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The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life / 5 (by Robin Sharma, 2018) -

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The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life /  5   (by Robin Sharma, 2018) -

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life / 5 (by Robin Sharma, 2018) -

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The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life / 5 (by Robin Sharma, 2018) -
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2018
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Robin Sharma
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Adam Verner
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/ / / upper-intermediate
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upper-intermediate
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11:04:24
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64 kbps
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mp3, pdf, doc

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life / 5 :

.doc (Word) robin_sharma_-_the_5am_club_own_your_morning.doc [3.6 Mb] (c: 1) .
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: The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life

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I_m immensely grateful that this book is in your hands. My deep hope is that it serves the full expression of your gifts and talents beautifully. And causes revolutions of heroic transformation within your creativity, productivity, prosperity and service to the world. The 5 AM Club is based on a concept and method that I_ve been teaching to celebrated entrepreneurs, CEOs of legendary companies, sports superstars, music icons and members of royalty_with extraordinary success_for over twenty years. I wrote this book over a four-year period, in Italy, South Africa, Canada, Switzerland, Russia, Brazil and Mauritius. Sometimes the words flowed effortlessly as if a gentle summer breeze was at my back and at other times, I struggled to move ahead. Sometimes I felt like waving the white flag of creative depletion and during other periods of this intensely spiritual process, a responsibility higher than my own needs encouraged me to continue. I_ve given all I have to give in the writing of this book for you. And I greatly thank all the very good people from around the planet who have stood with me to the completion of The 5 AM Club. And so, with a full heart, I humbly dedicate this work to you, the reader. The world needs more heroes and why wait for them_when you have it in you to become one. Starting today. With love respect, Epigraph _We will have eternity to celebrate the victories but only a few hours before sunset to win them._ _Amy Carmichael _For what it_s worth, it_s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be . . . I hope you live a life you_re proud of. If you find that you_re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again._ _F. Scott Fitzgerald _And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music._ _Friedrich Nietzsche Chapter 1 The Dangerous Deed A gun would be too violent. A noose would be too ancient. And a knife blade to the wrist would be too silent. So, the question became, How could a once-glorious life be ended swiftly and precisely, with minimum mess yet maximum impact? Only a year ago, circumstances had been dramatically more hopeful. The entrepreneur had been widely celebrated as a titan of her industry, a leader of society and a philanthropist. She was in her late thirties, steering the technology company she founded in her dorm room in college to ever-increasing levels of marketplace dominance while producing products that her customers revered. Yet now she was being blindsided, facing a mean-spirited and jealousy-fueled coup that would significantly dilute her ownership stake in the business she_d invested most of her life building, forcing her to find a new job. The cruelty of this remarkable turn of events was proving to be unbearable for the entrepreneur. Beneath her regularly icy exterior beat a caring, compassionate and deeply loving heart. She felt life itself had betrayed her. And that she deserved so much better. She considered swallowing a gigantic bottle of sleeping pills. The dangerous deed would be cleaner this way. Just take them all and get the job done fast, she thought. I need to escape this pain. Then, she spotted something on the stylish oak dresser in her all-white bedroom_a ticket to a personal optimization conference that her mother had given her. The entrepreneur usually laughed at people who attended such events, calling them _broken winged_ and saying they were seeking the answers of a pseudo guru when everything they needed to live a prolific and successful life was already within them. Maybe it was time to rethink her opinion. She couldn_t see many options. Either she_d go to the seminar_and experience some breakthrough that would save her life. Or she_d find her peace. Via a quick death. Chapter 2 A Daily Philosophy on Becoming Legendary _Do not allow your fire to go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not at all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is yours._ _Ayn Rand He was a speaker of the finest kind. A genuine Spellbinder. Nearing the end of a fabled career and now in his eighties, he had become revered throughout the world as a grandmaster of inspiration, a legend of leadership and a sincere statesman helping everyday people realize their greatest gifts. In a culture filled with volatility, uncertainty and insecurity, The Spellbinder_s events drew stadium-sized numbers of human beings who longed not only to lead masterful lives filled with creativity, productivity and prosperity but also to exist in a way that passionately elevated humanity. So that, at the end, they would feel confident they had left a wonderful legacy and made their mark on the generations that would follow. This man_s work was unique. It blended insights that fortified the warrior within our characters with ideas that honored the soulful poet who resides inside the heart. His messaging showed ordinary individuals how to succeed at the highest levels of the business realm yet reclaim the magic of a life richly lived. So, we return to the sense of awe we once knew before a hard and cold world placed our natural genius into bondage by an orgy of complexity, superficiality and technological distraction. Though The Spellbinder was tall, his advanced years left him slightly bent over. As he walked the platform, he stepped carefully yet gracefully. A precisely fitted charcoal gray suit with soft white pinstripes gave him an elegant look. And a pair of blue-tinted eyeglasses added just the right amount of cool. _Life_s too short to play small with your talents,_ The Spellbinder spoke to the room of thousands. _You were born into the opportunity as well as the responsibility to become legendary. You_ve been built to achieve masterwork-level projects, designed to realize unusually important pursuits and constructed to be a force for good on this tiny planet. You have it in you to reclaim sovereignty over your primal greatness in a civilization that has become fairly uncivilized. To restore your nobility in a global community where the majority shops for nice shoes and acquires expensive things yet rarely invests in a better self. Your personal leadership requires_no, demands_that you stop being a cyber-zombie relentlessly attracted to digital devices and restructure your life to model mastery, exemplify decency and relinquish the self-centeredness that keeps good people limited. The great women and men of the world were all givers, not takers. Renounce the common delusion that those who accumulate the most win. Instead, do work that is heroic_that staggers your marketplace by the quality of its originality as well as from the helpfulness it provides. While you do so, my recommendation is that you also create a private life strong in ethics, rich with marvelous beauty and unyielding when it comes to the protection of your inner peace. This, my friends, is how you soar with the angels. And walk alongside the gods._ The Spellbinder paused. He drew in a gulp of air, as big as a mountain. His breathing grew strained and made a whooshing noise as he inhaled. He looked down at his stylish black boots that had been polished up to a military grade. Those in the front row saw a single tear drizzle down the timeworn yet once-handsome face. His gaze remained downward. His silence was thunderous. The Spellbinder appeared unsteady. After a series of stressful moments that had some in the audience shifting in their seats, The Spellbinder put down the microphone he had been holding in his left hand. With his free hand, he tenderly reached into a pocket of his trousers and pulled out a crisply folded linen handkerchief. He wiped his cheek. _Each of you has a call on your lives. Every one of you carries an instinct for excellence within your spirits. No one in this room needs to stay frozen in average and succumb to the mass mediocratization of behavior evident in society along with the collective de-professionalization of business so apparent in industry. Limitation is nothing more than a mentality that too many good people practice daily until they believe it_s reality. It breaks my heart to see so many potentially powerful human beings stuck in a story about why they can_t be extraordinary, professionally and personally. You need to remember that your excuses are seducers, your fears are liars and your doubts are thieves._ Many nodded. A few clapped. Then many more applauded. _I understand you. I really do,_ continued The Spellbinder. _I know you_ve had some difficult times in your life. We all have. I get that you might be feeling things haven_t turned out the way you thought they would when you were a little kid, full of fire, desire and wonder. You didn_t plan on each day looking the same, did you? In a job that might be smothering your soul. Dealing with stressful worries and endless responsibilities that stifle your originality and steal your energy. Lusting after unimportant pursuits and hungry for the instant fulfillment of trivial desires, often driven by a technology that enslaves us instead of liberating us. Living the same week a few thousand times and calling it a life. I need to tell you that too many among us die at thirty and are buried at eighty. So, I do get you. You hoped things would be different. More interesting. More exciting. More fulfilling, special and magical._ The Spellbinder_s voice trembled as he spoke these last words. He struggled to breathe for an instant. A look of concern caused his brow to crinkle. He sat down on a cream-colored chair that had been carefully placed at the side of the stage by one of his assistants. _And, yes, I am aware that there are also many in this room who are currently leading lives you love. You_re an epic success in the world, fully on your game and enriching your families and communities with an electricity that borders on otherworldly. Nice work. Bravo. And, yet, you too have experienced seasons where you_ve been lost in the frigid and dangerous valley of darkness. You, too, have known the collapse of your creative magnificence as well as your productive eminence into a tiny circle of comfortableness, fearfulness and numbness that betrayed the mansions of mastery and reservoirs of bravery inside of you. You, too, have been disappointed by the barren winters of a life weakly lived. You, too, have been denied many of your most inspired childhood dreams. You, too, have been hurt by people you trusted. You, too, have had your ideals destroyed. You, too, have had your innocent heart devastated, leaving your life decimated, like a ruined country after ambitious foreign invaders infiltrated it._ The cavernous conference hall was severely still. _No matter where you are on the pathway of your life, please don_t let the pain of an imperfect past hinder the glory of your fabulous future. You are so much more powerful than you may currently understand. Splendid victories_and outright blessings_are coming your way. And you_re exactly where you need to be to receive the growth necessary for you to lead the unusually productive, extremely prodigious and exceptionally influential life that you_ve earned through your harshest trials. Nothing is wrong at this moment, even if it feels like everything_s falling apart. If you sense your life_s a mess right now, this is simply because your fears are just a little stronger than your faith. With practice, you can turn down the volume of the voice of your scared self. And increase the tone of your most triumphant side. The truth is that every challenging event you_ve experienced, each toxic person that you_ve encountered and all the trials you_ve endured have been perfect preparation to make you into the person that you now are. You needed these lessons to activate the treasures, talents and powers that are now awakening within you. Nothing was an accident. Zero was a waste. You_re definitely exactly where you need to be to begin the life of your most supreme desires. One that can make you an empire-builder along with a world-changer. And perhaps even a history-maker._ _This all sounds easy but it_s a lot harder in reality,_ shouted a man in a red baseball cap, seated in the fifth row. He sported a gray t-shirt and ripped jeans, the type you can buy torn at your local shopping mall. Though this outburst could have seemed disrespectful, the pitch of the participant_s voice and his body language displayed genuine admiration for The Spellbinder. _I agree with you, you wonderful human being,_ responded The Spellbinder, his grace influencing all participants and his voice sounding somewhat stronger, as he stood up from his chair. _Ideas are worth nothing unless backed by application. The smallest of implementations is always worth more than the grandest of intentions. And if being an amazing person and developing a legendary life was easy, everyone would be doing it. Know what I mean?_ _Sure, dude,_ replied the man in the red cap as he rubbed his lower lip with a finger. _Society has sold us a series of mistruths,_ The Spellbinder continued. _That pleasure is preferable to the terrifying yet majestic fact that all possibility requires hard work, regular reinvention and a dedication as deep as the sea to leaving our harbors of safety, daily. I believe that the seduction of complacency and an easy life is one hundred times more brutal, ultimately, than a life where you go all in and take an unconquerable stand for your brightest dreams. World-class begins where your comfort zone ends is a rule the successful, the influential and the happiest always remember._ The man nodded. Groups of people in the audience were doing the same. _From a young age, we are programmed into thinking that moving through life loyal to the values of mastery, ingenuity and decency should need little effort. And so, if the road gets tough and requires some patience, we think we_re on the wrong path,_ commented The Spellbinder as he grasped an arm of the wooden chair and folded his thin frame into the seat again. _We_ve encouraged a culture of soft, weak and delicate people who can_t keep promises, who bail on commitments and who quit on their aspirations the moment the smallest obstacle shows up._ The orator then sighed loudly. _Hard is good. Real greatness and the realization of your inherent genius is meant to be a difficult sport. Only those devoted enough to go to the fiery edges of their highest limits will expand them. And the suffering that happens along the journey of materializing your special powers, strongest abilities and most inspiring ambitions is one of the largest sources of human satisfaction. A major key to happiness_and internal peace_is knowing you_ve done whatever it took to earn your rewards and passionately invested the effortful audacity to become your best. Jazz legend Miles Davis stretched himself ferociously past the normal his field knew to fully exploit his magnificent potential. Michelangelo sacrificed enormously mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually as he produced his awesome art. Rosa Parks, a simple seamstress with outstanding courage, endured blunt humiliation when she was arrested for not giving up her seat on a segregated bus, igniting the civil rights movement. Charles Darwin demonstrated the kind of resolve that virtuosity demands by studying barnacles_yes, barnacles_for eight long years as he formulated his famed Theory of Evolution. This kind of dedication to the optimization of expertise would now be labeled as _crazy_ by the majority in our modern world that spends huge amounts of their irreplaceable lifetime watching streams of selfies, the breakfasts of virtual friends and violent video games,_ noted The Spellbinder as he peered around the hall as if committed to looking each of the attendees straight in the eye. _Stephen King worked as a high school writing teacher and in an industrial laundry before selling Carrie, the novel that made him famous,_ the aging presenter continued. _Oh, and please know that King was so discouraged by the rejections and denials that he threw the manuscript he wrote in his rundown trailer into the garbage, surrendering to the struggle. It was only when his wife, Tabitha, discovered the work while her husband was away, wiped off his cigarette ashes, read the book and then told its author that it was brilliant that King submitted it for publication. Even then, his advance for hardcover rights was a paltry twenty-five hundred dollars._ _Are you serious?