Like a sportsman warming up before a big game, some of the world’s most successful businesspeople have morning rituals that set them on course for the day ahead.
I was recently listening to an inspiring interview with best-selling authors and motivational public speakers Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins, during which the latter laid out his morning ritual – he called it 'priming' himself for the day.
His belief is, if you want to have a great life, a prime quality life, you have to prime yourself for the day. Priming is a great word. And the image of priming the pump(yourself) with positive thoughts ready for the day is great too, but there's actually more than this going on.
In a psychological sense, 'priming' is considered to be an implicit memory effect in which exposure to one stimulus influences a response to another stimulus.
To put it another way, prime yourself with a particular type or set of stimuli and your responses to those stimuli will carry over into whatever you do next. In other words, stimulate the kind of mental activity, focus and mood that you want and then be able to reap the benefits of it for the rest of the day.
Like most psychological activities in which you're looking to influence how your brain works, there are positive and negative versions. Positive priming results in the brain processing faster and is a natural effect of experiencing the initial stimulus. Negative priming occurs when you either deliberately ignore or reject the initial stimulus or are distracted from it. As ever, your intention and focus are important.
Mr Robbins' priming ritual takes about 30 minutes and has nine steps, including an ice bath or hot shower/cold shower, spending some time focusing on gratitude, listening to music, breathing, and so on. It's as if he washes himself inside and out. He washes out all the rubbish, and puts in good mental fuel.
The result is that he starts every day ready to work fast, live fast, and achieve more. He is tuned in to do what he does.
Listening to Mr Robbins' morning success rituals got me curious. When I investigated further it turns out there are 10 habits that are common among highly successful people.
1. Wake up really early – an extra hour or two can make all the difference.
2. Burn your calories – exercise, even just 10-15 minutes a day, will clear your thinking as well as make your body healthier.
3. Get inspired – boost your motivation by reading or listening to something that gives you energy.
4. Record your blessings – keep a gratitude journal and note down what you're grateful for.
5. Ask yourself: 'If today was the last day of your life, would you still want to do what you're about to do today?'
6. Eat the 'frog' – the frog is your hardest task or job of the day; get it done while your motivation is at its height.
7. Connect with your significant other – taking a little time to talk and be with someone isn't only good for the relationship, it also boosts your energy.
8. Plan ahead – go over your goals for the day and make sure you're clear on your schedule.
9. Clear your head – whether it's meditation or prayer or simply a quiet introspective moment, take a few minutes to let go of the stress.
10. Bond with your kids – if you have them, don't forget to spend a little time with them.
My own morning ritual was inspired by a practice called 'Morning Pages', introduced by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist's Way.
It starts when I get up an hour and a half earlier than everyone else. I make myself a drink of hot water and lemon and write my morning pages; by putting pen to paper, I clean all the 'rubbish' out of my head so I have room to fuel up and create.
The fuelling part is a combination of preparing for the day, being grateful, and a short meditation. The whole process takes just an hour, and that hour repays me 10-fold in ideas, profits and energy.
What about you?
Do you set you set up physically and mentally to live life to the fullest and be your best? Do you prime yourself for a succession of rapid and successful actions? Or you do go through the day on half throttle – an insufficient release of the negative mental content, insufficient positive mental input, insufficient peace and quiet, insufficient basics such as water, sleep and healthy food?
How do you get yourself ready for the day, each and every day? What's your morning success ritual? Tell me, I'd love to hear about it and how it helps you.
Time Equals Money