The feeling is impossible to control. I just have to wake up by 6am every morning because life just feels too darn exciting! Do you remember the feeling during Christmas eve as a kid, where you were so excited you couldn’t sleep? You’d sneak down and wait in the middle of the night just to see if Santa was coming? While you waited, you also tried getting a sneak peak at your presents by pealing back each corner to see what you got! That was me. Forever mischievous and hopeful.
Somewhere in the middle of adolescence and adulthood, I lost that excitement. Perhaps it was the constant pressure of trying to do well in school so I could get a real job and not have to go back to McDonald’s. Anything was better than opening up McDonald’s at 6am for $3.25!
I recall dreading my 8am Calculus class during college. Surprise, surprise, I dropped the class and signed up for Golf III (advanced level baby) instead! That was when I began to rekindle my excitement as a kid again. I was learning something I just loved, and couldn’t get enough.
FINDING THAT DESIRE IS IMPORTANT
As soon as I wake up, I can’t wait to check my e-mails to see what went on in the world. We sleep a quarter to a third of our lives away! Part of the reason why I’m looking to meet more people internationally is because they are up when the East Coast is sleeping. As a result, I’ll get to interact more with people in the evenings during my free time.
There’s very little that makes me happier than building relationships. In fact, dare I say nothing makes me happier than the relationships we have with our family and friends? Money is nice, but money is even better when we can spend it on others to help make them happy.
Just the other day, I spent hours painting, caulking, and cleaning our rental apartment. I went out and bought a new shower head, fixed some fixtures, and even got the carpets professionally cleaned. All was worth it when my tenant came in and said, “Wow!” She was smiling from ear to ear, and commented on how sparkly everything looked. Now that’s gratifying! We got to talking about her life and her aspirations.
MORE TIME CAN HELP YOU SUCCEED
One of my stretch goals is to try and wake up the same time everybody wakes up on the East Coast (8am EST assumption = 5am PST), and go to bed three hours after them (assumption 12pm PST/3am EST). In essence, I’m trying to build in 3 more hours of time into my day.
Three hours more a day is 90 hours more a month to work on your projects, be them personal projects or work projects. Let’s say you can only stay awake for one more hour a day. Don’t you think you can still do amazing things with 30 extra hours a month? You bet your buns of steel you can!
There’s a large group of people out there who just love to sleep in, myself included! There’s something so special about hearing the alarm clock, and knowing it’s Saturday and you don’t have to get up. If you find something you just absolutely love to do everyday, you won’t need that alarm clock and will bounce right out of bed every single morning.
LOOK FOR THAT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS WHILE YOU SLEEP
Practice waking up earlier for one hour a day, everyday for the next month. You might feel a little groggy in the beginning, but that will start to fade as you focus that extra hour on doing whatever it is you love. When you start seeing progress in your activity, you’ll discover that waking up early gets easier and easier until you just automatically get up!
Who knows, you might even move a mountain with just one hour extra a day once your life is over.
Have a fantastic Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Reflection 12/25/12: I wrote this post on 12/24/2010, a year and a half after launching this site. So much has happened in the past two years, but I’ve felt this way everyday since. I never thought I would be able to retire from corporate America just a year and a half later. 2010 was the year I was getting poached to join a new firm in a different city. The money they offered was tantalizing. Instead, I negotiated a counter offer with my existing firm because I wanted to hit the 10 year mark and finish my career with them in San Francisco.
It’s amazing to find something you love to do. If it wasn’t for the 2008/2009 financial meltdown, I’d probably still be working in an industry that I no longer loved. It’s not the worst thing in the world to simply work for a paycheck, but it’s certainly nothing close to always waking up full of excitement. I encourage everyone to keep looking for that something which requires no alarm clock. Once you find it, figure out how to make it a part of your daily life. You’ll surprise yourself with what you can do!