Here’s why I set alarms for 4:00 AM everyday…even Saturday’s.

Most people will think I’m crazy after reading the title of this article and that’s ok, because my wife does too.  The truth is, only a handful of people will read this entire post because most people scoff at the idea of waking up so early, especially on a weekend – but not me.  Actually, I take that back.  There was a time in my life when I slept until lunch and didn’t think twice about it but then something changed…

But believe it or not, it wasn’t the three and a half years I spent in the Army that got me into this early morning routine.  In fact, I hated waking up early in the military.  But in 2015, I severely injured my spine during my time in the Army and my life was changed forever (in more ways than just one)…

Every. Single.  Morning. I woke up in excruciating pain between 3-4 AM.  This happened every day without failure and once I was woken up,  there was no chance of going back to sleep.  I must admit that when this first started happening, I would just lay there in bed and feel sorry for myself because despite trying to deny it, I knew my military career was coming to an end and I was miserable.

But then one morning I told a friend of mine that I had woken up at 4:00 AM again in pain and I will never forget his response, “Well, what did you do with all that time?”

I remember thinking, “Well, $@#$…..I wasn’t expecting that. I guess I was just looking for pity from you too.”

In all honesty, his simple response floored me because it forced me to admit a hard truth. I was allowing my own self pity to cause more damage than the pain was and that I wasted all of that time each morning.  In that moment I changed my perspective.

From that day on, every morning I found something productive to do after the pain woke me up.  I started reading books about finance and investing to prepare me for my transition out of the military and most importantly, I started writing letters to my friends and family back home.  I wrote those letters to thank them for the important life lessons they had taught me earlier in life that were helping me through this difficult time.

Those letters are what I used to write my first book, Reflections from the Man in the Mirror.  I wrote that entire book before most people even dream of waking up in the morning and that is what pulled me out of my own self pity.  If the pain was going to continue waking me up each morning than I might as well use that time to better myself in some way.

After three surgeries on my spine and nearly 6 years of therapy and pain management, the pain is better now and I am happy to say that it doesn’t wake me up every day anymore…

But I still set alarms for 4:00 every morning now because I’ve become addicted to the sense of accomplishment that I get when I spend four hours being productive before most people wake up everyday.  More importantly, I set those alarms every morning because I have a special appreciation for the time God has given me (regardless of whether it’s filled with pain or not). There are three of my closest friends from the military who never made it home safely to hug and kiss their families again like I did, so my appreciation for the time I do have is much greater than it ever was before.

I completed my entire master’s degree that was supposed to take me 30 months in just under 14 and 95% of that graduate work was done between the hours of 4-8 AM.

The lady in the registration office literally laughed at me when I called to schedule my courses and then proceeded to tell me that it was “impossible” to take that many courses at once while working full time…

Little did she know that “impossible” means nothing to a man like me because I’ve been to hell and back already in life and I’ve beaten “impossible” on more than one occasion.

The truth is, regardless of how rich or poor you are, each of us are given the same amount of time each day – 24 hours.  That’s 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds in every day.  However, everyone values that time differently.  Some people would rather spend half of that time sleeping and that’s ok!  Just don’t let me hear you say that you don’t have enough time in your day to get everything done that you want or the time to exercise or learn a new skill.  We all have the time to do great things, it’s just a matter of how we spend the time we are given.

For me, it took a life changing injury and living with chronic pain to truly start appreciating the time I was given and to start using that time differently.

I can honestly say that by waking up at 4 AM and busting my butt for myself and my family, I feel like I’m playing chess against an opponent that’s still sleeping.  It genuinely feels like an unfair advantage against the rest of the world.  It might sound crazy but to me, it’s true.  I do my best work while the rest of the world is snoring…

I’ve had countless people ask me how I find the time to write my books and these blog posts, learn to trade stocks, exercise, read books and finish grad school all while working full-time (and having a six month old baby) and my answer will always be the same…

If you want something bad enough, you’ll make the time for it….

Sure, there are days where that snooze button get’s hit (especially now that I have that six month old baby to tucker me out) but I still set my alarm every morning.  Some days are harder than others but I still fight to get my a$$ out of bed to get my day started because then I can come home and spend time with my family in the evening because I was up  grinding while everyone else slept.

If my family, goals and ambitions are my top priorities in life than it’s a no brainer to give up sleep to keep those things at the top of my priority list.

And when the day finally comes when God finally calls me home (hopefully 80 years from now), I will look back on my life with peace knowing that I truly appreciated the time that I was given and that I spent it wisely on the things most important to me.

Now let me be clear, I don’t expect everyone reading this to start setting alarms for 4 AM and live life just like me because we are all different and that’s ok.  And of course there are days where I sleep in until 6 or 7 A.M. but what I do hope is that by reading this post you have gained a better appreciation for time being our most valuable asset in life and that you start evaluating if you are using the time you are given doing what is most valuable to you…

Please don’t forget to like and share this post and let me hear your comments down below!

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