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best book......must read
06 May 2019 (05:01)
Such a unique & helpful Book , written in a very lucid , pedantic & inclusive manner. It's very helpful as a guide not only for entrepreneurs but for pretty much everybody who seeks clarity of mind, self-discipline & self-development. Must read.....
19 May 2019 (13:51)
If you need a prop in your life. Read this book.
04 July 2019 (10:59)
I am knew here, I can't wait to be pleasantly surprised
10 July 2019 (19:49)
Already loving this site
16 July 2019 (16:53)
This book is a great opportunity to master the art of getting up early.
24 July 2019 (03:01)
link is not working
link is not working
18 August 2019 (11:01)
LOVED It Bros.... Keep on loving etc
01 September 2019 (20:10)
I cannot wait to master the formula of the 5 am club. Already captured by the first chapter!
08 October 2019 (12:10)
great book, different than other self-improvement books that only provide plain instructions.
18 October 2019 (07:25)
I can't open the books☹️, I am able to download but when I open it says "can't open file" please help.
17 November 2019 (11:41)
ZLibrary Team (Valeria)
You can open this book via Calibre app (the download link you will find in FAQ)
18 November 2019 (16:55)
Ntlantla M Slade
Couldn't stop reading it as soon as i clicked it while browsing which book to read on my personal epub reader library its a must read indeed
25 November 2019 (23:55)
Very Good Book to read
05 December 2019 (21:53)
Already loving the book
28 December 2019 (16:59)
I can't open the books☹️, but I can download when I try to open it it says I can't open the file. Please I need your help
26 February 2020 (14:52)
Can't wait to read this book
20 March 2020 (07:50)
convert it to pdf or some other format ur phone can open before downloading. that must help. even I experienced it but I downloaded it in pdf form and i cud open it.
25 May 2020 (07:57)
A great book to read during quarantine. It will help you rewire and start over in the right foot. I say that is a MUST READ.
03 June 2020 (00:16)
Can’t wait to get started on this book super excited!
02 July 2020 (15:07)
Best book i have ever come across
03 July 2020 (22:00)
vary bad i can even read 1 story
12 August 2020 (09:42)
Good book for early daily kickers
03 October 2020 (11:10)
Great book! Worth reading????
05 October 2020 (17:55)
Great books.. Enjoy myself.....
29 October 2020 (07:10)
No.. did not like the writing style.
Way too much "story" and too less "getting to the point" for my taste
Way too much "story" and too less "getting to the point" for my taste
20 November 2020 (11:50)
Thank you for your efforts ...
29 November 2020 (09:28)
Great book. The billionaire is a thoughtful, kind genius. The books oozes sincerity, purity of intent and all that is good in the world. A bit of a romantic love story as well. It certainly has given me a lot to think about and be grateful for. A must read.
07 December 2020 (06:17)
this book is just ridiculous
04 February 2021 (17:50)
the only good thing I can say about it, in a Groucho Marx style, is that it finally made me go back to great literature picking up some Ernest Hemingway to start with, for example.
06 February 2021 (12:45)
More snake oil wrapped in a bunch of positive common sense "anyone can do this" and embellished with googled quotes from "the wise". This book is a tribute to the paucity of critical thinking, and the emptiness of our modern lives, as we reach constantly for whatever appears to be the latest "solution".
02 March 2021 (12:42)
those who are not able to open convert to pdf and try downloading
it worked for me
those who are not able to open convert to pdf and try downloading
it worked for me
04 May 2021 (10:11)
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GREAT Dr CLEMENT CAN AS WELL CURE all diseases as well as FOLLOWING.
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09 May 2021 (02:54)
Epilogue Five Years Later A few months after his time on Robben Island, Stone Riley passed away. He died peacefully in his sleep in a small apartment in the historic center of Rome. His loving daughter was at his side. As was The Spellbinder. On the day of the titan’s death, more doves and butterflies took flight over the Eternal City than ever before. There was even a double rainbow that extended all the way from the Spanish Steps to the Colosseum. You would have been impressed, if you had been there to see it. The billionaire had been suffering from a rare and incurable disease which he had told no one about, except for The Spellbinder. Because he was his best friend. You’ll be happy to know that, during his last days, the eccentric tycoon completely liquidated the various ventures of his vast business empire. And gave the entire amount to charity. Mr. Riley did decide to leave his oceanside compound in Mauritius to the entrepreneur and the artist, as he knew how much they loved being there. Allow me to share what has happened to the entrepreneur and the artist since the time of that most surreal adventure they had with the billionaire. I know you’re probably wondering. The entrepreneur has become a fabulously wealthy woman, having grown the company she founded into an iconic enterprise. She has let go of the demons of her past that haunted her for so long and absolutely loves the life she shares with her husband, the artist. She still works hard, but she also enjoys her time off a lot. She just completed her fourth marathon, has taken a great liking to gardening and volunteers at a shelter for homeless people every Tuesday night. She no longer cares much about fame, fortune and worldly power, even though she now has all these things. The artist, you’ll be fascinated to learn, has become one of the most celebrated painters in his field. He completely beat his procrastination issues, is widely considered a master of his craft and is an extraordinary husband. He ran two marathons with his wife ; and has now become a vegan. He goes to yodeling classes on Wednesday nights. And get this: the couple has a wonderfully handsome and ever so intelligent little boy. They named him Stone. The entrepreneur and the artist are still members of The 5 AM Club, running The 20/20/20 Formula every morning well before daybreak. They still practice most of the disciplines Mr. Riley taught them. And they’ve kept the promise they made to their mentor to tell as many people as possible about the transformational value of rising early. As for The Spellbinder, he’s still alive. In many ways, he’s going stronger than ever. He’s based out of Tokyo but still spends much of his life on stages in stadiums across the planet, on airplanes and in hotel rooms. He still loves fishing. Chapter 12 The 5 AM Club Discovers The Habit Installation Protocol “I hated every minute of training. But I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” —Muhammad Ali The next morning’s lesson was scheduled to be on how the most productive leaders and performers on the planet install the habits that make them superstars. And live fascinating, adventurous and purposeful lives. In reply to Mr. Riley’s request, both the entrepreneur and the artist had arranged to extend their time away. They understood the profound value of the training they were being exposed to. And they knew their smartest move was to embrace it fully. “Hi, cats,” shouted the billionaire, running up to his companions as the Indian sun rose timidly against a horizon that was at once barren and electrifying. It was precisely 5 AM. The tycoon wore a black Nehru-collared shirt, cargo shorts and black sandals. He was smiling broadly. He still glowed from the sunshine of Mauritius. And, today, he wore a turban. “This morning, I’ll be walking you through The Spellbinder’s insights on installing the peak performance regimes that will help you activate your greatness in business and in life. As I shared with you in an earlier lesson, what makes the best the best is not their genetics but their habits. And not the extent of their gifts, but the strength of their grit. Today’s lesson will walk you through what the science and research tell us we must do to let go of the behaviors that weaken us and to code in the ones that will serve us.” “What’s grit?” asked the entrepreneur, paying attention to every word the billionaire spoke. Today, she had her hair in a ponytail and simple shoes on her feet. “It’s a term popularized by social psychologist Angela Duckworth, who studied elite performers in the fields of business, education, the military and sports. She found that what makes the most successful achievers so great isn’t their inherent talent but their levels of commitment, discipline, resilience and perseverance. ‘Grit’ is her word to describe these traits.” “Cool, brother,” said the artist. “That inspires me not to give up on a painting when I hit a wall of self-doubt. Or when I get frustrated by my lack of progress. Or when I get scared others in my field will laugh because I’m producing art that is fresh and original instead of copied and derivative.” “Good,” responded the billionaire as he rubbed his muscular abs. “Albert Einstein wrote ‘Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.’” “Love that,” spoke the artist exuberantly, displaying an expression that showed his growing pride in trusting his personal vision when it came to his craft. “Anyhoo, let’s get back on track and keep jamming on the most potent ways to install world-class habits that last versus ones that dissolve after a few weeks of trying to make them stick. Of course, this morning’s mentoring class is absolutely essential for you two because, even though you guys are up at 5 AM daily now, we want the discipline to become a lifetime routine. Oh, and an essential part of world-class habit installation involves learning how the pros build remarkable self-control and unleash rare-air amounts of willpower. So, we should start there.” The three companions were standing in front of the Taj Mahal. They were alone. The structure was unspeakably sublime as they stared at it, a genuine testimony to the rewards of architectural and engineering mastery. “I love India so much,” declared the billionaire. “One of the greatest nations on Earth. And this place, well, it’s one of The Seven Wonders of the World for a reason. Breathtakingly beautiful, right?” “True,” admitted the entrepreneur as she sipped some very hot coffee. The billionaire held a large water bottle in his left hand. It had a statement printed on it, as his water bottles often did, which he read to his two students with gusto: The hero does not become great during periods of comfort. The illustrious and noble souls of our world became strong, brave and moral whilst standing resolutely in the storms of adversity, difficulty and doubt. It is in the moment that you face your deepest weakness that you receive the chance to forge your greatest strengths. Real power, then, comes not from a life of ease but one of intense effort, devoted discipline and demanding action in the direction of what your supreme self knows to be right. To continue at a time when you ache to stop. To advance when you long to quit. To persist in the instant when you feel like giving up is to claim your membership among the great warriors and honorable characters who led humanity to a better place through their earned invincibility. “Wow,” uttered the artist. “Some great poet wrote that?” “Nope,” mentioned the billionaire. “Those words are all mine.” Mr. Riley then raised a hand into the air—and you know what happened. Out of the early morning mist appeared an impeccably dressed and very attractive aide. “We’re all so happy you’re back in India, Sir. We have missed you,” she uttered. “Here’s what you asked for.” The billionaire bowed slightly and gave his assistant a friendly smile. A spectacularly ornate pashmina shawl was handed to the titan, who stretched it out in the light. As you know, pashmina is a fine type of wool from Kashmir. The term itself translates into “soft gold” in the Kashmiri language. And if you saw it, you’d agree it looked so. Detailed stitching had gone into the fabric and, as the two students focused more closely on it, they could see The 5-3-1 Creed of The Willpower Warrior sewn into the shawl. Below this title was a series of statements that explained what the “5-3-1” meant. It was all quite unique. Here’s what the handcrafted stitching said: The 5 Scientific Truths Behind Excellent Habits Truth #1: World-class willpower isn’t an inborn strength, but a skill developed through relentless practice. Getting up at dawn is perfect self-control training. Truth #2: Personal discipline is a muscle. The more you stretch it, the stronger it grows. Therefore, the samurais of self-regulation actively create conditions of hardship to build their natural power. Truth #3: Like other muscles, willpower weakens when tired. Recovery is, therefore, absolutely necessary for the expression of mastery. And