Yes, you can have two ridiculously good things at once.
No, it’s not an either/or. And it’s not a too-good-to-be-true blanket statement. It’s not a trick, and yes you probably think I’m an idiot for putting both in the same category. But…
You, yes you, can have both sleep and success beyond your wildest dreams at the same time. Let that soak in for a second, because it’s the opposite of what you’ve been told. Ok ready? Good. When you realize just how much proper rest matters to your overall health and actual long-term success in life, it’s no sleeping matter.
The idea that sacrificing shut-eye is the only path to garnering you success and is the key difference between Average Joe and Billy Billionaire is reckless and irresponsible. You want a surefire way to avoid reaping the benefits of that hard-earned hustle? Short yourself on sleep and I beg you to just watch what happens. And you don’t even need patience (I know we all need more of that) to see the results; just give it a few days. Whoa! Results in just a few days?!
The Pervasive Nature of a Tired World
If someone told you something that sounds too good to be true, you’d probably question it. (Honestly, I really hope you do. If not, learn to start questioning things.) So why is this any different? “Oh, just make sure you stay up and grind when everyone else goes to bed, and you’ll reap the benefits”. The idea behind it doesn’t sound so shabby – you want to out-shine your competition when the motivation is low? Put in the work and shutup on the excuses – a family, a regular job, and other responsibilities that most people would claim as the culprit for their limited time are all BS reasons. If you want something that badly, you go for it and make the time. No one can argue that, because there’s a lot of truth in it. On a basic level, I use the gym as a classic example of this. I make the time. I skip on occasion. The Earth didn’t blow up because of that.
But the problem with society today is this pervasive notion that a lack of sleep can be balanced with your daily life and you’ll be just fine. I can’t think of a worse time to try to work when you’re tired and ready to go to bed.
I’m here to tell you this is a sham – you don’t have bragging rights because you didn’t get enough rest, and consistently low sleep will screw you in the long run. Again, consistently low sleep will screw you in the long run.
What You Actually Sacrifice When You Don’t Sleep (hint: it’s not success)
When you repeat the process of shorting yourself on slumber, it doesn’t take long for the brain fog to kick in. Let’s be real, we all have brain fog even on our best days sometimes. So when you start walking around like you belong in The Walking Dead, you’ll very quickly become an unfocused wreck. Creativity? She just broke up with you and has already moved on. Ouch. How can you expect to take your passion or business to the next level when you forget daily life’s to-dos? Caffeine sounds like a great alternative to stave off the fog, until you’re four cups in on a daily basis and realize your sensitivity to the majestic liquid has weaned big time.
You’ll also more than likely develop health problems. If you’re lucky it’s something as simple as the common cold. But here’s the truly scary part – we have no idea the long-term effects. The body is an intricate machine. When you don’t give it the proper oil, the engine will start to break down. The fastest way to getting sick is to lose sleep over and over again.
A few lucky people can work with four or five hours of sleep a night and develop absolutely no issues, keep their sharpness intact, and over the long term show no signs of wear and tear from it. These people have been studied on some level, and it’s important to realize these people are anomalies. You probably aren’t on their level.
How Successful People Do It, and How it Should be Taught
If you talk with most successful people, you’ll find a few common themes permeate their existence: diet, meditation, and you guessed it, sleep. Taking care of your health becomes of utmost importance as your workload and stress increases. So if you really want success, feed your body a decent diet but indulge when you feel it’s right. I’ve found that when I get at least seven hours of sleep most nights, I can tackle just about anything. Anything less than that, and I start struggling. Two days at under six hours a night, and I’m fucked until I sleep well. Realize you’ll be OK if you sacrifice some shut-eye here and there for various reasons. Like anything, moderation.
The next time you think you need to skip the slumber to out-hustle someone on your path to success, sleep on it before you make the call. You’ll be glad you did.