Early Morning Air
One of the most simple and common pieces of advice many leaders of industries share is the value of waking up early. The exact timing, activities, and intensity (The Rock has his famous 4am wake up) of course all vary, but the commonality is waking up before you normally would and using this time for yourself. To prioritize yourself and your goals before the day even begins.
I have always loved this advice because it’s advice that anyone can act on, choose how to spend the time, and evaluate if it's working for them. It's practical and has no barrier to attempting it for yourself.
For the last 4-5 years, this has been an obsession of mine. What's early? What do I want to do with that time? When is it enough? Am I seeing the benefits of changing my schedule in this way? Because this is something so fluid, you can really tweak it as much or as little as you want, but I always thought this was one of the more critical changes I could make. The idea just took a hold of me.
And now after years of trying to maintain a stable early morning routine, I understand why. Waking up early, hours earlier than you normally would, gives you a peace and freedom that is several magnitudes harder to come by later in the day for the average person (folks with "normal" day jobs).
The stillness of the morning is the real treasure. Most of your localized world is still at rest or enjoying their own early morning peace. The tranquility that comes early allows you to be undisturbed - no meetings to get to or errands to run - unencumbered time for you to do what is most important. It gives you hours to workout, read, work on your personal projects - whatever it is to get you further ahead on your goals and what you deem important. It's a way to avoid feeling like you are getting dragged by the slow current of the day and instead feel like you set the day in motion on your terms. Starting the day with things you deem important is also at the peak of your decision making capacity and mental energy, so you're spending some of the most valuable energy you have to ensure the things that will move your life in the direction you want are being completed. That's invaluable. And it compounds over time with consistency.
With this you typically have to get to bed earlier than expected to get a proper amount of sleep. That can have secondary benefits you may not have intended. Things like less screen time on your devices, drinking less, and less late night snacking - mostly as a byproduct of simply needing to end the day sooner so that it can start earlier.
The simplest joy of the whole process though? The air simply feels different. Focused breathing of the early morning air is something I've come to treasure. It's something that I never would have thought made a difference or carry any significance. And now a day feels incomplete when I don’t have it. There's simply a crispness to it - an energizing aura, before the world truly wakes up, that you get to interact with in isolation. A connection to the stillness around you. It's something I can no longer live without, and I'm thankful for that change.
See you tomorrow.
Inspiration: Waking up early, The Rock