to manage decision fatigue. Truth #4: Installing any great habit successfully follows a distinct four-part pattern for automation of the routine. Follow it explicitly for lasting results. Truth #5: Increasing self-control in one area of your life elevates self-control in all areas of your life. This is why joining The 5 AM Club is the game-changing habit that will lift everything else that you do. The 3 Values of Heroic Habit-Makers Value #1: Victory demands consistency and persistency. Value #2: Following through on what is started determines the size of the personal respect that will be generated. Value #3: The way you practice in private is precisely the way you’ll perform once you’re in public. The 1 General Theory of Self-Discipline Spartans To regularly do that which is hard but important when it feels most uncomfortable is how warriors are born. The billionaire closed his eyes and repeated this phrase: “I don’t wish for an easy life because there is no growth of my powers there. Give me a challenging life—one that brings out the finest in me. For this makes an iron will. And an unconquerable character. “This shawl is my gift to you two,” the industrialist went on. “Please do study the five scientific truths and the three values along with the one general theory that make up The 5-3-1 Creed of The Willpower Warrior. It will serve you brilliantly as you encode habits that endure.” Within a few moments, an auto rickshaw sped up from an empty parking area off in the distance. Out came a smiling young man dressed smartly in a dark gray jacket, perfectly pressed trousers and polished brown shoes. “Namaste, Arjun,” said the billionaire as he clasped his hands together. “Hey, Boss,” was the warm reply of this assistant. Though his words were casual, the way he articulated them demonstrated immense respect for his employer. “You two know the story behind the Taj Mahal?” the billionaire asked as the aide stood off to the side, looking ready to offer any help Mr. Riley required. “Please tell us,” the entrepreneur requested. She carried a single legal notepad with a simple black rollerball pen. All the billionaire’s early talk of how the misuse of technology leads to the destruction of creativity and an extreme reduction in productivity was having a major impact on her. Today, she wore a bangle engraved with the words “Dreams don’t come true while you’re sleeping.” “Sure—it’s a rad story,” gushed the billionaire, retreating to more of his California surfer slang. “Like you two sweethearts, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who masterminded this marvel was very much in love. As a symbol of his devotion to and adoration of his wife, Mumtaz, after her death in 1631, he committed himself to the construction of a monument the likes of which the world had never seen. One so extravagantly sensational, staggeringly inspirational and structurally exceptional that all onlookers would understand the depth of this man’s affection as they experienced all its splendor.” “It does something to my heart when I look at it,” murmured the artist, staring at the marble facade that glimmered in front of him. He squinted as the early morning rays struck his eyes. He was looking more fit, calm, confident and poised than the entrepreneur had ever observed. “Me too,” agreed the billionaire with a note of melancholy in his voice. “Seeing the Taj Mahal isn’t just an excursion of the intellect. It’s also a resurrection of the spirit. It wakes even the numbest person up to what we, as human creatures, are capable of producing. But to continue, once the maharaja set his bold intention, his workers started the process of translating that lofty vision into a definite reality. Because, as you both now know, ambition without implementation is a ridiculous delusion. You two are now much more fluent in the insight that anything legendary requires generous amounts of industry, artistry and persistency. Mastery isn’t a sudden event. It really is a ceaseless process that may take years of painstaking craftsmanship, practice, sacrifice and suffering before the finished project intensifies to a level that moves the world. “This is yet another GCA—a Gargantuan Competitive Advantage,” continued Mr. Riley. “To remain loyal to your noble ideal not only during the weeks after you thought up the dream but over the long months and perhaps extended years in the parched desert of creative implementation while you endure rejection, exhaustion, the stones of jealous peers, the skepticism of your loved ones, being diverted by other attractive opportunities and finding your way through the isolated winters of self-doubt. This is what separates the also-rans from the icons. Anyone can be great for a minute. The sport of icons is sustaining genius-grade performance over a lifetime. And that takes unusual grit and patience uncommon in these superficial times. The kind that the majority of society today has sadly failed to develop. Know what I mean?” The billionaire was animated, energetic and completely jacked up. He threw an arm into the air and flashed the universal victory sign with two fingers. It seemed he did so just to protect his inspiration. And to insulate the fire that had been activated within his heart. “Many decades ago, Albert E.N. Gray delivered an address for salespeople in the insurance industry. He called it The Common Denominator of Success, and it distilled what the author had identified over thirty years of study as the greatest key to fortune in one’s business, family, health, financial and spiritual lives.” “What was it?” inquired the entrepreneur with acute interest as she sipped her now tepid coffee. “Well,” offered the billionaire, “from my recollection of the pamphlet that was made from the talk and then widely circulated to top sales professionals, he said, ‘I had been brought up on the popular belief that the secret of success is hard work but I had seen so many people work hard without succeeding that I became convinced hard work was not the real secret.’” “So, what was it?” implored the artist impatiently. “Dude, I’m getting to it,” the magnate replied playfully. “So, Albert Gray said, ‘This common denominator of success is so big, so powerful . . .” “And it is?” interjected the entrepreneur, equally unable to wait for the answer. “Gray explained that ‘the common denominator of success—the secret of success of every man and woman who has ever been successful—lies in the fact that they formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.’” “Simple. And profound,” observed the artist as he ran one hand down one dreadlock. He, too, sipped some now cold coffee. “Top producers make it a habit to do the high-value activities that average ones don’t feel like doing—even when they, too, don’t feel like doing them,” the billionaire continued. “And by practicing the desired behavior over and over, their self-mastery and personal discipline grows. And the new routine becomes automated.” The artist nodded, then stroked his goatee. He was thinking about his art. “I truly have been limiting myself because of my insecurities,” he thought, once again. “I’m so worried about what others will say about my work that I’m not creating enough. And Mr. Riley’s right. I’m not being patient and building the self-control that doing difficult but valuable things brings. I sort of just do what I want, anytime I want. Some days I have some drive, and other times I sleep all day. Sometimes I’m lazy. Some days I work hard. I’m like a cork bobbing in the water, with no steady direction. No real structure. No real discipline. I play video games a lot, sometimes for many hours. And I have this habit of rushing to create paintings that sell fast when I need some money instead of slowing down and concentrating all my skill on the one opus that will define the extent of my expertise. And turn my whole field on its head by its genius.” “So,” the billionaire expounded, returning to his story about the making of the Taj Mahal. “For twenty-two years—not twenty-two days and not twenty-two months—twenty-two years, over twenty thousand workers toiled in the scorching Indian sun. Block of marble by block of marble carried from immense distances by over one thousand elephants, the army of craftsmen steadily erected the structure you’re seeing. They faced architectural roadblocks, environmental extremes and unexpected tragedies along the journey. Yet, they were focused, fearless and relentless, dazzlingly committed to doing whatever it took to get the emperor’s gorgeous dream done.” “Really incredible, you know,” said the artist, as he surveyed the landmark. A butterfly sailed by. A few raindrops sprinkled on his face. And, believe it or not, more doves soared high above the billionaire’s head. “What’s with all the doves, rainbows and butterflies that seem to surround you a lot of the time?” pressed the entrepreneur as she adjusted the t-shirt she was wearing. It had a quote from Oscar Wilde on it that seemed to fit the newfound awareness of the businesswoman. It read, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” “We all have the magic. Most of us don’t know how to use it,” was the baron’s brief and mysterious reply. “So, getting back to the Taj Mahal, after two decades, this mausoleum was complete,” he remarked in a hushed tone. “And humankind was given one of the greatest products of poetic audacity it has ever received.” “I’m beyond inspired,” confided the entrepreneur. “Thank you so much for bringing us here to Agra. I’m ever so grateful.” “The emperor must have really cared for his wife,” mused the artist, delivering a penetrating reveal of the wonderfully obvious. He then looked intently at the entrepreneur. Her radiance went far beyond the basic beauty of starlets, models and women of high glamour. Hers was a quieter, more profound loveliness, the kind that makes sunrises special and moonbeams enchanting. He thought to himself that this woman’s magnetism comes from a place deeper than merely an attractive face. It was a charm born of struggle, an electricity emanating from hurt, an energy emitting through a formidable intellect and a prettiness formed by her robust resolve to step into a person of true power, wisdom and love. “The Taj Mahal is such a direct metaphor for you cats to consider on the subject of staying with the commitment to a new habit through whatever hardships show up. And remaining sincere to your ideals not only in the seasons of comfort but especially when it all gets terrifically difficult. And that’s why this morning’s coaching is so exceedingly important. What you’re about to learn will help you implement so much of the philosophies I’ve shared with you up until now. The Spellbinder has carefully developed the model I’m about to reveal, over many, many years working with business-builders, masterful achievers and change-makers like myself. Today’s session isn’t so much about why you should embrace the morning ritual of rising before the sun. It’s much more about how you can get this routine done. As a lifetime regime,” explained the industrialist as he rubbed an earlobe like an imaginative child rubbing a magic lamp. “Awesome,” said the artist. “I need this. The practical ways to make sure I don’t stop getting up at 5 AM after this adventure ends.” “Cool,” indicated the billionaire. “Then let’s go!” Two burly security guards then led the billionaire, the entrepreneur and the artist through a private entrance into the complex, usually reserved for heads of state, members of royalty and other global leaders. Once inside the monument, which was dark and still, the billionaire began his discourse. “This is a fascinating, riveting, confusing and exciting period in the lifeline of the world. For those showing up as victims each morning, and every day, the future will be very hard, dangerous and frightening because they won’t know what hit them. And they’ll be absolutely unprotected to deal with the environmental, economic and societal upheaval that is coming. Yet for the dedicated minority who have habituated a battleproofed morning routine to defend their gifts, cultivated heroic personal restraint and developed a bulletproofed character through the rigorous training of their muscles of self-discipline, the times ahead will be phenomenally rich, harmonious and ultra-productive. Those who have armored themselves against the turbulence on its way by installing a world-class and carefully granulated morning ritual will actually be in a position to leverage all the messiness into humongous opportunity. And transform all the confusion into a supreme sense of clarity, genius and calmness that allows them to win.” The billionaire rubbed his turban and then, for some reason unknown to his two students, began to whisper. “The first insight I’ll offer you here is that your brain is constructed for expansion. Yes, I’ll agree those who are stuck in their pro and personal lives and those who are working under a