How to read a textbook effectively

One of the most common study tips among top students is to take full advantage of lessons by reading the topic before attending class.
But when you look at the huge Physiology book lying on the shelf and you’re not really sure where to begin, one of three things might happen:

  1. You’ll convince yourself to face that challenge after dinner (which probably won’t happen)
  2. You decide to make a quick youtube search and watch a video on the subject instead of getting first-hand information
  3. You start reading a 20-page chapter about a subject that afterward, you’re not able to explain in your own words or even tell the difference between what’s important and what isn’t.

Sounds familiar?
This is because you are approaching your textbook the wrong way, I got frustrated many times by trying to understand a chapter of a textbook while just reading it from start to finish like I was reading a novel, this is the #1 mistake.

Here’s how to actually get the most of your textbook, by reading it more effectively; following these steps, you’ll start diving into the subject with a great view of it and going down to the details, therefore getting a better understanding of it.

1. Do a quick skim through the pages without focusing on anything particular.

This way, you’ll see how is the chapter structured, are there graphics? Images? Tables? Or is it just paragraphs of information? How long are they? Are there subtitles or just blocks of text?

If there’s something that caught your attention don’t fall into the temptation of stopping and reading that page because you’re probably not ready to understand it yet.

By getting an idea of how your book has organized this particular chapter you’ll get ready for reading, and you’ll know what to expect.

2. Read the questions at the end of the chapter

Most of the textbooks have a final section of questions to test if you’ve learned and reached the objectives of that lesson. Often teachers take some of these questions and customize them to apply them on tests or during classes.
By reading these questions you’ll have an idea of what is important to know about the subject and your brain will give you a sign when you’re reading through the chapter and find an answer to some of these questions.
You’ll have something to “look for” and the lecture will be more active and enjoyable for you, like a treasure hunt.

3. Read the titles and subtitles

Like the ingredients of a meal, the big subject is made from little chunks of information, when you go through the components of the big subject you’ll find it easier to understand the structure when you start to actually read about it.
For instance, let’s say you’re reading a chapter about the endocrine system, the first section will explain what are hormones and glands, the second how hormones make things happen in our bodies, and then you’ll have several sections describing each gland of the body.
You now have a global vision of the subject, by just knowing what the book is going to describe you in each section.

4. Read the first paragraph of each section

The first paragraph has a summary of what you’re about to read, a brief description or introduction so you get ready to fully dive into the subject. Often, you’ll find the definition of the title of this section right on the first paragraph, depending on the field you’re studying.

5. Now you’re ready to read it from start to end

You should now have a global idea of the subject and the components of the main topic covered in this chapter, it will be easier to understand when you read through it, and the chances of you having to re-read to understand where is something coming from are much lower.
Try to actively read, if there’s a term you don’t understand write it down and continue reading, this is the moment to formulate questions for the lecture you’ll be attending. If you remember some of the questions you read on step 2 and found an answer you’re doing it great!

6. Understand and USE the tables and graphics of the textbook.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve skipped these gold mines. Tables on textbooks are a great way to have a more visual and condensed shot of information. Once you’ve fully studied the subject, went to classes, taken your notes, made your flashcards, whatever study method you use you can implement reviewing relevant tables from textbooks to remember the important stuff.
Once I learned how to use tables and graphics I am a big fan of these, and they’re part of my reviewing repertoire.

Now you’re ready to wrestle with that thousand pages textbook, go ahead.
Happy learning!

How to help out a mom struggling through college?

How to help out a mom struggling through college?

We all know someone who decides to continue studying and working on his/her career after having a family.

This is specially challenging on the first years of the kids’ lives and when is mom who decides to study, even when the other parent shares equal responsibility to support her studies; we still live in a society where there are very high expectations for women family-wise.

Here’s how you can give a hand to that person you care about, when she’s having a hard time balancing her studies and home life.

