“You wake up to your alarm, press snooze, and roll back over for an extra few minutes of sleep. The alarm goes off again, and you get up, groggy still, to shuffle off and quickly get ready so you’re not late for work. Sounds familiar?”
Then this book is for you.
The book “5 AM Club: Own your morning, elevate your life”, has been written by Robin Sharma. Robin Sharma is a Canadian bestselling author of the book “The monk who sold his Ferrari” and a celebrity leadership guru. The likes of Nike, Microsoft, HP, and NASA are among his high profile clients. The major idea in the book is that 5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory, and greatest peace. The time from 5 AM to 6 AM is what Robin Sharma calls the ‘Victory hour’, which will eventually dictate your day and help you become more productive.
In The 5 AM Club, he uses a fictitious story about a billionaire mentor teaching a struggling artist and an entrepreneur about the importance of waking up early to show how revolutionary it is for success. He makes a convincing case that will persuade even the most sleep-loving people that to be truly excellent, we need to start our days intentionally. The billionaire takes them to various continents, from Africa to Europe and from South America to Asia, choosing locations wisely to teach them lessons that they would remember for life.
What I said in the opening lines is what an average person does; letting the day dictate them. But do you want to be average? What if you could dictate your day? “If you want to be like the top 5%, you need to stop acting like the 95%.” The hours that the 95% waste, the top 5% treasure.
But, “why wake up at 5 AM?” You might ask. Robin Sharma gives the following reasons throughout the book:
- World-class begins where your comfort zone ends.
- Take excellent care of the front end of your day, and the rest of your day will pretty much take care of itself.
- How can you ever be world-class if you don’t carve out some time each morning to make yourself world-class?
- 5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory, and greatest peace
- High victory is made in those early morning hours when no one’s watching and while everyone else is sleeping.
- The great ones spend a lot of time alone. Solitude, the kind you can access before the sun comes up, is a force multiplier around your power, expertise, and connection to being human. And your escalation requires your isolation.
- The five assets of genius – your mental focus, physical energy, personal willpower, original talent, and daily time are at their highest early in the morning.
- When you’re up early and all alone, away from the overstimulation and noise, your attention isn’t being fragmented by technology and so the prefrontal cortex, that part of your brain responsible for rational thinking – as well as constant worrying – actually shuts off for a short time.
With this book summary, you can join the 5 am club too. You can learn how to wake up every day and embrace the solitude, silence, and the lack of distraction that the early hours of morning offer. I will be taking the help of ten pictures* to explain the ten ideas given by the author in the book.
What should you do when you are up so early? Robin Sharma has a plan charted out for you. You move, you reflect and you grow. Sharma calls this the 20/20/20 formula. The following picture explains it.
We don’t just have to focus on our mindset. While thinking optimistic thoughts will help you, there are three other things when trying to find balance. Robin Sharma calls these the “four interior empires”. Mindset, Healthset, Heartset, and Soulset. Healthset refers to our physical health, Heartset is our emotional well-being and lastly, Soulset is our spirituality. The following picture reflects them.
People, who made history in their lives, had four major focuses in their lives:
There is a three step formula to success: Better awareness > Better choices > Better results
The world-changing heroes have seven virtues: Bravery, Forgiveness, Integrity, Understanding, Sincerity, Politeness and Humility.
We must utilise Joy as our guiding compass, our GPS. Your heart is always wiser than your head. In deciding the people you want to be with, the pursuits that you want to follow, and the place that you have to be, see if your choice gives you joy.
A genius mind has five assets viz mental focus, physical energy, personal willpower, original talent, and daily time. These assets need protection in the form of twin cycles of elite performance. The High excellence cycle, where you work hard with these assets, and the Deep refuelling cycle, where you give them time for replenishment.
Any new habit would require a minimum of sixty-six days for a complete installation, with the destruction of your old habits, installation of a new habit, and integration of the new habit into your life taking 22 days each. All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.
Develop a habit of writing a journal. This will help you in numerous ways as below.
The habits that develop for a lifetime follow an arc process. There is a Trigger, a Ritual, a Reward, and then Repetition. Let’s take the example of waking up at 5 AM. Your trigger could be an analogue clock alarm, the ritual is what you do in your victory hour, then you reward yourself for following the ritual (e.g. your reward for rising with the sun could be a nice piece of dark chocolate for dessert at lunch), and then you repeat this process.
The author in this book is not only philosophical but also provides us with ten practical tactics to be a genius for a lifetime. These can be found in the book in the form of the tight bubble of total focus, the 90/90/1 rule, the 60/10 method, the daily five concept, the second wind workout, the two massage protocol, traffic university, the dream team technique, the weekly design system, and the 60 minutes student.
There are two other ideas that I liked in this book. One, that to wake up early, we have to sleep early and have some quality sleep. For this, the author recommends having a technology-free hour before sleeping. Also one must practice gratitude before one sleeps so that their day ends on a positive note.
For me, personally, this book has helped in an amazing transformation. Things were not easy in the beginning. I kept tossing and turning in my bed for hours trying to sleep early. I would get to bed at 10 PM and realise at 1 AM that I am far from asleep. My alarms went unheeded for three straight days. But I kept pushing and did not give up the idea of waking up at 5 AM. Today, as I write this summary, I am into day 24 of the 66-day regime. I have seen very few sunrises as beautiful as the ones I have during these 24 days. I didn’t know I could see the sun rising from beyond the Shivalik hills from my rooftop. Waking up before the sun is in itself an enlightening emotion. I have challenged myself physically and spiritually for the first time. It has made my quarantine (COVID-19) days productive. In fact, this whole idea to write blogs came from this book. I hope these ideas turn out to be as transformational for you as they turned out for me.
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Sourav Kumar Sharma
*Image credits: “The 5AM Club”