mentality of can’t versus running a psychology of possibility will argue that there’s no way they can make the improvements they need to make by wiring in great habits like being members of The 5 AM Club. They’ll fight to the death on the ‘reality’ of why it’s impossible for them to accelerate their creativity, productivity, prosperity, performance and impact. They’ll totally try to get you to believe their rationalizations for being unable to materialize an amazing career and manifest an exquisite private life. They have given away their power to make change for so long, they’ve come to believe their powerlessness represents the truth. Neglect your power long enough and you’ll eventually believe you don’t have any. But, the reality of their conditions is a very different story. The fact is that such people—good, well-intentioned, talent-filled people—have allowed the forces of their sovereign selves to become corrupted so often they’ve succumbed to a state of acute passivity. Yes, most people are passive instead of active builders of the ambitions within them. And then unconsciously they’ve manufactured a series of excuses about why they can’t show up as leaders in their work and capable creators of their lives because they’re so scared to leave the safety of their stuckedness and make the very improvements that would bring them to glory.” The billionaire stopped to draw in a giant gulp of air. A ray of golden sunlight peeked into the Taj Mahal. Then he carried on. “Science now confirms that our brains can continue to grow throughout our lives. This beautiful phenomenon is called neuroplasticity. And it speaks to the fact that the human brain, like personal willpower, is a lot more like a muscle than previously understood. It’s plastic in a way. Push it and it’ll expand. Flex it and it’ll extend—and become more potent for your use in the tallest expression of your most radiant gifts. So, you want to make sure you exercise your brain aggressively to make new habits like getting up early your new normal. Neurons that fire together, wire together, you know? As you repeat the routine you wish to add to your lifestyle, it becomes easier—and more familiar. That’s a really important point to contemplate. And then act on.” “I’ve never been aware that we actually have the ability to grow our brains,” noted the entrepreneur excitedly. “And I guess what you’re saying is the more we practice a fresh habit, the more our brains will work with us and evolve to make it part of who we are. Right?” “Yup,” responded the billionaire. He loved seeing how the two human beings he was mentoring were improving through his sharing. Real leaders always feel great joy when they shine a light on the talents of others. “Powerful idea,” he went on with his finger now on the wall of the wonder of the world. “You don’t have the brain you want, you have the brain you’ve earned. Or to put it another way, you don’t have the brain you desire, you have the brain you deserve—based on how you’ve been operating it. Spend your days diverted by your devices, tethered to television and majoring in mindless pursuits and your brain will be weak and flabby through your mistreatment of it. Just like other muscles, it will atrophy. And this will result in weaker cognition, slower learning and lower processing power. Your competition will destroy you and your targets will elude you. On the other hand, when you use your brain intelligently by expanding its limits and running it like a titan, it will expand and increase its connectivity causing important gains in your productivity, performance and influence. The brains of London taxi drivers were studied and the area responsible for spatial reasoning, the hippocampus, was found to be significantly larger in them compared to the brains of ordinary people. Guess why?” “Because of the complexity of the street system in London,” the artist responded confidently. “You got it,” applauded the billionaire. “So, just as you develop your biceps in the gym by lifting dumbbells or doing push-ups, the cabbies in London flexed their hippocampi as they drove each day. And, like I said, given that the brain is a lot more like a muscle than neuroanatomists previously understood, that part of it grew stronger. See how powerful we human beings are? This is a superb example of the neuroplasticity we all have at our disposal. The brain can be strengthened, sculpted and optimized—if we choose to make it so. When you guys get home, study this phenomenon as well as the awesome process of neurogenesis, which describes the brain’s natural ability to actually breed new neurons. The emerging neuroscience explaining the availability of mastery to every single person alive today, no matter where they live or how old they are or what they do or how hard their pasts have been, is so incredibly exciting,” the tycoon gushed. “Anyhoo,” he added, “for now, please just know that the brain has a malleability and a muscularity to it. And what makes the great ones the great ones is they truly understand that daily discomfort is the price of enduring success. And that pushing ourselves hard builds the kind of brain that generates military-grade discipline. It’s such a myth that the superproducers had easy lives!” The billionaire reached into a pocket, pulled out a sealed envelope and handed it to the entrepreneur. “Please open this. And read it for us—with as much conviction and passion as you have,” the baron instructed politely. Inside, on a neatly folded piece of fine stationery, the businesswoman found the following words of the illustrious philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: Do not talk about giftedness, inborn talents! One can name great men of all kinds who were very little gifted. They acquired greatness, became “geniuses” (as we put it), through qualities the lack of which no one who knew what they were would boast of: they all possessed that seriousness of the efficient workman which first learns to construct the parts properly before it ventures to fashion a great whole; they allowed themselves time for it, because they took more pleasure in making the little, secondary things well than in the effect of a dazzling whole. “Flip the page over. Please,” requested the billionaire as his eyes twinkled in the light entering the Taj Mahal. The entrepreneur read a second quote that had been carefully written with what she guessed was an indigo-inked fountain pen. The phrase was from the English poet William Ernest Henley. Imagine these words infusing the deepest and most unstained part of your soul: It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. “The masters and the geniuses and the heroes of civilization all lived hard lives,” expanded the billionaire. “They trained tough. They ‘played through pain,’ to borrow a term a lot of superstar athletes use these days. They pushed their potential fiercely. They were ambitious, ceaseless and ferocious when it came to the complete capitalization of their grandest potential. The Latin root of the word ‘passion’ means to ‘suffer.’ These women and men suffered for their visions, ideals and aspirations. They suffered for the increase of their skill and sacrificed for the realization of their prowess. They endured enormous anguish as they advanced their crafts and abandoned their temptations. And I must tell you, these illustrious performers also suffered for the state of the world. Playing small with your promise demotes our world, you know. Because the planet becomes a poorer place without your greatness in it.” Suddenly, the billionaire fell to his knees. He lay flat on the floor and closed his eyes, folding his arms over his heart. The tycoon then began to snore. Loudly. “What the heck are you doing now, brother?” asked the artist, appearing both confused and amused. “Voluntary discomfort,” was the speedy reply. More snoring. “I want my teddy bear!” he cried. “And my jammies.” Stone Riley then began to suck his thumb. “He’s unreal,” laughed the entrepreneur, clearly entertained by yet another stunt of this maverick industrialist. One could see the billionaire was now smiling, apparently impressed with his comedic skills as well as his unusual ability to make a teaching point. Remaining on the ground, he said: “The single best way to build your willpower is to voluntarily put yourself into conditions of discomfort. The Spellbinder calls these ‘Strengthening Scenarios.’ When I was much younger and my ability to command myself to do what I needed to do when I didn’t feel like doing it was much weaker, I’d give in to my lesser urges so easily. My self-discipline muscles were very flabby because I wasn’t exercising them. The Spellbinder knew I needed to become a lot stronger so I could install the 5 AM routine—in a way that stayed with me my whole career. So, he had me actively put myself into situations of hardship. And it worked like magic.” “What kind of situations?” asked the artist. “Once a week, I slept on the floor.” “You’re serious?” quizzed the entrepreneur. “Really?” “Absolutely,” the billionaire confirmed. “And I began taking cold showers every morning. Twice a week I’d fast, like so many of the most accomplished women and men of the world have done to capitalize on and manifest their primal power. It’s remarkable how much time I’d save during the fasting windows when I wouldn’t eat. And striking how clear my thinking would be and how much energy I’d have. Oh, and when I’d be at my loft in Zurich, to promote my toughness and grit, I’d do some hard winter training by running in the snow with only a t-shirt and a pair of shorts on.” The billionaire stood up. “It’s exactly what I’ve been suggesting since we got to the Taj Mahal: you have the capacity for world-class self-control. Science confirms it.The real key is to push your brain to develop new neural pathways and to force your willpower muscles to flex and stretch, intentionally working these natural resources up to their highest level. This is how anyone can become so strong, courageous and undefeatable that, no matter what obstacles they face and difficulties they experience, they continue on their quest to meet their glorious goals. Why do you think Navy Seals and members of the SAS—true willpower warriors—actively expose themselves to such potentially spirit-crushing scenarios? All those long runs in the rain, with heavy backpacks on. Crawling through thick mud in the middle of the night. Eating brutal food and living in a spartan setting. Confronting their fears by performing tests like jumping into the ocean from cliffs, backwards, with blindfolds on, or enduring exercises involving psychological degradation so they train themselves to transcend what most limits them. Look, cats, bravery—and the capacity to do the difficult things that are necessary for the fullest expression of your greatness—isn’t a divine blessing. Nope. Not at all. It’s a voluntary practice. Toughness—and a will of iron—takes devotion. So, I very much suggest you begin to suffocate your demons, slay your dragons and hug your monsters by doing more demanding things. This is one of the surest routes to masterful achievement and a private life you’ll be ever so proud of at the end. You know, this makes me think of the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Boy did that dude have a cool beard,” the billionaire said awkwardly. “Ever seen it?” he kept on. “I have not,” the artist responded. “You should, it’s gnarly,” the mogul noted. He then snapped his fingers eight times. After this, an unknown voice bellowed from somewhere within the mausoleum, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” The voice grew silent. “George Bernard Shaw wrote that in his play Man and Superman, a four-act drama that he produced in 1903. All I’m trying to say is this: when it comes to fulfilling your gifts, talents, admirable ambitions and instinct to change the world in whatever way most resonates with you, never, ever be reasonable with yourself.” The billionaire paused. And then did something his two students had not seen anyone do before. He kissed the area of flesh between the index finger and thumb of his left hand. “You gotta love yourself before you can lift the world, by the way,” he muttered with a grin before proceeding with his mentoring. “Inspiring,” the artist admitted. “What George Bernard Shaw said.” “Research proves that training yourself so your willpower becomes maximized is one of the crowning achievements of an epic life,” the billionaire continued. “The Welsh explorer Henry Morton Stanley observed that self-control is more indispensable than gunpowder.” “Definitely inspiring,” the entrepreneur echoed. “Look,” said the billionaire. “It’s such a myth that celebrated athletes and legendary artists and revered statesmen and stateswomen had more natural willpower than the rest of us. That’s just a big lie. What’s real,” he declared, “is that these exceptionalists began as ordinary people. And through