_ murmured a woman seated near the stage. She wore a lush green hat with a big scarlet feather sticking out of it and was clearly content with marching to her own drumbeat. _I am,_ said The Spellbinder. _And while Vincent van Gogh created nine hundred paintings and over one thousand drawings in his lifetime, his celebrity started after his death. His drive to produce wasn_t inspired by the ego fuel of popular applause but by a wiser instinct that enticed him to see just how much of his creative power he could unlock, no matter how much hardship he had to endure. Becoming legendary is never easy. But I_d prefer that journey to the heartbreak of being stuck in ordinary that so many potentially heroic people deal with constantly,_ articulated The Spellbinder firmly. _Anyway, let me simply say that the place where your greatest discomfort lies is also the spot where your largest opportunity lives. The beliefs that disturb you, the feelings that threaten you, the projects that unnerve you and the unfoldments of your talents that the insecure part of you is resisting are precisely where you need to go to. Lean deeply toward these doorways into your bigness as a creative producer, seeker of personal freedom and possibilitarian. And then embrace these beliefs, feelings and projects quickly instead of structuring your life in a way that_s designed to dismiss them. Walking into the very things that scare you is how you reclaim your forgotten power. And how you get back the innocence and awe you lost after childhood._ Suddenly, The Spellbinder started to cough. Mildly at first. Then violently, like he_d been possessed by a demon hell-bent on revenge. In the wings, a man in a black suit with an aggressive crew cut spoke into a mouthpiece tucked discreetly into his shirt cuff. The lights began to flicker, then dim. A few audience members who were located near the platform stood, unsure of what to do. A uniquely pretty woman with her hair in a crisp bun, a clenched smile and a tight black dress with an embroidered white collar rushed up the metal staircase that The Spellbinder had ascended at the beginning of his talk. She carried a phone in one hand and a well-worn notebook in another. Her red high heels made a _click clack, click clack_ sound as she raced toward her employer. Yet, the woman was too late. The Spellbinder crumpled to the floor like a punch-drunk boxer with a large heart but weak skills in the final round of a once-glorious career that he should have ended many years earlier. The old presenter lay still. A tiny river of blood escaped from a cut to his head, sustained on his fall. His glasses sat next to him. The handkerchief was still in his hand. His once-sparkling eyes remained closed. Chapter 3 An Unexpected Encounter with a Surprising Stranger _Do not live as if you have ten thousand years left. Your fate hangs over you. While you are still living, while you still exist on this Earth, strive to become a genuinely great person._ _Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor The entrepreneur lied to the people she met at the seminar, telling them she was in the room to learn The Spellbinder_s fabulous formulas for exponential productivity as well as to discover the neuroscience beneath personal mastery that he had been sharing with leaders of industry. She mused that her expectation was that the guru_s methodology would give her an unmatchable edge over her firm_s competition, allowing the business to swiftly scale toward indisputable dominance. You know the real reason she was there: she needed her hope restored. And her life saved. The artist had come to the event to understand how to fuel his creativity and multiply his capability so he could make an enduring mark on his field by the paintings he generated. And the homeless man appeared to have sneaked into the conference hall while no one was watching. The entrepreneur and the artist had been seated together. This was the first time they_d met. _Do you think he_s dead?_ she asked as the artist fidgeted with his dangling Bob Marley dreadlocks. The entrepreneur_s face was angular and long. A wealth of wrinkles and weighty crevices ran along her forehead like ruts in a farmer_s fresh field. Her brown hair was medium in length and styled in an _I mean business and dare not mess with me_ kind of a way. She was lean, like a long-distance runner, with thin arms and lithe legs that emerged from a sensible blue designer skirt. Her eyes looked sad, from old hurts that had never been healed. And from the current chaos that was infecting her beloved company. _Not sure. He_s old. He fell hard. God, that was wild. Never seen anything like it,_ the artist said anxiously as he tugged on an earring. _I_m new to his work. I_m not into this sort of thing,_ the entrepreneur explained. She stayed seated, her arms folded over a cream-colored blouse with a colossal floppy black bow tie perched fashionably at the neckline. _But I liked a lot of his information on productivity in this era of devices destroying our focus and our ability to think deeply. His words made me realize I have to guard my cognitive assets in a far better way,_ she carried on, fairly formally. She had no real interest in sharing what she was going through, and she obviously wanted to protect her facade of an illustrious businesswoman ready to rise to the next level. _Yeah, he_s def hip,_ said the artist, looking nervous. _He_s helped me so much. Can_t believe what just went down. Surreal, right?_ He was a painter. Because he wanted to elevate his craft as well as improve his personal life, he followed The Spellbinder_s work. But, for whatever reason, the demons within him seemed to hold power over his greater nature. So, he_d inevitably sabotage his Herculean ambitions and wonderfully original ideas. The artist was heavy. A goatee jutted out from under his chin. He wore a black t-shirt and long black shorts that fell below his knobby knees. Black boots with rubber soles, the kind you may have seen Australians wear, completed the creative uniform. A fascinating cascade of tattoos rolled down both arms and across his left leg. One said, _Rich People Are Fakers._ Another stole a line from Salvador Dal?, the famed Spanish artist. It read simply, _I don_t do drugs. I am drugs._ _Hi, guys,_ the homeless man spoke inappropriately loudly from a few rows behind the entrepreneur and the artist. The auditorium was still emptying, and the audiovisual crew was noisily tearing down the staging. Event staff swept the floor. A Nightmares on Wax song played soothingly in the background. The two new acquaintances turned around to see a tangled mess of wild-person hair, a face that looked like it hadn_t been shaved in decades and a tattered arrangement of terrifically stained clothing. _Yes?_ asked the entrepreneur in a tone as cold as an ice cube in the Arctic. _Can I help you?_ _Hey, brother, what_s up?_ offered the artist, more compassionately. The homeless man got up, shuffled over and sat next to the two. _Do you think the guru_s croaked?_ he asked as he picked at a scab on one of his wrists. _Not sure,_ the artist replied as he twirled another dreadlock. _Hope not._ _Did you guys like the seminar? You into what the old-timer said?_ continued the scruffy stranger. _Def,_ said the artist. _I love his work. I have a hard time living it all, but what he says is profound. And powerful._ _I_m not so sure,_ the entrepreneur said cynically. _I like a lot of what I heard today, but I_m still not convinced on some other things. I_ll need some time to process it all._ _Well, I think he_s numero uno,_ stated the homeless man with a burp. _I made my fortune thanks to the teachings of The Spellbinder. And have enjoyed a pretty world-class life because of him, too. Most people wish for phenomenal things to happen to them. He taught me that exceptional performers make phenomenal things happen to them. And the great thing is, he not only gave me a secret philosophy to get my big dreams done but he taught me the technology_the tactics and tools_to translate the information into results. His revolutionary insights on how to install a fiercely productive morning routine alone transformed the impact I_ve had on my marketplace._ A jagged scar ran along the homeless man_s forehead, just above his right eye. His threatening beard was gray. Around his neck he sported a beaded necklace, like the ones Indian holy men wear at their temples. Though his hyperbole made him sound unstable and his visage made it appear that he_d lived on the streets for many years, his voice displayed an irregular sense of authority. And his eyes revealed the confidence of a lion. _Total crackpot,_ the entrepreneur whispered to the artist. _If he_s got a fortune, I_m Mother Teresa._ _Got you. He seems insane,_ the artist replied. _But check out his humungous watch._ On the left wrist of the homeless man, who seemed to be in his late sixties, was one of those massive timepieces that British hedge fund managers are prone to wear when they go out to dinner in Mayfair. It had a dial the color of a revolver surrounded by a stainless-steel rim, a red needle-thin hour hand and a sunset orange minute hand. This noteworthy badge of honor was united with a wide black rubber strap, lending a diver-like feel to the whole luxurious look. _A hundred grand, easily,_ said the entrepreneur discreetly. _Some of the people at my shop bought watches like that the day after our IPO. Unfortunately, our share price plummeted. But they kept their damn timepieces._ _So, what part of The Spellbinder_s talk did you cats like best?_ the vagabond asked, still scratching his wrist. _Was it all the stuff about the psychology of genius that he started out with? Or maybe those incredible models he taught on the productivity hacks of billionaires that he jammed on in the middle? Maybe you were stoked by all the neurobiology that creates top performance. Or did you vibe with his theory on our responsibility to reach legendary while serving as an instrument for the benefit of humanity that he walked us through before that dramatic finish?_ The homeless man then winked. And glanced at his big watch. _Hey, dudes, this has been fun. But time is one of the most precious commodities I_ve learned to bulletproof. Warren Buffett, the brilliant investor, said the rich invest in time. The poor invest in money. So I can_t hang with you humans too long. Got a meeting with a jet and a runway. Know what I mean?_ _He seems to be delusional,_ thought the entrepreneur. _Buffett also said, _I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me._ Maybe you_ll remember that quote, too. And,_ she continued, _I really don_t mean to be rude, but I_m not sure how you got in here. And I have no idea where you got that fat watch from or what jet you_re talking about. And please stop speaking the way you do about what happened at the presentation. Nothing funny about it. Seriously, I_m not sure the gentleman_s still breathing._ _Def true,_ the artist agreed as he stroked his goatee. _Not cool. And why do you talk like a surfer?_ _Hey guys, chill,_ said the homeless man. _First, I am a surfer. I spent my teenage years on a board in Malibu. Used to ride near a point where the rad breaks are. Now I surf the smaller waves in Tamarin Bay, a spot you cats have probably never been to._ _Never heard of the place. You_re fairly outrageous,_ the entrepreneur said frostily. The homeless man was unstoppable. _And second, I have been very successful in the business world. I_ve built a bunch of companies that are extremely profitable in this age of firms making billions in income yet nothing on their bottom line. What a joke. The world_s going a little berserk. Too much greed and not enough good sense. And third, if I may,_ he added as his gravelly voice grew stronger, _there is a plane waiting for me. On a tarmac not so far from here. So, before I go, I_ll ask you again_because I want to know. What part of The Spellbinder_s presentation did you two like best?_ _Pretty much the whole thing,_ the artist answered. _Loved it all so much, I recorded every word the old legend said._ _That_s illegal,_ cautioned the homeless man, crossing his arms firmly. _You could get into serious lawyer trouble doing that._ _It is against the law,_ confirmed the entrepreneur. _Why would you do that?_ _Because I wanted to. Just felt like it. I do what I want to do. Rules are made for destruction, you know? Picasso said you should learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist. Need to be myself and not some sheep with no balls, blindly following the flock down a path that leads to nowhere. Most people, especially people with cash, are nothing but a bunch of frauds,_ declared the artist. _It_s like The Spellbinder sometimes says: _You can fit in. Or you can change the world. You don_t get to do both._ So, I recorded the whole thing. Shoot me. And jail would be interesting. I_d probably meet some cool people in there._ _Um, okay,_ said the homeless man. _I don_t like your decision. But I do love your passion. So, go ahead. Bring it on. Play the parts of the seminar that turned you on._ _Everything I recorded will blow your mind!_ The artist raised his arm to reveal a detailed tattoo of guitar virtuoso Jimi Hendrix. The phrase _When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace_ appeared over the dead superstar_s face. _You_re about to hear something special,_ he added. _Yes. Go ahead and play the parts you liked,_ encouraged the entrepreneur as she stood up. She wasn_t quite sure why but, ever so slightly, something was beginning to shift deep within her core. _Maybe life has been breaking me down,_ she thought. _So I can make some sort of a breakthrough._ Being at this event, meeting the artist, hearing The Spellbinder_s words, even if she didn_t agree with all he said, was giving her the feeling that what she was experiencing at her firm just might be some form of preparation demanded by her greatness. The entrepreneur was still skeptical. But she sensed she was opening. And possibly growing. So, she promised herself she_d keep following this process instead of retreating. Her former way of existing no longer served her. It was time for a change. The entrepreneur thought about a quote she loved from Theodore Roosevelt: _It_s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat._ She also recalled the phrase she_d learned from The Spellbinder_s address_something like _The moment when you most feel like giving up is the instant when you must find it in you to press ahead._ And so, the businesswoman reached deep within herself and made a vow to continue her quest to find her answers, solve her problems and experience vastly better days. Her hope was gradually expanding, and her worries were slowly shrinking. And the small, still voice of her finest self was beginning to whisper that a very special adventure was about to begin. Chapter 4 Letting Go of Mediocrity and All That_s Ordinary _Why, sometimes I_ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast._ _Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland _You_re a painter, right?