how you really feel. It’s sort of a cheap shot to take. And of course you know
I’m talking about the word “fine”. “How you doing?”
“Oh, I’m fine.” Oh, really? You are? Dragging around those extra
forty pounds, you’re fine? Feeling like roommates with your spouse,
and you’re fine? You haven’t had sex in four months,
you’re fine? Really?! I don’t think so! But see, here’s the deal with saying
that you’re fine: It’s actually genius. Because if you’re fine,
you don’t have to do anything about it. But when you think about this word “fine”,
it just makes me so angry. Here we are at a conference
about being alive and you’re going to describe
the experience of being alive as “fine”?! What a flimsy and feeble word! If you’re crappy, say you’re crappy! If you’re amazing say you’re amazing! Tell the truth! And this not only goes
for the social construct: “Oh, I don’t want to burden you
with the fact that I hate my life”, or: “Hey, I’m amazing! But that
would make you feel terrible.” The bigger issue – The bigger issue with “fine”
is that you say it to yourself. That thing that you want,
I guarantee you, you’ve convinced yourself
that you’re fine not having it. That’s why you’re not pushing yourself. It’s the areas in your life
where you’ve given up. Where you’ve said, “Oh, I’m fine.
My mom’s never going to change, so I just can’t have that conversation.” “I’m fine. We’ve got to wait until
the kids graduate, before we get divorced, so we’ll just sleep in separate bedrooms.” “I’m fine. I lost my job,
I can barely pay my bills, but whatever – It’s hard to get a job.” One of the reasons why this word also just
annoys me so much is, scientists have calculated – Oh yeah, I’m coming down!
(Laughter) Scientists have calculated the odds of you being born. That’s right. They’ve crunched
the numbers. I see you up there. They’ve crunched the numbers on you – Yeah, you guys standing up,
you want to sit down for this. They’ve crunched the numbers
on you being born. And they took into account
all of the wars, and the natural disasters,
and the dinosaurs, and everything else. And do you realize that the odds,
the odds of you, yeah, right here,
put your computer away, stand up for me, Doug!
(Laughter) So the odds of Doug here,
turn around, say “hi” to everybody – the odds of Doug being born at the moment in time he was born, to the parents you were born to,
with the DNA structure that you have, one in four hundred trillion! Isn’t that amazing?
Doug: I’m so lucky! Mel: Yes! You’re not fine,
you’re fantastic! You have life-changing ideas for a reason,
and it’s not to torture yourself. Thank you. Thank you, Doug.
(Applause) Christine was right when she said
all of you could be on stage. Because all of you
– we’re all in this category. One in four hundred trillion. All day long you have ideas
that could change your life, that could change the world,
that could change the way that you feel, and what do you do with them?
Nothing! (Grunts) Hopefully I won’t moon you.
(Laughter) You didn’t pay for that.
(Laughter) And I want you to just think for a minute,
because we all have – I love to use the analogy
“the inner snooze button” – you have these amazing ideas
that bubble up. You’ve been watching people all day and I guarantee you,
like ping pong balls – bam-bam-bam and everytime you have an idea,
what do you do? – Hit the snooze! What’s the first decision
you made this morning? I bet it was to go back to bed. “Yeah, first decision today,
I’m one in four hundred trillion, I’m going to go back to sleep.” And I get it! Your bed is comfortable!
It’s cosy, it’s warm! If you’re lucky, you’ve got somebody
that you love next to you, or in my case, I’ve got my husband
and my two kids and possibly the dog. And the reason why I’m bringing up
this first decision that you made today, and the inner snooze alarm,
is because in any area of your life
that you want to change, any – there’s one fact
that you need to know. This one: You are never going to feel like it. Ever. No one’s coming,
motivation isn’t happening, you’re never going to feel like it. Scientists call it activation energy. That’s what they call the force required to get you to change
from what you’re doing on autopilot to do something new. So try this test tomorrow. You think you’re so fancy,
I know, you’re attending TED. (Laughter)
Try this. Tomorrow morning, set your alarm