relentless practice and constant drilling to wire in excellent daily habits, their power to manage themselves against their cravings and temptations grew stronger until the culture perceived them as superhumans.” “Small, daily, seemingly insignificant improvements, when done consistently over time, yield staggering results,” commented the artist, happily reciting the valuable brain tattoo that he’d embraced on this wondrous journey. He reached over and grasped the hand of the entrepreneur. “That’s right,” acknowledged the billionaire. “What looks to the human eye like invisible and infinitesimal optimizations around your willpower—when performed daily—are what make you into a Michelangelo or a da Vinci or a Disney or a Chopin or a Coco Chanel or a Roger Bannister or a Pelé or a Marcus Aurelius or a Copernicus over extended periods of training. The true geniuses all started out as ordinary people. But they practiced building up their strength so much and so often that showing up at world-class became automated. Here’s another brain tattoo The Spellbinder taught me: Legendary performers practice being spectacular for so long that they no longer remember how to behave in non-spectacular ways.” “So, practically speaking, where do we start?” the entrepreneur asked. “Because I know both of us want a lot more self-discipline, and to have excellent habits that last a lifetime. Especially getting up at 5 AM.” “Follow me,” instructed the industrialist. Mr. Riley led them down a corridor of the monument, past a series of dim rooms and into a small chamber. In one corner sat a blackboard. The billionaire picked up a piece of chalk and proceeded to draw this diagram: [image: images] “This simple model is based on the latest studies on how habits are formed,” he began. “Your starting point is to create some kind of a trigger. To embed the early-rising ritual into your mornings, this could be as simple as having an old-school alarm clock next to your bed that goes off at 5 AM. When we get to Rome, I’ll explain why you shouldn’t have any technology in your bedroom.” “Rome?” the entrepreneur and the artist exclaimed at the same time. The billionaire ignored them. “Once you’ve got the trigger of your alarm clock in place, the next step—as you can see from my diagram—is to run the routine you want to encode.” “So, we just get out of bed, right?” queried the entrepreneur. “Yup,” said the billionaire. “It sounds obvious, but jump straight out of bed before your reasoning mind—the prefrontal cortex—can give you a bunch of excuses about why you should go back to sleep. It’s in this very moment that, by getting out of bed, you build the early-rising neural circuit in your brain through the power of neuroplasticity. And remember: brain pathways that fire together wire together into a potent neural highway, over time. It’s in the very instant when you’re faced with staying on the mattress or standing up and starting your morning in a great way that you have the chance to make your willpower stronger. It’s uncomfortable at the start, I know.” “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end,” interrupted the artist, reinforcing another of The Spellbinder’s brain tattoos. “Yes,” agreed the billionaire. “The next step of the four-part pattern to program in a new ritual is to make sure you have a preset reward in place. The reward is what kickstarts and then grows your drive to get the new habit done. Always use the power of rewards for the advancement of your triumphs. So, let’s assume you do what you know to be right instead of following what’s easy and sprint out of bed fast—as soon as the alarm goes off. I’ll explain exactly what to do during your Victory Hour from 5 to 6 AM when I walk you through The 20/20/20 Formula.” “Man—are you ever going to teach it to us?” the artist interrupted again. He wasn’t being rude. If you were in that chamber with those three, you’d sense that he only spoke that way because he was so interested in The 5 AM Method. That’s all. “The 20/20/20 Formula is the subject of tomorrow morning’s coaching session,” the billionaire offered with the utmost grace. “For now, let’s stay centered on the third step. You need to set up a reward. That’s what the eminent researchers on willpower tell us is essential to create behaviors that stick. Your reward for rising with the sun could be a nice piece of dark chocolate for dessert at lunch. It could be taking a nap later in the day, another favored rite of the planet’s greatest creatives. It could be treating yourself to the book you’ve been wanting to buy for your library. You can figure out what feels right for you.” “Got it,” said the entrepreneur. She was now sure that all this information would significantly elevate her business game and dramatically uplift her Mindset, Heartset, Healthset and Soulset—leading her into a truly excellent life. “Good. That brings us to the final point in the pattern,” said the billionaire as he touched the piece of chalk to the word “repetition” on the blackboard, in that room of the Taj Mahal. “The way to annihilate the weakest impulses of your lower self and to free yourself of the cravings and temptations that are blocking your best is through ceaseless repetition of the new behavior you’re working hard to install. The word that comes to mind here is steadfast. Be steadfast in your commitment to remaining a lifelong member of The 5 AM Club. Be absolutely dedicated and excuseless in following through on this life-altering self-promise. Each time you follow through, you’ll deepen the relationship with your sovereign self. Each time you rise at dawn, you’ll purify your character, fortify your willpower and magnify the fires of your soul. I guess what I’m trying to help you two wonderful people appreciate is that the real measure of your majesty is shown not in your outer moments before an audience, but in the soft and early light of lonely practice. You become undefeatable in the world by what you do when no one’s watching.” “I’ve read a fair amount about championship sports teams,” said the entrepreneur. “Really helped me build superb squads at my company. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that what took the winning team to victory was less how they played in the last seconds of a close final game and more how disciplined they were at practice.” “Exactly,” agreed the billionaire. “The brilliant moves in the last seconds of the championship match were automatic—the result of tireless hours of repetition of those splendid moves during training.” “Cool point,” the artist thought to himself. “I want to get to one remaining learning model this morning before I let you cats go, one that will make it incredibly clear how installing a habit follows a sixty-six-day process. Yet, before I do, I did want to share a few more fast practical points on self-discipline.” “Great,” the artist replied. “Today’s lesson has been big for me. I know it’ll help me beat procrastination, and I’m sure it’ll improve the quality of my art. And I’ve already been making progress on calibrating my physical fitness.” “He has,” agreed the entrepreneur with a wink. “Well, just remember that willpower weakens once it gets tired. Scientists call the condition ‘ego depletion.’ See, you wake up each morning with a full battery of self-control. That’s why I want you to do the activities that are most important to the rise of your inner empires at the time when your capacity is strongest—at 5 AM. Here’s the thing: as you go through your day, going to meetings, checking messages and performing tasks, your ability to self-regulate decreases—and so does your capability to handle temptations and manage weak impulses. The fact that human discipline muscles get tired from all the decision fatigue explains why so many massively successful people end up doing something foolish that destroys their careers. They gave in to the urge that causes their downfall because all day long they were making important decisions. By the time it was evening, they had no willpower left in their battery to manage the craving.” “Super-fascinating,” remarked the entrepreneur. “This explains a lot.” “So, the key is rest and recovery of the self-control muscle,” explained the billionaire. “Never allow it to get too tired. Your willpower really is weakest when you are most tired. Key awareness to build on here. We make our worst decisions and our lowest choices when we’re exhausted. So, don’t allow yourself to get exhausted. Period. I have a powerful mentoring session on how the best in the world protect priceless assets like their willpower through the lost art of personal regeneration planned for you later.” Mr. Riley began to cough. A concerning, throaty cough. Not an insignificant one. “Oh,” he added, regaining his composure. “Please also know the research also supports the idea that external order increases your discipline. That’s why Steve Jobs made sure the workplace at NeXT was minimalist and painted all-white when he was there. Mess lowers your self-control as well as steals your cognitive bandwidth.” “Maybe that’s why so many so-called geniuses wear the same uniform every day,” the artist commented. “They want to keep order and structure in their lives. And they understand that each morning we wake up with a limited amount of willpower as well as mental focus. So, rather than wasting these valuable gifts by spreading them over many trivial choices like what to wear and what to eat, they automate as many basic things as possible, so they can concentrate their highest powers on just a few important activities. Now I’m getting how geniuses become geniuses even more. If all I did every day was my art and only a handful of other things, I wouldn’t suffer from ‘decision fatigue,’ as you call it. And that would mean I wouldn’t waste so much time in the evening—and make so many bad choices as the day ends, like watching stupid TV shows, eating so much junk food and sipping too much tequila.” “Okay,” declared the billionaire. “You folks clearly now know ‘all change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.’ That insight should be well on its way to settling in as a default belief of your Mindset. Now, let’s deconstruct that powerful brain tattoo of The Spellbinder into a potent model which explains the three phases every habit installation goes through so you have even more firepower to lock in the regime of rising at dawn. You’ll absolutely love what you’re about to learn. Promise me you’ll turn up the volume of your listening as we go through this? Then we’ll call it a morning.” “We promise,” the entrepreneur and the artist expressed together. “Pinky promise?” asked the billionaire, putting out a little finger. “Yes,” responded the entrepreneur as she locked pinkies with her mentor. “Yes,” agreed the artist, as he did the same. “Terrific,” enthused the magnate. One of the security guards who had led the three companions into the structure walked in and pulled a chart out of a backpack. He shone his flashlight onto it so all could see what had been printed on it. The teaching framework that came into view looked like this: [image: images] “On the coding of any new habit, you’ll move through an initial period of destruction,” said Mr. Riley as he pointed to the first phase on the diagram. “Keep at it and you’ll definitely move ahead into the second stage of the process, where new neural pathways are formed and the real installation begins. This is the messy middle. Finally, as you stick with your practice of making any fresh routine your normal way of being, you’ll arrive at the final—and wonderful—stage: integration. The whole exercise takes approximately sixty-six days, according to the research data of University College London. The Spellbinder, in his teachings, calls this powerful fact The 66 Day Minimum. Sixty-six days of training to make a new habit yours. So, don’t quit after a few days, or a few weeks, or even after two months. As it relates to becoming a member of The 5 AM Club, stick with your self-promise for at least sixty-six days. No matter what. Do this one thing and the remainder of your life will be exponentially better. This I promise you from my heart,” said the billionaire. “See, all change is hard at first. That’s why The Spellbinder named stage one ‘Destruction.’ If it wasn’t difficult at the start, it wouldn’t be real change. It’s supposed to be hard because you’re rewriting the past patterns of your mind and destroying old ways of operating. And rewiring past programs of your heart and emotions. Do you know why the Space Shuttle uses more fuel in the sixty seconds after liftoff than it uses over the entire orbit around the Earth?” “It needs to overcome the powerful forces of gravity after it takes off,” the artist answered confidently. “Exactly,” the billionaire affirmed. “It requires a large amount of fuel to overcome those initial forces and reach escape velocity. But once it does, momentum kicks in and the craft just goes. The first phase of creating any new habit—The Destruction Stage—is precisely like this. You need to overcome your deeply ingrained habits, dominant rituals and traditional states of performance. You need to rise above your own forces of gravity—until your escape velocity kicks in. It’s so challenging at the beginning. I’m not going to lie to you—you both have done very well getting up at 5 AM over the mornings you’ve been with me. But you will hit a wall over these first twenty-two days while you’re in phase one. Nothing wrong—just part of the habit installation process anyone seeking peak productivity and a richer life must go through. For most people ready to get up before daybreak, each day of this first phase is a hardship. They feel like giving up. They complain that rising early just isn’t for them. That they’re not built for this routine and that it’s just not worth the pain. My advice is simple: Continue at all costs. Persistency sits at the threshold of mastery. The things that feel hardest are also the ones that are most valuable. Keep remembering that doing difficult things that are very important was how the highest achievers and greatest heroes of our civilization embraced their power. Please also remember this rule: when faced with a choice, always choose the one that pushes you the most, increases your growth and promotes the unfoldment of your gifts, talents and personal prowess. So, when you feel like quitting, persevere. You’ll get to the next stage soon. And understand the negative thoughts, cranky emotions and strong desires to surrender are a normal part of the process of hardwiring any new regime. The first twenty-two days are supposed to feel like a mild form of torture.” “Because stage one is all about the destruction of old ways of being so that new ones can be set up, right?” the entrepreneur asked. “Precisely,” the billionaire confirmed. “And just because you couldn’t do something before doesn’t mean you can’t do it now,” he added while nodding in an encouraging way. “I need to repeat what I said so you absolutely lock it in: if it wasn’t hard initially, it wouldn’t be real—and valuable—change. Society has programmed us to think that because it’s difficult at first, something bad is happening. That we should stop what we’re doing. And return to the safe house of our former normal. Zero growth and evolution toward legendary in that mode of operating. Zero.” “So true,” agreed the entrepreneur. “Everyone I know repeats the familiar every day. Okay. Maybe not everyone, but definitely most people. Same thoughts, same behaviors and the same moves.” “The truth is not that they can’t change,” said Mr. Riley. “It’s just that they didn’t make the commitment to improve and then stay with the process long enough for their neurobiology as well as their psychology, physiology, emotionality and spirituality to work its natural wonders. Everything you now find easy you once found hard, you know.” The billionaire then asked for the security guard’s flashlight and focused it onto the part of the learning model related to the second stage of routinization. “Thanks, Krishna,” he added. “See here—all change is messy in the middle. Stage two is called ‘Installation’ because it’s like you’re going through an interior renovation, of sorts. Former foundations need to be torn down so that much better ones can be put up. This stage will make you feel confused, stressed out and frustrated. You’ll feel like quitting even more—and dismissing your decision to join The 5 AM Club as a terrible one. You’ll long to go back to staying in your warm bed and counting more sheep. Just know and trust that all is good. Very good, actually. And though you can’t see it, you’re advancing even further in the habituation of making the early-rising routine yours for the rest of your life. Things are about to get easier. They really are. You’re just going through the second stage of the procedure. And it only feels messy. And, it only looks chaotic. The reality is you’re growing beautifully. And closing in on a whole new grade of performing. ‘In all disorder there is a secret order,’ said famed psychologist Carl Jung. “So, when you’re wiring in this priceless new morning routine, the entire structure of your brain really is in upheaval as you manufacture new neural pathways. Your whole system really is being restructured. You’re honestly in seriously unfamiliar territory. Sprouting green shoots. Going blue ocean. Conquering new territories of self-potential and accessing higher universes of human optimization. Cortisol, the fear hormone, is elevated at this time so you’ll feel scared a lot of the time. All that’s happening within your brain is consuming huge reserves of energy. So, you’ll be exhausted often at stage two of habit installation. The ancient sages, seers and philosophers called such a profound personal transformation ‘The Dark Night of the Soul.’ What was once a caterpillar is messily—yet almost magically—becoming a butterfly. The mystics wrote of deep and real change as a journey involving a series of little deaths. The old you must die so a better you can be reborn. The Spellbinder says that ‘for you to upgrade to greatness you must undergo an annihilation of your weakness.’ Dramatic words, I’ll admit. But the guru speaks truthfully. In stage two, sometimes you might even feel like everything’s falling apart. But actually, all is coming together—even better. Your human perception is often not reality, as you’ve learned. It’s just you seeing the world through a lens. The fact is that the illusion of safety is always so much more deadly than your rise toward personal mastery. Stay in stage two of the process for around twenty-two days. And just know that unfathomable rewards are coming.” “I love all that you just said,” interjected the artist. “I’ll install the early-rising ritual for the rest of my life—even if it kills me trying,” he promised to himself. The billionaire grew quiet. “I’ve been through this shedding and transforming process many, many times. Each time I go for a new habit, or greater skill, or even a more evolved core belief, I go into this death-and-rebirth cycle. And I need to tell you that it does feel like the end. You’ll be so scared at times, tired a lot for a while and confused by what the dark voice of your ego will say. You’ll even feel like you’re going crazy sometimes. That’s why so few people do this work. And why so few reach the rare-air of epic performance and make a worldwide impact on the culture. It’s a sport only for outright warriors. It requires enormous courage, immense conviction and uncommon strength of character. You have all this in you. Just resolve to apply it. As I said, with practice and patience, it’ll all get easier. And eventually automatic. “Okay, cats,” spoke the billionaire as he clapped his hands together like an encouraging football coach. “I know you’re getting this beautifully. So, let’s keep jamming. Stick with the process of new habit installation through the breakdown of old patterns, which happens in stage one. Then continue through the formation of new circuitry in your brain, which happens through neuroplasticity and the manufacturing of better pathways in your emotional core in stage two. Do that, and you’ll most certainly reach stage three, the final part of your ascension: ‘Integration.’ Remember: all change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.” The billionaire paused, smiled gently and then touched his toes. He kissed the flesh between his fingers again. Then he went on. “This final stage is when it all comes together,” he explained, “and you get to experience the benefits of your fantastic commitment to being a lifetime member of The 5 AM Club. You’re nearing the end of the roughly sixty-six-day period required for a human brain—and being—to encode a routine. So now it’s success time. You’ve advanced through the initial disruption, you’ve made it through the dangerousness and chaos of the middle phase and you’ve come out the other side stronger, more skilled and with greater intimacy of your most supreme—and invincible—nature. You’re now the next version of your greatest self, able to bring on a bigger game, influence more people by the glorious power of your example and be more useful to the world because you’ve owned more of your primal heroism. All your hard work, sacrifice and suffering, careful consistency and brilliant bravery come together in this stage as the new habit you’ve been working on integrates at a psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual level. And becomes your new normal.” “Normal?” wondered the artist. “Life gets easy?” The billionaire suddenly fell to the marble floor of the Taj Mahal and started doing more push-ups. He looked sort of like a boxer training for the main event. “What the heck are you doing now?” questioned the entrepreneur, amused. “He’s crazier than I ever imagined,” she thought. “I do love him.” “The primary purpose of life is growth: to be continuously pushing yourself to materialize more of your potential. My daily push-ups not only keep me in a state of continual optimization toward world-class. It’s also a tremendous way to keep myself feeling young, happy and alive. Boredom kills the human spirit.” The industrialist stood up. “For the A-Player, the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next. The installation of one great new habit brings on the outstanding opportunity to begin the next. I do one thousand push-ups a day, you know. Superb exercise. One of the best. So simple. Keeps me lean and chiseled. Good for my core. And the exercise also recruits my glutes,” the billionaire said with an awkward expression. “But doing a thousand push-ups a day is also a ritual to remind me to keep going. Keep expanding. Keep elevating my Mindset, Heartset, Healthset and Soulset and escalating my rise to my best. Honestly, I’m not afraid of failing. That’s just part of learning to fly. I’m just horrified of not growing.” “Got you,” the entrepreneur said, scribbling frantically on her notepad. The billionaire then moved an index finger across the teaching model and rested it at the area that said, “The Automaticity Point.” “The exciting fact is that once you arrive at the automaticity point, you no longer need any willpower to get up at 5 AM. The new regime’s implementation into your human operating system is complete. Awakening before dawn becomes second nature. And easy. Here’s the real gift from your excellence and devotion over the sixty-six or so days: the willpower you were using to lay down the early-rising habit is now freed up for another world-class behavior, so you have the chance to grow even more productive, prosperous, joyful and successful. This is the hidden secret of all pro athletes, for example. It’s not that they have more self-discipline than the average person. It’s just that they capitalized on whatever impulse-control they had for sixty-six days until the game-winning routines got installed. After that, they redirected their willpower to something else that would improve their expertise. Another practice that would help them lead their field and achieve victory. One habit installation after another habit installation is how the pros play. Over time, their winning behaviors became automated. Systematized. Institutionalized. Absolutely no effort was required to run them once they got hardwired. And these superstars practiced their habits of victory so often, they’ve arrived at a place where they forgot how to not do them.” “They got to a point where it was easier to run them than not to run them, right?” commented the entrepreneur. “Absolutely correct,” responded the billionaire. The artist was excited. “So valuable to me personally and to my work as a painter. And, so I completely understand this process fully, each of the three stages—Destruction, Installation and Integration—takes about twenty-two days, right?” “Right. And at around the sixty-six-day mark it locks in as an automatic routine. That’s The Automaticity Point, because habits take around nine weeks to implement. Don’t stop getting up at 5 AM after a week. Don’t give up when it gets messy in the middle of the process. Stay relentless through the entire exercise through all its trials and challenges just like Shah Jahan did as he and his workers constructed the Taj Mahal, building it into one of the wonders of the world. Awesome takes patience. And genius takes time. Stay true in your dedication to carving out an hour for yourself as the sun rises and while the majority sleeps to develop your Four Interior Empires that will set you up to realize all the outer ones that your big hearts long to actualize. Do not neglect the call on you to deploy your fullest talents, magnify your spectacular strengths, multiply your happiness and discover a paradise of peace within you that no outer event can ever reduce. This, my friends, is how you become undefeatable, unbreakable