_ the homeless man asked as he toyed with a loose button on his shabby shirt. _Yeah,_ mumbled the artist. _Sort of a frustrated one. I_m good. But not great._ _I have a lot of art at my flat in Zurich,_ said the homeless man, smiling indulgently. _Bought a place right on the Bahnhofstrasse just before the prices skyrocketed. I_ve learned the importance of being around only the highest quality, wherever I go. That_s one of the best winning moves I_ve made to create the life I_ve crafted. In my businesses, I only allow in top players, because you can_t have an A-level company with C-level performers. We only release products that totally disrupt our market and then absolutely change the field by how valuable they are. My enterprises only offer services that ethically enrich our clients, deliver a breathtaking user experience and breed fanatical followers who couldn_t imagine doing business with anyone else. And in my personal life, it_s the same thing: I only eat the best food, though I don_t eat a lot of it. I only read the most original and thoughtful books, spend my time in the most light-filled and inspiring of spaces and visit the most enchanting of places. And when it comes to relationships, I only surround myself with human beings who fuel my joy, stoke my peace and excite me to become a better man. Life_s way too valuable to hang with people who don_t get you. Who you just don_t vibe with. Who have different values and lower standards than you do. Who have different Mindsets, Heartsets, Healthsets and Soulsets. It_s a little miracle how powerfully and profoundly our influences and environments shape our productivity as well as our impact._ _Interesting,_ noted the entrepreneur as she stared at her phone. _He does seem to know what he_s talking about,_ she muttered softly to the artist, her eyes still down on the screen. The spider_s web of wrinkles on her face relaxed further. On one wrist dangled two immaculate silver bracelets. One bore the phrase _Turn I cant_s into I cans,_ while the other was engraved with _Done Is Better Than Perfect._ The entrepreneur had purchased these presents for herself when her company was in its startup phase and she_d been in a highly confident mood. _I know about Mindsets,_ said the artist. _Never heard of Heartsets, Healthsets and Soulsets, man._ _You will,_ suggested the homeless man. _And once you do, the way you create, produce and show up in your world will never be the same. Seriously revolutionary concepts for any empire-maker and world-builder. And so few businesspeople and other human beings on the planet currently know about them. If they did, every important element of their lives would increase rapidly. For now, I just wanted to keep jamming on my personal commitment to ultra-high quality, in everything around me. Your surroundings really do shape your perceptions, your inspirations and your implementations. Art feeds my soul. Great books battleproof my hope. Rich conversations magnify my creativity. Wonderful music uplifts my heart. Beautiful sights fortify my spirit. And all it takes is a single morning filled with positivity to deliver a monumental download of inventive ideas that elevate an entire generation, you know. And I need to say that uplifting humankind is the master sport of business that The Top 5% play. The real purpose of commerce is not only to make your personal fortune. The true reason to be in the game is to be helpful to society. My main focus in business is to serve. Money, power and prestige are just the inevitable by-products that have shown up for me along the way. An old and remarkable friend taught me this way of operating when I was a young man. It totally transformed the state of my prosperity and the magnitude of my private freedom. And this contrarian business philosophy has dominated my way of doing things ever since. Who knows, maybe I_ll introduce my mentor to you sometime._ The vagrant paused. He studied his large watch. Next he closed his eyes and said these words: _Own your morning. Elevate your life._ As if by magic, a fairly small and quite thick piece of white paper appeared in the palm of his outstretched left hand. It was quite a trick. You would have been exceedingly impressed if you were standing there with these three souls. Here_s what the image on the paper looked like: The entrepreneur and the artist both had their mouths open at this point, appearing to be both confused and mesmerized. _You two each have a hero inside of you. You knew this as a child before adults told you to limit your powers, shackle your genius and betray the truths of your heart,_ the homeless man told them, sounding a lot like The Spellbinder. _Adults are deteriorated children,_ he went on. _When you were much younger, you understood how to live. Staring at stars filled you with delight. Running in a park made you feel alive. And chasing butterflies flooded you with joy. Oh, how I adore butterflies. Then, as you grew up, you forgot how to be human. You forgot how to be bold and enthusiastic and loving and wildly alive. Your precious reservoirs of hope faded. Being ordinary became acceptable. The lamp of your creativity, your positivity and your intimacy with your greatness grew dim as you began to worry about fitting in, having more than others and being popular. Well, here_s what I say: participate not in the world of numbed-out grownups, with its scarcity, apathy and limitation. I_m inviting you to enter a secret reality known only to the true masters, great geniuses and genuine legends of history. And to discover primal powers within you that you never knew were there. You can create magic in your work and personal lives. I sure have. And I_m here to help you do so._ Before the entrepreneur and the artist could utter even a word, the homeless man continued his discourse. _Oh, I was jamming on the importance of art. And the ecosystem that your life is built within. Makes me think of the awesome words of the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa: _Art frees us, through illusion, from the squalor of being. While feeling the wrongs and sufferings endured by Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, we don_t feel our own, which are vile because they_re ours and vile because they_re vile._ Also reminds me of what Vincent van Gogh said: _For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.__ The homeless man swallowed hard. His eyes darted away. He cleared his throat nervously. _Guys, I_ve been through a lot. Been knocked down and kicked around a ton by life. Been sick. Been attacked. Been abused. Been misused. Hey, I_m sounding like a country song. If my gal cheated on me and my dog died, I_d have a hit single._ The homeless man laughed. An odd, guttural, circus clown on acid sort of laugh. He carried on. _Anyway, it_s all good. Pain is the doorway into deep. Know what I mean? And tragedy is nature_s great purifier. It burns away the fakeness, fear and arrogance that is of the ego. Returns us to our brilliance and genius, if you have the courage to go into that which wounds you. Suffering yields many rewards, including empathy, originality, relatability and authenticity. Jonas Salk said, _I have had dreams and I_ve had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams,__ the uninvited vagabond added wistfully. _He_s super-weird. Incredibly eccentric. But there_s something special to him,_ admitted the entrepreneur quietly to the artist, removing just a little more of the armor of cynicism that had protected her over her stellar career. _What he just said is exactly what I_ve needed to hear. I get that he looks like he lives in a cardboard box on the streets. But listen to his words. Sometimes he speaks like a poet. How could he be so articulate? Where did his depth come from? And who is this _old friend_ he says has taught him so much? He also has a warmth that reminds me of my dad. I still miss him. He was my confidant. My top supporter. And my best friend. I think of him every day._ _Okay,_ said the artist to the quirky stranger. _You asked me what I liked best from the talk. I def liked the part where The Spellbinder talked about the Spartan warrior credo that says, _one who sweats more in training bleeds less in war._ And I liked his line _high victory is made in those early morning hours when no one_s watching and while everyone else is sleeping._ His teachings on the value of a world-class morning routine were great._ The entrepreneur glanced down at her device. _I_ve taken some good notes. But I didn_t pick up those gems,_ she said as she captured what she had just heard. _We only hear what we_re ready to hear,_ observed the homeless man sagely. _All learning meets us exactly where we_re at. And as we grow greater, we understand better._ The voice of The Spellbinder suddenly rang out. The homeless man_s eyes looked as huge as the Taj Mahal. One could see he was terrifically surprised to hear that famous tone. He spun around_seeking the source. Quickly, all became clear. The artist was playing his illicit recording from the seminar. _Here_s the part I liked most, to fully answer your question, brother,_ he stated, staring directly into the eyes of the shabby tramp. In a culture of cyber-zombies, addicted to distraction and afflicted with interruption, the wisest way to guarantee that you consistently produce mastery-level results in the most important areas of your professional and personal life is to install a world-class morning routine. Winning starts at your beginning. And your first hours are when heroes are made. Wage a war against weakness and launch a campaign against fearfulness. You truly can get up early. And doing so is a necessity in your awesome pursuit toward legendary. Take excellent care of the front end of your day, and the rest of your day will pretty much take care of itself. Own your morning. Elevate your life. The Spellbinder could be heard wheezing like a novice swimmer who went too far, too fast. The artist continued presenting his recording, turning up the volume so the sound was blaring. Here_s the precious little secret that the titans of industry, the standout performers of artistry and the ultra-achievers of humanity will never share with you: gargantuan results are much less about your inherited genetics and far more about your daily habits. And your morning ritual is by far the most essential one to calibrate. And then automate. When we see the icons in action, the forceful seduction sold to us by our civilization is to believe they were always that great. That they were born into their exceptionalism. That they won the fortunate DNA lottery. That their genius was inherited. Yet the truth is that we are watching them in their full blazing glory after years of following a process, one that involved ceaseless hours of practice. When we observe magnificent players in business, sport, science and the arts we are observing the earned results of a monomaniacal concentration around a single pursuit, astronomical focus on one skill, intensity of sacrifice applied to one aim, unusual levels of deep preparation and extreme amounts of solid patience. Remember, every professional was once an amateur, and every master started as a beginner. Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary feats, once they_ve routinized the right habits. _This cat is so solid,_ said the homeless man. He clapped his dirty hands like a kid at a carnival. He checked his watch yet again. Then he began to shuffle his feet while swaying his hips forward then backward. His hands were now waving in the air and he was snapping his fingers, with closed eyes again. Sounds like the early rappers used to make without their boom boxes emerged from his cracked lips. You would have been astonished to watch him in action. _What the hell are you doing?_ shouted the artist. _Dancing,_ replied the homeless man, moving gloriously. _Keep bringing me this beautiful knowledge. Socrates said, _Education is the kindling of a flame._ And Isaac Asimov wrote _Self-education is, I believe, the only kind of education there is._ So, keep playing the old guru_s words, dude. It_s all so gnarly._ The artist resumed the recording: Heavily resist all piracy of your mastery from this world tempting you into distractibility and causing digital dementia. Force your attention back to the Everests of potential aching for fuller expression and, today, release all reasons that feed any stagnation of your strengths. Start being an imaginationalist_one of those rare individuals who leads from the nobility of your future versus via the prison bars of your past. Each of us thirsts for days filled with tiny bursts of the miraculous. Every one of us wishes to own our pure heroism and step into unchained exceptionalism. All human beings alive at this moment have a primitive psychological need to produce masterworks that wow, live daily amidst uncommon awe and know that we are somehow spending our hours in a way that enriches the lives of others. The poet Thomas Campbell said it beautifully when he observed, _To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die._ Each of us_truly_has been built to make history, in our own authentic way. For one, this might mean being an excellent coder or a fine teacher who lifts young minds. For another, this opportunity could mean becoming a tremendous mother or a magnificent manager. To yet another, this good fortune may mean growing a great business or being a fantastic salesperson who serves customers superbly. This chance to be remembered by future generations and lead a life that truly matters is not some platitude. This is, in fact, a truth. Yet, so few of us have discovered, and then installed, the very mentalities, morning practices and consistent conditions that will guarantee these results appear for us. We all want to reaccess our birthright of towering talent, limitless joy and freedom from fear, but few of us are willing to do the very things that would cause our hidden genius to present itself. Strange, right? And it_s very sad. The majority of us have been hypnotized out of the luminosity that is our essence. Most of us in this age spend our most valuable hours being busy being busy. Chasing trivial pursuits and artificial amusements while neglecting living a real life. This is a formula for heartbreak at the end. What_s the point of spending your best mornings and potentially productive days climbing mountains that you realize were the wrong ones when you are frail and wrinkled? Very sad. _That part really resonated with me,_ interjected the entrepreneur, slightly emotionally. _I_m definitely addicted to my technology. Can_t stop checking everything. First thing in the morning and last thing at night. It_s draining my concentration. I can hardly focus on the important deliverables my team and I have committed to. And all the noise in my life is taking my energy. It all feels so complicated. I just don_t feel I have any time for myself anymore. It_s fairly overwhelming, all the messages and notifications and ads and diversions. And what The Spellbinder said is also so helpful to me as I raise my standards as a leader. I_ve sort of hit a wall. My company has grown faster than I ever expected. I_ve become more successful than I ever imagined. But there are some things causing me a ton of stress._ She looked away and crossed her arms again. _I can_t tell them what I_m really dealing with,_ thought the entrepreneur. Then she continued: _I_ve had to let go of people I really liked because I_ve learned people who fit at one stage of