The Unfair Advantage goes to the Early Bird – 5 Reasons to wake up at 5AM
The Cliffs: If you are not careful you will let other people shape your destiny. You must find time to invest in yourself and to create the right habits that will nurture success. The morning hours are optimal for this task as they have limited distractions, and allow for crazy productivity. The greatest achievers of our generation and the generations that preceded them understood the importance of spending time with themselves in order to realize their grandest goals. Read on if you want to get the unfair advantage over your competitors.
It is no secret that some of the greatest thinkers and achievers have been known to wake up early. The serial entrepreneur Richard Branson wakes up at 5:45AM, the CEO of Apple Tim Cook gets up at 4:30AM. Howard Schultz the CEO of Starbucks is at the office by 6AM coffee in hand.
Even the legendary geniuses of past generations often shared the same habit of getting out of bed before everybody else does!
So the question begs an answer, “What is the cause of this Madness?”
The answer is obvious and is reminded to us through the maxim ‘the early bird gets the worm’. Those who wake up early have a very clear advantage over their competition. While their competition is dreaming about success in the warmth of their beds, the early risers are making their dreams a reality.
There are a number of distinct advantages received by those of us who choose to get out of bed early, however I will be going over the top 5 reasons I believe help make this a CRUCIAL habit.
1. Allows you to enter the ‘Flow’ state
Have you ever been doing something with such intense concentration that somehow you and the activity started merging into one? Perhaps you were playing golf, and felt as if the club was an extension of yourself. Hours probably flew by you as if they were minutes. If you have experienced anything like this you were most likely in the ‘Flow’ state.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi the psychologist who is behind the book ‘flow: the psychology of optimal experience‘ describes flow as
“being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
This state is the optimal state for productive work as your mind will use all its faculties in order to complete the task at hand. Even basketball players performing at their best will be able to tell you about this state, however they call it being ‘in the zone’.
The early hours of the day are great time for us to enter the flow state, as distractions during the day are plentiful hindering our ability to focus. When the rest of the world wakes up things become busy, and it becomes increasingly more difficult to get anything done. The morning is a beautiful time because it allows you to get deep into the flow state. It is only in this state of intense concentration that we are able to come out with our best work.
We are entering a age of immense distractions where those who are able to focus will be awarded. Focus is now becoming an increasingly more difficult skill to have.
We must learn to avoid distractions because they force us to have to switch tasks, crippling our productivity. If I was writing this blog post, and intermittently day trading on the stock market, both activities would suffer. Research has shown that task switching can cost you extra time on both activities, instead of taking one hour to finish the blog post and one hour to day trade, it can end up taking three or more hours to complete both.
A report researcher Dr. David Meyer has said “it can range from time increases of 25 percent of less for simple tasks and well over 100 percent for more complicated tasks” in regards to time increases that arise due to task switching.
Those who wish to be exceptional value their time, they can not afford to be distracted in regards to their work. Their work is their mission in life, and their imprint on this blue planet.
2. Removes Ego Depletion
It is now known that willpower is a finite resource that depletes from the morning to the afternoon. Our ability to keep on track diminishes as were face certain challenges throughout the day. I have previously written about Ego Depletion which you can checkout here ” Avoiding Ego Depletion | Building Willpower”, so I will be brief.
According to Gary Keller author of the excellent book “The One Thing: The Suprisingly Simple truth behind extraordinary results“, Our willpower is taxed by the following things:
The video below outlines an experiment that was taken that highlights the effects of Ego Depletion.
It becomes clear after looking at all the evidence that the best way to combat ego depletion is through doing our most important task first thing in the morning while our willpower reserve is still full. The greatest achievers acknowledge the night and day difference of doing their most important tasks in the morning as opposed to later on in the day ( see what I did there).
3. Time to implement a morning ritual
Great achievers know that their habits more than anything will shape their future. Most of the actions we do on a day to day basis often become a faculty of the subconscious mind. To save energy the mind automates various things, this biological set-up has made it easy for us to become victims of our own habits.
Exceptional people consciously implement the habits that will directly benefit them in life, they understand the power of choices compounding over the years. Almost every high achiever I know has a morning routine, a set number of things that they do first thing in the morning religiously.
The morning is the easiest time to initiate habits due to the full capacity of willpower one will have, so take full advantage of it.
If you can focus on implementing one crucial habit over the course of a few months, by doing it first thing in the morning you can change your life dramatically within a few years. People underestimate the power of good habits, because they fail to understand the effects of small changes over time.
I recently had a dripping tape that managed to suck out an extra 240 litres from the water bill per day, this reminded me about how the small stuff can add up if you are not careful.