and a true master of your domain. As well as a wonder of the world, in your own unique way.” “Love it,” beamed the entrepreneur. “Bravo. Totally helpful. Explains why so few people have the habits necessary to achieve mastery. They just don’t stay with their initial commitment long enough for it to work. They could. But they don’t.” “Yup,” agreed the billionaire. “That’s why information and education, learning and growing are so vitally important. The majority just don’t know this life-changing model and the practical insights that I’ve revealed to you around it. And because they don’t know, they can’t apply. And knowledge unimplemented leaves potential undercapitalized. We’re all built for triumph, in whatever way we choose to define it. Sadly, most of us have never been schooled in the philosophy and methodology that The Spellbinder taught to me. The same teaching I’m now paying forward to you. You just need to make sure you tell as many people as possible about The Spellbinder’s work. Please. This way, we can help people leave the darkness of apathy, mediocrity and scarcity and find their inherent power to do astonishing things with the rest of their lives. God, we need to make this world a better, healthier, safer and more loving place.” “For sure,” the entrepreneur and the artist promised, together. The entrepreneur then stopped to take in the unforgettable nature of the scene that enveloped her. She was standing next to a man she’d unexpectedly fallen in love with over a bizarre, beautiful and marvelous adventure. She was standing inside one of The Seven Wonders of the World, located in India, a nation she’d always longed to visit for the breathtaking sights, exotic delights and the country’s extraordinarily special citizens. She paused to consider what had unfolded back in her usual world. The manipulations, the thievery, the disloyalties and the treachery. In that moment, she laughed. Not some forced laugh that so many of us hear at business meetings where good people in quiet fear wear social masks in an effort to fit in, appear powerful and look cool. No, this was the palpable joy of a person who’d just discovered some of the true treasures of a life wisely lived. The entrepreneur, in that instant, realized how blessed she was. The takeover attempt would resolve itself since life always has a way of working things out for the best. Sure, she’d learned not to repress the natural feelings of anger, disappointment and sometimes sadness that were arising within her from time to time when she’d think about the situation. That was just her being human and real and even brave, not weak. Yet, she also now understood there were things more important than wealth, acclaim and fame. And that many financially rich people are actually desperately poor. “Nothing’s as valuable as my happiness. Nothing’s as priceless as my peace of mind,” the businesswoman thought. She’d found love. She was still in excellent health. She had so many things to be grateful for: two eyes to see the splendors of this wonderful world, two legs to explore it all, food on her table each night at a time when billions have empty bellies. And a roof over her head for ample shelter. She had wise books to read in her library, work that fed her creativity and, as the billionaire said so often, an opportunity to achieve outright mastery not only to benefit herself but also in service of society. And so, inside that majestic mausoleum that has electrified the inspiration of so many visitors from across the Earth, and as the sun rose into the abundant Indian sky, the entrepreneur found it in her heart to do something we all need to do more of. She forgave. She let go of her hostility toward her investors. She released her resentments for her detractors. And she let go of every single one of her weighty disappointments. Life is too short to take things too seriously. And at the end of her life, what would matter most would not be whether those venture capitalists had ownership of her enterprise, but who she became as a human being. And the quality of the craft she produced. And how many people she helped. And how much she laughed. And how well she lived. The billionaire was right: every human being does the best they can do based on the level of consciousness they are currently at and on the grade of true power they can command. And if her investors had known better, they would have done better. These people generated pain and suffering for her because, at a deep and subconscious level, they are in pain. And because they are suffering. Those who hurt others silently loathe themselves. Yes, this sort of higher way of seeing things is not so common in our civilization. But maybe that’s why our world is filled with so many wars, so much danger and so much hatred. Just maybe, she considered, these corporate bandits were her teachers. Sent by life’s better nature to push her to the edge so she would reach such a place of disheartenment and despair that she’d have to change. And learn to soar. Just maybe all she’d experienced was, as the billionaire taught, precious preparation for who she needed to become to fulfill the potential of her most luminous gifts and realize the promise of her most high destiny, in a way that benefited humanity. And, perhaps, it’s when we face losing everything that we come to know our grandest selves. This strange, quirky and most genuine mentor in front of her, Mr. Stone Riley, was pouring his heart out, explaining how the simple yet not initially easy daily discipline of joining The 5 AM Club could, and indeed would, transform the productivity, prosperity and well-being of any person who applied the method. He’d kept each of the lofty vows he had made at their bizarre first encounter, at The Spellbinder’s mesmerizing conference. He’d shown himself to be a titan, not only of industry but also of integrity. And decency. “We need more of his kind,” she thought. “Women and men who are pure leaders. People who influence not through the strength of a large title and by the threat of a big position but via the power of their characters, the nobility of their expertise, the compassion in their hearts and by their unusual dedication to leaving everyone they meet better than they found them. Leaders run less by the selfish addictions of the ego and more by the selfless dictates of our greater wisdom.” The entrepreneur remembered the words of the poet Maya Angelou: “My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” The instructions of Mother Teresa also entered the mind of the entrepreneur in that instant: “If everyone would only clean their own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.” And so, on that very special early morning, inside one of the splendid monuments of the world, she not only forgave—she made a pact with herself. Understanding, as never before, that optimizing one’s self is the best way to improve the state of the world, and that developing the genius within was the fastest way to uplift her relationship with everything externally, the entrepreneur forged an agreement. She made herself a promise not only to never again consider taking her own life. She also pledged that every day, for the remainder of her days, she’d rise at 5 AM and give herself the gift of that Victory Hour free from all trivial diversions, unimportant stimulations and unnecessary complications. So that she could continue. Continue calibrating her Mindset, purifying her Heartset, fortifying her Healthset and escalating her Soulset. She would demand this of herself no matter what excuses and rationalizations the weaker and scared part of her personality would argue for. Because she deserved to experience her greatness. And because she hoped to be one of the heroes that we all are waiting for. “Anyhoo,” the billionaire shouted, inappropriately loudly. “Three final and ultra-practical tactics to help you lock in new habits. I’ve spent a lot of time on this subject because it’s so absolutely essential to your success. I’ll quickly walk you through three techniques that research confirms will help The 5 AM Club morning routine stick. Then we’re out of here.” He pulled out the flashlight and focused its rays on the ceiling of the chamber. The following brain tattoos slowly appeared: #1. To make a habit last, never install it alone. #2. The teacher learns the most. #3. When you most feel like quitting is the time you must continue advancing. The billionaire smiled again. “Pretty simple instructions, right? Profoundly simple because they’re simply profound. The first point will remind you that rituals run deepest when performed in a group. That’s why being a member of The 5 AM Club is so potent. You’re not installing this morning routine alone. We’re all in this together. And my sincere wish is that, when you cats get home, you bring as many people as you can—people who are ready to rise early so they can do world-class work and craft phenomenal lives—into the club. Support groups have long been a proven way to make improvements that last. So, leverage this concept brilliantly, please.” The billionaire coughed. Then he rubbed his chest, as if he were in pain. He pretended no one noticed. And advanced the dialogue. “The second point will remind you to actually teach the philosophy and methodology you’ve been learning from me. As you do so, your own understanding of the material will deepen even more superbly. In many ways, educating others on all I’ve shared will be a gift you provide to yourself.” “I’ve never looked at it that way,” observed the entrepreneur. “It’s truth,” informed the billionaire. “And the final line you see on this ceiling is the most important. Remember that persistency is necessary for all forms of mastery. In that moment you feel you can’t go further lies an enormous opportunity to forge an entirely new level of willpower. When you feel you can’t continue, progress a little longer. Your self-discipline muscle will be amplified considerably. And the degree of your self-respect will increase vastly. And few things are as essential to exponential productivity, leading your field and the creation of a life you adore as raising the appreciation you have for yourself.” Stunningly and without any clue about what was coming, the billionaire flipped over and held a headstand. With eyes closed, he recited a phrase from Gerald Sykes, the writer and philosopher, that went like this: “Any solid achievement must, of necessity, take years of humble apprenticeship and estrangement from most of society.” “You two amazing humans deserve to materialize your best selves and realize epic achievements,” the billionaire said as he returned to earth. “Do not betray the powers that sleep within you by staying too late in a soft bed that keeps you sedated. The great men and women of the world became so not because they lounged glamorously under the covers, but because they set sublime ambitions that they then proceeded to do—even as the majority called them crazy. World-class takes time and commitment and sacrifice and patience—like the Taj Mahal shows us. And heroism never occurs in a single season. Encode the 5 AM habit. Stay with the process indefinitely and move ahead when you most feel like stopping. Doing so will make you a legend. And seal your fate as someone who is worthy of worldwide influence.” Stone Riley then stood up. Hugged his two students. And disappeared down a marble passageway. [image: images] Chapter 5 A Bizarre Adventure into Morning Mastery “Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. . . . The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe “If you two are interested,” said the homeless man, “I’d be happy to spend a few mornings coaching you at my oceanside compound. I’ll show you my private morning routine and explain why dialing in the way you run your first hour to the highest degree is essential for personal mastery and exceptional business performance. Let me do this for you cats. Your lives will start to look glorious—within a fairly short time. And the ride with me will be fun. Not always easy, as we heard from the old guy on the stage. But valuable and prolific and beautiful. Maybe even as wonderful as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.” “First time I saw it I cried,” the artist said, stroking the hairs of his goatee. “Michelangelo was a bad dude. And I mean that in a good way,” the homeless man offered as he, too, played with his beard, which was soiled. He then raised his shirt to show Greek god abdominal muscles. A long finger of a grimy hand moved along the contours, the way a raindrop zigzags down the stem of a rose after a May shower. “Hit me with a stick,” shouted the artist with the enthusiasm of a cat let loose in a parrot shop. “How the heck did you get those?” “Not from some plastic ab machine I bought from a late-night TV show, that’s for sure. Work is how I got all lean and chiseled up like this. Plenty of push-ups, pull-ups, planks, sit-ups