a business_s lifecycle may not work as the firm evolves. That_s been hard. They were the right employees for an earlier time but they don_t belong now. And some things are unfolding at my shop that have turned my life upside down. I don_t really want to get into it. It_s just a very shaky time for me._ _Well, on your point about elevating your leadership game,_ responded the homeless man, _please remember that the job of the leader is to help disbelievers embrace your vision, the powerless to overcome their weaknesses and the hopeless to develop faith. And what you said on letting go of employees you liked but who no longer fit where your business is now at_that_s a normal part of growing a business. And it happened because they failed to grow as your enterprise rose. They started coasting. They stopped learning, inventing and making everything they touched better than they found it. And as a result they stopped being awesome value incubators for your venture. They likely blamed you. But they did it to themselves,_ the uninvited stranger indicated, surprising his listeners by the sophistication of his insights on team-building and winning in commerce. _Uh. Exactly,_ replied the entrepreneur. _So we had to leave them behind since they no longer delivered the results we were paying them for. A lot of nights I wake up at 2 AM soaked in steamy sweat. Maybe it_s like what F1 racer Mario Andretti said: _If everything seems under control you_re not going fast enough._ That_s how I seem to feel most days. We_re blowing past our key performance indicators so quickly it makes my head spin. New teammates to mentor, new brands to manage, new markets to penetrate, new suppliers to watch, new products to refine, new investors and shareholders to impress and a thousand new responsibilities to handle. It really does feel like it_s a lot. I have a huge capacity to get big things done. But there_s a lot on my shoulders._ The entrepreneur tightened her arms and scrunched her forehead together absentmindedly. Her thin lips pulled together like a sea anemone shutting on sensing a fatal predator. And her eyes suggested she was suffering. Intensely. _And, about your point about being addicted to technology, just remember that intelligently used, it advances human progress. Through using technology wisely our lives become better, our knowledge becomes richer and our wonderful world becomes smaller. It_s the misuse of technology that_s ruining people_s minds, damaging their productivity and destroying the very fabric of our society. Your phone is costing you your fortune, you know? If you_re playing with it all day long. And what you just said about all the pressure on you, how fantastic. _Pressure is a privilege,_ said tennis legend Billie Jean King,_ the homeless man shared. _You get to grow. And ascending as a person is one of the smartest ways to spend the rest of your life. With every challenge comes the gorgeous opportunity to rise into your next level as a leader, performer and human being. Obstacles are nothing more than tests designed to measure how seriously you want the rewards that your ambitions seek. They show up to determine how willing you are to improve into the kind of person who can hold that amount of success. Failure_s just growth in wolf_s clothing. And pretty much nothing else is as important in life as personal expansion, the unfoldment of your potential. Tolstoy wrote, _Everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing himself._ Become a bigger person and you_ll also automatically become a better leader_and a greater producer. And yes, I agree that growth can be scary. But my mentor once taught me that _the part of you that clings to fear must experience a sort of crucifixion so that the portion of you that deserves high honor undergoes a kind of reincarnation._ Those are the exact words he shared with me. Freaky and deep, right?_ said the hobo as he rubbed the holy-man beads he was wearing. He kept going without waiting for an answer. _My special teacher also told me that _to find your best self you must lose your weak self._ And that only happens through relentless improvement, continuous reflection and ongoing self-excavation. If you don_t keep rising daily you_ll get stuck in your life, for the rest of your life. Makes me consider what the journalist Norman Cousins said: _The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside of us while we live.__ The homeless man raised his raspy voice and observed, _My special teacher taught me that once we transform the primary relationship with ourselves, we_ll find that our relationships with other people, our work, our income and our impact transform. Most people can_t stand themselves. So, they can never be alone. And silent. They need to constantly be with other people to escape their feelings of self-hatred over all their wasted potential, missing the wonders and wisdom that solitude and quiet bring. Or they watch TV endlessly, not realizing it_s eroding their imagination as well as bankrupting their bank account._ _My life feels so complicated. I feel so overwhelmed. I don_t have any time for myself,_ the entrepreneur repeated. _Not sure what_s happened to my life. Things have just become hard._ _I understand you,_ the artist said as he placed an arm over his new friend_s shoulder. _My intuition tells me that you_re going through a lot more than you_re sharing. And that_s okay. You know, some days life seems so messy that I can_t get out of bed. I just lie there, man. I close my eyes and wish the fog in my head would just go away. Even for a day. I can_t think straight some of the time. And on those days, my heart has no hope in it at all. It sucks. And a lot of people suck, too, man. I_m not anti-social. I_m just anti-moron. Too many dumb people around these days. Taking stupid fashion pictures of themselves with pouty lips in clothes they can_t afford. Hanging with people they don_t even like. I_d rather live a thoughtful life. A risky life. A real life. An artist_s life. Drives me crazy how superficial people have become._ The artist then punched one fist into his other hand. Unyielding creases appeared along his jawline and a blue vein twitched in his thick neck. _Sure. I got you,_ said the homeless man. _Life isn_t easy, people. Tough slog a lot of the time. But like John Lennon said: _Everything will be okay in the end. And if it_s not okay, it_s not the end,__ he offered kindly, spouting yet another quote from what seemed to be an unlimited supply in his brain. The artist softened instantly, smiling in a way that looked almost sweet. He exhaled mightily. He liked what he_d just heard. _And,_ the vagrant continued, _this climb up into the rare-air of personal and professional mastery that the three of us have obviously signed up for is not for the weak. Upgrading your life so you know real joy and optimizing your skills so you own your field can be uncomfortable a lot of the time. I need to be honest. But here_s one key thing I_ve learned: the soreness of growth is so much less expensive than the devastating costs of regret._ _Where_d you learn that?_ questioned the artist, as he scrawled the words into his notebook. _Can_t tell you. Yet,_ the homeless man responded, heightening the mystery of where he_d discovered much of his insight. The entrepreneur turned away from the artist and jotted down some of her thoughts into her device. The homeless man then reached into a pocket of his hole-ridden plaid shirt and produced a heavily used index card. He held it up like a kindergarten student at show-and-tell. _A distinguished person gave this to me when I was a lot younger, as I was starting my first company. I was a lot like you cats: dripping with dreams and set to make my mark on the world. Hungry to prove myself. Amped to dominate the game. The first fifty years of our lives are a lot about seeking legitimacy, you know. We crave social approval. We want our peers to respect us. We hope our neighbors will like us. We buy all sorts of things we really don_t need and obsess about making money we really don_t enjoy._ _Totally right,_ muttered the artist, nodding his head aggressively and shifting his posture noticeably as his dreadlocks dangled over his shoulders. The event venue was now empty. _If we have the courage to look within, we discover that we do this because we have a series of holes within us. We falsely believe that material from the outside will fill what_s empty within ourselves. Yet it never will. Never will. Anyhoo, when many of us reach the half-time point of our lives, we make a right-angle turn. We begin to realize that we_re not going to live forever and that our days are numbered. And so, we connect with our mortality. Big point here. We realize we are going to die. What_s truly important comes into much sharper focus. We become more contemplative. We start to wonder if we_ve been true to our talents, loyal to our values and successful on the terms that feel right to us. And we think about what those we most love will say about us when we_re gone. That_s when many of us make a giant shift: from seeking legitimacy in society to constructing a meaningful legacy. The last fifty years then become less about me and more about we. Less about selfishness and more about service. We stop adding more things into our lives and begin to subtract_and simplify. We learn to savor simple beauty, experience gratitude for small miracles, appreciate the priceless value of peace of mind, spend more time cultivating human connections and come to understand that the one who gives the most is victorious. And what_s left of your life then becomes a phenomenal dedication to loving life itself as well as a ministry of kindness to the many. And this becomes, potentially, your gateway into immortality._ _He_s really special,_ whispered the entrepreneur. _I haven_t felt this hopeful, energized and grounded in months. My father used to help me navigate difficult times,_ she told the artist. _Ever since he passed away I don_t have anyone to lean on._ _What happened to him?_ quizzed the artist. _I_m a little fragile right now, even though I feel stronger now than I did when I walked in here this morning, that_s for sure. But I_ll simply say that he took his own life. Dad was a remarkable man_a tremendously successful business pioneer. He flew airplanes, raced fast cars and loved superb wine. He was so alive. Then his business partner took everything away from him, not so different from the horrible scenario I_m living right now. Anyway, the stress and shock of his world collapsing pushed him to do what we could never have imagined. He just couldn_t see any way out, I guess,_ the entrepreneur revealed as her voice broke. _You can lean on me,_ the artist said tenderly. He placed a hand with a hippie ring on a pinky finger onto his heart as he spoke these words, looking both chivalrous and bohemian. The homeless man interrupted the intimate moment the two were sharing. _Here, read this,_ he instructed as he handed over his index card. _It_ll be useful as you both rise to your next performance levels and experience everything that comes with this adventure into human leadership, personal mastery and creating a career of uncommon productivity._ In red lettering over the paper that had yellowed by the advances of time, it read: _All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end._ _That_s very good,_ noted the entrepreneur. _A valuable piece of information for me. Thank you._ The artist then resumed playing his illegal copy of The Spellbinder_s presentation: Each one of you carries a quiet genius and a triumphant hero within your hearts. Dismiss these as idealistic words of an elderly inspirationalist if you wish. But I_m proud to be an idealist. Our world needs more of us. And yet, I am also a realist. And here_s the truth: Most people on the planet today don_t think much of themselves, unfortunately. They secure their identity by who they are externally. They evaluate their achievement by what they_ve collected versus by the character they_ve cultivated. They compare themselves to the orchestrated_and fake_highlight reels presented by the people they follow. They measure their self-worth by their net worth. And they get kidnapped by the false thought that because something has never been done it can_t be done_depleting the grand and electrifying possibilities their lives are meant to become. This explains why the majority is sinking in the quicksand of uncertainty, boredom, distraction and complexity. _Drama mamas,_ the homeless man interrupted again. _That_s what I call men and women who_ve caught the virus of victimitis excusitis. All they do is complain about how bad things are for them instead of applying their primal power to make things better. They take instead of give, criticize instead of create and worry instead of work. Build antibodies to combat any form of average from getting anywhere near your professional days at the office and your private life at home. Never be a drama mama._ The entrepreneur and the artist peeked at each other. Then they giggled, both at the terms the quirky stranger was using and at the way he_d raised an arm and made the fingers of one hand into a peace sign as he spoke the words he_d just shared. If you were standing there with them, you would think he was weird too. The Spellbinder could then be heard speaking the following words on the recording with dramatic flair: To be clear, every day_for the rest of your life_you_ll be faced with the chance of showing leadership, wherever you are and in all that you do. Leadership isn_t just for global icons and marketplace titans. It_s an arena everyone gets to play in. Because leadership is a lot less about having a formal title, a large office and money in the bank. And a lot more about committing to mastery over all you do_and in who you are. It_s about resisting the tyranny of the ordinary, refusing to allow negativity to hijack your sense of awe and preventing any form of slavery to mediocrity from infesting your life. Leadership is about making a difference, right where you_re planted. Real leadership is about sending out brave work that exemplifies genius, turns your whole field on its head by its scope, innovation and execution, and is so staggeringly sublime that it stands the test of time. And never work only for the income. Labor for the impact. Make your dominant pursuit the heartfelt release of value that represents an uncommon magic that borders on the poetic. Demonstrate the full-on expression of what_s possible for a human being to create. Develop the patience to stick with your dedication to absolute world-class output, even if over a lifetime you only generate a single masterpiece. To achieve this feat alone will have made your life_s journey a worthy trek. Be a virtuoso. A standout. An exceptionalist. The Top 5% are a lot less concerned with fame, cash and approval and a lot more invested in punching above their weight class within their craft, playing above their pay grade around their talents and creating the kind of productivity that inspires_and serves_millions. That_s often why they make millions. So never mail it in. Always bring it on. The homeless man now had his eyes closed. And was down on the floor doing a series of one-armed push-ups. All the while he was chanting, _Own your morning. Elevate your life._ The entrepreneur and the artist shook their heads. _One of my favorite books is The Prophet,_ mused the artist. _It_s one of the bestselling works of poetry ever written. I read that Khalil Gibran carried the manuscript around with him for four long years and refined it constantly before giving it to his publisher, just so it was pure art. I still remember the exact words he spoke when he was interviewed by a journalist about his creative process because they guide me a lot when I_m in the studio. His words keep me reaching for a greater power as an artist, even though I battle procrastination a lot. Like I said, I_m pretty good. But I know I can be great. If I could just beat my self-sabotage. And my demons._ _What did he say?