Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fighting For Five

Jon Acuff, NYT best-selling author of Quitter and Start, coined a concept which he calls "being selfish at 5:00 am." It's a pretty simple idea, but profound at the same time. If you want to do things for you, like work on a dream, or pursue something you love, and not steal-time from your employer (graphic design on the clock) or take time away from your family (holed away writing, when you could be with your kids), then it's probably not the best idea to do it between the hours of say 7:30 am - 11:00 pm. There may be time in your schedule to chase your dream during those hours, but chances are, if you're like me, you're ignoring something by dream chasing in the middle of the afternoon. However, outside that window, there are very few people making demands on your time, and there's still quite a bit of day not in that [flexible] window. You're probably not filing TPS reports for your boss at 5:00 am. Your wife probably won't be jealous of your laptop if you're teaching yourself to code at 5:00 am. The kids don't have soccer tournaments at 5:00am. You're the king of your world at 5:00 am and you can do almost anything your desire.

You just have to get up.

And that's my problem.

Unless I have a time sensitive obligation, I find it very difficult to motivate myself to wake up at 5:00 am. Even for things I want to do. I love cooking breakfast, having coffee, reading, journaling, and enjoying the morning coolness. These are all things I love to do, but at 5:00 am, guess what I love more... sleeping.

And you can talk yourself out of almost anything, when you're half-asleep. My wife and I call it "sleep logic". You may not have showered for two days, and have a cow-lick that rivals the Eiffel Tower, but somehow, you can convince yourself that it'll be ok to skip the shower again today. "I'll wear a hat...."

It really comes down to what I want more. Do I want to be a morning person? Do I want to be productive with that part of my day? Do I want to enjoy a leisurely morning, eating breakfast, drinking coffee, spending time alone with God, writing, reading and preparing for my day? Or do I want more sleep?

It's my choice. Both options are [positively] selfish and affect almost no one but myself.

Truth be told, I think I want the mornings more.

Jon Acuff wants the mornings more. And he uses them to chase his dreams. His readers started something called FIVE CLUB, and created an accountability app, for dreamers who collectively wake up before 5:00 am and hustle. The app only lets you actually use it, to check in, for one minute per day - from 5:00 to 5:01 am.

My co-worker, Jimmy, understands this concept of morning hustle. He wakes up daily before 5:00, and goes running. Then he'll have breakfast, spend time cleaning, grocery shopping, and running errands before he has to be at work at 9:00. He wants the mornings more.

My father-in-law works for a major computer company, specializing in content management. On most days, he's up around 4:00, getting ready to have early morning meetings with clients and employees from around the world. He travels 50% of the year, commutes to San Francisco 40% and works from his home office the other 10%, but almost every day of it, he's up before 5:00 am. He wants the mornings more.

Jonathon Swift is quoted to have said,

“I never knew a man come to greatness or eminence who lay abed late in the morning.”

So here's to 5:00 am. I know it won't happen overnight. That's not a healthy way to start a new habit. However, by God's grace, and a bit of determination, it can happen. 

I want the mornings more. 

Remind me of that in the morning.


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