Did you ever happen to hear that the most important managers in the world sleep only a few hours per night?
Do you believe this affects their professional life and their success? According to this piece in the Corriere, you might have reason to believe so.
Still, why don’t we ponder it for a moment?
It is not my intention to buck the trend and state, let’s say, that in order to do business, you should get a lot of sleep, but I would like to look into this matter with you, and get you to think about what is truly important to be like them, or at least, to be successful in life.
Let’s take a look at the habits of these business legends: Tim Cook wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to read emails and newspapers, Sergio Marchionne gets up at 3:30 a.m. to take care of business in Europe, Tim Armstrong exercises at 5:00 a.m., and on his way to work, he catches up on the news, and schedules his meetings and his day.
But is this enough for us to conclude that the “sleep deprivation” factor is one of the secrets of their success?
After all, for a healthy life, any doctor recommends against sleeping less than six hours a night. Hence, we might assume that, in order to be successful, one should sacrifice their well-being.
Out of the aforementioned examples, the lifestyle I consider to be the best is that of Richard Branson, precisely because he won’t give up his well-being; being a friend of his, I’ve been able to verify it first-hand: his is a high-level lifestyle since he lives at least six months a year on his privately owned island, hence in a habitat tailor-made for him. Moreover, he plays sports at least one hour a day.
As written in the Corriere piece, when he is there, he gets up at 5:45 a.m. which, albeit early, is an acceptable time. Furthermore, he has said he makes up for lost hours of sleep during his frequent flights.
As a millionaire Italian businessman, I’ll tell you about my own habits as well, so as to give you one more practical example, and share my perspective with you.
Well, I go to bed at around midnight, and wake up at 6:00 a.m. First thing in the morning, I’ll have a half-hour read of very technical business books, to learn ever so much more about the subject, and to stay up-to-date on market news. Then, I’ll have breakfast with my kids: as a rule, I try and carve out time to be with my loved ones. After breakfast, I’ll move on to take care of my schedule, focusing on the three priorities of the day. A 20-minute video tutorial session, a glance at the news on New Republic, and I’ll be in my office by 10:30 a.m.
Besides the examples listed in the article, which mentions, somewhat in the name of marketing, a certain number of most successful managers getting up even at 3:30 a.m. (having gone to bed at what time after all… that’s not always easy to figure out), what makes all the difference, I believe, is not sleeping incredibly little, but sleeping just enough to rest the mind, even if on the edge of what is recommended for our well-being, and being truly “awaken” when we wake up.
I’ll explain this play on words further: as you might have inferred from the habits of these successful men, although what stands out first and foremost in the piece is the day kick-off time, what really lumps together all these entrepreneurs, myself included, is that, preferably during the first waking hours, but not exclusively, we read, we catch up on the news, we get updates, we schedule our day, which then, in turn, will flow away on its own in a more organized and serene way, notwithstanding unforeseen events that may always occur.
Furthermore, it’s crucial for our happiness that success be shared with the people you love: it’s vital not to neglect our loved ones. Then again, it’s common knowledge that exercising is useful and beneficial, but is not part of the prescription to be a true entrepreneur, although it does help our own psychophysical well-being.
For instance, in spite of my past as a hockey player, which is why I know well the value of sports, I’ve become unaccustomed to regular physical activity, despite having small obsessions linked to this matter: this morning, for example, and this may get a laugh out of you, I did push-ups, even though I don’t usually exercise after all; otherwise, from time to time, I’ll do postural exercises or planks, without a real logic or a time structure. And yet, I’m doing deals worth millions anyway.
What I’m trying to tell you is: it’s weird picturing the life of successful entrepreneurs as if they were brilliant superheroes who sleep very little, work non-stop and play sports as if they were war machines, when actually anyone with a good dose of willpower can be a successful entrepreneur, without having to suffer from insomnia, and while providing the proper space for very important aspects in our life, which do not only and exclusively require self-sacrifice, although that’s required as well.
If you want to become a rich and successful person, of course sleeping 12 hours per day won’t help you out: still, what will truly help you will be getting the proper rest, reading a lot, taking courses to keep yourself up-to-date, and planning out your priorities, possibly right in the first morning hours, without neglecting your loved ones and your psychophysical well-being during the course of the day.
I therefore wish for you to become a successful person, in the healthiest of ways possible.
If you want to be successful in your life, you have to change your approach and your way of thinking: download my 2 chapters free of my book “Money Makes You Happy“.
Here’s to your financial independence!