What’s the key to success in life? If you believe one of the hottest ideas in self-help advice, you have little hope of achieving your dreams unless you wake early. Really early. Like three hours before you’re supposed to be at work. Or at 4:30 am. Or 3:30am.
The idea behind this trendy guidance is that getting out of bed super early gives you a head start – on your day, and on your competition. The gurus say you should use these pre-dawn hours to exercise, meditate, plan the day, eat a good breakfast, and maybe knock out that one task that you’re dreading.
Ok. Makes sense. But…Ugh. I’m up at 6 am, but only because we’ve got a platoon of kids to wrangle off to school. I don’t love that. Nor do my wife and kids, as evidenced by a recent vacation when all of us, even the baby, slept until at least 8:30.
I get exhausted just reading some of these articles about early rising. Yes, I know Apple CEO Tim Cook gets up at 3:30 every (yes, every) morning. GM CEO Mary Barra is in the office by 6 am. Disney CEO Bob Iger wakes at 4:30. Not to be outdone, Virgin American CEO David Cush springs out of bed at 4:15.
Check Out: The Shared Habits Of America’s Billionaires
Successful folks, all. But is this really necessary? No. The fact is, there are plenty of high achievers who wake up at far more civilized hours. Here are five that may surprise you.
Warren Buffett. The billionaire Sage of Omaha gets up at 6:45 am. “I have no desire to get to work at four in the morning,” he told PBS. “I get quite a bit of sleep. I like to sleep, so, I will usually sleep eight hours a night.” God, I love this man.
Carl Icahn. He’s worth about $16 billion despite routinely sleeping until mid-morning. When asked about rumors he might be named President Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury, the oilman and corporate raider dismissed the notion, saying he doesn’t get up early enough for such a job.
Elon Musk. Often described as the Thomas Edison of our age, Musk gets up around 7 am, after sleeping about six hours. Yet, somehow, how he’s managed to amass $15 billion while building such innovative companies as Tesla and SpaceX.
Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook founder admits that in the company’s early days, he rarely showed up before 10:30. “I was never a morning person,” he said in a Facebook Q&A. That’s changed somewhat, Zuck says, now that he has a kid. I feel your pain, brother.
Jeff Bezos. When he founded Amazon, Bezos made it clear to his team that he preferred not to have early morning meetings. He believes in eight hours of sleep and eating a healthy breakfast with his family. The reason: He wants his wife and kids to “get the best hours of my day.”
Of course, all of these guys have a tremendous capacity for work and are fierce competitors. Rest assured, they work late into the night or all weekend, when necessary. But they don’t feel compelled to get dressed for work in the moonlight. And neither should you. Work hard, work efficiently and you’ll be successful, regardless of when you get out of bed.