An article titled 29 Successful People Who Wake Up Really Early made rounds on the internet in the past week.
The article claims that:
The early bird schedule is good for responding to people and events around the world, getting a head start on people in your own time zone, and also finding time for exercise and family. What's more, research shows that early risers tend to be happier and more proactive.
Flicking through this list of various business leaders that claim they get up between 3:30am and 6am (yes, as late as that!) makes me wonder about the following:
a) Who comes up with the idea for such articles?
b) Who defines 'success' when picking the individuals to be included in the list?
The article is designed to make not only its readers feel bad, but also some of the CEOs included in it. Just think how awful Unilever CEO Paul Polman must have felt when he realized his 6am rising time is simply not good enough. Within this group of workaholics -- he is one of the slackers!
I can almost picture some communication guru giving him the bad news:
"The good news is that you've been featured in Business Insider's 29 Successful People That Wake Up Really Early. The bad news is that 25 of those people get up earlier than you do, including P&G's A.G. Lafley. We need to work on that. How about you start doing 10 mile runs before work, rather than in the office?"
However, if you didn't feel bad enough about not getting up as early as these high-flying individuals, Business Insider will do that for you. The list is followed by a heading -- "It takes more than an alarm clock to get ahead" and then you are advised to read on about 42 successful people who share the best advice they ever received.
Such articles should come with a disclaimer: reading/sharing/liking this will not make you successful in the way people mentioned here are. Nor will it make it easier for you to get up in the morning.
It might make you think about people that you consider successful and nobody knows about -- what their habits are, what they have in common and in the end, why you consider them to be successful.
You will hopefully find things beyond making a lot of money, or sleeping very little, or working 100-hour weeks for 24 years.