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Review: The 5 AM Club – Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life.

How great is your ambition? If you aspire to make history, there are practical strategies you can put to use to get yourself started. In “The 5 AM Club,” you’ll learn how the world’s best performers use their willpower and time to change the world.

The early bird changes the world.

Review: The 5 AM Club – Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life.

READ THIS BOOK REVIEW IF YOU:

  • Are already an early riser — or want to be
  • Want to change the world
  • Need practical strategies for increasing your impact and productivity

Content Summary

Genres
Introduction
A Daily Philosophy on Becoming Legendary
The 5 AM Method: The Morning Routine of World Builders
The 5 AM Club Discovers the Habit Installation Protocol
The 5 AM Club Learns the 20/20/20 Formula
The 5 AM Club is Mentored on the Tactics of Lifelong Genius
Conclusion
About the author
Video and Podcast
Book Summary

Genres

Productivity, Career and Success, Self-Management, Leadership, Business, Personal Time Management, Motivation, Success Self-Help

Introduction

The 5 AM Club is a parable about success — not mere financial or professional success but true success. The kind of success that will make you into a hero. Heroism sounds like a romantic ideal, but anyone can achieve it by embracing discomfort and putting intense focus into daily habits of self-improvement. The first habit is simple: Wake up at 5 a.m. and use the first hour of your day to get ahead.

As you read, keep in mind the insights of the 5 AM Club:

  1. Four focuses of history makers: Improve upon your natural talents, free yourself from distractions, master your craft, and build each day’s successes on the last.
  2. Habit installation: To create new habits, choose a trigger, a ritual, and a reward. Then, turn your habits into triggers for further habits.
  3. The 20/20/20 formula: The first hour of your day should be split into 20minute pockets of intense exercise, reflection, and study.
  4. The 90/90/1 rule: For 90 days, spend 90 minutes at the start of your day practicing the one most important skill for your field.
  5. The 60/10 method: For stellar productivity, work in cycles of 60 minutes of intense focus and 10 minutes of deep rest.
  6. Traffic University: Spend your commute learning instead of allowing yourself to succumb to boredom.
  7. Weekly design: The things you schedule are the things that will get done, so take 30 minutes every Sunday to design a beautiful week.

A Daily Philosophy on Becoming Legendary

In the 5 AM Club parable, the Artist and Entrepreneur attend a seminar hosted by the Spellbinder. The Spellbinder lectures on the importance of mindset: Regardless of the tragedies of your past, it’s possible to adopt a fearless mentality. Fear limits your success by paralyzing you into inaction, while taking action on your dreams is infinitely more important to success than just having those dreams. You must be willing to be uncomfortable in order to overcome your fears. In fact, your greatest opportunities will arise in the places where you’re the most uncomfortable.

At the end of his speech, the Spellbinder collapsed. Afterward, the Artist and Entrepreneur, two former strangers, stopped outside to chat about what had happened. There, they met a strange homeless man who seemed to know everything about what the Spellbinder had to teach — and was not at all what he seemed. The homeless man expounded on the need to live a legendary life, spend your time with people who understand you, and do the things that fill you with joy. By surrounding yourself with the right personal and environmental influences, you can become infinitely more productive.

Take Karen, for instance. Karen spent the first half of her twenties around people who avoided responsibility and partied. As long as she hung around them, she didn’t see the point of attending school, even though she’d always dreamed of being a nurse. Eventually, she decided to give up partying and get into a nursing program. To do this, she had to make herself uncomfortable and lose some friends, but the joy, productivity, and new, more like-minded friends she found in nursing school exponentially improved her life.

At the end of their conversation, the homeless man invited the Artist and Entrepreneur to his compound to learn more about how to elevate their lives. They accepted.

The next morning, the Artist and Entrepreneur were picked up in a limousine to fly on a private jet to Mauritius. On the way, they were given five rules to remember:

  1. Distraction kills creativity.
  2. Excuses will never produce genius.
  3. Change is hard at the start, messy in the middle, and beautiful at the end.
  4. If you want to rise above others, you must challenge yourself more than they challenge themselves.
  5. The point where you feel like giving up is exactly the point at which you should proceed toward your goals.

The 5 AM Method: The Morning Routine of World Builders

As it turned out, the homeless man was actually Stone Riley, one of the richest men in the world and one of the Spellbinder’s proteges. His first lesson for the Artist and Entrepreneur was to wake up at 5 a.m. every day.

The early morning hours are when you can get a competitive edge. While most people sleep, you can build better habits, strategize, and get ready for a productive day, all without the distraction of daily life humming around you. Rising early elevates every other good habit you can cultivate.

That evening, the Artist and Entrepreneur bonded. The Entrepreneur lost her father when she was young and was always afraid of abandonment. Worse still, the board of the company she founded and nurtured to astronomical success was threatening her life if she wouldn’t leave the company. For his part, the Artist had always been a dreamer, but when he was young, his parents and teachers had quashed his creativity. Since then, he had resented authority, but that resentment had taken over his life while failing to restore his childlike wonder for the world. These were the fears that limited Riley’s new students.

The next day, Riley taught the Artist and the Entrepreneur the importance of painstaking attention to detail in all their endeavors. By increasing your awareness of details, you get more information about what you’re working on, and with that information, you can make better choices. And better choices lead to better results.

Monique, for instance, led shifts in her local bakery. She was intimately familiar with her customers and what they wanted to see in stock, but like most of the bakery employees, she didn’t track the customers’ purchases. One day, she decided to spend some of her downtime digging into the bakery’s point-of-sale system and tracking trends. She discovered patterns: More cream cakes sold on weekends, more marble cakes sold for special orders, and sales on vanilla and chocolate cakes had risen when she was piping floral patterns onto the top. By paying painstaking attention to details, she was able to create a production schedule that brought about a 20% sales increase.