  1. Offer to babysit her kids for a couple hours while she studies.
  2. Help her with meal preparations and house chores.
  3. Don’t text her endlessly, if you really want to know how she’s doing ask if she can talk and give her a call.
  4. Listen to her when she needs to vent.
  5. Remind her she’s doing a great work just by committing to finish her studies after being a mom.
  6. Make her a cup of coffee when she has to study.
  7. Help her out with running errands.
  8. Take the kids to school or from school back home for her.
  9. Celebrate her academic successes
  10. Remind her that one grade does not define her overall performance.
  11. Remind her of important dates

1. Offer to babysit her kids

Some weeks we get so caught up in our routines that we neglect study time, it can be so helpful if you just offer to take the kids out for a while, take them to the park, to watch a movie, or just play around with them at home but giving you mom friend some space and time study.

2. Help her with meal preparations and house chores.

It depends on the mom, some like me will refuse at first, but if you have enough trust and familiarity with that person they will accept the help.

I will be happy EVERY TIME you offer to cook, it is the one thing about motherhood that gets me on my nerves, if you know there’s something that your mom fellow doesn’t like to do offer to do it for her and suggest that she uses the time to study.

Simple tasks like sweeping and mopping, taking the laundry out to hang, or cleaning up kids’ mess can make some busy mama’s day easier.

3. Don’t text her endlessly

Anyone who studies/works and has toddlers can tell you this: there’s no time to fool around with the cellphone. I don’t even know when was the last time I published an Instagram story or WhatsApp status. I am forced to use Facebook for online classes and it is so distracting, I hate when I find myself caught up in a social media binge!

I rather attend a call for 15 minutes catching up with someone than spending 3 hours in and out of a WhatsApp chat to say half of the things that we could’ve spoken over the phone. Because let’s be honest, moms won’t answer right away when you text them, this conversation you try to keep with her can take hours.

Make it simple, give her a call, I promise you it will be more valuable.

4. Listen to her when she needs to vent

Ah, we all have those days, sometimes moms feel guilty about being stressed out and wanting to give it all up. It is difficult for us to say it out loud, if your fellow mom trusts you enough to open up listen to her, have empathy, let her know it is okay to feel that way, she doesn’t have to be perfect.

Motherhood is not always la vie en rose and that’s okay, most of the days will be bright and beautiful but there will be bad days, when nothing goes right, she’ll be late for class, she forgets appointments and dinner burns out! Be there to listen up and don’t judge.

5. Remind her she’s doing a great job

Just by making the decision to improve her life through academic achievements, after having kids is a huge deal. Not every mom will make it through, some won’t have enough support, others will lose motivation on the way.

The fact that she’s working towards that goal to be better for her and her kids is an act of courage, remind her how brave she is. It is never said enough.

6. Make her a cup of coffee when she has to study

My partner and my mom do this for me, you have no idea how much a little gesture like this can push her (in a positive way) to get to work. I love coffee, I start my day with it, and my study sessions start with it.

You can do such a small thing for her that means a lot, it means I’m here for you, I support you, I believe in you, I’m cheering for you, go get that degree!

7. Help her out with running errands

It’s finals’ season and your fellow student mom hasn’t brushed her hair in three days (true story) she’s eating take out, the kids have a battlecamp on the livingroom and she’s trying to study in the middle of chaos, it can happen that she didn’t have enough time to review all the classes, she doesn’t want to go out, she doesn’t have time to do it.

If you know there’s something she needs from the convenience store near home, go get it for her, get her some treats to brighten things up. Ask if you can do something else for her, she might not have time to chit-chat but she’ll be so grateful that you did this for her!

8. Take the kids to school or from school back home for her.

This single thing can save her up to one hour that she can use to study, and when it comes to balancing college and kids every minute counts.

9. Celebrate her academic success

It doesn’t matter how big or samll, celebrate! She’s one step closer to the goal, make it a big deal! That exam where she got a 95 is a big deal, don’t let it go under the table, a good grade is even more valuable when it has so much effort behind it.

She overcame her public speaking fear and gave a great presentation, congratulate her for those little things, that are victories for her.

10. Remind her that one grade does not define her overall performance.

Just as there will be good grades there are bad grades, sometimes she might even fail a class, remind her that it is just one step, she doesn’t have to give up, she’ll do better next time. She’s already doing a lot.