for thirty minutes earlier. And then when it goes off,
take those sheets, throw them off, and stand up
and start your day. No snooze, no delay, no, “I’ll just wait here for five seconds
because Mel’s not standing here” – Do it. And the reason why I want you to do it
is because you will come face to face with the physical,
and I mean physical force that’s required to change your behavior. Do you think that somebody
who needs to lose weight ever feels like going on a diet? Of course not! You think they ever feel like eating
boiled chicken and peas instead of a croissant? I don’t think so! The activation energy required to get your ass away
from your computer and out the front door, to go on the walk, you said
that you were going to go on, is the exact same amount of force
that it takes you to push yourself out of a warm bed
and into a cold room. What’s interesting about being an adult is that when you become eighteen, nobody tells you that it’s now
going to be your job to parent yourself. And by “parent yourself”, I mean it’s your job to make yourself
do the crap you don’t want to do, so you can be everything
that you’re supposed to be. And you’re so damn busy
waiting to feel like it. And you’re never going to! My son never feels like getting off his DS.
That’s my job! Get off the damn DS! Kendall, clean up the Barbies! If you’re going to have a nude party
in my bathroom, at least clean it up! (Laughter) God, chew with your mouth closed!
We’re not a barn, for crying out loud! Alright, dinner is coming,
get out of the pantry. As parents, and you were a kid, your parents make you do the things
you don’t feel like doing. Because you won’t. Ever. Not now, not then, not ever! And even when you get good at something, you’ll figure out something else
you don’t want to do. And then you’ll plateau out, get bored,
“I hate this job. Blah blah boring.” But will you look for a new one?
No! You’ll just bitch about that one. It’s very, very simple
to get what you want. But it’s not easy. You have to force yourself. And I mean force. And the reason why
I use the word “force” – when Roz was up here
and talking about the emotion tracking, and she had the picture
of two sides of the brain – I look at the brain the exact same way. Only I describe one side
of your brain as autopilot and the other side as emergency brake. That’s the only two speeds you get:
autopilot, emergency brake. And guess which one your brain
likes better: autopilot. You’ve had the experience where
you’ve driven to work and you get there and you’re like, “Oh my God,
I don’t remember ever driving here.” (Laughter) You weren’t drunk!
That was your brain on autopilot. It was functioning just at this level. And the problem with your mind
is that anytime you do anything that’s different
from your normal routine, guess what your brain does —
emergency brake! And it has that reaction for everything.
Everything! You walk into the kitchen
and see everybody’s left their breakfast
dishes for you. And you think for the hundredth time,
“I’m going to kill them. In fact I’m gonna leave it here
and I’m going to make them do it.” But that’s not your normal routine, is it? So your mind goes: emergency brake! And you go right into autopilot. “I’ll just load it, and be pissed,
and then not have sex. That’s what I’m going to do.”
(Laughter) (Applause) So, when I say “force”, anything that’s a break from your routine
is going to require force. And if you think about your life, it’s kind of funny because we are kids
and then we become adults, and we spend so much time
trying to push our life into some sort of stable routine, and then we grow bored of it! You wake up at the same time every day,
you have largely the same breakfast, you drive to work the same way,
show up at work, look busy, avoid making calls,
update Facebook, you attend a meeting
and doodle the whole time, go back and update Facebook,
make plans for the evening, you look busy some more,
then drive home the same way, you eat largely the same dinner
or a variety of it, you watch the same kind of media, and then you go to bed,
and do the same thing all over again! No wonder you’re bored out
of your mind! It’s the routine that’s killing you. I have this theory about
why people get stuck in life. So, most of you’ve probably taken
your Basic Psych 101 class, and you’ve bumped into
Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”? Well, your body is kinda cool.
Because you have these basic needs. And your body is wired
to send you signals. If you need food, what do you feel? If you need water, what do you feel? If you need sex, what do you feel?
(Laughter) Thank you. I think when you feel stuck
or dissatisfied in your life, it’s a signal. And it’s not a signal
that your life is broken. It’s a signal that one of your most
basic needs are not being met. Your need for exploration. Everything about your life,
about your body, grows! Your cells regenerate,
your hair, your nails, everything grows for your entire life. And your soul needs exploration
and growth. And the only way you’ll get it is
by forcing yourself to be uncomfortable. Forcing yourself to get outside, out of your head.
Thank you. If you’re in your head,
you’re behind enemy lines. That is not God talking, okay?
It’s not! In fact, if I put a speaker on it
and we broadcast what you say to yourself, we would institutionalize you.
(Laughter) You would not hang out with people
that talk to you the way you talk to yourself. So get out of your head! Your feelings!
Your feelings are screwing you! I don’t care how you feel!
I care about what you want! And if you listen to how you feel, when it comes to what you want –
you will not get it. Because you will never feel like it. And you need to get outside
your comfort zone. It’s not about taking risks, it’s about getting outside
your comfort zone. Those first three seconds when
you push yourself out of bed, they blow. But once you’re up, it’s great. Those first three seconds when
you’re sitting here in a stadium like this and somebody says,
“Get up and come dance,” and you think,
“Oh, I should do that,” and then you’re like, “Uhmm.” That experience that you had
when you had the impulse to do it and then you didn’t do
the activation energy required to force yourself, your emergency brake got pulled –
“I’m sitting right here. I’m not going up with those
crazy people, I don’t like to dance…” What happened for me is
I came up, and I bumped into Rachel, and then we started talking,
and next thing you know, she’s tweeting. And we’re friends.
And – boom! Get outside. That’s where the magic is. That’s where the one
in four hundred trillion exists. So everything I do –
oh, OK, this is the last part. Sorry. So one more thing that you can use,
I call it the five-second-rule. Your mind can process a facial expression
in 33 milliseconds. It can move pretty damn quick. The other thing that it does very quickly is if you have one of those little
impulses that are pulling you, if you don’t marry it with an action
within five seconds, you pull the emergency brake
and kill the idea. Kill it! If you have the impulse to get up
and come dance while the band is playing, if you don’t stand up in five seconds, you’re going to pull
the emergency brake. If you have an impulse about, you were inspired by somebody’s
speech today, and you don’t do something
within five seconds – write a note, send yourself a text – anything physical to marry it
with the idea, you will pull the emergency brake
and kill the idea. Your problem isn’t ideas.
Your problem is you don’t act on them. You kill them. It’s not my fault.
It’s not anybody’s fault. You’re doing it to yourself.
Stop it! I’m counting on you.
One in four hundred trillion. You got stuff to do! And it’s not going to happen
in your head. So I want you
to practice this today. When we go off to party,
thank God it’s coming soon, because I think
we all could use a cocktail, I want you to practice
the five-second-rule. You see somebody and you think
you have an impulse, they look interesting?
Walk over there! You were inspired by somebody
and you have a request? Make it! That’s why you’re here! Experiment with it, and I think
you’ll be shocked about what happens. And one more thing, I want you to know
that everything that I do, whether it’s the radio show,
or the television show, or the book that I wrote,
or the column, it’s for you. And if there is anything that I can do, if I can do anything to make you do
the things you don’t want to do, so you can have what you want,
I will do it. But you need to walk over,
you need to open your mouth, and you need to make the request. You got it? Good.
Go do it. (Applause) Thank you! Thank you, yes!
Stand up! You have the impulse, stand up!
Thank you!

