You make or break your life all day long, by staying calm and avoiding stress

I was reading an article today and it annoyed me to no end.

Usually, I keep it positive on here, but sometimes I see something so harmful that I consider it my duty to call it out.

Let’s begin here. The article in question is titled: “You Make Or Break Your Life Between 5–7 AM”. Go ahead and take a look, if you like. It has more than one hundred thousand “claps” on Medium, so the author must have hit a nerve.

(I don’t know the author, by the way. Maybe he’s a great guy. I don’t know. But the message he’s spreading is horrible.)

Let’s take a look at some of the things this guy wants us to believe:

If you lose an hour in your morning, you’ll spend your whole day looking for it.

What? What do you mean by “losing” an hour? I presume the author means “not doing something productive”. This would be wrong as can be. Relaxation is incredibly important for long-term health and productivity. Plus, resting in the morning is just as good as resting any other time of day.

If you don’t prioritize and maximize your morning hours, you’ll always be left wondering what your life could have been.

This is guilt tripping, pure and simple.

If you start your day at 7AM, you’ve already lost the most important hours of your day. You’ve already lost your chance to radically separate yourself — intellectually, emotionally, spiritually — from the masses.

What utter nonsense. You can do great work and develop yourself any time of the day. Why wouldn’t you be able to “separate yourself” spiritually between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.? Is God not available during those hours? (For the record: I do not believe in any god.)

How do you spend the hours of 5 to 7? Do you spend half of that time sleeping? Do you sleep the entire duration?

Are you kidding me? Advising people to be awake between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. is terrible advice for most people.

For most people, their bodies want to be asleep during that time. Most people already do not get enough sleep, which increases the risk of all sorts of terrible health outcomes, from diabetes to Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s to obesity. Not to mention that being sleep-deprived makes you worse at pretty much everything on a day-to-day basis.

Yes, some people will naturally want to get up at 5 a.m. But others will naturally want to get up at 10 a.m. And that’s fine! Stop guilt tripping people. It’s genetics.

Anyway, I’ve written so much on sleep. Just read Matthew Walker’s book Why We Sleep or watch the TED talk “Why do we sleep?”

Waking up at 5AM isn’t enough, then, if you wake up at that time and you start yourself down a non-optimal path.

“A non-optimal path.” 🤮

Doing the “optimal” thing all the time doesn’t result in happiness. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Every person has 24 hours per day. However, what each person does with those 24 hours determines who they become and what they do. How you spend your 24 hours is the difference between making tens of millions of dollars and living paycheck to paycheck.

More guilt tripping.

Research confirms the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, is most active and readily creative immediately following sleep. Your mind is clearest in the morning. Your energy is highest.

You know when the prefrontal cortex is not active and creative? When you’re sleep-deprived because you went to bed at 11 p.m. and woke up at 5 a.m.!

Your workouts will be far more productive and powerful if you do them in the late morning or early afternoon, as opposed to first thing in the morning. Lunch-break work out.

Yes, work out during your lunch break! Definitely do not take the time to properly enjoy your workout. Squeeze it in there. If that means you can’t have a chat with your coworkers to get some social contact, too bad!

Indeed, stepping away after several hours of hard thinking is where you’ll get your best insights.

Speak for yourself, buddy.

I get my best insights any time my brain wanders, whether that’s when I’m biking to my favorite café in the morning, while I’m meditating, when I’m taking a shower, or late in the evening when I’m not doing anything in particular.

(Obligatory Late in the Evening mention.)

My best insights do not come, though, while I’m “working out” (read: climbing), because when I’m climbing, I focus on climbing. I climb because I enjoy it, not to coax my brain into secretly being productive.

If you want to quickly set yourself apart in life, you should make it your first priority to read lots of really good books. If you spend 1–2 hours per morning reading, you’d read 50–100 books per year. Do this for 5–10 years, and as they say, you’ll become an “overnight success.”

Apparently reading 50–100 books per year also gives you the right to criticize other people for not getting up early enough and to make them feel bad.

Reading isn’t enough though. You need to spend plenty of time thinking, meditating, praying if so inclined, and writing in your journal. Rather than just reading for 1–2 hours straight, it’s good to shift between reading, thinking, and writing down your insights.


What do you do between the hours of 5–7AM?

I sleep.

So that my brain can move my memories from short- to long-term storage, so my body can rest, so I can wake up feeling fresh and creative, so I avoid unnecessary diseases… the list goes on.


— Peter

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