Next, Riley introduced the four focuses of history makers.

  • Capitalization: This involves growing your natural talents. You can be innately gifted in a particular area, but that doesn’t mean you should coast on that innate gift. Improving upon your gifts is what sets great people apart from others. It takes hard work and discipline to improve your gifts.
  • Freedom from distractions: Distraction is an addiction, and it’s deadly for creativity. The key is to radically simplify your life so that it contains only the things that are most important to you.
  • Personal mastery practice: Every day, and particularly every morning, you should be practicing your skills and preparing your mind and body for the victories you want to achieve during the day.
  • Day stacking: Every day’s successes should build on the last. Small daily improvements build on each other. The important ingredient is consistency — making improvements every single day, without fail.

The 5 AM Club Discovers the Habit Installation Protocol

Riley took the Artist and the Entrepreneur to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and impart his knowledge about habits — specifically that you form habits through consistency and willpower. If you don’t have much willpower to start with, it’s OK; the more you exercise your willpower, the stronger it becomes, just like a muscle.

The Taj Mahal serves as a useful metaphor for habit-building: It took two decades for emperor Shah Jahan to see the construction of the mausoleum through to its completion, but he stayed the course because he wanted to express to the world how much he loved his late wife. It’s not enough just to build habits; you must both care deeply about the habit you’re building and follow through on your plans.

Habits have four steps. First, you must decide on a trigger that will remind you to practice the ritual you want to make into a habit (which is the second step). After practicing the ritual, the third step is to reward yourself for your practice. The fourth step is to repeat it. The beautiful thing about the habit installation protocol is that you can use it to turn habits into triggers for further habits, building success upon success.

The 5 AM Club Learns the 20/20/20 Formula

Riley then brought the Artist and Entrepreneur, who had fallen in love and gotten engaged, to Rome, where he had once fallen in love with his late wife. Here, he introduced them to the 20/20/20 Formula: the way to allocate the extra hour you get when you wake up at 5 a.m.

  • The first 20 minutes should be spent on immediate, intense exercise as soon as you wake up. Exercise increases dopamine in your brain, setting you up for a positive, productive mood, and elevates your metabolism.
  • The second 20-minute pocket should be spent on reflection. Journaling is a particularly good way to spend this time because it allows you to get some clarity on your thoughts and emotions before you head into the challenges you’ll face during the day.
  • The third and final 20 minutes should be spent on growth. This is a good opportunity to read, listen to podcasts, or work on an online course. The third pocket is where you make an investment in yourself.

The 5 AM Club is Mentored on the Tactics of Lifelong Genius

In São Paulo, the Artist and Entrepreneur got married. The two were letting go of their traumatic pasts and were now waking up at 5 a.m., setting great daily habits, and experiencing the best productivity of their lives. Here, Riley coached the couple on the tactics of lifelong genius.

  • The 90/90/1 Rule: For 90 days, schedule 90 minutes at the start of your workday to practice the most important skill for your field. The Artist, for instance, could spend that 90 minutes on figure, landscape, and color studies.
  • The 60/10 Method: The people who perform best in their fields know that they can’t hold their attention on one task for an entire day. Instead, they work in cycles. Once you’ve completed your 90 minutes of practice, spend 60 minutes of intense focus on your work, followed by 10 minutes of total rest.
  • Traffic University: Most people spend their commutes feeling bored or frustrated, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The most successful people take advantage of this downtime by learning something. Audiobooks, lecture series, and educational podcasts are an excellent way to keep yourself stimulated and growing.
  • The Weekly Design System: The things that you schedule into your week are the things that will get done, so set aside 30 minutes every Sunday to create your schedule. Give priority to the tasks that are the most important to you — and also schedule time to rest.

Finally, Riley brought the Artist and Entrepreneur to South Africa to illustrate the twin cycles of elite performance: the “High Excellence Cycle” and the “Deep Refueling Cycle.” The key to great leadership is that it must be sustainable over the long term. If you burn out too soon, you won’t make as much of an impact on the world around you. Consider the fact that muscles don’t grow during a workout; they grow during recovery. Similarly, your willpower and energy will grow each time you get true, deep rest. At least two days a week should be dedicated to intentional restoration with zero distraction from technology, and every quarter, you should take even more time off work to relax. You’ll come back from these periods of rest regenerated and stronger.

Conclusion

Success for its own sake — or for the sake of money — isn’t enough. Success is just a side effect of a greater goal: changing the world. By forging your character in the fires of suffering and discomfort and using these to strengthen your natural talents, you can become the hero of your own life. This is true leadership.

On your journey to heroism, remember the insights of the 5 AM Club:

  1. Four focuses of history makers: Improve upon your natural talents, free yourself from distractions, master your craft, and build each day’s successes on the last.
  2. Habit installation: To create new habits, choose a trigger, a ritual, and a reward. Then, turn your habits into triggers for further habits.
  3. The 20/20/20 formula: The first hour of your day should be split into 20minute pockets of intense exercise, reflection, and study.
  4. The 90/90/1 rule: For 90 days, spend 90 minutes at the start of your day practicing the one most important skill for your field.
  5. The 60/10 method: For stellar productivity, work in cycles of 60 minutes of intense focus and 10 minutes of deep rest.
  6. Traffic University: Spend your commute learning instead of allowing yourself to succumb to boredom.
  7. Weekly design: The things you schedule are the things that will get done, so take 30 minutes every Sunday to design a beautiful week.

About the author

Robin Sharma is one of the world’s top speakers on leadership and mastery. He has written several bestselling books, including The Leader Who Had No Title.

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