The Road to Riches: A Routine
Updated: Sep 10, 2019
Benjamin Franklin. Elon Musk. Steve Jobs. An incredibly significant aspect of these billionaire’s journey to success involved the implementation of a daily routine: something that’s substantially overlooked by aspiring money-makers today. Individuals tend to forego the fact that a routine is essentially the foundation to efficient performance in all other areas, so if you want to have the wealth that your inspirations have, emulating their foundations is perhaps the optimal place to start.
If you’re one of those people who go through the day as it passes by without a routine, here are several concrete reasons that might change your mind:
Part I: Core Benefits of an Effective Routine:
This was by far the biggest mind-changer for me, one that made a generally irresponsible and naturally lazy kid – yours truly – alter his perspective and consistently follow a routine without fail afterwards.
I learned that, with a daily routine – also known as bookending your days –, you are able to establish a significant sense of control both when you wake up and before you fall asleep. This is because a myriad of things could happen in the day – hectic travel, grueling work or hour-long outings – but nothing would alter how you start and end your day. The bookends of your day would be perpetually fixed, and this has profoundly positive psychological effects on your mind.
A study conducted by productivity expert Claire Diaz Ortiz in her book, “Design Your Day”, showed that following a routine in the morning triggers the frontal cortex in your brain and therefore creates an immediate sense of positivity and victory: both of which are motivational emotions to wake up with. According to millionaire Darren Hardy, this is extremely significant because “the key elements of success that you aim to practice will be taken care of first thing in the morning”, which will allow you to be properly grounded and prepared to perform at a much higher level than if you started each day erratically – which most of us unfortunately do.
Therefore, that sense of control both immediately after you wake up and just before you retire to bed are substantially effective towards the psychology of your actions throughout the day, which is exactly why you should start implementing a routine on a daily basis.
2. Long-term impact
One of my favorite books, called “The Compound Effect”, suggested that the simplest alteration in – or implementation of – one’s routine could exude significant consequences over time. The most effective way to analogize this is by considering an airplane’s journey:
Figure 1: Figurative Perspective of the Effects of Good Habits
As you can see, over a large period of time, even a fractional change in bearings would cause over 150 miles of distance between the airplane’s desired and actual destination. This goes to show you that the benefits of a routine compounded over time would facilitate a substantial difference in terms of mental stability and productivity levels.
For example, reading 10 pages a day may not feel like a greatly effective task initially, however, if one was to read 10 pages a day for a period of 1 year, the change in cognitive aptitude, terminology and analytical ability would be inarguable. In a similar manner, a single poor habit – that could be perceived as seemingly inconsequential at the moment – can ultimately lead you miles away from the direction of your personal goals.
As mentioned before, while this topic is slightly on a tangent to the usual content on this website, it's critical to understand that having a solid routine creates the pillars to implement everything else on this blog in an effective manner: you can't build a great building on a weak foundation.
Therefore, strongly consider the long term effects on your abilities as an incentive towards implementing an effective and fulfilling daily routine.
Part II: Example of a Routine and Why It's Effective
Excerpt of Elon Musk's Daily Routine
You’d have to be clinically insane if you didn’t believe that this man has one of the busiest entrepreneurial lives in today’s economy. The level of intensity that Musk has to endure on a daily basis is remarkably high, yet he still manages to pull through and build himself an empire of wealth that’s unquestionable to even his greatest naysayers – no matter how many of them exist. I’d hedge a great deal of my money to claim that his success is attributed to his routine, so here it is:
Now, you might think that there’s something fairly normal with this routine; perhaps that there’s nothing unique about it. To counter that thought and display how ingenious this routine actually is, draw attention to the fact that Musk implements these three key parts:
a) Routine begins the night BEFORE:
If you noticed, Musk completes his most challenging task first, which implies that he’s actually kept a list of things to do, potentially created the night before. Taking 5 minutes the night before to list three things that you want to accomplish for the next day gives you a structure, and then doing the most challenging one first forces you to create a win from something you essentially wanted to shy away from in the first place. This is a profoundly optimal strategy, and it's one that's implemented by over 78% of the millionaires that we are familiar with today.
If the people with the wealth you desire are utilizing this to grow their wealth, then why aren't you?
b) ONE fulfilling habit to fuel yourself
This somewhat acts like your stimulator to set you up for the day: i.e. something that activates your brain functions from the morning itself.
In Elon Musk’s case, this is a very cold shower - but this varies from person to person. With billionaire Ray Dalio, it’s transcendental meditation; with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, it’s a high-intensity run; with investor Warren Buffet, it's several hours of fervent reading. Either way, using something to act as the fuel to your daily mindset will allow you to start each morning with the single action that drives you towards optimal effectiveness and consistent productivity, and who wouldn't want that?
Experiment around to see what best acts as your fuel, and trust that you'll eventually find the stimulation that you're looking for!
c) Taking time to perfect and apply what you’re good at
Last but certainly not least, you’ll notice that Musk spends the majority of his day working on improving and applying the things that he’s best at: engineering and design. While us kiddos don’t currently have jobs, we should be setting time in our routine to improving our skill set and essentially become the most valuable in the areas that we desire.
If you’re interested in finance and investing, spend time reading about investing strategies and analyzing economic trends, and then apply your knowledge by diving into stock market. If you’re a techie, invest effort in learning new programming tools and working on apps or software developments. If you’re into engineering, start picking up more advanced knowledge and begin working on something that your societal circle hasn't seen yet. Instead of thinking outside the box, start doing outside the box.
The more you augment your experience and enhance your skills, the more value you’ll be able to add to others in school, university and later on in employment; and like we’ve said before, “The more value you provide, the more money you derive”.
Overall, the rules in this game are simple: wanting wealth is great, but if you don’t have the mindset like those with money do, how are you going to get it?