Not too long ago, a few studies came out suggesting that those of us who would rather burn the midnight oil in lieu of waking up at the crack of dawn were smarter. In fact, one of those studies is found right here. I'm always one to study how people do things and what different keys to success there are. History has taught me that the "smartest" people aren't always the most successful. Though I was an excellent student growing up, my parents always brought me back down to earth saying "You're never too smart to screw up."

Good advice.

Through the wonder that is social media, I've been able to virtually observe some of the behaviors of very successful people. Not just financially but people who are genuinely very good at whatever they do. Several successful and very smart people I know are the night owls and it works out great for them. However, most other people I've found to be successful are your early risers. I get on Twitter and several thought leaders in the business world have already been up and at 'em before my vision has even completely focused after waking. I see how several bloggers do most of their writing in the morning. Legendary professional athletes train in the wee hours. Some of my bosses get up early to read several newspapers cover to cover. Shoot, Jesus himself is noted as using the early morning as a time of prayer. It appears to me, just out of pure observation, that your most successful people are early risers.

So I decided to test this theory out. Does success really come earlier in the day?

Peter Shankman does a great write-up on this topic. (No, really, you should read it). He gives a few tips on how to get up early and I decided to follow some of his leads. Not doing anything dramatic, I decided to get up half hour earlier in the day. Just some time to get up and stretch, do some core exercises and catch up on a little reading. It's amazing what all you can accomplish in thirty minutes undisturbed. Then I went about my day as usual, doing the bulk of my news catching-up on my hour long train commute to the office.

What did I notice?

My mind seemed a lot sharper. Typically when I get to work, I'm still trying to wake up. When I got up earlier to do other things, especially exercising, I was more focused. I also had a tendency to arrive at work earlier as a result, giving me more undisturbed work time before any distractions could really kick in. There's also a peace about the morning too. A quiet time that, as Shankman describes, being all about me.

I'm not saying that getting up early comes natural. I honestly love to sleep in. However, over time, I think this will eventually come second nature to me. A few tricks I do:

  • Drink a full glass of water when the alarm goes off
  • Make up my bed (thanks to mom for that one)
  • Start exercising a bit before I can talk myself out of it
  • Turn on some music.

These tricks will only get me so far. Like any other goal in life, getting up early, learning a new language, training for a marathon etc, it's a decision. You have to make the decision on whether or not you really want to do something. If the desire is truly there, cool things can happen.

What do you all think? Does success come early?

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