Most of us struggle with the alarm clock. After a fitful night of sleep, the last thing we want to do is open our eyes and face another day. Generally speaking, that means we have to drag ourselves out of the comfort of our bed and our home, and head out to some draining job that makes us just enough money to sustain our lifestyle.
But what if you could change that? What if you could start the day refreshed, confident, and ready to tackle nearly any challenge?
In “The 5AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life”, Robin Sharma provides detailed guidance on how starting our day a little bit earlier (or a LOT earlier for some of us!) can help us become more successful and satisfied.
A Brief Synopsis
Robin Sharma began touting the principles of “The 5AM Club” over twenty years ago. Based on his own practices over a period of four years, he combines science and experience to demonstrate to readers how just a slight change in daily routine can lead to a more enriched life.
Mr. Sharma is primarily known as an author, with over a dozen books to his credit. All of his titles provide guidance to readers on topics such as stress management, spirituality, career goals, and leading the best possible life.
He challenges all of us to redefine success and happiness through books such as “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” and “The Greatness Guide”. Mr. Sharma also considers himself a humanitarian, providing guidance through motivational speeches, and giving back to society with his own Foundation for Children. He is no stranger to struggle, himself; in fact, his first book was self-published at a walk-in print shop and distributed through his kitchen!
Main Characters in the 5am Club
In “The 5AM Club”, Robin Sharma weaves a delightful story of two struggling strangers – The Entrepreneur and The Artist – who meet at a motivational talk, in which the speaker, known as The Spellbinder, collapses onstage.
These two strangers encounter The Homeless Man, who appears to be a scruffy ne’er-do-well, yet imparts greater wisdom than either The Entrepreneur or The Artist expected to receive.
Why Wake Up at 5AM?
Very few of us want to wake up at 5am unless absolutely necessary. But wouldn’t you say that making great changes to your overall lifestyle and satisfaction with your lifestyle is pretty necessary?
Mr. Sharma challenges us all to try waking up at 5am every day for 66 days: that’s the length of time required to establish a new, permanent habit.
But what will you gain at this magical hour?
The author makes a compelling argument that waking up and being productive in solitude, before anyone else gets up, can double creativity and triple productivity.
The idea behind this is that if we awaken at the last possible moment, all of our energy is focused towards getting ready, getting out the door, communicating with others, and other task-driven efforts. We don’t get any time to focus on ourselves and our own state of mind.
The 20/20/20 Formula
Instead, he recommends getting up at 5am and immediately employing the “20/20/20 Formula”. This means 20 minutes of movement; specifically, exercise that builds up a sweat. This is followed by 20 minutes of reflection on yourself, allowing you to free up your mind and understand and express your emotions. Last is 20 minutes of growth, in which you encourage the love of learning that has helped other leaders along the path of success.
These figures can be adjusted as necessary, but overall, the first hour of the day should be spent activating your mind and body.
The goal of the “20/20/20 Formula,” and indeed of the whole process outlined in this book, is to honor and enrich the “Four Interior Empires”.
Our Interior Empires
The first empire is your Mindset. This refers to the way in which you see the world around you, and how you interact with and react to the world.
Your mindset must remain open and available, yet consistent and disciplined. This means that, while you should continue to grow in experiences, you cannot let your mind wander or give in to what The Spellbinder refers to as “the seduction of complacency”.
The second empire is your Heartset. This includes your overall wellbeing and emotions. The goal is to express your emotions honestly, because unexpressed emotions will never die, and will – at some point or another – begin to overpower you.
The third empire is your Healthset, which is your body. Sharma recommends we all honor our bodies through fitness and good nutrition, as a healthy body and mind coexist to create the basis of success.
The last empire is your Soulset. This is your spirituality. Regardless of your personal beliefs, consider putting down the “rush, rush, rush” attitude, and take time to focus inward and reflect on your spiritual growth. You will find that this will help you access a more balanced mind, which in turn can help guide you towards greatness.
The Rules of Greatness
So here you are, awake at 5am. You’ve completed a 20 minute workout, had a nice, thorough meditation, and learned more about your favorite business mogul. Does this mean you’re one of The Greats?
Well, not yet. There are 4 Rules to becoming one of The Greats, as outlined in “The 5AM” club.
The first rule is that we should each capitalize on our strengths. This means that we should accept and embrace our given talents, yet continue to grow and improve in our field. Sharma also explains that having talent alone is not enough: we must commit to growth through self-discipline and continuous effort.
The second rule is to avoid distractions. This is one of the main reasons for getting out of bed at 5am: there are fewer distractions to zap our energy or take our focus away from building our Inner Empires.
Consider simplifying tasks and concentrating only on what is important; as Sharma notes, one hour of uninterrupted work can be worth four hours of interrupted work!
The third rule focuses on the “power of habit”. This means that doing small things every single day is more powerful than doing one thing every now and then.
Just as a brick laid every day eventually builds a wall, a series of small actions can become a very powerful behavior over time. Reaching goals requires frequent small steps, rather than one giant leap here and there.
The final rule is that of “personal mastery”. You are, after all, your most valuable asset. As The Spellbinder notes early on in the book, “Life’s too short to play small with your talents”. Instead, spend that one precious hour each day working on yourself to create the best version of yourself. Don’t set yourself up to be drained. Instead, push yourself out of the comfort zone and continue to grow and learn.
Ready to be part of the 5AM Club?
As the title suggests, this book is about starting your day at 5am. If that seems like a daunting request, then it is very likely that you are exactly the person who could benefit from this practice!
Throughout a series of stories and parables, author Robin Sharma guides readers through some very convincing and compelling reasons for starting the time at what many of us would consider an unreasonable hour.
In the end, you might just find that a little discomfort in the morning can lead to a great deal of personal growth!