_ asked the homeless man, now standing and twiddling with his big watch. Beads of perspiration meandered down his angular face. _Here_s exactly what he said,_ mentioned the artist: __I wanted to be sure, very sure, that every word of it was the very best I had to offer.__ _Gnarly,_ replied the homeless man. _That_s the standard that the best ones always hold themselves to._ Abruptly, The Spellbinder could be heard coughing in the audio. His comments that followed seemed to struggle out of him, like an unborn child fiercely reluctant to leave the security of its loving mother_s warm and safe womb. Anyone can become an everyday leader by showing up as I_m encouraging. When it_s easy and especially when it_s difficult. Starting today. And if you do so, a guaranteed victory is in your future. And I need to add that there_s not one person alive today who cannot lift their thinking, performance, vitality, prosperity and lifetime happiness magnificently by wiring in a series of profound daily rituals and then practicing them until they become your second nature. And this brings me to the single most important principle of my talk: The greatest starting point for winning in your work and making a splendid life is joining what I call The 5 AM Club. How can you ever be world-class if you don_t carve out some time each morning to make yourself world-class? The entrepreneur was now taking notes with a ferocious intensity not previously seen. The artist_s face had a _this makes me feel strong_ smile on it. The homeless man burped, then got down to the floor and held a plank, the kind fitness pros at the gym love to do to build a strong core. You could hear The Spellbinder begin to cough even more fiercely. A brutal_and sustained_pause followed. Next, he uttered these words, haltingly. He was wheezing audibly. His voice began to quiver like a novice telemarketer on her very first sales call. Rising at 5 AM truly is The Mother of All Routines. Joining The 5 AM Club is the one behavior that raises every other human behavior. This regimen is the ultimate needle mover to turn you into an undefeatable model of possibility. The way you begin your day really does determine the extent of focus, energy, excitement and excellence you bring to it. Each early morning is a page in the story that becomes your legacy. Each new dawn is a fresh chance to unleash your brilliance, unprison your potency and play in the big leagues of iconic results. You have such power within you and it reveals itself most with the first rays of daybreak. Please do not allow past pains and present frustrations to diminish your glory, stifle your invincibility and choke the unlimited possibilitarian that lurks within the supreme part of you. In a world that seeks to keep you down, build yourself up. In an epoch that wishes you would stay in the dark, step into your light. At a time that mesmerizes you to forget your gifts, reclaim your genius. Our world requires this of each of us. To be champions of our crafts, warriors for our growth and guardians of unconditional love_for all of humankind. Display respect and compassion for all other people who occupy this tiny planet, regardless of their creed, color or caste. Lift them up in a civilization where many get energy tearing others down. Help others sense the marvels that sleep within them. Show us the virtues we all wish more would practice. Everything I_m saying will speak to the unspoiled part of you, that side of yourself that was ferociously alive before you were taught to fear, hoard, contract and distrust. It_s your job as a hero of your life, as a creative achiever set to change the culture and as a citizen of Earth to find this dimension within you. And, once done, to spend the rest of your days reconnected with it. Accept this opportunity to human mastery and I promise you that a synchronicity of success as well as an orchestrated magic well beyond the boundaries of logic will infuse the remainder of your days. And the larger angels of your grandest potential will begin to visit you regularly. Actually, an orderly series of seemingly impossible miracles will descend onto your most genuine of dreams, causing the best of them to come true. And you will evolve into one of those rare and great spirits who upgrade the whole world by the simple act of walking amongst us. The conference hall was now dark. The entrepreneur let out a sigh the size of Mexico City. The artist was motionless. The homeless man began to cry. He then stood on a chair, raised his arms like a preacher and boomed these words of Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw: This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no _brief candle_ for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations. The homeless man then fell to his knees. Kissed his holy beads. And continued to weep. Chapter 5 A Bizarre Adventure into Morning Mastery _Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. . . . The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated._ _Johann Wolfgang von Goethe _If you two are interested,_ said the homeless man, _I_d be happy to spend a few mornings coaching you at my oceanside compound. I_ll show you my private morning routine and explain why dialing in the way you run your first hour to the highest degree is essential for personal mastery and exceptional business performance. Let me do this for you cats. Your lives will start to look glorious_within a fairly short time. And the ride with me will be fun. Not always easy, as we heard from the old guy on the stage. But valuable and prolific and beautiful. Maybe even as wonderful as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel._ _First time I saw it I cried,_ the artist said, stroking the hairs of his goatee. _Michelangelo was a bad dude. And I mean that in a good way,_ the homeless man offered as he, too, played with his beard, which was soiled. He then raised his shirt to show Greek god abdominal muscles. A long finger of a grimy hand moved along the contours, the way a raindrop zigzags down the stem of a rose after a May shower. _Hit me with a stick,_ shouted the artist with the enthusiasm of a cat let loose in a parrot shop. _How the heck did you get those?_ _Not from some plastic ab machine I bought from a late-night TV show, that_s for sure. Work is how I got all lean and chiseled up like this. Plenty of push-ups, pull-ups, planks, sit-ups and seriously sweaty cardio sessions, often on my special beach._ The homeless man pulled out an obviously expensive leather wallet, then carefully removed from it a piece of plastic with a drawing on it. Here_s what it looked like, so you see exactly what the entrepreneur and the artist saw in that moment: Without allowing for any responses from his two listeners, the disheveled drifter kept on speaking. _Commitment, discipline, patience and work. Values few believe in these days, where so many have an entitlement mentality, expecting a rich, productive and fulfilling life to just show up one day like a sparrow at the beginning of spring. And expecting everyone around them to invest the effort they are responsible for inputting. Where_s the leadership in this way of operating? _A society of adults behaving like spoiled little children is how I sometimes see our world right now. Not judging, just saying. Not complaining, just reporting. Hey, cats, here_s the point I_m trying to make by letting you have a peek at my sculpted abs: Nothing works for those who don_t do the work. Less talk and more do is what I say. Oh, and check this out._ The hobo spun around and unbuttoned his hole-ridden shirt. On his firm, striated back was a tattoo with the words _Victims love entertainment. Victors adore education._ _Come hang with me at my place on a magical little island in the middle of a fantastic ocean, five hours from the coast of Cape Town._ He handed the entrepreneur the plastic card with the seaside scene etched on it. _Those are my dolphins,_ he said, happily pointing to the hand-drawn image. _The trip will be so worth it,_ he continued. _The adventure of a lifetime, for sure. Some of your most valuable and sensational moments ever will unfold there. You need to take a trust walk with me, people. I_ll teach you everything I know about a world-class morning ritual. I_ll help you both become members of The 5 AM Club. You_ll learn to rise early, regularly_so you_ll get more done by noon than most people get done in a week, and so you_ll optimize your health, happiness and peacefulness. There_s a reason so many of the great achievers of the world get up before the sun_it_s the most special part of the day. I_ll explain how I used this revolutionary method to build my empire. And, to be clear, empires arrive in many forms_economic is just one of them. You can also create empires of artistry, productivity, humanity, philanthropy, personal freedom and even spirituality. I_ll download pretty much everything I_ve been blessed to have been taught by the mentor who transformed my life. You_ll discover so much. You_ll be moved at the deepest level. You_ll see the world through an all-new set of lenses. You_ll also eat the finest food and watch the most spectacular sunsets. You guys can swim in the sea, go snorkeling with the dolphins and fly over the sugar cane stalks that dance in the wind in the helicopter I own. And should you both accept my heartfelt invitation to visit me, I insist you stay at my home._ _My God, you_re kidding me, right?_ boomed the artist. It was becoming increasingly evident that, like many in his field, he was acutely emotional, vigilant to the infinitesimal and carried a sensitivity born of latent pain. Those who feel more than most people sometimes believe they have been cursed. In fact, they have been granted a gift: one that allows them to sense what others miss, experience the delights that most neglect and notice the majesty in ordinary moments. Yes, such people get hurt more easily, yet they are also the ones who create great symphonies, architect dazzling buildings and find cures for the sick. Tolstoy once noted that _only people who are capable of loving strongly can suffer great sorrow,_ while the Sufi poet Rumi wrote, _You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens._ The artist seemed to personify these insights. _Nope. Totally serious, dudes,_ the homeless man said enthusiastically. _I have a house not far from a village called Solitude. And believe me, they named it accurately. It_s only when you get away from the noise and nuisance and be in quiet and tranquility that you remember who_and all_you_re truly meant to be. Just say yes to life. And let_s do this! Like the guru on the platform said, a magic will show up for you the more you start exploiting the terrific opportunities that appear along your path, seemingly by accident. You can_t win a game you don_t play, right? The reality is that life has got your back, even when it doesn_t look like it does. But you need to do your part and go all in when windows of opportunity appear. Oh_and if you come to my home on the island, the only thing I ask is that you stay long enough for me to teach you the philosophy and methodology that my secret adviser shared with me. Joining The 5 AM Club requires a little time._ The homeless man paused before adding, _I_m also going to take care of all your expenses. Everything_s covered. I_ll even send my private jet to pick you guys up, if that_s cool._ The entrepreneur and the artist glanced at each other, amused, confounded and entirely uncertain. _Mind if my friend and I have a few moments alone, brother?_ requested the artist, notebook still in hand. _No sweat. Sure. Take all the time you need. I_ll just go back to my seat over there and make some calls to my executive team,_ mentioned the homeless man as he paced away. _This is absurd. Just asinine,_ the artist said to the entrepreneur. _I def agree with you that there_s something special about him. Maybe even something magical. I know how insane that sounds. And I am fascinated by this mentor he keeps talking about, this teacher who sort of sounds like a modern-day master. I_ll admit that this street person has got some great insights, for sure. And he obviously seems to have a lot of experience. But just look at him! Man, the guy looks completely down and out_a complete mess. I don_t think he_s had a shower in weeks. His clothes are all ripped. He_s beyond freaky. And sometimes he talks total crazy talk. We have no idea who he is. This could be dangerous. He could be dangerous._ _Yes. Definitely super-weird. Everything that_s happened here today is super-weird,_ confirmed his companion. The entrepreneur_s lean face then softened. Her eyes still seemed melancholic, though. _I_m at a place in my life where I need to make some big changes,_ she confided. _I just can_t keep going on like this. I hear what you_re saying. I_ve been suspicious of pretty much everyone and everything ever since I lost my dad when I was eleven. A daughter growing up without a father is incredibly scary. To be honest, I still carry a lot of the emotional trauma with me. I think of him every day. I_ve had some bad intimate relationships. I_ve struggled a lot with low self-worth and made some horrible choices in the relationships I_ve had. _About a year ago I started seeing a therapist who made me aware of why I was behaving the way I was behaving,_ the entrepreneur continued. _Psychologists call it _fatherless daughter syndrome._ Deep within, I had a huge fear of abandonment and all the strong insecurities that come with that wound. Yes, this made me extraordinarily tough on the outside. And ruthless in some ways. The chip on my shoulder over the loss of my father gave me my drive and my ambition. Yet the loss also left me empty within. I_m learning that I_ve been trying to fill the void that he left, when he left, by pushing myself to exhaustion in my work with the belief that when I_m even more successful I_ll get the love I lost. I_ve been attempting to fill my emotional holes by chasing more money like a heroin addict needing a fix. I_ve been starving for social status and hungry for industry approval_escaping online for quick pleasure hits of entertainment when I could be doing things that matter. As I said, I_m realizing a lot of my behavior has been pushed from the fear created by my early challenges as a young woman. I felt inspired when The Spellbinder spoke about never doing something for the money but, instead, reaching for world-class as a leader and a person for the meaning it provides, for the opportunity to grow it provokes and for a shot at changing the world. His words made me feel so hopeful. I want to live in the way he spoke of, but I_m nowhere near that place now. And recently, what_s happened at my company pushed me to the edge. I_m really not doing well at life right now. I only came to this meeting because my mom gave me a free ticket. And I_m so desperate for a change._ The entrepreneur took a deep breath. _Sorry,_ she apologized, looking embarrassed. _I hardly know you so I_m not sure why I_m revealing all this to you. I guess I just feel safe with you. I_m not sure why. I_m so sorry if I_m oversharing._ _No problem,_ said the artist. His body language showed he was engaged. He no longer anxiously played with his goatee and dreadlocks. _We_re so honest when we chat with taxi drivers and other people we don_t really know, right?