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. She doesnt get it. I force myself to do the work I do. The thing is, I cant get better at all. I failed at academics. I failed at art. I failed at 3D art. People make amazing stuff after 3 months while I just became at the same level as them after 1 year. It's humiliating.

  2. People need to stop asking people hi how are you to complete strangers. I get asked this all the time by customers. So yeah maybe sometimes my response is good or fine. I don’t feel like answering the question and I find it rude to ask

  3. It's a good message but I don't care for her; I find her a bit annoying. She reminds me of Samantha Bee who is super annoying in a very similar way.

  4. Is anyone else concerned that she said the chance of you being born is one in "400 trillion" but put up on the screen 1 in 400 billion? I guess lawyers aren't good at numbers.

  5. That was 400 billion on the screen. Sorry. I absolutely could not help myself. Superlike on the video btw

  6. I want you to know that I started doing this in Dec 18. I quit my awful job (delivery driver) and quit smoking and quit drinking a 6 pack of beer every night. I still have not been back to work. I have been making art for people and scrambling for the art jobs fast and having garage sales and really just putting the pedal to the metal every single day. I am still not financially stable and panic every bill. But I am aimed at personal happiness and using my actual talents to make a living. I have been loving every single scary moment since Dec 7, 2018 at (NO KIDDING!!) 2. A. M. I really mean this. I emptied a current beer, put out my cigarette, and rushed upstairs to my living area and started unburying my life from all kinds of 20 years of stuff that I allowed to get piled up and in the way of me feeling anywhere near creative, and it was exactly 2 am!! I did not stop for about 2 days, almost manically. But I swear when I wake up any day I jump up and rush to what it was I had to stop doing because sleep demanded itself. I have not touched or even WANTED to touch a cigarette since. And I can drink a single beer and not NEED to grab another one. I also do not even have time or care about having another beer until I truly take a break (a physical one). I have not quit drinking, but I HAVE quit drinking HABITUALLY. I absolutely will not ever let another habit or addiction control me ever again. Please know that this is possible! Good luck everyone!

  7. I did some research and calculations and put it in a video a few days ago – it turns out that 5-hours a day procrastination (very common for most of us) equals a loss of $32,500 per year if you earn $25 per hour. If you were to make that money instead and invested it with a 7% return rate… it turns out you are wasting over $454,000 in 10 years and $6.5M in 40 years. Ouch!!! If you ever feel stressed out about money… you might want to do something about that.

  8. "you're never gonna feel like it"
    all of her ideas will work for a short time but she doesn't address really fixing your issues.
    I don't believe in laziness. people are held back by the restraints of their past. parents, preachers, whoever had the most influence.
    best way is to work through your issues, maybe with the help of a good therapist.
    "just doing it" isn't gonna work in the long run

  9. what if I'm actually fine even tho I don't have the perfect body shape this society wants from me? this woman seems to be driven to follow the requests of modern day society.

  10. I just heard your video on How to get what you want. I Don't know where you are now at this moment on your Quest for everything nice. Do you still have your column??? I do different things which include writting….I know nothing about starting a URL even thou i have the book….. My products are great but it takes a good chuck of money to put them out there. Marketing I know is a big part. But for reasons that I know i don't give shirts or haven't gave any away. That includes other things like hats. By the way looking for a great Writers conference first then a publishing house next. If you know of one Please do Tell. I have some short stories written and 1 is almost finished that is also for children which includes animals. Like I said Its Seems like its never the right time but it is now for me because i know what i have been doing works and I know my writings are good. I have three kids two almost out of College studies and one still in Highschool Plus if you wait you just might get a divorse and remarry someone more interesting? after sueing some towns people for their crimal acts like neglagence lots of things like child molestation ect. Not your ordinary town of loose lipped about others private and public or is it the other way Public and private lives. Then the plot thickens when you got people using animals like dogs and other animals in cult rituals. Yes Not your typical amazing little town where everything runs correctly half the time. Not here or somewhere else I am sure. Well I hope to get a comment back. ??? Yes The Cathedral of Notre Dame burned what a huge disappointment never to have seen it before it gets restored. So glad that queen won in her years? My business name P.O.E.M. designs?. You might hear something like i gave no permission several times to stick hands where coins are to use a grain or any other food product for any purposes. Or now at this time Wolf Wolf because there are some FAlseApo….and……FProhets out there. I am reading at this time a great book by Danielle Steel called In his fathers footsteps.

  11. I have several great cookbooks as well by some nice authors. But they don't live by the Emerald city. And i have fb and instagram you can find me on both. Thanks once more.

  12. Great speech, but events that have odds of 1:400,000,000,000 happen all the time. If you predicted an event of those odds, then that exact event occurred, then that would be amazing. But naturally events of those odds will just happen all the time.

  13. simple keep your pants on and don't spread your legs.  so many drama queens and sirs like slam poetry-damn just be yourself.

