This Book Will Make Your Life Better in 5 Minutes

What is this?

I reached down and picked up a white cardboard box with my name on it after returning home from my lunch meeting. Strange. ‘San Clemente, CA’ was printed on the label. “Who do I know in San Clemente?”. I grabbed a steak knife and cut sideways slits through the tape to release the flaps of the box. Inside, was...a book. ‘The Five Minute Journal’ was embroidered on its canvas cover.


I did not order this.


Why was it here? I open the front cover to find this slip of paper:

How cool! My great friend Aaron aka ‘Double A Willy’, had recently moved back to Orange County and decided to send me this. Aaron is the most personalized gift giver I’ve ever met. One time he widdled a page holder with my initials, known as the thumb-i-me-jig. I’ve got it hung up on my wall. Hmm I should be using that...

The 'goals' he is referring to in that slip of paper, were a part of a larger initiative I’ve been doing with my life. I had been reporting my goals to my friends and working on establishing core habits (now on day 55) and as an awesome surprise, I get this book. I feel really lucky to have friends like this. So enough context...what is this book about and why is it important?

This book holds a few secrets to happiness - and I'll give you the summary of how it will help you be happier and a cool little habit I've incorporated into my life that you may consider adding into your own.

The 5 Minute Journal is not your average book. It's page content is 10% Information we gain and 90% information we give.

It was created by Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas  ( didn’t know that until I looked it up for this post ). They dedicate the book to lifelong learners and doers. Sound like altMBA material?

The books feels like it was engineered by user experience artists. Its based on proven principles of positive psychology, aiming to help the reader with focusing on positive behavioral traits by setting a simple guideline to incorporate into your daily routine.

The first 10 percent of the book explains the purpose of the remaining 90%.  Everyday, you’ll start by writing the date, followed by reading an epic quote from inspiring leaders past and present. For example, the quote I read today was, “Everything in life is constantly moving and changing. Life is about embracing this change, for change is the only sure thing in life.” - Mimi Ikonn.

Who needs coffee when a quote like that hits you at 7 AM?

After the quote, the real fun begins. You’re asked to scribble down 3 things you are grateful for today. I’ve found it best to take a minute to really think about aspects of my life, both the larger (the internet) and smaller (a full head of hair - sorry Seth ;) . You are cautioned to avoid writing down the same thing every day and encouraged to really think about your awesome life.

Next,  you’re prompted to jot down 3 things that would make TODAY great.  This is fun and has allowed me to tee up the day with more focus, rather than hopping into an email inbox. The final item on the morning list is Daily Affirmations, where you write down positive ideas after the prefix - ‘I am…’ The book explains this will help us connect positive thoughts with our identity and help us have the confidence to become what we train ourselves to believe.

At night, before flipping the lights off to go to bed, I take out my journal and answer the remaining two points. It asks, What are 3 amazing things that have happened to day? This questions has helped me reflect on the day in a positive light, even when it’s been full of stress. The final question, as if it were written by the altMBA team themself: How could I have made today even better? This form of self-feedback allows me to step away from the day, and even leave it behind, ready to leverage the experience for tomorrow.

The reason I recommend this book is because it will improve how you feel about your day. Am I happier. Definitively, yes! The days get compartmentalized into actionable chunks. I’ve been using the journal for 25 days in a row now and ever single day I’ve had the potential to make it GREAT according to my morning definition.

I love the book and would recommend everyone get it, or at least answer the five questions every day. You deserve it!

Recap of the prompts you'll answer every day:

  1. I am grateful for... ( list 3 things )
  2. What would make today great? ( list 3 things )
  3. Daily Affirmations. I am... ( fill in the blank )
  4. 3 amazing things that happened today...
  5. How could I have made today even better?