_ the entrepreneur went on. _All I_m trying to say is that I_m ready for a transformation. And my gut tells me this down-and-out man who wants to teach us how an excellent morning routine can build creative, productive, financial and happiness empires really can help me. And help us. _And,_ she added, _remember his watch._ _I like him,_ said the artist. _He_s a character. I love that he expresses himself so poetically sometimes and so passionately at others. He thinks so vividly and quotes George Bernard Shaw like his life depended on it. Really cool. But I still don_t really trust him,_ the artist expressed as he punched a fist into an open palm again. _Probably ripped the watch off some rich idiot._ _Look, I understand how you_re feeling,_ responded the entrepreneur. _A lot of me feels the same way. And you and I just met as well. I_m not sure what it would be like to go on this trip with you. I hope you don_t mind me saying that. You seem like such a nice person. A few rough edges maybe. I think I understand where those come from. But you_re good deep down. I know it._ The artist looked mildly pleased. He glanced at the homeless man, who was eating slices of avocado from a plastic bag. _I_ll have to see if I can arrange my schedule to be away from the office so we can spend time with him,_ shared the entrepreneur as she pointed to the homeless man. While he was munching on his snack he was also talking on a relic of a mobile phone and staring at the ceiling. _I_m starting to like the idea of spending some time near a village called Solitude on some tiny island, eating fabulous food and swimming with wild dolphins. I_m beginning to feel this will be a phenomenal adventure. I_m starting to feel more alive again._ _Well, now that you say it that way, I_m liking the sound of this, too,_ said the artist. _I_m beginning to think there_s a delicious insanity to all of this. A special opportunity to access a whole new universe of originality. This might be the best thing yet for my art. It makes me think of what the writer Charles Bukowski said: _Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead._ And The Spellbinder did encourage us to leave the boundaries of our normal lives so we grow into our gifts, talents and strengths. Some instinct is also telling me to do this. So, if you go, I_ll go._ _Well, you know what? I_ll take the leap. It_s done. I_m all in. Let_s go!_ pronounced the entrepreneur. _All in,_ agreed the artist. They both stood up and made their way to the homeless man, who was now sitting with his eyes closed. _What are you doing now?_ quizzed the artist. _Intense visualization of all I want to be and the higher order life I wish to create. A Turkish fighter pilot once told me that before every flight, he_d _fly before we_d fly._ He was suggesting that meticulously rehearsing the way he and his team wanted the mission to unfold in the theater of his imagination set them up to execute that vision of mastery in reality, flawlessly. Your Mindset is an enormously potent tool for private greatness, prodigious productivity and creative victory_along with your Heartset, Healthset and Soulset. I_ll teach you all about these remarkable concepts if you accept my invitation. Anyhoo, back to why I closed my eyes. Nearly every morning, I envision my ideal performance for the day ahead. I also reach deep into my emotions so I feel what it will feel like when I achieve the wins I_ve planned to accomplish. I lock myself into an extremely confident state where any form of failure isn_t within the realm of possibility. Then I go out and do my finest to live out that perfect day._ _Interesting._ The entrepreneur was fascinated. _This is just one of the SOPs I run daily to stay on peak. Good science is confirming that this practice helps me upregulate my genome by turning on genes that were previously asleep. Your DNA isn_t your destiny, you know. Not to worry, cats. You_ll learn about the breakthrough field of epigenetics when you_re on the island. You_ll also learn some beautiful neuroscience on multiplying your success in this age of scattered attention, so the weapons of mass distraction don_t destroy your amazingness. I_ll reveal everything I_ve discovered about creating projects that are so masterfully done they endure for generations. You_ll hear about fabulous ways to armor-plate your mental focus and fireproof your physical energy. You_ll discover how the best businesspeople in the world build dominant enterprises and learn a calibrated system that the most joyful human beings on the planet apply each morning to create a life that borders on the magical. Oh, in case you were wondering, an SOP is a standard operating procedure. It_s a term my special adviser used when he_d speak about the daily structures needed to find triumph at the game of life. I assume you two are coming?_ _Yes. We_re coming,_ confirmed the entrepreneur in an upbeat tone. _Thank you for your offer._ _Yeah, thanks, man,_ added the artist, now looking more composed. _Please,_ the entrepreneur said earnestly, _teach us everything you know about creating the morning routine of a high-impact leader and a supremely successful businessperson. I desperately want to improve my performance and my daily productivity. I_ll also need your help to restructure my life. To be honest, I_m feeling more inspired today than I_ve felt in a long time. But I_m not in the best place._ _Yeah, brother,_ said the artist. _Tell us your secrets for an epic morning routine that helps me become the best painter_and man_I can become._ He waved his notebook in the air as he spoke. _Send us your plane. Take us to your village. Give us some coconuts. Let us ride your dolphins. And improve our lives. We_re all in._ _None of what you_ll discover will be motivation,_ noted the scraggly soul with a degree of seriousness he hadn_t shown before. _All of this will definitely be about transformation. And it will be supported by strong data, the latest research and immensely practical tactics that have been battle-tested in the tough trenches of industry. Get ready for the greatest adventure you cats will ever experience!_ _Excellent,_ declared the entrepreneur as she reached out to shake the weather-beaten stranger_s hand. _I need to admit that this entire scenario has been extremely odd for both of us but, for whatever reason, we now trust you. And, yes, we_re totally open to this new experience._ _You_re very kind to do this for us. Thank you,_ blurted out the artist. He looked somewhat surprised by the extent of his graciousness. _Awesome. Smart decision, guys,_ came the warm response. _Please be outside this conference center tomorrow morning. Bring at least a few days_ worth of clothes. That_s all. Like I said, I_m stoked to take care of everything else. All expenses are on me. I thank you._ _Why are you thanking us?_ wondered the entrepreneur. The homeless man smiled tenderly and scratched his beard thoughtfully. _In his final sermon before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr., said, _Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don_t have to have a college degree to serve. You don_t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don_t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don_t have to know Einstein_s Theory of Relativity to serve. You don_t have to know the Second Theory of Thermodynamics and Physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.__ The tramp wiped a morsel of avocado from the edge of his mouth and then carried on what he was saying. _One of the big lessons I_ve learned over the years is that giving to other people is a gift you give to yourself. Raise the joy of others and you_ll get even more joy. Increase the state of your fellow human beings and, naturally, your own state of being ascends. Success is cool. But significance is rad. Generosity_not scarcity_is the trait of all of the great men and women who have upgraded our world. And we need leaders, pure leaders and not narcissists obsessed with their own self-interests, as never before._ The homeless man looked down at his large watch one last time. _You can_t take your title, net worth and fancy toys with you when you die, you know? I_ve yet to see a moving truck following a hearse on its way to a funeral._ He chuckled. The two listeners grinned. _He_s a treasure,_ whispered the entrepreneur. _Def is,_ acknowledged the artist. _Stop saying _def_ so much,_ said the entrepreneur. _It_s getting irritating._ The artist looked a little shocked. _Okay._ _All that matters on your last day on Earth is the potential you_ve leveraged, the heroism you_ve demonstrated and the human lives you_ve graced,_ the homeless man said eloquently. He then grew quiet. And let out a deep breath. _Anyhoo. Incredible that you_re coming. We_ll have a cool hang._ _May I bring my paintbrushes?_ the artist asked politely. _Only if you want to paint in paradise,_ came the homeless man_s reply with a wink. _And what time should we meet you outside this place tomorrow morning?_ asked the entrepreneur, placing her handbag onto a thin, bony shoulder. _5 AM,_ instructed the homeless man. _Own your morning. Elevate your life._ Then, he disappeared. Chapter 6 A Flight to Peak Productivity, Virtuosity and Undefeatability _Your time is limited, so don_t waste it living someone else_s life. Don_t be trapped by dogma_which is living with the results of other people_s thinking. Don_t let the noise of others_ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become._ _Steve Jobs _I_m so tired,_ the entrepreneur muttered with the energy of an ancient turtle on a vacation day, while holding a monstrous cup of coffee. _This journey might be harder than I thought. I_m starting to feel like I_m walking into a whole new world. Like I told you yesterday after the seminar, I_m definitely ready to change. Set for a new beginning. But I_m also feeling uneasy about all this. I didn_t sleep much last night. Such eerie_and sometimes violent_dreams. And, yes, this experience we_ve agreed to might be dangerous._ _Well, I feel like death, man,_ said the artist. _I hate being up this early. This was a terrible idea._ The two brave souls were standing on the sidewalk outside the hall where The Spellbinder had worked his legendary skills_and broken many hearts with his collapse_the day before. It was 4:49 AM. _He won_t show up,_ barked the artist roughly. He was dressed in black with a ruby red polka-dotted bandana on his left wrist. Same boots as yesterday. Those Australian ones. He hurled a mouthful of spit into the desolate street. He squinted at the sky. And then he folded his tattooed arms. The entrepreneur had a nylon duffle bag over her shoulder. She styled a silk blouse with bohemian sleeves, designer blue jeans and a pair of sandals with high heels_the kind you see off-duty supermodels with sunglasses the size of Greek island sunsets wearing. Her lips were scrunched together and the lines on her face were arrayed in a series of interesting intersections. _I_d bet the homeless man_s a no-show,_ she said with a sneer. _I don_t care about his watch. It doesn_t matter that he could be so articulate. It means nothing to me now that he reminded me of my dad. God, I_m exhausted. He was probably at the seminar because he needed a place to rest for a few hours. He probably knew about the whole 5 AM Club morning routine because he heard_and stole_that bit of The Spellbinder_s presentation. And the private plane he talked about was probably part of his favorite hallucination._ The entrepreneur had returned to her familiar skepticism and hiding within her fortress of protection. The hopefulness of the day before had clearly dissolved. Just then, a pair of strikingly powerful halogen headlights pierced the wall of darkness. The two companions looked at each other. The entrepreneur managed a smile. _Okay. Maybe instinct really is much smarter than reason,_ she muttered to herself. A gleaming Rolls-Royce, the color of coal, pulled up to the curb. With swift efficiency, a man in a crisp white uniform leapt out of the sedan and greeted the two with old-school civility. _Good morning to you, Madam. And to you as well, Sir,_ he enunciated in a British accent as he placed their bags into the vehicle with one skillful swoop. _Where_s the derelict?_ asked the artist with the tact of a hillbilly who_d never left the woods. The driver couldn_t help but laugh. Quickly, he regained his composure. _So sorry, Sir. Yes, Mr. Riley dresses in very unassuming attire, shall we say. He does that when he feels the need to Filtered gritty,_ as he classifies the practice. He leads a remarkably exclusive life most of the time and is a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. Everything he wants, to be more precise. So, once in a while, he does things to ensure his modesty and humility remain in check. That_s part of his quirky charm, I might add. Mr. Riley asked me to give these to you._ The driver pulled out two envelopes, made of the highest quality paper. On opening them, the entrepreneur and the artist saw these words: Hey, cats! Hope you_re awesome. Didn_t mean to spook you both yesterday. I just needed to keep my boots on the ground. Epictetus, one of my favorite philosophers, wrote: _But neither a bull nor a noble-spirited man comes to be what he is all at once; he must undertake hard winter training and prepare himself and not propel himself rashly into what is not appropriate to him._ Voluntary discomfort, whether by dressing as I did or by fasting once a week or by sleeping on the floor once a month, keeps me strong, disciplined and focused on the central few priorities my life_s built around. Anyhoo, have a tremendous flight, and I_ll see you in Paradise soon. Big hug. The driver continued, _Please remember that appearances can be misleading and clothing doesn_t convey one_s character. Yesterday you met a great man. Looks really do not reveal the quality of a person._ _I guess neither does shaving,_ proclaimed the artist, kicking a black boot against the shiny Rolls-Royce symbol at the center of one of the wheels. _Mr. Riley would never tell you what I_m about to tell you as he_s far too courteous and decent. But the gentleman you refer to as a _derelict_ happens to be one of the wealthiest people in the world._ _Are you serious?_ asked the entrepreneur, her eyes widening. _I most certainly am._ The driver smiled politely as he opened a door, waving a white-gloved hand to welcome both passengers into the vehicle. The seats had that marvelously musky smell of new leather. The wood paneling seemed like it had been prepared by hand, by a small family of finicky craftspeople who_d built their reputations around this singular obsession. _Mr. Riley made his fortune many years ago, in various commercial ventures. He was also an early investor in what has now become an internationally admired company. Discretion prevents me from mentioning the name and, if Mr. Riley found out I was speaking of financial matters with you, he_d be exceedingly disappointed. His instructions were simply to treat you with the utmost of care along with assuring you of his sincerity and reliability. And to deliver you safely to Hangar 21._ _Hangar 21?_ the artist asked as he eased languidly into the opulent vehicle like a rock star accustomed to this method of transport or a hip-hop artist ready for a weekend roll. _That_s where Mr. Riley_s fleet of jets are kept,_ stated the driver succinctly. _Fleet?_ questioned the entrepreneur, her beautiful brown eyes alive with an immensely curious look. _Yes,_ was all the chauffeur would allow. There was silence as the driver sped through the early morning streets. The artist looked out the window while rolling a bottle of water in one hand absentmindedly. He hadn_t seen the sun rising in many years. _Very special. Truly beautiful,_ he admitted. _Everything_s so peaceful at this time of the day. No noise. Such peace. Even though I feel tired right now, I can really think. Things seem clearer. My attention isn_t a mess. It feels like the rest of the world is asleep. What tranquility._ A cavalry of wispy amber rays, the ethereal palette of the daybreak and the quietude of this moment left him encouraged. And awestruck. The entrepreneur studied the driver. _So, tell me more about your boss,_ she requested, restlessly toying with her device as she spoke. _I can_t tell you much more. He_s worth multiple billions of dollars. He_s given most of his money to charity. Mr. Riley_s the most fascinating, generous and compassionate person I know. He also has incredible willpower, along with having ironclad values, such as honesty, empathy, integrity and loyalty. And, of course, he_s also a real oddball, if I may be so bold as to say so. Like a lot of the very, very, very rich._ _We_ve noticed,_ agreed the entrepreneur. _I_m interested, though. What makes you say he_s odd?