I recently received a call from an old college mate of mine who I have grown fairly distant from as of recent. We were very close in college but as with many post-college relationships it seemed to have faded slowly away. Regardless, we have managed to stay in touch over the years and we are always interested in hearing how the other is doing. He is currently on a gluten-free kick among other personal improvement endeavors. I applaud him because a gluten-free diet to me sounds like a delicious-free diet / pasta is amazing. After reminiscing about the days of walking around our college campus with a backpack full of keystone lights, acoustic guitar strapped around my back, and playing melodies to the delight of passing cute college girls, he asked what my one pearl of wisdom was for this particular conversation.
After thinking for a brief second I immediately responded with “mornings are the key to success”. I must say it caught me a little by surprise and it sounded a bit cliche. However, it is a notion that I truly believe in. I recently read a book called What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam – a short easy read. In this glorious nugget of a book, Laura stalked/interviewed top executives at Fortune 500 companies to see commonalities between these power players. Unexpectedly, Laura discovered that the vast majority of the executives woke up very early, sometimes as early as 4am. Going further, these executives attributed their success at work and happiness at home as a direct result of this early rising habit. Why?
In a nutshell Laura talks about how a typical day for each of us is filled with chaos. Unexpected projects, issues, and delays are actually daily occurrences and one can predict with almost certainty that no week will go by as planned. As such, those plans you made to go to the gym, or spend extra time with the kids, or read that book usually gets swallowed by this lost time. These are not pressing tasks and as a result they fall by the wayside. Laura’s final thesis was that these well-rounded happy executives use the morning to tackle those non pressing issues that contribute to their success and happiness. She conjectures that the only time in a day in which you have control is the time prior to everyone else waking up. Bottom line: if you want to accomplish something and your serious about it, you HAVE to do it in the morning. At least that is what the most successful people do.
That being said I have been waking up almost every weekday over the past two months at 5:15am. As a result I have been able to get in good enough shape to run a half marathon, something I never thought I would do. Since exercise is considered a keystone habit, the rest of my day is more productive as a result. I’d also like to point out that I
like LOVE sleeping. All my life I’ve branded myself as “not a morning person” but after going through this process I’m confident that notion is a mental excuse. Similarly it is easy to proclaim that you are too busy to perform the small non pressing tasks. However, if Steve Reinemund the CEO of PepsiCo can run 4 miles, pray, and eat breakfast with his family prior running a Fortune 500 company each day, I’m sure you can also find time.
Mornings are the perfect time to develop habits that can last and benefit a lifetime. I hope this post helps someone who is looking to improve in some way. Thanks for reading and let me hear your thoughts,