Does the early bird really get the worm?

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. An early riser is sure to be in luck. It's the early bird that gets the worm.

From the oldest to the youngest, we all heard that an early morning rise opens opportunities, improves life and is good from any perspective.

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Those of us who don’t belong to this early bird club, probably at least once in our lives, tried to shift our schedules and get out of bed a bit earlier. Not that long ago, I read somewhere that if you get up two hours earlier every day, in a year you’ll generate an extra month of wakefulness. Being greedy for life, I once again decided to experiment with my routine.

So sometime in the early summer, I made myself a promise. I wanted to try to get up a bit earlier every morning. Even a minute earlier than the day before would work.

For better or worse, I was sticking to the promise for some time until the alarm hit my “stress time.” Since I was a kid I thought of setting the alarm for 5 a.m. as torture. I only did it when I had to catch a plane or meet someone at the train station (I don’t know why, but most trains I came across arrived between 5 and 8 a.m.)

So as soon as I realized that I had to set it for 5 a.m. for the sake of the experiment (which I was finding pretty rewarding and joyful until that point, by the way), I failed. I couldn’t even remember anymore how I turn the alarm off. I fought myself for a few days, but eventually, I started getting up later again. And even though I was out of bed relatively early, my mornings felt like lost opportunities once again.

So I tried to motivate myself again. I got into reading the biographies of wealthy and successful people, 90 per cent of whom get up at 5 a.m. every day (5 a.m.! Every day!). I was reading about how productive people have become when they made early wake-ups their habit and how much they achieved.

I’ve known all that before, but nevertheless that scary 5 a.m. alarm image just wouldn’t let me go. And every day I would get up late, disappointed with myself for being such a jellyfish and losing precious hours.

Lately, I came across the club called 5 a.m., in which members pretty much act as gym partners. The idea is that participants make posts every morning at 5 a.m., and their partners react and comment on those, making morning wake-ups a bit bigger of a responsibility.

So I started considering joining that club or just finding someone as crazy as I am and willing to add a couple of hours to their days. When I shared the idea with some of my friends, trying to get them hooked, the most common question was, what do you do when you get up so early? And I didn’t have an answer to it. The simplest one was, whatever I don’t have time to do during the day.

For example, learn Spanish, which I always wanted to do. Or have extra time to read. Or write. Or put together some thoughts about the projects I was postponing due to the lack of time. I can get through the courses I purchased two years ago and never had time to complete. I can do some sports or just spend some time meditating and opening up my mind. Sounds very inspiring, right? Yes, but not exactly.

All these possibilities still didn’t get me anywhere closer to getting up early. Have you ever tried motivating yourself by imagining how you start a big project? Don’t do it. We want the final results, but it’s always really hard to start. And it gets even more difficult if you refuse to get up early for that.

As odd as it is, I probably would leave my attempts to train myself into getting up early, if not for the vacation. I was out in the Rockies, where nature all of sudden became that 5 a.m. club partner that easily gets me out of bed as early as it wants. An amazingly beautiful life is in full swing around me and once again I’m eager to have more time in a day to be able to see, explore, experience and enjoy it all.

So I’m back to my experiments, and instead of arguing against the folk wisdom, I’m trying to become that early bird to feel deeply the full scale of life. And to finally catch that tricky worm.

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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