Sometimes we expect the bad grades to happen because we know that we didn’t study enough, but some other times these hit hard because we felt confident about our knowledge. We can’t help but doubt if our efforts are not enough. Be the person to remind your mom fellow that she’ll go through this, it was just a bad grade and it doesn’t define her success.

11. Remind her of important dates

Specially if you are a classmate, there’s so much going on a mom’s head that we might forget some specific dealine we had to make. Some moms won’t have this problem, but if your fellow has forgotten important dates before be there to remind her.

If you’re a relative and you know she might forget someone’s birthday or any other important date casually remind her, it can be really helpful when she has so much stuff to keep track of.

Eat that Frog – Book Review

Written by Brian Tracy, a businessman, coach, and productivity guru he goes straight to the point with 21 clever tips to overcome procrastination and get things done.

Here I’ll show you the highlights of his 21 advices to improve productivity.

At the beginning of the book, he talks about how the path to success is already built, and you just have to follow what other successful people have already done and proved to work. It’s not rocket science, find someone who is remarkable in your field, ask him how did he get to that point, and apply it to your career.

I felt like he was talking directly to me, we sometimes fall into the mistake of thinking that we have to be unique, we have to do something different to succeed. Therefore we use all our time and energy into thinking these brand new idea that no one has thought about before, when the path is already there.

Truth is, even if you follow the steps of somebody else who has already reached success you will always instill your own personality to it. you will always find something to improve and customize it to your routine to your schedule, you just have to start.

“The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well, and to finish it completely is the key to great success achievement, respect, status and happiness in life”

Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog

In this book he will teach us exactly that, how to recognize your most important task, and work on it non-stop until you finish it, because that is the secret to success.

What does eat that frog mean?

Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long. Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you’re most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.

Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog

Your frog is the most important task you have to do today, the one that if you don’t do it will make you feel bad, but if you succeed you’ll feel like a champion, you’ll feel energized to get going with your day with the confidence that you’re moving toward your bigger goals one step at a time.

There’s something interesting about finishing these big scary tasks, the completion itself gives us a release of dopamine, that feel good hormone in our brains, you can develop a healthy addiction to finishing big tasks, in a way that it will get easier everyday to sit and get to work and don’t stop until you’re done, getting the habit of finishing what you start is a daily practice that onbce acquired will set you up for success.

“You have a virtually unlimited ability to learn and develop new skills, habits and abilities. When you train yourself, through repetition and practice, to overcome procrastination and get your most important task completed quickly, you will move yourself onto the fast track in your life and career and step on the accelerator.”

Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog

1. Set the table:

You have to be clear about your objectives before you start working on them, he encourages us to think on paper. Writing your objectives, will make them more real, tangible, this will give you a reminder of why you wanted to do this in the first place, and the motivation you will need sometimes to start doing it.

He talked about formula for setting and achieving goals, that has seven steps:

  1. Decide exactly what you want.
  2. Write it down.
  3. Set a deadline on your goal. Set sub-deadlines if necessary.
  4. Make a list of everything that you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal.
  5. Organize the list into a plan.
  6. Take action on your plan immediately.
  7. Resolve to do something every single day that moves you toward your major goal.

2. Plan every day in advance:

Did you know that every minute spent in planning saves you 10 minutes in execution? If you only take 10 minutes every night before you go to sleep to plan your day ahead, you can save up to 2 hours that will be used to start working right on what you have to do.

His advice is to always work from a list, if something else shows up add it to your list, but keep working from it. There are four different lists mentioned in this book that are key to scheduling how you’ll be working on your goals:

  • A master list, this is where you put all your lifetime goals, everything you want to do sometime in the future.
  • A monthly list, where you decide what are you going to work on each specific month.
  • A weekly list, here you take little pieces of work from your monthly list and plan your whole week ahead.
  • A Daily list, this is the one that you make the night before, including tasks from your weekly list.

Writing the daily list the night before it’s a little hack for your brain to sub-consciously work on how to resolve those problems, or how to finish those tasks quickly.

3. Apply the 80/20 rule to everything

Pareto’s Principle applied to productivity translates into this: 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results.

