If you are after a challenge or just need more time in the day I recommended setting the alarm clock a little earlier. This is the 4 am X factor.
At the start of last year (2016) I was searching through audible looking for new books to ring in the new year with. Not sure what the year would hold, only knowing I needed to get better to get to where I wanted to go I was open to pretty much anything.
I came across ‘Extreme Ownership’ By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. After listening to an episode of the Tim Ferris Show where Jocko Willink has interviewed this perk my interest.
Which for some belated reason was the first time I really came across anyone that promotes and boasts about 4 am wake ups? But hey, maybe I just wasn’t looking. Because really who the hell would want to get up at 4 am?
I grew up swimming you see, with most mornings beginning at 5:45 – 6:00 am and going through this in my teenage years the arguments with my parents before the sun had risen were relentless. Whining with my head under my pillow ‘it was too cold’ ‘I was sick’ ‘i’ll get sick’ ‘why the hell does I need to swim I’m not going to the Olympics anyway’ and on it went.
Out the other side and with an ounce more maturity I now consider myself a bit of a morning person. Which as you can imagine being thrown into a realm of people that were getting up 2 hours earlier than me! and according to I was wasting half the morning.
The challenge was set. I would get up a measly two hours earlier.
Now I don’t care if you think you’re a morning person 4ams are a whole new ball game. By the time you hit the office at 9 am you have been up for 5 hours which for most people that would be midday when they are about to have a break for lunch.
My whole world changed I had suddenly had two days in one. The below is what happened to me and my life from simply turning the alarm to a couple of hours earlier.
What 4 am wake ups taught me;
#1 First and foremost Is the creation of time – We are constantly under the illusion of being busy, not having enough time to do everything we need to and everything we want to. (The biggest success hack I have found. Period.)
#2 That people are all talk – When people are tired, run down, mentally and emotionally drained their worst parts come out, with the first being laziness. (Do not expect much from anyone, don’t judge them for this we are all human.)
#3 It’s cold as shit at 4 am. 4 am brings with it a cold I hadn’t felt before, I don’t know if it was actually the temperature or if it was the fact your body physically can’t warm you are so tied you just can never seem to feel comfortable.
#4 It hurts, physically, emotionally and mentally – Waking up at 4 am the first day was tough but exciting, waking up on the 37th day was fucking torture. Your whole body aches, mentally you feel depressed and angry. Emotionally you feel weak and useless. (caffeine helps)
#5 You really aren’t yourself when your tired – Little alone dog tied. Like I was saying before people are all talking, for me, I like to think I am positive, annoyingly optimistic and high energy well, in the early afternoon the people in my office would have said the complete opposite.
It would be about my 11th or 12th hour of being awake when the mood of a hungry 6 years old would come out. I turned bitchy, short tempered and would bite at just about anyone… well for the first few weeks anyway. (Find a way to take naps, 10 – 20 minutes in the earlier afternoon are a game changer.)
#6 Finally and most importantly you grow as a person expecting more from yourself and more from others – Now with the short temper, I mentioned earlier, in my defense. I was at the point of forcing more from myself, expecting more from myself, why else would I be getting up at 4 am?
When you start to expect more from yourself you naturally expect more from the people around you. Which like I said before people are all talk and thus you quickly shift a gear as a person, this flows into all areas of your life you stop going out because your so tyred, you work out more, you start to move forward and improve as you have more time in the day to do everything you said you want to do.
This then starts to shift the people you tolerate. (My recommendation, Give yourself permission to expect more from the people around you.)
The above may seem more of life or people lessons, not 4 am wake-up lessons. But most challenges or test with are/ put ourselves through teach us those cliches lessons that we all know and rarely act upon.
4 am wakes up are tough, brutal and cold.. so cold (the mornings are cold as hell, but a good jacket) but o-so rewarding.
I was able to start writing my book (I only got 40,000 words in), landed a job heading up the USA for a publicly listed tech company (which is where I am writing this from now in Austin, Texas), I read 12 books (a book a week), passed university for the semester and gained 4kgs of muscle whilst working a full-time job. All this in a 3 month period.
The only difference, I added 180 hours to those 3 months all by getting up 2 hours earlier @ 4:00 am.
Not having time isn’t an excuse.. well it is but, it falls in the realm of a dog ate my homework.
If you have something you want to achieve, a skill you want to learn, money you want to make, a business you want to build, a friend you want to beat, a point you want to prove, a body you want to improve… or just to push your limits physically, mentally and emotionally.
4 am wakes will change your life, it did mine and you will come out the other side knowing more about yourself and the people around you.