If You Want To Be More, Listen To This Formerly Dead Guy

Imagine driving in your car and suddenly being hit head on by a drunk driver (at 70 mph). Emergency crews arrive and find you literally dead at the scene. You’re dead for six minutes. Thanks to the valiant efforts of the first responders, they bring you back. You’re in a coma for 6 days, having broken 11 bones. When you finally awake you’re told you’ll never walk again.

That’s what happened to Hal Elrod when he was 20 years old. Yet somehow he defied his doctor’s predictions and did walk again. In fact, he went on to become a Hall of Fame business achiever, ultra-marathon runner (52 consecutive miles) and author of the very successful book “The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM).”

Elroy’s book invites us to leverage our mornings in order to become more of the person we long to be. Why? Because so much of our days are already eaten up by commutes, work, family time, etc. Often there’s very little margin left to work on ourselves. Be it our artwork, fitness or even peace of mind. Early morning offers an ideal time to pursue our goals.

I know what you’re thinking. We’ve all heard this advice before. Sayings like, “The early bird gets the worm,” or Benjamin Franklin’s, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” So how come we don’t heed this common wisdom?

Part of the problem is that the pace of life has accelerated and technology consumes our lives now. We’re constantly distracted with our smart phones, emails, social media, television, etc. We stay up late watching formulaic television shows or getting seduced by the glow of our laptop screens. And the light from these digital devices messes with our brains, making it harder to go to sleep.

We all have the potential to accomplish so much more in the service of our dreams. Whether you want to become a top artist or get in terrific shape, adopting effective habits and routines are key. Goals are great, but without a consistent routine and habits, you won’t get far.

Hal Elrod’s book “The Miracle Morning,” includes an interesting observation. According to the Social Security Administration, if you select 100 people from the beginning of their working life and observe them for 40 years, only one will have become wealthy, four will be financially stable, five will need to continue working, 36 will have died, and 54 will rely on friends and family for financial support. Pretty grim statistics.

My natural circadian rhythm is to be a night owl, but my job forced me to adapt. I get to work around 645AM and usually come home around 5–6PM. After dinner, some exercise and reading, I’m usually exhausted by 1030PM. I found that by getting up earlier, I could squeeze in extra time for a morning workout, artwork or reading. Amazingly, the morning routine refreshes me and sets the tone for my whole day.

On the days I skip my early morning routine, I invariably feel less enthusiastic and more sluggish. The key is to commit to at least 30 days with your new morning routine. Don’t hit the snooze button when you get up. Start off drinking a glass of water to hydrate. Then dive into your exercise or creative passion. It gets a bit easier with each passing day.

Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein and Aristotle all had this in common. They got up early. If you avoid alcohol, heavy meals and digital devices in the evening, you’ll sleep far better.

For several years as a young police officer I worked shift work, so I realize the early morning approach may not work for everyone. But you can easily flip this model. If you have a shift job that allows you to sleep later, then you might be able to leverage your evenings to pursue your passions. The key is to craft a schedule that carves out a consistent routine for you to focus on achieving your goals. Commit to one or the other, and you’ll be motivated by the results!

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