Understanding the 5 AM CLUB. Enjoying the entrepreneurial journey part III
Contrary to the popular belief and book of Robin Sharma, I believe that the 5 AM club is not necessarily about waking up at 5 am but a concept of what you can achieve in a 3 hour dedicated period when your mind and body are at their optimal working conditions.
So before we dive into this section, I want to emphasis the importance of flexibility. The 5 AM Club should be looked at as a concept or an idea that you can adapt to yourself. We are all different in when we like to work when we like to rest, how we want to enjoy our rest and playtime. So it is important to understand your body and adapt this concept to your body clock. In my last blog, I also mentioned how Arianna Huffington collapsed from sleep deprivation and if you get the chance read the book “Dangerously Sleepy” by Alain Derekson. You will read that while many successful businessmen have associated getting up early with their key to success, it is not actually the getting up early that is the key. It is the concept of what you can achieve in those hours where no one else is around to distract you.
Let’s quick analyse Benjamin Franklin’s “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. First of all his routine was going to bed at 10 pm and waking up at 5 am, giving him an approximate 7 hours of sleep. His motto for this quote was that if you wake up late you will end up catching up with lost time and only getting the leftover. However, this is a limited view of a limited world with limited abundance. We live in a world of abundance and even if you wake up at 5 pm in today’s connected world there is no shortage of abundance and whenever you wake up, you can always view it as if you have got up 3 hours before those in some part of the world that are still sleeping.
Therefore, sticking to these old descriptions is misleading and unproductive. Your body has an internal clock. Some of us function better working into the early hours of the night and need to sleep it off during the day and others are early birds. In fact, you may even find that you may be a bit of both. I remember that when I used to program, I very often would write my best code beginning the end of the evening (starting between 10 pm and 12 am) and doing a stretch of about 3 to 5 hours. It was a time that I had no distractions. My parents were asleep, the house was quiet and I could concentrate. However, if I had to study, I would wake up at 4 am and study until 8 am. That was it, after that, I would pretty much stop. In both cases, the late night or the early morning provided me with quality, uninterrupted, focused time.
So now that you understand that you do not need to wake up at 5 am to be wise, wealthy, and successful, let’s look at the real concept behind the 5 AM Club.
In fact, the real concept behind the 5 AM Club is not so that you get up necessarily to do quality work, but quite the opposite. It is for you to get up and dedicate a few focused, uninterrupted hours to yourself. At this time you are not supposed to be working, answering emails, or preparing reports rather you should dedicate it to three main activities and preferably but not necessarily in the below order.
- Warm-up your body, do some exercise to start your machine. Physical activity is good for brain development and also jump-starts your day. I dedicate several times a week (some 15 minutes) to an early morning workout followed by a walk (about 45 minutes). This gets the blood flowing through my body, gets rids of any negative energy I may have built up, helps with my digestion, and even allows me to indulge in chocolate and some sweets as I burn them off. This is my routine, but you can build your own. I also go running and hiking on weekends and this is also a routine that helps me keep a healthy mind and body.
- Easier said than done. I drift in and out and when I am busy, I tend to forget and soon I remember how important it is to calm the mind on a daily basis. Once again my last article “Driving at full speed in first gear” is a good description. If all you do is push your brain to analyse at some point the result is nowhere as clear as it used to be. In order to bring good clear results, you need to have a good clear mind. A mind that can rest when it needs to do and analyse when it is required to do so. An overclocked CPU or brain sooner or later will lead to failure. My meditation routine is those suggested by Joe Dispenza in his book “Changing the habit of being yourself” and also various youtube meditations that I listen to while I walk or run. As my one of my mentor says, even in worst-case scenarios you should be able to afford 2 minutes for mediation per day.
- This is the hour or time where your brain is running at its optimum. You are what you learn and what you learn is what you earn. Dedicate some time to learning and reading. I read at least 1 hour in the morning if not more. The days I get to read and learn something new I feel energised and happy and those days that I miss my reading time I feel a little empty and as if lacking. Imagine what you can achieve with just one hour of reading per day. 1 new word per day, 1 new trick per day, 1 new concept per day, 1 new quote per day, and a new you per day.
Is it clear from the above 3 points how you can be “healthy, wealthy and wise” as Benjamin Franklin had envisioned? I am working towards waking up at 4 am and I am often in bed by 9 or 10 pm. I love the early morning walks, my uninterrupted reading time, and listening to the birds at 5 or 6 am. It connects me with nature, life, and the universe. Pick your own time and practice to be “healthy, wealthy and wise”. It is not about working, it is about learning and living a healthy life.