About one decade ago, I learned a lesson from a book which changed the way I see life and success. It goes like this: if you want to become successful in life, you have to focus on BEING and DOING before HAVING.
Let me explain what that means. Most people want to have stuff. They want to have money. They want to have a great marriage. They want to have a good health. They want to have everything. That’s the problem; because having is the last thing. The very first thing you have to do is to BECOME.
You see, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve heard it. It might have become a cliché, but it’s still true and will always be true that people who have certain results think and behave in a certain way to have and maintain such results. How you think affects the results you get.
People who have excellent health think and behave in a certain way. People who are overweight behave in certain predictable ways. People who have great marriage build it on trust and commitment to each other. You can predict that a million times.
People who have a lot of money delay gratification. You can be sure that’s true for a million millionaires. So it’s safe to say what we are is what we have. That’s why Aristotle said, “We’re what we repeatedly do.”
Today, I’m going to share with you a few habits that changed my life. I hope they will change yours, too. If you’re new here, don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss other interesting videos like this.
- Worship your morning
The 34th United States’ president, General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s philosophy is that, a man who doesn’t finish half of his day’s duties by 10AM has lost the day. Since when I was young, I’ve always cherish (or even worship) my morning.
I’m writing the script for this video some minutes to six in the morning. I’ve been up before 3AM today. Before most people start their day, I would have finished 80% of what I have to do today.
If you start honouring your morning, your life will change. The reason why cherishing your morning will change your life is because hours in the day are not the same. 7 AM isn’t the same as 7PM. Your brain is at its full capacity after a night of rest, but as we get into the afternoon, we’re faced with a million physical and emotional distractions which affect our productivity and even ability to think.
For example, nobody calls you by 5AM to say hello and since the world around you is silent, you can do great work.
One simple rule that can help you is to never consume news or social media at the early hour of the morning. Do something worthwhile in the morning. Do your most important work before 10AM. Worship your morning and your life will change.
- Postpone pleasure
I know how to enjoy life. I have a good or even high taste. I love luxury or good things. But I’m different from most people in the sense that I can postpone pleasure. I sacrificed all my twenties; I didn’t live a normal life. I never bought anything fashionable; I never spent time to enjoy at any moment.
Instead, I did some of the most difficult things. I went after my dreams and shut my eyes to the pictures of my friends on social media.
Most people want to eat their cakes and still have it. Most people want to get without giving up. Most people want to make easy decisions and still have an easy life. Sorry, it won’t work.
John C. Maxwell said, “One is too small a number to achieve greatness”. I lived my last one decade with this motto. I never do anything worthwhile alone. I always look for who to partner with. I always look for brains to pick. I always look for who to depend on. I always look for who to add to my team.
Most people were trained by a school system which essentially made them a lone ranger. “Two are better for one because they have a better reward for their labour”. That’s what my Bible tells me in Ecclesiastes 4:9.
Let me tell you why you can’t succeed alone. You are too small. You’re also limited. You have too little time. Having the habit of curiously searching for partnership and collaboration means that you’re looking for people who have strengths to cover your weaknesses. It means you’re looking for people who know what you don’t. It means you’re looking for ways to multiply your strengths and time.
Again, the Bible says, “One will chase a thousand and two will put ten thousand to flight”. Three people working together will achieve more than five people working individually. It’s a simple truth.
- Spend time alone
I know people who wake up 5AM every day, hurriedly have their bath and commute to work via public transport. They report to a noisy office, close from work, and return home late to watch a few minutes of TV, go to bed, to resume the same cycle the following day. That is a busy, wasteful life.
If you don’t spend time with yourself, how are you going to know who you are? If you don’t spend time to assess your life, how can you be sure you’re living? Plato said, “Unexamined life is not worth living”.
Show me a man who is always busy and I’ll show you a man who is too busy. Even if it’s going to be a few minutes every day, spend time to think and examine your life. If possible, live and work in an environment where there’s no noise because creativity hates noisy and you can’t be successful in any field except you’re creative.
- Sleep well
I admit I started this video stating that I wake up 3AM and that you should cherish your morning. But what do I mean by sleeping well? Well, here is how it makes sense; your brain is by far the most valuable asset you will ever have. For that powerful machine to function well, you need a good sleep.
Don’t be deceived by people who claim to sleep only four hours per night and are still hard working. They are not hard working, unless they have a few hours of nap during the day. Winston Churchill was one of the most significant figures of World War Two. He knew he had to be active almost all day, but he also understood the importance of good sleep to his brain. So, Churchill demanded that people around him allow him to have two hours of nap every day (excluding night sleep).
Albert Einstein is considered one of the greatest scientists of all time. Well, this is one of his secrets: Uncle Einstein slept 10 hours every night. Yes, 10 long hours per night and a short nap during the day.
Now you see what I’m talking about. Although you must cherish your morning, you must also sleep well. What I do to balance this is to go to bed very early. By 8PM last night, I was already on my bed. I also sleep at night many days.
If one of the greatest scientists in the world slept long hours, if one of the best WWII generals valued good sleep….then, sleep can be what you need to be more productive.