  14. Everyone is talking about how to get what you want, nobody talks about how to know what you want. We are living in a generation where choices become more and more complicated to make. People are assaulted with information at lengths of time on phone, media, television, internet … Too many choices kill the choice. You know, when we know where we're going, we've already done halfway.

  15. 1/3of Americans being dissatisfied with their life is actually quite low. That mean 2/3 are content. The others 1/3 now have motivation to get content.

  16. One always gets what one wants, because to claim otherwise is dualist nonsense, and is only dissociated from the intention when the thought forms seem undesirable.

  17. Poor thing looked like she sure had a challenge with that audience! They looked bored and half asleep ? even though I thought she did a nice job!

  18. I now have unlimited motivation to attend to my responsibilities and to pursue my "productive", creative hobbies (which I actually deeply love and enjoy) like conducting research into how to further improve my health and well being and designing my own customized health plan accordingly.

    Why do I enjoy learning how to improve my health and well being? Because it means feeling more happy more often, feeling less stress, having more energy, looking better, FEELING BETTER (often even euphoric, like I do after some cardio and a sauna session.)

    Basically, health and well being is a hedonistic pursuit for me. I've never felt more euphoric pleasure as I do right now. So I don't need self-discipline to eat a steak worry properly prepared vegetables with superfood spices like turmeric and cayenne. I eat it and immediately feel EUPHORIC. No discipline needed there.

    As far as my responsibilities go, that's all about your philosophy of responsibility. If I stay on top of my responsibilities every day, then they require two hours of my day. Once I earn more money, I can hire a virtual assistant for $15/hr such that I can get that down to 30 minutes a day. But if I ignore my responsibilities, they pile up, and there are always consequences for ignoring them. Ignore a bill? Bad credit. Can't get the car you want. Don't do laundry? No nice clothes to wear when you land a date with an amazing woman. Don't check email? You lose a major business opportunity.

    Responsibility = PLEASURE
    Procrastination = PAIN

  19. What a bird. Fun to watch. Love the study in mocha (her clothes) … So, what do you do with TOO MANY IDEAS? The flood is unmanageable!

  20. Umm… I am amazed this has 20 million views listen to entre'—–what do you want ? Want the cry of the average American middle class…Want… what happened to discernment , going deep listening to yourself , asking questions , want —need—obligated —, treat adults like children and you'll get eventually hopefully punched , Yes life is a compromise , try forcing yourself when it isn't or doesn't feel right , ask a marathon runner , or an athlete , or a writer etc etc …20 million people who can't question , reflect be flexible and open minded , "i" me culture of America , MASOW said Being , emphasize being …..

  21. You're amazing speaker & motivator. It's all about application on things we learned.I'm new on this platform & I am looking forward to motivate more audiences also.You're great!????

  22. has it ever occurred to you that your voice will never be heard so why bother shouting but when you're on the internet there's always someone who will see, maybe not acknowledge it but will have a glance.

  23. amazing video. your view totally make me feel more confident to live as the way I want. give you a lot of compliment tonnes. love you

  24. Mel had systematic one month free you tube sessions from the New Years onwards, check it out on her channel, it is worth it.
    I liked this in her tedx:

    – when you tell you are fine – you don't have to do anything about it.

    -Any time you do anything different from usual you pull emergency break. It is not normal routine, your mind go to auto pilot. Anything to break from routine requires force.

    -your basic need is not being met – need for exploration. Everything in your body grow, your soul needs growth

  25. I disagree, this is only one aspect…. you should feel excitement too about doing what will bring positive change … the problem is beleiving in it and being worth it, and this requires the activation energy to pull you through and keep you on track. but the impetus can be natural passion which can happily get you up in the morning

  26. You are beautiful and exactly right. Our biggest problem is our unwillingness to feel uncomfortable. In it is GROWTH. As we learn and soon we become comfortable again. I have experienced a lifetime of change over the last 7 years, because I used the very things that you said in your talk.

    God bless you!

  27. I’ve been procrastinating on summer reading all through break, now I’m here watching a TedTalk about getting your life together two days before school starts and I still don’t have it done. I’m fine thanks for asking ?

  28. There’s many ways for you to get what you want and forcing yourself to do things you really don’t want to do is a recipe for disaster.

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