Your have to identify what are the main tasks that will bring the highest value to your job, career or business. It is applicable to any subject.

A high-value task most of the time will take the same amount of time to finish than a low-value task, be smart when choosing where to invest your time and energy.

4. Consider the consequences

Something that is important a long-term consequence if it is not done correctly and on time. To identify your most important task you have to ask yourself what are the potential consequences of doing or not doing this task? The clearer you are about your goals the easier it will be to identify what are the most important tasks when you answer this question.

“Time is going to pass anyway. The only question is how you use it and where you are going to end up and at the end of the weeks and months.”

Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog

And where you end up depends on your actions, and if you have correctly chosen which are your most important tasks.

5. Practice creative procrastination

There is not enough time to do everything you need to do you will always procrastinate on something, if you have your priorities straight you can choose to procrastinate on those activities that are low-value, delegate them, outsource and eliminate them. and Focus your time on your high-value activities.

“Creative procrastination is the act of thoughtfully and deliberately deciding upon the exact things you are not going to do right now, if ever”

Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog

6. Use the ABCDE method

This is a priority setting technique, you assign letters to the activities depending how it’s importance. Making it easier to decide whether you should be doing a certain task or another.

  • A: These tasks are very important, you must do them or there will be negative consequences.
  • B: you should do this, if you don’t there will be mild consequences.
  • C: This is something that would be nice to do, but there will be no consequences at all if you decide not to do this.
  • D: This is something you can delegate to somebody else, so you can free up more time for the “A” items on your list.
  • E: you can eliminate altogether these tasks and it won’t make any difference.

7. Focus on key result areas

Ask yourself what is the one thing that you and only you can do, you are the only responsible for this and if you don’t do it it won’t get done, those are your key results areas. If you focus your efforts on improving the skills needed to get the work done efficiently you’ll succeed and will bring the most value to your company or business.

One of the reasons we procrastinate to complete a job is because we lack of the skills needed to do it correctly, or we have done it poorly in the past, instead of putting it away be honest with yourself and make the commitment to improve in that area so you can do that tasks you are solely responsible of excellent and on time.

8. The Law of Three

If someone gives you 30 seconds to write down your three most important goals in life, what would they be? This answer is as accurate as if you’ve been given 3 hours to think about it. When you think fast enough your brain will put in front of you your top priorities. These are the ones that if you put all your efforts on will give you the greatest satisfaction.

You can apply this law to define your priorities, your most valuable tasks, the 3 actions that will provide most income to your business, and it takes no more than 30 seconds. In the book there are several given aspects to think about using this approach, family, finances, personal, health goals, you can ask yourself what are your goals on these areas and what are the most valuable actions you can take to improve in just 30 seconds.

9. Prepare thoroughly before you begin

Have a comfortable work space, with everything you need to get the work done at reach, keep in mind that you’ll be working for a long time you have to eat your frog completely before moving onto another task.

One of the reasons we procrastinate on getting the work done is because we get up to find things that weren’t in our workspace, therefore distracting ourselves from our main task.

“Once you have completed your preparations, it is essential that you launch immediately toward your goals. Get started. Do the first thing, whatever it is.”

Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog

Sit up straight, get yourself into the skin of a highly efficient, high performing personality. Get to work and don’t stop until you’re finished.

10. Take it one barrel at a time

This goes for taking it one step at a time, it doesn’t matter if you don’t really know how to continue after you’ve finished with this task, if you take it one step at a time the path you need to follow will eventually appear, you just have to keep moving forward. Your next step will soon be clear to you.

11. Upgrade your key skills

Learn what you need to learn so you can get your work done in an excellent fashion. Improve your skills, in a way that it gets easier and faster every day to get your work done.

Never stoplearning, the better you are at a determined skill the more likely you are to jump straight to work and finish it.

12. Leverage your special talents

We all have talents, that thing that it’s easier for you to do than it is for others. You can do it faster and better, and if you focus your efforts on improving that talent there are no limits on how successful you can be.

Do what you love to do, take those talents and turn them into high value for everything you put your mind on doing.