and seriously sweaty cardio sessions, often on my special beach.” The homeless man pulled out an obviously expensive leather wallet, then carefully removed from it a piece of plastic with a drawing on it. Here’s what it looked like, so you see exactly what the entrepreneur and the artist saw in that moment: [image: images] Without allowing for any responses from his two listeners, the disheveled drifter kept on speaking. “Commitment, discipline, patience and work. Values few believe in these days, where so many have an entitlement mentality, expecting a rich, productive and fulfilling life to just show up one day like a sparrow at the beginning of spring. And expecting everyone around them to invest the effort they are responsible for inputting. Where’s the leadership in this way of operating? “A society of adults behaving like spoiled little children is how I sometimes see our world right now. Not judging, just saying. Not complaining, just reporting. Hey, cats, here’s the point I’m trying to make by letting you have a peek at my sculpted abs: Nothing works for those who don’t do the work. Less talk and more do is what I say. Oh, and check this out.” The hobo spun around and unbuttoned his hole-ridden shirt. On his firm, striated back was a tattoo with the words “Victims love entertainment. Victors adore education.” “Come hang with me at my place on a magical little island in the middle of a fantastic ocean, five hours from the coast of Cape Town.” He handed the entrepreneur the plastic card with the seaside scene etched on it. “Those are my dolphins,” he said, happily pointing to the hand-drawn image. “The trip will be so worth it,” he continued. “The adventure of a lifetime, for sure. Some of your most valuable and sensational moments ever will unfold there. You need to take a trust walk with me, people. I’ll teach you everything I know about a world-class morning ritual. I’ll help you both become members of The 5 AM Club. You’ll learn to rise early, regularly—so you’ll get more done by noon than most people get done in a week, and so you’ll optimize your health, happiness and peacefulness. There’s a reason so many of the great achievers of the world get up before the sun—it’s the most special part of the day. I’ll explain how I used this revolutionary method to build my empire. And, to be clear, empires arrive in many forms—economic is just one of them. You can also create empires of artistry, productivity, humanity, philanthropy, personal freedom and even spirituality. I’ll download pretty much everything I’ve been blessed to have been taught by the mentor who transformed my life. You’ll discover so much. You’ll be moved at the deepest level. You’ll see the world through an all-new set of lenses. You’ll also eat the finest food and watch the most spectacular sunsets. You guys can swim in the sea, go snorkeling with the dolphins and fly over the sugar cane stalks that dance in the wind in the helicopter I own. And should you both accept my heartfelt invitation to visit me, I insist you stay at my home.” “My God, you’re kidding me, right?” boomed the artist. It was becoming increasingly evident that, like many in his field, he was acutely emotional, vigilant to the infinitesimal and carried a sensitivity born of latent pain. Those who feel more than most people sometimes believe they have been cursed. In fact, they have been granted a gift: one that allows them to sense what others miss, experience the delights that most neglect and notice the majesty in ordinary moments. Yes, such people get hurt more easily, yet they are also the ones who create great symphonies, architect dazzling buildings and find cures for the sick. Tolstoy once noted that “only people who are capable of loving strongly can suffer great sorrow,” while the Sufi poet Rumi wrote, “You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.” The artist seemed to personify these insights. “Nope. Totally serious, dudes,” the homeless man said enthusiastically. “I have a house not far from a village called Solitude. And believe me, they named it accurately. It’s only when you get away from the noise and nuisance and be in quiet and tranquility that you remember who—and all—you’re truly meant to be. Just say yes to life. And let’s do this! Like the guru on the platform said, a magic will show up for you the more you start exploiting the terrific opportunities that appear along your path, seemingly by accident. You can’t win a game you don’t play, right? The reality is that life has got your back, even when it doesn’t look like it does. But you need to do your part and go all in when windows of opportunity appear. Oh—and if you come to my home on the island, the only thing I ask is that you stay long enough for me to teach you the philosophy and methodology that my secret adviser shared with me. Joining The 5 AM Club requires a little time.” The homeless man paused before adding, “I’m also going to take care of all your expenses. Everything’s covered. I’ll even send my private jet to pick you guys up, if that’s cool.” The entrepreneur and the artist glanced at each other, amused, confounded and entirely uncertain. “Mind if my friend and I have a few moments alone, brother?” requested the artist, notebook still in hand. “No sweat. Sure. Take all the time you need. I’ll just go back to my seat over there and make some calls to my executive team,” mentioned the homeless man as he paced away. “This is absurd. Just asinine,” the artist said to the entrepreneur. “I def agree with you that there’s something special about him. Maybe even something magical. I know how insane that sounds. And I am fascinated by this mentor he keeps talking about, this teacher who sort of sounds like a modern-day master. I’ll admit that this street person has got some great insights, for sure. And he obviously seems to have a lot of experience. But just look at him! Man, the guy looks completely down and out—a complete mess. I don’t think he’s had a shower in weeks. His clothes are all ripped. He’s beyond freaky. And sometimes he talks total crazy talk. We have no idea who he is. This could be dangerous. He could be dangerous.” “Yes. Definitely super-weird. Everything that’s happened here today is super-weird,” confirmed his companion. The entrepreneur’s lean face then softened. Her eyes still seemed melancholic, though. “I’m at a place in my life where I need to make some big changes,” she confided. “I just can’t keep going on like this. I hear what you’re saying. I’ve been suspicious of pretty much everyone and everything ever since I lost my dad when I was eleven. A daughter growing up without a father is incredibly scary. To be honest, I still carry a lot of the emotional trauma with me. I think of him every day. I’ve had some bad intimate relationships. I’ve struggled a lot with low self-worth and made some horrible choices in the relationships I’ve had. “About a year ago I started seeing a therapist who made me aware of why I was behaving the way I was behaving,” the entrepreneur continued. “Psychologists call it ‘fatherless daughter syndrome.’ Deep within, I had a huge fear of abandonment and all the strong insecurities that come with that wound. Yes, this made me extraordinarily tough on the outside. And ruthless in some ways. The chip on my shoulder over the loss of my father gave me my drive and my ambition. Yet the loss also left me empty within. I’m learning that I’ve been trying to fill the void that he left, when he left, by pushing myself to exhaustion in my work with the belief that when I’m even more successful I’ll get the love I lost. I’ve been attempting to fill my emotional holes by chasing more money like a heroin addict needing a fix. I’ve been starving for social status and hungry for industry approval—escaping online for quick pleasure hits of entertainment when I could be doing things that matter. As I said, I’m realizing a lot of my behavior has been pushed from the fear created by my early challenges as a young woman. I felt inspired when The Spellbinder spoke about never doing something for the money but, instead, reaching for world-class as a leader and a person for the meaning it provides, for the opportunity to grow it provokes and for a shot at changing the world. His words made me feel so hopeful. I want to live in the way he spoke of, but I’m nowhere near that place now. And recently, what’s happened at my company pushed me to the edge. I’m really not doing well at life right now. I only came to this meeting because my mom gave me a free ticket. And I’m so desperate for a change.” The entrepreneur took a deep breath. “Sorry,” she apologized, looking embarrassed. “I hardly know you so I’m not sure why I’m revealing all this to you. I guess I just feel safe with you. I’m not sure why. I’m so sorry if I’m oversharing.” “No problem,” said the artist. His body language showed he was engaged. He no longer anxiously played with his goatee and dreadlocks. “We’re so honest when we chat with taxi drivers and other people we don’t really know, right?” the entrepreneur went on. “All I’m trying to say is that I’m ready for a transformation. And my gut tells me this down-and-out man who wants to teach us how an excellent morning routine can build creative, productive, financial and happiness empires really can help me. And help us. “And,” she added, “remember his watch.” “I like him,” said the artist. “He’s a character. I love that he expresses himself so poetically sometimes and so passionately at others. He thinks so vividly and quotes George Bernard Shaw like his life depended on it. Really cool. But I still don’t really trust him,” the artist expressed as he punched a fist into an open palm again. “Probably ripped the watch off some rich idiot.” “Look, I understand how you’re feeling,” responded the entrepreneur. “A lot of me feels the same way. And you and I just met as well. I’m not sure what it would be like to go on this trip with you. I hope you don’t mind me saying that. You seem like such a nice person. A few rough edges maybe. I think I understand where those come from. But you’re good deep down. I know it.” The artist looked mildly pleased. He glanced at the homeless man, who was eating slices of avocado from a plastic bag. “I’ll have to see if I can arrange my schedule to be away from the office so we can spend time with him,” shared the entrepreneur as she pointed to the homeless man. While he was munching on his snack he was also talking on a relic of a mobile phone and staring at the ceiling. “I’m starting to like the idea of spending some time near a village called Solitude on some tiny island, eating fabulous food and swimming with wild dolphins. I’m beginning to feel this will be a phenomenal adventure. I’m starting to feel more alive again.” “Well, now that you say it that way, I’m liking the sound of this, too,” said the artist. “I’m beginning to think there’s a delicious insanity to all of this. A special opportunity to access a whole new universe of originality. This might be the best thing yet for my art. It makes me think of what the writer Charles Bukowski said: ‘Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.’ And The Spellbinder did encourage us to leave the boundaries of our normal lives so we grow into our gifts, talents and strengths. Some instinct is also telling me to do this. So, if you go, I’ll go.” “Well, you know what? I’ll take the leap. It’s done. I’m all in. Let’s go!” pronounced the entrepreneur. “All in,” agreed the artist. They both stood up and made their way to the homeless man, who was now sitting with his eyes closed. “What are you doing now?” quizzed the artist. “Intense visualization of all I want to be and the higher order life I wish to create. A Turkish fighter pilot once told me that before every flight, he’d ‘fly before we’d fly.’ He was suggesting that meticulously rehearsing the way he and his team wanted the mission to unfold in the theater of his imagination set them up to execute that vision of mastery in reality, flawlessly. Your Mindset is an enormously potent tool for private greatness, prodigious productivity and creative victory—along with your Heartset, Healthset and Soulset. I’ll teach you all about these remarkable concepts if you accept my invitation. Anyhoo, back to why I closed my eyes. Nearly every morning, I envision my ideal performance for the day ahead. I also reach deep into my emotions so I feel what it will feel like when I achieve the wins I’ve planned to accomplish. I lock myself into an extremely confident state where any form of failure isn’t within the realm of possibility. Then I go out and do my finest to live out that perfect day.” “Interesting.” The entrepreneur was fascinated. “This is just one of the SOPs I run daily to stay on peak. Good science is confirming that this practice helps me upregulate my genome by turning on genes that were previously asleep. Your DNA isn’t your destiny, you know. Not to worry, cats. You’ll learn about the breakthrough field of epigenetics when you’re on the island. You’ll also learn some beautiful neuroscience on multiplying your success in this age of scattered attention, so the weapons of mass distraction don’t destroy your amazingness. I’ll reveal everything I’ve discovered about creating projects that are so masterfully done they endure for generations. You’ll hear about fabulous ways to armor-plate your mental focus and fireproof your physical energy. You’ll discover how the best businesspeople in the world build dominant enterprises and learn a calibrated system that the most joyful human beings on the planet apply each morning to create a life that borders on the magical. Oh, in case you were wondering, an SOP is a standard operating procedure. It’s a term my special adviser used when he’d speak about the daily structures needed to find triumph at the game of life. I assume you two are coming?” “Yes. We’re coming,” confirmed the entrepreneur in an upbeat tone. “Thank you for your offer.” “Yeah, thanks, man,” added the artist, now looking more composed. “Please,” the entrepreneur said earnestly, “teach us everything you know about creating the morning routine of a high-impact leader and a supremely successful businessperson. I desperately want to improve my performance and my daily productivity. I’ll also need your help to restructure my life. To be honest, I’m feeling more inspired today than I’ve felt in a long time. But I’m not in the best place.” “Yeah, brother,” said the artist. “Tell us your secrets for an epic morning routine that helps me become the best painter—and man—I can become.” He waved his notebook in the air as he spoke. “Send us your plane. Take us to your village. Give us some coconuts. Let us ride your dolphins. And improve our lives. We’re all in.” “None of what you’ll discover will be motivation,” noted the scraggly soul with a degree of seriousness he hadn’t shown before. “All of this will definitely be about transformation. And it will be supported by strong data, the latest research and immensely practical tactics that have been battle-tested in the tough trenches of industry. Get ready for the greatest adventure you cats will ever experience!” “Excellent,” declared the entrepreneur as she reached out to shake the weather-beaten stranger’s hand. “I need to admit that this entire scenario has been extremely odd for both of us but, for whatever reason, we now trust you. And, yes, we’re totally open to this new experience.” “You’re very kind to do this for us. Thank you,” blurted out the artist. He looked somewhat surprised by the extent of his graciousness. “Awesome. Smart decision, guys,” came the warm response. “Please be outside this conference center tomorrow morning. Bring at least a few days’ worth of clothes. That’s all. Like I said, I’m stoked to take care of everything else. All expenses are on me. I thank you.” “Why are you thanking us?” wondered the entrepreneur. The homeless man smiled tenderly and scratched his beard thoughtfully. “In his final sermon before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr., said, ‘Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the Second Theory of Thermodynamics and Physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.’” The tramp wiped a morsel of avocado from the edge of his mouth and then carried on what he was saying. “One of the big lessons I’ve learned over the years is that giving to other people is a gift you give to yourself. Raise the joy of others and you’ll get even more joy. Increase the state of your fellow human beings and, naturally, your own state of being ascends. Success is cool. But significance is rad. Generosity—not scarcity—is the trait of all of the great men and women who have upgraded our world. And we need leaders, pure leaders and not narcissists obsessed with their own self-interests, as never before.” The homeless man looked down at his large watch one last time. “You can’t take your title, net worth and fancy toys with you when you die, you know? I’ve yet to see a moving truck following a hearse on its way to a funeral.” He chuckled. The two listeners grinned. “He’s a treasure,” whispered the entrepreneur. “Def is,” acknowledged the artist. “Stop saying ‘def’ so much,” said the entrepreneur. “It’s getting irritating.” The artist looked a little shocked. “Okay.” “All that matters on your last day on Earth is the potential you’ve leveraged, the heroism you’ve demonstrated and the human lives you’ve graced,” the homeless man said eloquently. He then grew quiet. And let out a deep breath. “Anyhoo. Incredible that you’re coming. We’ll have a cool hang.” “May I bring my paintbrushes?” the artist asked politely. “Only if you want to paint in paradise,” came the homeless man’s reply with a wink. “And what time should we meet you outside this place tomorrow morning?” asked the entrepreneur, placing her handbag onto a thin, bony shoulder. “5 AM,” instructed the homeless man. “Own your morning. Elevate your life.” Then, he disappeared. Copyright The 5 AM Club Copyright © 2018 by Robin Sharma. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd Characters, incidents and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The original models, performance tools and learning tactics in this work are the intellectual property of Sharma Leadership International Inc. and cannot be used, in any form, without express written approval. Cover art by Alexander Row Interior illustrations by Mae Besom (here, here, here, here, here and here) and Lola Landekic (here and here). FIRST EDITION EPub Edition: NOVEMBER 2018 EPub ISBN: 978-1-4434-5663-0 Version 10222018 Print ISBN: 978-1-4434-5662-3 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd Bay Adelaide Centre, East Tower 22 Adelaide Street West, 41st Floor Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 4E3 www.harpercollins.ca Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication information is available upon request. LSC/H 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Chapter 1 The Dangerous Deed A gun would be too violent. A noose would be too ancient. And a knife blade to the wrist would be too silent. So, the question became, How could a once-glorious life be ended swiftly and precisely, with minimum mess yet maximum impact? Only a year ago, circumstances had been dramatically more hopeful. The entrepreneur had been widely celebrated as a titan of her industry, a leader of society and a philanthropist. She was in her late thirties, steering the technology company she founded in her dorm room in college to ever-increasing levels of marketplace dominance while producing products that her customers revered. Yet now she was being blindsided, facing a mean-spirited and jealousy-fueled coup that would significantly dilute her ownership stake in the business she’d invested most of her life building, forcing her to find a new job. The cruelty of this remarkable turn of events was proving to be unbearable for the entrepreneur. Beneath her regularly icy exterior beat a caring, compassionate and deeply loving heart. She felt life itself had betrayed her. And that she deserved so much better. She considered swallowing a gigantic bottle of sleeping pills. The dangerous deed would be cleaner this way. Just take them all and get the job done fast, she thought. I need to escape this pain. Then, she spotted something on the stylish oak dresser in her all-white bedroom—a ticket to a personal optimization conference that her mother had given her. The entrepreneur usually laughed at people who attended such events, calling them “broken winged” and saying they were seeking the answers of a pseudo guru when everything they needed to live a prolific and successful life was already within them. Maybe it was time to rethink her opinion. She couldn’t see many options. Either she’d go to the seminar—and experience some breakthrough that would save her life. Or she’d find her peace. Via a quick death. Chapter 6 A Flight to Peak Productivity, Virtuosity and Undefeatability “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” —Steve Jobs “I’m so tired,” the entrepreneur muttered with the energy of an ancient turtle on a vacation day, while holding a monstrous cup of coffee. “This journey might be harder than I thought. I’m starting to feel like I’m walking into a whole new world. Like I told you yesterday after the seminar, I’m definitely ready to change. Set for a new beginning. But I’m also feeling uneasy about all this. I didn’t sleep much last night. Such eerie—and sometimes violent—dreams. And, yes, this experience we’ve agreed to might be dangerous.” “Well, I feel like death, man,” said the artist. “I hate being up this early. This was a terrible idea.” The two brave souls were standing on the sidewalk outside the hall where The Spellbinder had worked his legendary skills—and broken many hearts with his collapse—the day before. It was 4:49 AM. “He won’t show up,” barked the artist roughly. He was dressed in black with a ruby red polka-dotted bandana on his left wrist. Same boots as yesterday. Those Australian ones. He hurled a mouthful of spit into the desolate street. He squinted at the sky. And then he folded his tattooed arms. The entrepreneur had a nylon duffle bag over her shoulder. She styled a silk blouse with bohemian sleeves, designer blue jeans and a pair of sandals with high heels—the kind you see off-duty supermodels with sunglasses the size of Greek island sunsets wearing. Her lips were scrunched together and the lines on her face were arrayed in a series of interesting intersections. “I’d bet the homeless man’s a no-show,” she said with a sneer. “I don’t care about his watch. It doesn’t matter that he could be so articulate. It means nothing to me now that he reminded me of my dad. God, I’m exhausted. He was probably at the seminar because he needed a place to rest for a few hours. He probably knew about the whole 5 AM Club morning routine because he heard—and stole—that bit of The Spellbinder’s presentation. And the private plane he talked about was probably part of his favorite hallucination.” The entrepreneur had returned to her familiar skepticism and hiding within her fortress of protection. The hopefulness of the day before had clearly dissolved. Just then, a pair of strikingly powerful halogen headlights pierced the wall of darkness. The two companions looked at each other. The entrepreneur managed a smile. “Okay. Maybe instinct really is much smarter than reason,” she muttered to herself. A gleaming Rolls-Royce, the color of coal, pulled up to the curb. With swift efficiency, a man in a crisp white uniform leapt out of the sedan and greeted the two with old-school civility. “Good morning to you, Madam. And to you as well, Sir,” he enunciated in a British accent as he placed their bags into the vehicle with one skillful swoop. “Where’s the derelict?” asked the artist with the tact of a hillbilly who’d never left the woods. The driver couldn’t help but laugh. Quickly, he regained his composure. “So sorry, Sir. Yes, Mr. Riley dresses in very unassuming attire, shall we say. He does that when he feels the need to ‘get gritty,’ as he classifies the practice. He leads a remarkably exclusive life most of the time and is a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. Everything he wants, to be more precise. So, once in a while, he does things to ensure his modesty and humility remain in check. That’s part of his quirky charm, I might add. Mr. Riley asked me to give these to you.” The driver pulled out two envelopes, made of the highest quality paper. On opening them, the entrepreneur and the artist saw these words: Hey, cats! Hope you’re awesome. Didn’t mean to spook you both yesterday. I just needed to keep my boots on the ground. Epictetus, one of my favorite philosophers, wrote: “But neither a bull nor a noble-spirited man comes to be what he is all at once; he must undertake hard winter training and prepare himself and not propel himself rashly into what is not appropriate to him.” Voluntary discomfort, whether by dressing as I did or by fasting once a week or by sleeping on the floor once a month, keeps me strong, disciplined and focused on the central few priorities my life’s built around. Anyhoo, have a tremendous flight, and I’ll see you in Paradise soon. Big hug. The driver continued, “Please remember that appearances can be misleading and clothing doesn’t convey one’s character. Yesterday you met a great man. Looks really do not reveal the quality of a person.” “I guess neither does shaving,” proclaimed the artist, kicking a black boot against the shiny Rolls-Royce symbol at the center of one of the wheels. “Mr. Riley would never tell you what I’m about to tell you as he’s far too courteous and decent. But the gentleman you refer to as a ‘derelict’ happens to be one of the wealthiest people in the world.” “Are you serious?” asked the entrepreneur, her eyes widening. “I most certain