Success draws attention. Like me, you probably look closely at those who’ve reached the pinnacle of success, perhaps in the hopes that you uncover a hidden truth or secret recipe that will extend your wings and lift you high into the sky.
What is it they do that enables them to achieve so much, you ask yourself. They’ve got two legs, two arms and two eyes. So do we. They regularly head to the toilet to relieve themselves; have relatives who annoy them; get into a bad mood. So do we. What is it?
It’s ingrained in us to seek out the secret sauce of success. It’s a deep-seated human desire.
You look at a prolific inventor or high-flying hedge fund manager and think: were they always that way? Well the answer is NO. They weren’t born the way you see them now, on the cover of Fortune, Wired or Vanity Fair magazine.
They became successful over time.
Success – and failure – is not a singular event. It doesn’t just appear at your doorstep like a pizza delivery. It stems from a series of little steps that occur over a period of time. The little things you do, day in and day out, lead to success or – equally – failure. I recently met Bill Nighy (a great gent). He, like many of his contemporaries (e.g. Judi Dench), spent years training, auditioning and performing to get to where he’s at. It didn’t happen overnight. Similarly, Jeff Bezos spent years working in finance, first, and then cut his teeth as a startup entrepreneur before Amazon became the giant that it is now.
Along the way, these individuals have adopted certain habits and have followed a set of rituals to support their lifestyle. It’s easy to appreciate why they’ve done so. These men and women have tremendously demanding schedules. Their calendars are stuffed with appointments, events, meetings, calls, training sessions and working breakfasts, lunch and dinners. And then there’s their personal affairs, like seeing to family and friends. Consequently, their days are organised in such a way that they’re able to get as much done as possible in the least amount of time. Some of them have jammed schedules 7 days a week, including on holiday because they’re working round the clock, 365 days a week.
[In finance, it’s normal for even junior professionals (e.g. investment bankers) to have full schedules, simply because of the abnormally long hours they work. So it’s not just the high-profile individuals in the sector that are uber busy.]
One of the things that helps individuals manage a very hectic lifestyle and keep them on the path to success is a morning routine. It is the subject of this post. And as you’ll soon learn it often acts as a personal anchor, keeping you focused while also grounded.
And just as no two snowflakes are alike, routines will vary from person to person. Because each of us is unique and we, therefore, have different requirements.
On the importance of routines
High achievers get things done. Period. That’s one of the reasons they’re so successful.
I’ve come to know a number of people most of us would consider extremely successful. What I’ve discovered from spending time with them is that any one day can bring about a whirlwind of activity. And with it, lots of varying emotions. While these special creatures believe strongly that they’re in control of their destiny, they’re fully aware that plans could change from one moment to the next and that obstacles sometimes emerge out of thin air. It is a reality they’ve gotten used to. Yet it doesn’t take away the fact that work, along with its environment, can be very stressful for them. At the level they’re operating at pressures are heightened. The obstacles are larger. The stakes are bigger. Interestingly, these guys and girls thrive on it.
Correspondingly, a morning routine isn’t a feel-good luxury they do for kicks. Don’t mistake it for the Instagram video of a man or woman sitting crossed legged in designer tights with some sitar music playing and a few tea lights burning away, published on social media in order to show one’s alleged spiritual side. More often than not, done to look cool, for lack of a better word. No my friends. The morning routines I speak of are integral to success. They are an absolute must in order for those high achievers to consistently perform at optimum levels.
Discipline, an integral ingredient for success, plays a pivotal part in this. Though I don’t think many of us appreciate it as much as it deserves. Whether you look at a successful financier, business tycoon or entrepreneur, I promise you their discipline will be borderline religious. And the reason, and I alluded to this earlier, is straightforward: it takes time to become a success. It doesn’t happen overnight. A magazine article will tell you that in Month X of Year Y somebody became a global sensation. But it’s never like that.
Discipline also applies to morning routines.
Routines help set the tone for the day and enable you to become significantly more productive over time. When you need to pack more punch into each minute of the day then you need to be in the right frame of mind. A morning routine sets you up for that.
Let’s look at morning routines for some of the world’s most successful people. [READ MORE…]