13. Identify your key constrains

Do not ignore your constrains, because whatever it is that is holding you back you have to identify it and try t o alleviate it so you don’t have any limitations on how fast can you grow or how far can you go.

The 80/20 rule can be applied to this, 80% of your constrains are internal, these are limiting factors that you can control and improve, the other 20% you can do nothing about because they are not in your circle of influence. Focus on what you can control, and the first step to improve it is identifying it.

14. Put the pressure on yourself

Don’t be that person who waits for somebody else to come and push them to do what they need to do. Take the initiative, work harder, be your own coach.

If you want to build your self-esteem start by doing better than expected, not bacuase anyone tells you to do so, but because you want to prove yourself that you can.

15. Maximize your personal powers

Take care of your body, eat healthy, rest well and the machinery you have to work with will perform at its highest.

Overworking can be underproducing, when you’re tired the best thing you can do is to stop, take a rest and continue when your body is fully rested and ready to get the work done.

Work at your own pace, under your conditions, know your body and how you perform at different times of the day so you can take advantage of this.

16. Motivate yourself into action

Be your own personal cheerleader, keep an eye on your inner talk, and try to avoid the negative, develop a positive attitude and you’ll soon find that seeing solutions where other people see a problem will be beneficial for you in the long run.

17. Get out of technological time sinks

We all need a little break from technology from time to time, it can consume so much time and have us “busy” by staying connected through emails, messages, we can lose a little bit of sight where we are heading to.

Don’t let technology take control of your time, you have to be the one who sets the amount of time you dedicate to technology and what amount of time you set for goal achievement.

Continuous contact is not essential, if you don’t keep up to date with the news the problems will solve anyway, if something really important is happening you will know it even if you don’t dedicate time to reading the news.

18. Slice and dice the task

If your frog is too big to be eaten at one seat, slice it down into little chuncks. This way you’ll feel a little bit of enthusiasm everytime you complete one of the sub-taks and it will keep you motivated to keep going.

You can develop a complusion to finish your tasks that motivates you to go through them until completion.

19. Create large chuncks of time

Time-blocking, we all know it is helpful but not all of us apply it. It is essential to have control of our time, define hours to specific tasks, and stick to your schedule. Use a time planner and work on it, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly and even minutes, keep track of everything.

The more control you have over your time the more effective you’ll be at your tasks.

20. Develop a sense of urgency

Once you have it all planned out, it is clear, your desk is with everything at reach, you have to jump right in to work like there’s nothing more important right at that moment than finishing it.

Get into the zone, focusing all your efforts on a single task without distractions for some time will get you into a state of flow.

“In the state of flow, which is the highest human state of performance and productivity, something almost miraculous happens to your mind and emotions. You feel elated and clear. Everything you do seems effortless and accurate. You feel happy and energyzed. You experience a tremendous sense of calm and increased personal effectiveness.”

Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog

21. Single handle every task

Once you decide what is your most important task anything else you do besides working on it is a waste of time, so don’t try to multitask on this. Focus all your energy on one task at a time without interruptions, because every time you distract yourself and try to get back to work your mind has to make a shift that takes some time to do, focusing from one activity to another makes you lose valuable time.

Final thoughts

I liked the fact that you can take any of these advices and put it to work alone you’ll see an improvement in your performance. You can hand pick which ever suits best for your aspirations and it will work.

The 5 Second Rule – Book Review


Success isn’t a quick path and there are no shortcuts. Getting better is a campaign, it’s a weekly, daily, hourly fight against weakness, temptation, and laziness. It’s a campaign of discipline, hard work, and dedication; waking up early and going to bed late and grinding out every second in between, every single day. Just start doing it, get up and get after it, here and now.

This book was so easy to read, the language Mel uses is super casual, almost like she’s giving a piece of heartfelt advice to a friend and you happen to be this friend.

It opens your eyes to how the simplest choices can change your life and you’re 5 seconds away from taking the right step or staying in your comfort zone.

Here are the most valuable things I got from Mel Robbins’ The 5 second rule:

    • Trust your instincts
    • What is the 5 second rule?
    • Why does it work?
    • How can you use the 5 second rule?

