The Secret Reason Successful People Wake Up Early

The Secret Reason Successful People Wake Up Early

There is a common saying that successful people wake up early, but is there any truth to it? And if so, what are some of these successful peoples’ secrets? Let’s dive into these questions and some deeper discussion about the hows and whys of the habits of successful people.

Are Early Risers More Successful?

I venture to say yes, but not just simply for the sake of early rising itself. Instead, the habit of early rising lays down a foundation for success that allows these successful people to flourish. The success is all in their morning routines.

Why Are Early Risers More Successful?

Below are just a couple of the many reasons early risers are more successful than the general population:

focus - successful people wake up early


Having the ability and the opportunity to focus on an important task is one solid recipe for success – and successful people know this.

Obviously, having the ability to focus is something that comes from within, but by waking up early, successful people manufacture the opportunity to focus more often by greatly reducing distractions from cell phones, email, and other people. After all, most people are fast asleep when most successful people wake up.

Early mornings are the ideal time to quietly shift focus onto anything that needs attention. Attending to the important is what sets the successful apart from the unsuccessful.

No Multitasking

In a world that increasingly idolizes multitasking – whether at work or at home, it can be difficult to finish a task because we’re always juggling other tasks and getting interrupted. It’s no wonder most people rarely get anything done in terms of reaching success.

We’re lucky just to get our everyday chores done and have enough energy left over not to collapse at the end of the day, right?

This isn’t how successful people operate at all. In fact, from what I’ve seen in other early risers (and based on my own early morning priorities), early risers tend to shun multitasking.

successful people wake up early and shun multitasking

Successful people wake up early… and they use this uninterrupted time to focus on one important task at a time. They also tend to reserve the most important tasks of the day for this block of time because they know they will get them done while they have ideal circumstances.

If I don’t work on my side business tasks wholeheartedly first thing in the morning, the day gets away from me. In my life, there are dogs to walk, a kid to send off to school, a job to report to, and meals to prepare. The rest of my day leaves no time for attaining success and striving for goals outside the scope of my daily, required tasks.

For example, I know that if I don’t wake up early to work on my side business, I’ll never make any daily progress toward my long-term goal of quitting my job.

The things I think are important (working toward quitting my job) are much different than the things my boss thinks are important (making him more money), so obviously I can’t work on my business while I’m at work. I have had to be diligent about giving myself a devoted block of time (early mornings before work) to work on what I think is important.

I hope you, too, can learn to respect yourself and your goals enough to do the same. Make time for your goals and dreams by waking up early, and you will find yourself becoming successful in no time!

No Self-Imposed Interruptions

Note that it’s not always other people interrupting. Sometimes the culprit can be ourselves.

What successful people don’t do is look at their phone every 5 minutes or go off on tangents that make them forget what they were doing. For successful people, each early morning task has their complete 100% focus and dedication, done lovingly – one at a time.

What Do Successful People Do When They Wake Up Early?

Of course, everyone has his or her own customized morning routine, but when asked about morning routine activities, successful people have a lot in common.

For example:

Successful People Wake Up Early to Read

It is a well-known fact that successful people are avid readers. You can’t rely on your intuition all the time, although it is helpful sometimes.

Intuition aside, successful people don’t become successful alone. They have mentors, and if they don’t initially have access to mentors – they read. Even if they have mentors, they still read!

They tend to avoid novels, magazines, and tabloids, though, because the purpose of their reading is not to be entertained. Successful people read educational books and publications for the purposes of self-improvement, education, and (surprise!) success.

Warren Buffett reads 500 pages per day. While pointing to a stack of books, he once said:

Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.

Warren Buffett

My Favorite Book and Quote

My favorite quote by the sales legend, Grant Cardone, comes to mind here, so I thought I would share. Because I am an avid reader myself, I stumbled upon this quote from his book, The 10X Rule:

As long as you are alive you will either live to accomplish your own goals and dreams or be used as a resource to accomplish someone elses Grant Cardone quote

I’ve found that Grant Cardone quote to be so powerful and moving that I printed it out and hung it on the wall in my bedroom so that I read it every morning.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be someone else’s resource to accomplish their goals and dreams! I want to be successful and accomplish my own goals and dreams.

I highly recommend reading Grant’s book, The 10X Rule, which you can find at the best price by clicking here. Do yourself a favor and click the Look Inside feature so you can read a few pages before buying. That book is pure gold.

Motivational quotes like the one I just shared from Grant Cardone are helpful in becoming the successful person you dream of because they allow you to learn from other peoples’ experience and wisdom. Quotes about early morning, in particular, give us the laser focus we need to accomplish our goals.

Successful People Wake Up Early to Have Personal Quiet Time

I see another recurring theme among successful people: They wake up early in the morning to think, get organized, and have some time to themselves. If you pay close attention, you will notice successful people never clumsily stumble into the day with no idea what needs to be accomplished.

