Oh, Ben Franklin and your worm. What if, like a bat, I prefer more agile prey? Today, I read yet another piece that equates success with early rising. Not in all my days have I been inclined to be an early, nor an easy, riser. From my earliest memories, my family called me Bear and warned any and all about the risks of monkeying around with a hibernating grizzly. Some time in the womb, however, I developed ambitions on par with a grizzly’s ferocity. They have fueled most everything I do with the exception of setting an alarm. Until now. I’ve grown weary of hearing that success will never be mine because I don’t catch the damn worm. I’m also genuinely beginning to worry that perhaps success will never be mine because I don’t. So, as is my m.o., I’m establishing an experiment. If I switch my metaphorical diet, and my literal schedule, for six weeks, will I be more successful?
Today’s article claims that the “super successful” accomplish five things before 8 a.m. I rarely see 8 a.m. let alone 1) exercise, 2) map out my day, 3) eat a healthy breakfast 4) visualize, and 5) tackle the toughest to-do’s. If I’m honest with you, I tend to rise between 10:30 and noon, often closer to noon. Moreover, if noon is my equivalent to 6 a.m., then I often don’t do any of those five things before the equivalent of 8 a.m. No, by 2 p.m., I may have accomplished a healthy breakfast, and if you count opening the back door, or walking down one flight of stairs to let the dog pee, then I will also have accomplished exercise. The toughest thing on my to-do list is always my creative practice, and I rarely get to it before 7 p.m. after I’ve done what is necessary to make a living. Often it’s 10 p.m. or so before I get down to my real work. As for visualizing and mapping out my day, I can make a valid case that I do this while I dream, and thus before 8 a.m., but my notion of these concepts is not likely to align with the article’s author’s definition, and so let’s just say that I don’t actually get to these activities.
So, am I super successful in spite of my habits? No. As the article implicitly predicts, I’m a grand failure. Two book manuscripts have yet to find publishers. I barely scrape by and often worry about money. I am not famous. I am not married with a beautiful family. I applied for several dozen jobs as I finished my PhD, the third graduate degree on my CV, and I received zero job offers. The only job I could find, other than my ongoing part-time gig for MQR, was working in home improvement retail for less than $10 an hour sans benefits. Additionally, as you will gather from the news and/or your Twitter feed, I have not saved the world. Ergo, I wonder: is the problem, and hopefully, the solution, my sleep schedule? And, I begin my experiment to find out.
As with any good experiment, we must first establish a baseline. If the coming six weeks will be the experimental period, then the last six will provide the baseline. From September 1 through October 16 what exactly did grand failure look like?
If that was as boring for you to read as it was for me to recall and type, my sincere apologies. Scientific rigor made me do it. Now for the experiment.
Beginning tomorrow and through November 30, the petri dish will look like the following:
Before I close, no good experiment would be complete without a hypothesis. Here’s mine:
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