The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharm
Most people get out of bed every morning, unaware that if they changed their morning routine, they could also change their lives. In the 5 AM Club, Robin Sharma makes the argument that your morning routine has a significant impact on your day, and starting it at 5 AM with a few special tips could improve your ability to be successful. He illustrates this through a fictional story about an artist and an entrepreneur, who is taken under the wing of an eccentric billionaire with some unusual advice. Read on to learn what to do with that extra time in the morning to make it benefit you most, what characteristics make someone truly successful, and why if you’re only focusing on your well-being, you’re missing an important part of the equation.
The story begins with the billionaire approaching a frustrated artist and a depressed entrepreneur, in ragged clothing. They are captivated by his presence. After talking for a while, he states that some people wish wonderful things would happen to them, and others do the legwork to make extraordinary things happen. The artist and the entrepreneur become more and more curious about him. Eventually, he tells them that the best way to achieve both personal and professional success is to have one hell of a morning routine. The artist, the entrepreneur, and readers everywhere were shocked. A morning routine! How could this possibly be the key to meaningful success? The billionaire then asked them to come with him to his mansion the next morning, and he would teach them all they needed to know. The next day, the artist and the entrepreneur boarded a jet to his home, labeled “5AC” (5 AM club) and got started on a life-changing adventure.
Biological factors make achieving flow at 5 AM easier
In the book, the billionaire explains why waking up early is beneficial. Everyone has a certain limit when it comes to their brainpower: they can only work so long before their comprehension becomes limited. Especially if you’re a big multi-tasker, you lose focus by wasting it on too many things at once. When you wake up at 5 AM, your brain’s prefrontal cortex (which controls rational thought) is shut down. The neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are stimulated by the sun rising as well. This combination of events means that a state of flow is more easily achievable. Flow is a state of energized focus achieved by professionals in many fields - and can be yours too. You have a golden opportunity at this early hour to capitalize on your ability to achieve flow! Pretty sweet, right? For how to capitalize on it, keep reading.
Raw Talent versus perseverance, stacking, mastery, and facing distraction
On a beautiful morning, the billionaire, the entrepreneur, and the artist gathered by the sea, and the billionaire informed them of a few things he had learned.The first thing he told them was about how success wasn’t necessarily related to talent, but rather, how much people capitalized on their talent. The billionaire went on to state that perseverance and self-discipline always beat out raw talent. In the world of achieving success, raw talent isn’t everything. Secondly, he told them that distraction is one of the biggest issues they will face. People spend a tremendous amount of time on things that distract them, like social media. Things that ultimately don’t contribute to their lives or have much meaning. Stacking is the third thing he brought up. Stacking means doing small things everyday, versus one big thing once in a while. Think of how many days are in a year: there are 365 opportunities to build on a habit. Imagine if you spent part of each day (like oh, say an hour in the morning) working on yourself: adjusting your mindset and tuning in to spirituality and love. That would turn into 365 hours! The fourth and final thing he talked about was mastery. According to Anders Ericsson, a renowned psychologist, a person needs 2.75 hours of practice a day for ten years for mastery to appear. Now, if you’re looking to master yourself, spending that 2.75 hours daily each morning will get you on the right track.
Mindset is just ¼ of the issue
Next, the guru asked them if they had ever heard that they need to focus on improving their “mindset”. Most of them had. What they hadn’t heard about before was what he said next: the mindset is part of a, well, set, of things you should focus on. There’s also a healthset, a heartset, and a soulset. By only working on your mindset, you’re missing these key elements of success.
Your heartset has to do with your emotions and how well you are taking care of your emotional being. If you aren’t finding ways to deal with your emotions, they will come out. Sigmeund Freud said it best: “Unexpressed emotions will never die.. They will come forth later in ugly ways”. So be cautious of managing your heartset. Talking about your feelings, seeking professional help when needed, and many other things can keep you in tune with your emotional being.
The healthset represents the physical side of one's health. Think about your physicality: have you been taking care of yourself? Eating well, exercising: these are ways to make sure your body is in good shape. And they’re important because no one can dream of being successful… if they’re dead.
The soulset is the area centered around spirituality. It can be all too easy to be distracted by materialistic things, so make sure to spend some time connecting with yourself and the things that are meaningful to you. Watch a sunset, meditate, think about what matters most to you and what you want to achieve. Take this chance to connect with the hero within: yourself.
This all sounds great, but it is a lot to do at 5 AM in the morning. How could you manage it all? We are so glad you asked.
The 20/20/20 Formula
The 20/20/20 formula exists exactly for this purpose. According to this, you should take 20 minutes to move your body, 20 minutes to reflect, and 20 minutes to grow.
The first step (literally!) is to move. Take this chance to sweat it out. Sweat reduces the production of the hormone cortisol which has a relationship to stress. After that, reflect in solitude about what is most important to you. Take this time to journal, and to meditate. Next, time to grow! Spend 20 minutes doing something that contributes to your intellectual growth, like reading a book or watching a documentary.
Get some sleep!
The billionaire took his friends to the city of Rome, where they visited the catacombs. When the entrepreneur asked why they were there, he informed them that it was the perfect place to talk about sleep. Sleep is a key part of elite performance, though it may not seem so. Research shows that one of the best ways to predict how long someone will live is to look at how much they sleep. Want to live longer? Better start getting into a habitual sleep schedule. The best way to do this is to get away from screens: the blue light emitted from them reduces levels of melatonin, which helps your body to know when it's time to sleep. It is suggested to stop using your phone around 8:00 PM, and to go to bed no later than 10:00 PM. This will also help to prepare you for your morning routine, and to show up to your life better rested.
The Twin Cycle of Elite Performance
There are other ways to get refreshed besides sleeping. Top performers bounce between intense work, and downtime. It can feel counterproductive to spend time with family or friends, but though it might look like you’re not working, this time is important. Think of crops. During the fallow season, when nothing is planted, it might look on the surface like nothing is happening. But the fallow season is so powerful it determines whether or not the crops will be successful. It's normal to feel anxious or guilty when you aren’t working, but remember: sleep and play are an integral part of optimizing your overall performance.
Most people get out of bed every morning, unaware that if they changed their morning routine, they could also change their lives. In the 5 AM Club, Robin Sharma makes the argument that your morning routine has a significant impact on your day, and starting it at 5 AM with a few special tips could help your ability to be successful. Read on to learn what to do with that extra time in the morning to make it benefit you most, what characteristics make someone truly successful, and why if you’re only focusing on your well-being, you’re missing an important part of the equation.