_ _You_ll see,_ was the stark response. The Rolls soon arrived at a private airport. No sign of Mr. Riley. The driver accelerated up to an ivory jet that looked immaculately kept. The only color it bore appeared on the tail. In the hue of a mandarin orange, three characters read _5AC._ _What does _5AC_ stand for?_ asked the entrepreneur tensely, gripping her gadget tightly. _The 5 AM Club. _Own your morning. Elevate your life._ It_s one of the maxims Mr. Riley has conducted his many business interests under. And now, with regret, this is where I must bid you adieu. Au revoir,_ he said before carrying the luggage over to the sparkling aircraft. Two handsome crew members chatted near the metal stairway that led up to the cabin. A tastefully refined blonde flight attendant handed the entrepreneur and the artist hot towels and offered them coffee from a silver tray. _Dobroe utro,_ she said, greeting them in Russian. _It has been a great pleasure to meet you,_ the driver called up to the jet, as he got back into the car. _Kindly convey my best wishes to Mr. Riley once you see him. And do have fun in Mauritius._ _Mauritius?_ the companions exclaimed, as surprised as a vampire waking up to a garlic clove. _This is all unbelievable,_ the artist said as he climbed into the cabin. _Mauritius! I_ve always wanted to go to that island, and I_ve read a bit about it. It_s a high-frequency place. French flavor. Tremendous beauty. And, from what they say, many of the warmest and happiest people on Earth live there._ _I_m blown away, too,_ the entrepreneur said as she sipped her coffee and peeked into the cockpit. She studied the pilots as they performed their pre-flight preparation. _I_ve also heard Mauritius is splendid, and that the people are super-friendly, helpful and spiritually advanced._ After a perfect takeoff, the first-class plane floated high into the clouds. Once at cruising altitude, premium champagne was served, caviar was recommended and an array of fabulous main courses were suggested. The entrepreneur was feeling fairly content and far less incited by the cruel attempt of her investors to take her company away from her. True, this might not be the ideal time to take a vacation to learn about The 5 AM Club philosophy and its underlying methodology that had served Mr. Riley_s ascent to business titan and global philanthropist like rocket fuel. Or perhaps this was the perfect time to get away from her usual reality to discover how the most successful, influential and joyful people on the planet start their days. After sipping on some champagne, the entrepreneur watched a movie. She then fell into a deep sleep. The artist had a book called Michelangelo Fiorentino et Rafael da Urbino: Masters of Art in the Vatican. He read it for hours. You can just imagine how happy he felt. The jet made its trajectory over a number of vast continents and above varied terrain. The flight was meticulously conducted, and the landing was as fluid as the overall experience was fine. _Bienvenue au ?le Maurice,_ announced the captain over the public address system as the aircraft taxied along the freshly paved runway. _Merci beaucoup. Welcome to Mauritius and Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport,_ he continued, speaking his words with the well-earned confidence of someone who had spent most of his life in the sky. _It_s been a privilege having you two VIPs with us. We_ll see you again in several days, from what Mr. Riley_s personal assistant has informed us of your itinerary. Thank you once again for flying with us, and we trust that the journey was elegant, excellent and above all else, safe._ A polished black SUV glittered on the tarmac as the flight attendant escorted her special passengers off the plane and into the humming vehicle. _Your luggage will follow shortly. Not to worry_it shall be delivered to your guest rooms at Mr. Riley_s seaside estate. Spasiba,_ she added in a graceful tone and with an earnest wave. _This is so A-list,_ observed the entrepreneur as she happily snapped some selfies, uncharacteristically pouting like a fashionista. _Def,_ replied the artist, as he photobombed her, sticking out his tongue like Albert Einstein did in that famous photo that betrayed his seriousness as a scientist and revealed his undiminished childlike sense of wonder. As the Range Rover rolled along the highway, tall stalks of sugar cane swayed in the fragrant breezes blown by the Indian Ocean. The quiet chauffeur wore a white cap, the kind you see bellmen at five-star hotels wearing, and a well-pressed dark gray uniform that hinted at an understated yet refined professionalism. He never missed slowing down when the speed limit descended and ensuring his signal light was on whenever a turn was to be made. Though it was evident that the man was older, he moved the vehicle along the roadway with the precision of a young apprentice dedicated to becoming the absolute best. Through the drive, his focus remained transfixed on the pavement ahead, in a sort of trance designed to keep his passengers secure yet deliver them to their destination with a smooth efficiency. They passed through some tiny villages that had a timeless feel. Bougainvillea lined the streets, wild dogs with king-of-the-road demeanors stood at the meridian line, confronting the SUV in a deadly game of chicken, and children played on small grassy lawns with thoughtless abandon. Roosters could be heard shrieking from time to time, and old men in basic woolen hats with tooth-missing mouths and chestnut-colored skin sat on weather-beaten wooden chairs. They looked like they had too many hours to pass in the day, at once tired from life_s hardships and yet wise from days fully lived. Choirs of upbeat birds sang melodically while colorful butterflies seemed to be fluttering everywhere. In one tiny community the SUV snaked through, a skinny boy with legs that appeared too long for his body pedaled a banana bike with a seat that was set too high on its creaky metal frame. In another, a group of teenaged girls in tank tops, surf shorts and flip-flops shuffled along the narrow but attentively maintained road, following a man in army green cargo shorts wearing a t-shirt that had _The No.1 Flame-Grilled Chicken_ printed on the back of it. Everything seemed to move on island time. People looked cheerful. They beamed with a radiant vitality not so commonly seen in the overscheduled, machine-dominated and sometimes soulless lives so many among us are experiencing. The beaches were unspeakably beautiful. The gardens were entirely glorious. And the entire Gauguin-looking scene was draped by a series of mountains that looked like they_d been carved by a sixteenth-century Florentine sculptor. _See that structure up there?_ the driver said, breaking his self-imposed silence and pointing to a rock formation at the top of one of the peaks that resembled a human figure. _That_s called Pieter Both. It_s the second-highest mountain in Mauritius. See the summit up there? It resembles a human head, right?_ he noted with a finger pointed upward at the structure. _It definitely does,_ responded the artist. _When we were in elementary school,_ the chauffeur continued, _we were told the story of a man who fell asleep at the foot of the mountain. Hearing strange sounds, he woke up to see fairies and angels dancing all about him. These creatures instructed the man never to tell anyone what he had just seen or he would be turned to stone. He agreed but then, given his excitement over the mystical experience he_d witnessed, broke his commitment and told many of his good fortune. Upset, the fairies and angels turned him to rock. And his head swelled to such a degree it rose to sit at the peak of the majestic mountain you both are looking at now, reminding everyone who sees it to keep their promises. And honor their word._ The SUV meandered past another community. Music played from a small loudspeaker on a front porch as two teenaged boys and three teenaged girls with white and pink flowers in their hair danced gleefully. Another dog barked modestly in the background. _Great story,_ noted the entrepreneur. Her window was open, and her wavy brown hair flitted in the wind. Her usually lined face now appeared completely smooth. She enunciated her words more slowly now. An unprecedented peacefulness emerged from her voice. One of her hands rested on the seat_not so far from where a hand of the artist, which bore finely etched tattoos on its middle and index fingers, lay. _Mark Twain wrote, _Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and heaven copied Mauritius,__ the driver shared, now warming up after being somewhat steely. He beamed as proudly as a president on Inauguration Day after saying what he_d just said. _Never seen anything like this,_ the artist said, his goth-meets-angry-man hostility now replaced with a more untroubled, carefree and relaxed demeanor. _And the vibe I feel here is stirring something deeply creative inside of me._ The entrepreneur glanced at the artist for a little longer than was politely acceptable. Then she looked away, out at the sea. Though reluctant, she couldn_t help but smile gently. The driver could be heard whispering into the SUV_s speakerphone, _Five minutes away._ Then he handed each of his passengers a handcrafted tablet that seemed made of gold. _Please study these,_ he told them. Engraved, finely, in the apparently precious metal were five statements. Here_s what the tablets looked like: RULE N1 An addiction to distraction is the end of your creative production. Empire-makers and history-creators take one hour for themselves before dawn, in the serenity that lies beyond the clutches of complexity, to prepare themselves for a world-class day. RULE N2 Excuses breed no genius. Just because you haven_t installed the early-rising habit before doesn_t mean you can_t do it now. Release your rationalizations and remember that small daily improvements, when done consistently over time, lead to stunning results. RULE N3 All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. Everything you now find easy you first found difficult. With consistent practice, getting up with the sun will become your new normal. And automatic. RULE N4 To have the results The Top 5% of producers have, you must start doing what 95% of people are unwilling to do. As you start to live like this, the majority will call you crazy. Remember that being labeled a freak is the price of greatness. RULE N5 When you feel like surrendering, continue.Triumph loves the relentless. The vehicle slowed to a crawl as it passed an orderly row of faded white beach houses. A compact pickup truck was parked in the dusty driveway of one house. Dive gear was strewn across the front yard of another. In front of the last house, a gaggle of kids played in a yard, laughing hysterically as they enjoyed their game. The ocean appeared, both greenish and bluish with foam-topped waves making shaaaashing sounds before colliding with the sandy shore. The air now smelled a marine life smell, yet sweet like nectar with unexpected cinnamon hints blended into it. On a wide-planked dock, a thin line of a man with a Santa Claus beard and rolled-up khakis fished barefoot for his family_s dinner. A motorcycle helmet was perched on his old head. The sun was beginning to set, a glamorous sphere of blinding radiance that cast liquid yellow streaks and reflections on the welcoming water that lay before it. Birds still chirped. Butterflies still flew. Quite magical, all of this. _We_re here,_ announced the chauffeur into an intercom perched beside a metal fence that seemed to have been erected more to keep wildlife out than to prevent interlopers from getting in. The gate opened. Slowly. The SUV rolled down a winding road teeming with bougainvillea, hibiscus, frangipani and Boucle d_Oreille, the national flower of Mauritius, along the sides. The driver opened his window, inviting in a sea breeze carrying a swirling scent that also included fresh jasmine mixed with rich roses. Gardeners in smart gardening attire waved sincere waves. One shouted _Bonjour_ as the vehicle sailed by. Another said _Bonzour_ as two fat doves the size of a trucker_s fist hopped along a stone path. The billionaire_s house was low-key. The design was of the beachfront chic sort. Kind of a Martha_s Vineyard cottage meets Swedish farmhouse feel. It was both sensationally beautiful and completely private. A massive veranda at the back of the home extended over the ocean. A muddy mountain bike leaned against a wall. A surfboard rested near the end of the driveway. Massive floor-to-ceiling windows were the only extravagant architectural flourish. More precious flowers were meticulously arranged along a deck where a trolley supporting hors d_oeuvres, assorted cheeses and a service of fresh lemon tea with precisely cut slices of ginger waited. Sun-bleached gray steps wound down to a breathtakingly lovely beach, the type seen in the travel magazines the elite crowd like to read. Amid all this exquisiteness, an isolated figure stood on the milk-colored sand. He made not one movement. Perfect stillness. The man was Eiffel Tower tall, shirtless and bronzed, and sporting a pair of loose shorts with a camouflage pattern. Canary yellow sandals and uber-stylish sunglasses, the kind you might purchase on Via dei Condotti in Rome, completed the surfer Zen meets Soho swagger appearance. He peered out into the sea, remaining still as a star in the big African sky. _There,_ said the entrepreneur, pointing. _We finally get to see our host. The illustrious Mr. Riley,_ she noted energetically, picking up her pace as she hustled down the wooden stairs that led to the seashore. _Look at him! He_s just hanging out by the water, soaking up those rays and totally lovin_ life. Told you he_s special. So happy I trusted my gut and agreed to this wonderful escapade. He_s been true to his word, in a world where too many people say things they never do and make promises they fail to keep. He_s been super-consistent. He_s treated us so well. He doesn_t even know us, and yet he_s really trying to help us. Zero doubt in my mind he_s got our backs. Hurry up, will you,_ she urged her slow-moving companion as she waved an encouraging hand. _I feel like giving Mr. Riley a giant hug!_ The artist laughed as a baby gecko jaywalked across a broad plank. He took off his black shirt in the dazzling sunshine, exposing a Buddha-sized belly and man breasts the size of fleshy mangoes. _Me, too. He does walk his preach. Man, I need to get some sun,_ the painter murmured as he sped up to stay close to the entrepreneur. He breathed hard. As the two guests walked toward the man at the water_s edge of this Nirvana of an ocean compound, they observed there were no other houses in sight. Not even one. Just a few wooden fishing boats with paint peeled off from the passage of years moored in the shallow waters near the shore. And aside from the sun worshipping empire-builder in Italian shades, there was no other human being in evidence. Anywhere. _Mr. Riley,_ shouted the artist, now on the sand hungrily sucking air into his extraordinarily unfit lungs. The slender figure remained as fixed as a palace guard awaiting the arrival of the royal motorcade. _Mr. Riley,_ echoed the entrepreneur passionately. No response. The man just kept looking out at the sea and at container ships the size of football stadiums that sat sprinkled across the horizon. The artist soon stood behind the set of intensely tanned shoulders of the figure and tapped three times on the left one. Instantly, the figure spun around. The two visitors gasped. The entrepreneur put a slender hand over her mouth. The artist jerked backward, instinctively, before falling to the sand. Both were stunned by what they saw. It was The Spellbinder. Chapter 7 Preparation for a Transformation Begins in Paradise _A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It_s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate._ _Steven Pressfield _Um. Wow!