The 4 am secret
What time do you get out of bed every morning? Is it the same time each day or does it fluctuate? One of the consistent traits of those that achieve more is that they wake up before most. From entrepreneurs to elite athletes, the most successful individuals have the discipline to start their day consistently before the sunrise.
Why 4 am? For me, the answer is based on science. Between 4-5 am our brain waves are between alpha and theta. Alpha brain waves a slow rate (between 9-14 cycles per minute) and is what you experience during meditation and Theta are even slower (between 5-8 cycles per minute with higher amplitude). Theta brain waves represent the flow state that most of us only achieve when driving long distances or engaged in physical activity for an extended time like running. Being the flow allows us to slip into a creative state easier and it's the same reason we can do more challenging mental activities easier earlier in the day. This magic hour is the time to write your novel or whatever you have been putting off because you just don't have the time.
Time is the second reason to get out of bed before the sun rises. Every one of us is given the same 24 hours every day. What we do with that precious time will make the difference between an ordinary or extraordinary life. We all remember the old Army commercial with the tag line "We do more before 9 am than most people do all day." It only makes sense that if you get up earlier and dig into your most challenging tasks first thing in the morning, that you will have more time for yourself throughout the day. Give yourself the gift of time by starting your day before the phone starts ringing and email/social media alerts continuously distract you from the task at hand. Between 4-6 am every day, I am able to write an article, do my 10/10/10 routine, respond to all emails in my inbox, and take the time to strategically plan my daily calendar based on what is important or needs to be accomplished to set myself up for success.
Building your willpower is the final reason I advocate you start to rise before the sun. You will begin your day with an accomplishment that you build on. When the alarm goes off and you get out of bed, each additional challenge will get easier by building on the momentum of that first win, getting out of bed. When you don't' want to go for the run because it's cold, you are already out of bed and awake so it's that much easier to say yes to the next challenge. Build on your small successes to create habits that will elevate the quality of your life. Each little win builds momentum that continues throughout the day by the simple act of waking up and making your bed.
Rising at 4 am will help you be more creative, you will accomplish more and this small act has enormous positive results on your mental health. Now the choice is yours. Do you join the 4 am club like Michael Jordan who continuously worked to improve himself, even after he was the greatest basketball player to ever pick up a ball, or was he the best because of the commitment to his craft? Right now as I am finishing this article it's 4:46 am, my most challenging task is already complete and my next task is to watch the sunrise. How will you start your day tomorrow?