Trust your instincts

Mel talks about how our brain subconsciously tries to work with us when we decide to reach a goal, it opens up a task and it will be on our mind until completion, everytime you’re near something that will get you closer to your goal, you’ll feel an instinct to act.

And that instinct can take different forms like excitement as in your first day of college or shame as when you pass near a gym knowing you made the promise to get in shape and you’re not doing it.

You have to act on those instincts before your brain convinces you to stay in your comfort zone. Remember, nothing great grows in a comfort zone.

The 5 second rule works as a starting ritual for breaking bad habits and creating new ones.

What is the 5 second rule?

“The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must 5-4-3-2-1 and physically move or your brain will stop you.”

We all know deep down what we have to do, but our brains constantly will try and sabotage us into staying in our comfort zone unless we act on that instinct faster than our excuses.

If you start counting backward, it will stop the default train of thoughts and you’ll recover control of the situation. Once you get to 1 there’s nothing else to do but to move towards that action, physically move, that first shot of energy is the biggest you’ll need when you try to do the hard stuff, then your body will follow along.

As simple as that, Mel describes it as a tool to help you get done what you know needs to be done, whether you feel like it or not (here’s a hint: you’ll never feel like it). You have to count backward, which activates your prefrontal cortex and gives you back control of the situation, and went you get to 1 start moving no matter what towards that action you need to complete.

Why does the 5 second rule work?

“The rule is a simple, research-backed Metacognition tool that creates immediate and lasting behavior change. Metacognition, by the way, is just a fancy word for any technique that allows you to beat your brain in order to accomplish bigger goals.”

It works on many levels of your life because the change is made on you, and then you are able to act on all these different levels that need improvement. It helps you shut down the negative self-talk, the paralyzing fear because it activates the rational part of your brain that knows what you should do to get you where you want to be.

It gives you back the power, the courage to start working towards your goals, no matter how small the action you decide to initiate. It can be as small as waking up on time, or as big as stepping up and asking for a raise at work, talking to your spouse about your silent issues, or saying “I love you” to that person you know you don’t say it enough.

How can you use the 5 second rule?

In the book she talks about 9 powerful ways to improve your life using the 5 second rule, I’ll just give you a hint about them but she goes detailed in how you can use it and gives you clear examples to follow

1. Use the 5 second rule to Improve your health

Getting healthy is hard; it will be hard because it requires your body to step out of your comfort zone, to deprive yourself of things you’re used to. And the rule can help you by beating what you feel, you’ll hardly ever feel like doing something that is hard, but the reward after that makes it worth it. So, whenever you find yourself giving too much thought to going for a run or chilling at the couch, just 5-4-3-2-1 and put on those shoes, start moving!

2. Use the 5 second rule to Increase productivity

I love how honest she is when she tells us that she hates mornings, and every day she has to push herself out of bed, it never gets easier. You don’t have to be a morning person to be the boss of your mornings, truth is, if you get done what’s more important for you before the daily errands take control you’ll be more productive than if you let the day go through you.

The advice for this is 5-4-3-2-1 get out of bed when the alarm rings, write down what’s important for you and get to do it before anything else.

Never hit the snooze button, because it screws up your sleeping cycle, it causes sleep inertia and you’ll need around 4 hours to get back to normal, this is the reason why so many of us go through mornings like zombies, feeling already tired before the day starts.

3. Use the 5 second rule to End procrastination

It’s interesting that she talks about the reason why we procrastinate is not to avoid work, but to release stress, and the stress can be related, or not to the activity you are delaying; not finishing your work on time builds up more stress and more reason to procrastinate trying to relieve it.

How do you end this cycle? Forgive yourself for procrastinating, don’t put any more pressure on yourself, and the moment you start looking for easier things to do instead of your work just 5-4-3-2-1 and get to work.

4. Use the 5 second rule to Stop worrying:

“Worrying is a default setting your mind goes to when you’re not paying attention, the key is catching yourself when you’re drifting into worry, and then regaining control by using the rule.”