Did you know that a plane flying from Los Angeles to New york City that has it’s nose pointed 1 degree away from it’s destination while at the airport will end up 150 miles ( 241km) of course. The plane is an example of how small actions create big changes in the long term this is why it is essential that you start of your morning with the right actions in mind.
Nature shows many examples of how small things can become great under the right conditions. A seed that is taken care of over a couple of years can grow into a tree that will stand where the seed was placed for hundreds of years. If you wish to be exceptional you are going to have to pay attention to the laws of nature, and it all begins in the morning.
Engineering the right morning routine for yourself takes some thought. You need to plan your destination, with questions such as ‘where do I want to be over the next four years?” ,
“what do I wish to accomplish in that time?”. Once these questions are answered you will need to choose the habits that will assist you in accomplishing your goals.
The easiest way to do this is to research someone who has done what you want to do or something similar, and emulate their behaviour. Do what they did every morning and you will inevitably see some tangible results. The saying “success leaves clues” is correct, and only a fool would disregard the blueprints to achievement.
You don’t have to learn everything by yourself. Figure out which habits will best advance you and just choose them! It’s really as simple as that, don’t worry you can thank me later.
Here is an example of a simple morning routine:
4.Time to Think and Plan
Waking up in the morning allows you to have time to think. It is true that many of us think too much, however most of our thoughts are random and lack clarity. The morning allows us to have quality uninterrupted time with ourselves, something that is hard to get during the day. Some would say that we have quality alone time before we go to sleep, but remember that by this stage it is unlikely that we would have the energy required for a clear mind.
Time to think is time to reflect, reflection is crucial for high achievers because it allows them to celebrate their victories as well as learn from their failures. We can not plan everything! As the axiom goes “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. It is true that often many things go wrong and it is impossible to completely plan your destiny however, it is possible to go in the general direction of success. If you keep moving you will eventually get there.
David Deida author of “the way of the superior man” recommends that men
as a way for them to find their life purpose. Most people do not know what their life purpose is because they never spend the time to sit still and think. It is hard to sit still and think when you are caught up in a rat race.
It is hard to sit still when you never have time. You can not figure out your lifes purpose without some time and thought so this is why high achievers make the time for it.
If you are not careful your life purpose can be shaped by everyone else, if you are not careful your life will fly by you without you ever having accomplished what you wanted to accomplish.
Bronnie Ware an Australian nurse wrote a book called “The top five regrets of the dying” detailing her experience with dying patients. The number one recurring regret she had observed from her patients was the following:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
No one wants to be a COG in a wheel, do not make the number one regret your regret, this is why it’s essential that you make thinking a habit.
5. Intrinsic Motivation
There is something about getting up early before most of your competition that makes you feel like you are on top of your game. It’s not uncommon for many athletes to wake up early in the morning to commence their training. Mike Tyson would wake up at 4am to begin his morning jog in the cold. Michael Phelps starts swimming by 6:30am.
When you begin to wake up early and are consistent with your morning ritual, and with getting in the flow state for your most crucial task ,you will not help but to feel intrinsic motivation for life.
The momentum will be on your side as success after success will remind you about your power to shape your outcomes. Everyone loves control, especially control over ones destiny through persistent work. No longer would you need outside motivation once you begin on this path, you will be motivated from within in all avenues of life.
Too many people rely on events to become motivated, they need something to happen. The problem with this is that the things we need to motivate us are not always there. life is a quick game and those that learn to motivate themselves often come out as winners, the morning gives you that chance to be a winner.
Success just like anything can become a habit, this is why serial entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Richard Branson are able to make multiple successful ventures. It is why star athletes like Serena Williams are able to win tournaments for decades, they have created the habit. It is time for you to create the habit of success, and the easiest way to do this is to change your mornings.
Do I really have to wake up at 5Am?
Getting up in the early morning is obviously ideal because of all the reasons I have just outlined, however I do understand that for some of you due to work situations this might be impossible. If your situation calls for it you might have to find some other time during your day to work on yourself.
The point of the article is for you to understand the importance of knocking off your most valuable tasks and creating good habits first. you are working on yourself first before you go out into the world. This principle is the inverse for what most people do, most people go out into the world (work or other commitments ) before having done the necessary work on themselves. Most people struggle because they never evolve. You need to play with your variables and find time for yourself.
Do not think that anyone besides your mother has your best interest in mind, your evolution and success in this world is up to YOU. It doesn’t matter what time you get up, as long as you get to work.
If you are interested in everything we just talked about here, feel free to checkout the video below were I talk about a strategy you can use for your mornings to be more effective. Don’t forget to comment your morning routine! and join our inner circle. Peace