Instead, they all intentionally take some time to ground themselves and organize their daily tasks during the quiet morning hours. Often, during this early morning thinking and planning period, successful people tend to avoid checking their phone, email, and the news.

Your day is pretty much formed by how you spend your first hour Check your thoughts attitude and heart - morning motivational quote

Many successful people exercise or meditate (or both) upon waking, which further helps them get in sync with the day ahead and gives them a burst of energy.

Successful People Wake Up Early to Get a Head Start on Work

Successful people always start working right away in the morning after they have exercised and organized their intentions for the day. As children, we’re often told to finish our work before playing. This age-old wisdom remains true into adulthood, and successful people have embraced work before play rather than resenting and resisting it like the majority of us do.

Because of their commitment to the “work before play” motto, it is no accident that successful people always accomplish everything on their to-do list each day; it’s all a matter of priorities.

What’s even more interesting to me is that successful people tend to also have more time in their days for leisurely activities – probably because they always get up early and get all their work done early!

early bird - do you have to wake up early to be successful

Do You Have to Wake Up Early to Be Successful?

Technically, no, but your chances of becoming successful greatly increase when you develop a habit of waking up early. Waking up early gives you more opportunity to get things done. Getting things done is how success slowly manifests and builds upon itself daily.

Let’s not call waking up early something that it is not. You see, waking up early is not some magic bullet that automatically leads to success. Instead, it’s what these people do during the early morning hours that lead to their success.

Lots of people wake up early (mostly because they are forced to for a job), but that doesn’t necessarily make them successful – especially if they themselves don’t believe they are successful with their current lifestyle.

successful people wake up early because they want to - not because they have to

The following isn’t actually a secret, but so few people abide by it that it might as well be a secret: Successful people wake up early because they want to. Not because they have to.

If you are waking up early because you have to, you might want to reassess your situation so you can better set yourself up for success.

This might require searching for that inner desire to wake up earlier than you have to because you want to achieve success. Changing your attitude will have a huge impact on the level of success you’re able to achieve.

define success - successful people wake up early

Define Success for Yourself

Before we go any further, it is important for you to define success. I can’t define it for you because my definition is going to be different than yours. Success and one’s perception of it are highly personal.

One thing I do know for certain is that most successful people wake up early and that they all know what success means to them. Successful people know exactly what they want and they implement a plan of action to get it. Floating mindlessly through your life will not accidentally create a successful life because success is never an accident.

success go get it - successful people wake up early

This means, of course, that you should know what success means to you as well – if you intend to be successful. Literally write down your definition of success and post the paper in a place where you can read it every day.

If you find that your definition of success changes over time, this is completely normal. When that happens, update your definition of success and print it out or handwrite a new definition.

For example, I’ve found that my definition of success has changed over the past 10 years. In my 20s, it was more money-centered. These days, it’s more time and freedom-centered. Economically speaking, money is still a big part of achieving freedom and gaining time, but it’s not the main way I define success.

I, personally, feel much more successful with more time on my hands and fewer possessions than I do with having more money to buy unnecessary things that I have no time to enjoy. I’ve been in both situations, so I can say this based on firsthand experience.

What about you? How do you define success? If success to you means a Lamborghini, be honest about it and make it part of your definition.

What Time Do CEOs Wake Up?

Obviously, the time varies, but 90% of CEOs wake up before 6am, according to a poll Laura Vanderkam conducted in her book What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.

what time do ceos wake up
This CEO looks like he’d wake up very early indeed.
Not my kid, for the record…

As you’ll see in the sample below, some famous CEOs wake up quite early:

  • Tim Cook, CEO of Apple: 3:45am ?!?
  • Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo: 4am
  • Bob Iger, CEO of Disney: 4:30am
  • Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks: 4:30am
  • Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square: 5am
  • Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn: 5:30am
  • Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin: 5:45am
  • Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia: 6am
  • Oprah Winfrey, CEO of Harpo Productions: between 6:02 and 6:20am (Because she chooses to wake up without an alarm, which is very wise, as you will see if you’d like to read my blog post about the topic.)
  • Warren Buffet CEO of Berkshire Hathaway: 6:45am
  • Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink: 7am
  • Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon: between 7 and 8am
  • Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook: 8am

What Time Do I Wake Up?

I wouldn’t call myself famous, but for a bit of reference: I wake up around 5:30am. Similar to Oprah, I wake up naturally with my wake up light alarm.

Usually, I’m already awake before the light is at its brightest and the nature sounds start going off, but if I’m extra tired, it helps me wake up at the right part of my sleep cycle so I’m not dragging my feet the rest of the day.

I hope this blog post has been of help to you. By now, I hope to have convinced you that successful people wake up early and that none of their habits and achievements are accidents, but rather, a product of daily grinding.

I wish you much luck on your path to success!

I'm the owner of and an enthusiastic early riser. Let's discuss why that is... and maybe I can make you a believer in magical mornings as well!

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