We worry about things that we can’t control and that we think might happen (but most probably won’t) in the future, that’s when you have to stop your train of thoughts 5-4-3-2-1 and focus on the present, on the things you are grateful for, the positive things that you care about.

5. Use the 5 second rule to End anxiety:

Anxiety builds up when your body prepares for a situation of imminent danger, your heart races, you get sweaty, and if your mind can’t find an explanation to what triggered this reaction it will force you to start moving and leave the room, this is the protection system of your body.

When you know the reason why you are getting anxious, you need to reframe the feelings, for example: if you’re anxious about an exam, 5-4-3-2-1 and reframe it into excitement about finally getting to show your hard work and knowledge. It won’t make the feeling go away, because anxiety and excitement feel the same way but your brain won’t escalate into a full-blown panic attack.

6. Use the 5 second rule to Beat fear:

She advises to have an anchor image of you after the reason for your fear has passed, if you have a fear of flight create an anchor image of what you’ll do when you get to your destination, the places you’ll see the people you’ll meet.

When the fear starts to build up just go 5-4-3-2-1 take control of your thoughts and get that image of you getting to your destination and doing all these great things. If you’re already there the plane didn’t crash, your fear didn’t come true, so having this vision of success after you’ve gone through what makes you fearful reassures your brain and gives it some calm.

7. Use the 5 second rule to Build real confidence:

“Confidence means that you believe in yourself, your ideas and your capabilities. Anyone can learn how to become more confident, it’s not a personality trait. It’s a skill”

You build up confidence by doing little things for yourself, that you know will get you to a better place, the small acts of everyday courage are what make you feel confident, that you can trust yourself on getting things done. Pushing yourself to 5-4-3-2-1 read that chapter of the textbook before your lecture, in the long run, will give you the confidence that you have what it takes to be an A+ student.

8. Use the 5 second rule to Pursue your passion

Mel encourages us to explore, to let our curiosity lead us, pay attention to those things that intrigue us. If you can’t stop thinking about something make it a hobby, learn about it, take classes. This is how you’ll discover your passion, you 5-4-3-2-1, and let yourself explore and learn new things, amazing things can happen afterward.

9. Use the 5 second rule to Enrich your relationships

This is as simple as 5-4-3-2-1 and leave nothing important unsaid. You know what it is that you need to say, don’t think it too much. When you keep important things inside of you there’s a dissonance between what you feel and what you do, that is unhealthy for you and your relationships. Start saying how you feel when you feel it, talk about your problems, ask what’s wrong, say I love you every time you feel it, and you’ll see an improvement in your relationships just 5-4-3-2-1 and say it.

The 5 second decision that changed my life

Five years ago I made a decision that changed my life and looking through the pages of this book, I recognized that was the real everyday courage Mel was talking about.

My parents were having such a hard time paying for my university life away from home that I felt it was unfair, and my sewing side hustle wasn’t very helpful.

I made the decision to go out to the nearest market in my hometown and sell coffee to the vendors there; I’m talking about a small town in Venezuela where this is permitted and common. I remember standing in the mirror with my backpack and a thermo full of coffee and thinking to myself, am I really going to do this?

I took a deep breath in and just started walking out, that moment changed everything for me. Long story short, I was able to get enough money to fly away from my loved but chaotic country, start over in Buenos Aires, Argentina, financially support my dad with my waitress job and continue my studies here.

Courage can be seen in such small things, you can find examples everywhere, you can start small and grow big, the 5 second rule is just the push you need to make it happen.

Final thoughts

If you want to jump straight to the facts and skip the testimonials you can read this book very quickly. The main ideas are almost highlighted for you to digest and then reassured with social media posts of people who’ve followed the rule and succeeded in a certain aspect of their lives.

Do you need motivation? Read it all through with the social media posts and the writer’s comments about them, it’s encouraging to know how many people’s lives have changed with such a simple tool.

If you just need to know the facts, why the rule works and start applying it into your life skip the clearly pointed testimonials and use Mel’s tips to apply the rule on the desired aspect of your life that needs a change!

I highly recommend this book, it is an easy and light lecture, super inspiring, and invigorating.