_ declared the entrepreneur with a crooked smile that displayed part surprise and part delight. _We were at your seminar. Um. You were brilliant up on that stage,_ she finally managed to express, pivoting impressively from soft shock to the master-of-the-universe business bearing she was more accustomed to. _I lead a technology company. We_re what pundits in our industry call _a rocket ship_ because of the exponential growth we_ve been experiencing. Things were going phenomenally well until a little while ago . . ._ The entrepreneur_s voice trailed off. She looked away from The Spellbinder and stared at the artist. For a moment she played nervously with her bracelets. The lines along her face became more vivid. And her visage gave off a heavy, tired and injured look in that instant, on that spectacular beach. _What happened?_ asked The Spellbinder. _To your business?_ _Some of the people who invested in my enterprise felt I had too much equity in it. They wanted more for themselves. Super-greedy people. So, they manipulated my executive team, convinced key employees to rally against me and are now trying to throw me out of the firm. That place is my whole life._ The entrepreneur choked up. A school of luxuriously colored tropical fish swam through the shallow water at the edge of the sand. _I was ready to take my life,_ she carried on. _Until I showed up at your seminar. Many of your nuggets of knowledge gave me hope. A lot of your words made me feel strong again. Not sure exactly what it was, but you pushed me to believe in myself and my future. I just want to thank you._ She embraced The Spellbinder. _You_ve started me on the journey to optimizing my life._ _Thank you so much for your generous words,_ The Spellbinder replied, appearing dramatically different from the way he looked the last time the entrepreneur and the artist saw him. Not only did he have that healthy glow people get from time in the sun, he now stood steadily and had gained a little weight. _I_m grateful for what you_ve said,_ The Spellbinder continued. _But the truth is that I didn_t start you on the quest to improve your life. You are changing your life by starting the process of bringing application to my insights and methods_by implementing my teachings. So many people chat a good game. They tell you all the ambitions they_re going to get done and all the aspirations they plan to deliver on. I_m not judging. I_m just reporting. I_m not complaining, I_m just saying: most people stay the same their entire lives. Too frightened to leave the way they operated yesterday. Married to the complacency of the ordinary and wedded to the shackles of conformity while resisting all opportunity for growth, evolution and personal elevation. So many good souls among us are just so scared they refuse the call on their lives to go out into the blue ocean of possibility where mastery, the dignity of bravery and the authenticity of audacity await them. You had the wisdom to act on some of the information I shared at my event. You_re one in a tiny minority of people alive today willing to do what it takes to become a better leader, producer and human being. Good on you. And I know transformation isn_t an easy play. Yet, the life of the caterpillar must end for the glory of the butterfly to shine. The old _you_ must die before the best _you_ can be born. You_re so smart not to wait until you have ideal conditions to step up to a work world and private life of stainless excellence. Great power is unleashed with a simple start. When you begin to close the loop opened by your utmost aspirations by making them real, a secret heroic force within you makes itself known. Nature notices your effortful actions and then goes ahead and replies to your faithful commitment with a series of unanticipated wins. Your willpower heightens. Your confidence climbs. And your brilliance soars. A year from now, you_ll be so happy you began today._ _Thank you,_ said the entrepreneur. _I heard a man say he needed to lose weight before he could start running. Imagine that. Lose the weight so he could initiate the running habit. That_s like a writer who waits for inspiration to begin the book, or the manager who waits for a promotion to lead the field, or a startup that waits for full funding before launching a status quo_disrupting product. The flow of life rewards positive action and punishes hesitation. Anyway, I_m thrilled I could contribute to your rise, in some small way. Sounds like you_re at a difficult yet exciting time on your personal adventure. Please consider that a bad day for the ego is a great day for the soul. And what your voice of fear claims is a mean season the light of your wisdom knows is a splendid gift._ _We thought you were dead,_ the entrepreneur announced, unfiltered. _Thank God you_re okay. And I appreciate how humble you are._ _I believe the humblest is the greatest. Pure leaders are so secure in their own skin their main mission is the elevation of others. They have such self-respect, joyfulness and peacefulness within themselves that they don_t need to advertise their success to society in a feeble attempt to feel a little better. I should also say, if I may, that there_s a big difference between real power and fake power,_ The Spellbinder explained, dropping even deeper into the guru mode that had made him so famous worldwide. _Our culture tells us to pursue titles and trinkets, applause and acclaim, money and mansions. All that_s fine_it truly is_so long as you don_t get brainwashed into defining your worth as a human being by these things. Enjoy them, just don_t get attached to them. Have them, just don_t base your identity around them. Appreciate them, just don_t need them. These are only forms of fake power our civilization programs us to believe we must pursue to be successful_and serene. The fact is that should you lose any one of these things, the substitute power you derived from them evaporates. Just vanishes in an instant, revealing itself as the illusion it was._ _Tell us more, please._ The entrepreneur was absorbing every word. _Real power never comes from anything external,_ The Spellbinder continued. _A lot of people with a lot of money aren_t very wealthy. Take that line to the bank,_ stated The Spellbinder as he slipped off his bright yellow flip-flops and placed them neatly on the sugary sand. _Genuine power_the stuff legends are made of_doesn_t arise from who you are outside and what you possess externally. The world is lost right now. True and enduring power expresses itself when you contact your original gifts and realize your most lavish talents as a human. I should also say real riches come from living by the noble virtues of productivity, self-discipline, courage, honesty, empathy and integrity as well as being able to lead your days on your own terms versus blindly following the sheep that so many in our sick society have been trained to become. _Sheeple_ is what too many people now are. The excellent news is that this kind of power I speak of is available to anyone alive on the planet today. We might have forgotten and disowned this form of potency we have as life has hurt, disappointed and confused us. But it_s still there waiting for us to build a relationship with it. And develop it. All of the great teachers of history owned very few things, you know. When Mahatma Gandhi died he had about ten possessions, including his sandals, a watch, his eyeglasses and a simple bowl to eat from. Mother Teresa, so prosperous of heart and rich with the authentic power to influence millions, died in a tiny room containing almost no worldly goods. When she_d travel, she_d carry all her things in a white cloth bag._ _Why do so many of the heroes of humanity have so little?_ asked the artist, now relaxing on the sand. _Because they_ve reached a level of individual maturity that allowed them to see the futility of spending their days chasing objects that count for nothing at the end. And they had cultivated their characters to such a degree that they no longer had the common need of most to fill the holes within themselves with distractions, attractions, escapes and luxuries. The more their appetite for superficial possessions dematerialized, the more hungry they became for substantial pursuits like honoring their creative vision, expressing their inherent genius and living by a higher moral blueprint. They viscerally understood that being inspirational and masterful and fearless are all inside jobs. And once true power is accessed, external substitutes pale in comparison to the feelings of fulfillment this treasure provides. Oh, and these heavyweights of history, as they discovered their supreme natures, also came to realize that one of the primary aims of a wonderfully crafted life is contribution. Impact. Usefulness. Helpfulness. What business-builders might call _unlocking stakeholder value._ Like I suggested at my seminar before I fell, _to lead is to serve._ The philosopher Rumi made the point much more brilliantly than I ever could when he observed, _Give up the drop, become the ocean.__ _Thanks for sharing,_ offered the entrepreneur sincerely, sitting down next to the artist on the sand and placing one of her hands carefully only a short distance away from one of his. _It_s good to see you_re doing better,_ mentioned the artist, his boots now off. He was sockless. As he basked in the strong rays like a sunbathing cat he asked, _What the heck happened to you anyway?_ _Exhaustion,_ confided The Spellbinder. _Too many cities. Too many airplanes. Too many media appearances. Too many presentations. I just ground myself down in pursuit of my mission to help people accelerate their leadership, activate their gifts and become heroes of their lives. I know better._ The Spellbinder then pulled off his sleek sunglasses and extended a hand to his two students. _It_s a great pleasure to meet you both._ _You too, brother,_ the artist replied. _Your work has helped me make it through some tough times._ As the artist spoke these words, he spotted a catamaran overflowing with festively dressed tourists whizzing along in the distance. Another school of fish, called capitaines, could be observed swimming busily in the clear water. The Spellbinder spied them, smiled broadly and then continued. _You must be wondering why I_m here,_ he stated. _True,_ said the entrepreneur as she took off her shoes and twisted her feet into the white sand alongside her companion. _Well, I_ve been advising Mr. Riley since he was a thirty-three-year-old man. All pro athletes have peak performance coaches, and so do all extraordinary businesspeople. You just can_t get to iconic alone. He was starting out when we met, but even then he understood that the more one learns, the more one can achieve. Growth is the real sport that the best play, every day. Education truly is inoculation against disruption. And as you become better you will have better, within all arenas of your life. I call this The 2x3x Mindset: to double your income and impact, triple your investment in two core areas_your personal mastery and your professional capability._ _Love it,_ the artist said as he scratched his flabby belly. Then he picked at a decrepit toenail. _Mr. Riley understood, early on, that to rise to world-class, you need world-class support. We_ve become fantastic friends over the years. We_ve shared tremendous joys together, like five-hour-long lunches with palm heart salad, fresh grilled prawns and excellent French wine here on this private beach of his._ The Spellbinder stretched his arms into the air. He looked over at the mighty mountains. He remained silent for a few moments. _And we_ve experienced deep sorrows together as well, like the time my buddy got sick with cancer just after his fiftieth birthday. He appeared to have everything a man could desire. But without his good health, he realized he had nothing. That one changed him. Health is the crown on the well person_s head that only the ill person can see, you know? Or, as one tradition says, when we are young we sacrifice our health for wealth and when we grow old and wise we realize what_s most important_and become willing to sacrifice all our wealth for even one day of good health. You never want to be the richest person in the graveyard, you know. _He beat it, though,_ The Spellbinder quickly added, staring at the noisy tourists partying on the catamaran. _Just like he defends himself against everything that tries to defeat his dreams. Stone_s an amazing guy. I love him like a brother. _Well, look, it really has been good to meet you both,_ The Spellbinder continued. _I heard you were coming. Mr. Riley_s tremendously excited to share what he promised he_d share with you about reaching maximum productivity, sustaining exceptional performance and creating a life you love by coding in a superior morning routine. I_m pleased he_s paying it forward and sharing what I, as his mentor, taught him. You_ll love all the insights and learning models that will soon be coming your way. The 5 AM Club will be revolutionary for you both. I know it sounds strange and unbelievable, but being exposed to the methodology Stone is about to teach you will cause outstanding shifts deep within you. Just being around the information will awaken something special in you._ The Spellbinder put on his chic sunglasses. _Anyway, Mr. Riley asked me to tell you to make yourselves at home here over the next few days. You won_t see a lot of me because I_ll be snorkeling, sailing and fishing most of the time. Fishing is one of the things I most love to do in life. I come down to Mauritius not only to coach the great and kind soul you_ll soon meet, I show up here to regenerate and get away from this overcomplicated world of ours, flush with so many difficulties, damaged economies, saturated industries and environmental decays, just to mention a few of the factors that threaten to bring down our creativity, energy, performance and happiness. I show up here to renew and refuel. Elite production without quiet vacation causes lasting depletion. Rest and recovery isn_t a luxury for anyone committed to mastery_it_s a necessity. I_ve taught that principle for many years_yet I forgot it myself, and paid the price at the event. I_ve also learned that inspiration gets fed by isolation, away from the ceaseless digital diversion and mindless overcommunication that dominates the hours of the majority these days. And, know too that your natural genius presents itself when you_re most joyful. We get our ideas that change the world when we_re rested, relaxed and filled with delight. This tiny spot in the Indian Ocean helps me reaccess my best. It_s also a genuine sanctuary of safety, staggering beauty and awesome gastronomy, with affectionate people who still wear their hearts on their sleeves. I just adore the Mauritians. Most still have an appreciation for the wonders of life_s simplest pleasures. Like family meals or swimming with friends, followed by sharing a roast chicken dinner purchased from the Super U, washed down with an ice cold can of Phoenix._ _Phoenix?_ asked the artist. _It_s the beer of Mauritius,_ replied The Spellbinder. _And I must say that I always leave the island one hundred times stronger, faster, centered and fired up. I really work hard in my everyday life. I hope this doesn_t sound like vanity, but I care so much about uplifting society and am so committed to doing my part to reduce the greed, hatred and conflict in it. Coming here remakes me. Reconnects me to what_s important. So I can go back and work for the world. We all work for the world, you know? Anyway, you two have fun, okay? And thanks again for coming to my seminar and for your positive words. They mean more to me than you could ever know. Anyone can be a critic. Takes guts to be an encourager. Being a high-impact leader never requires being a disrespectful person. I wish more leaders understood this principle. _Oh, one last thing,_ The Spellbinder added as he flicked some sand off his camouflage-patterned surf shorts. _What?_ asked the entrepreneur in a respectful tone. _Please be here on the beach tomorrow morning. Your training will begin then._ _Sure,_ agreed the entrepreneur. _What time?_ _5 AM,_ came the reply. _Own your morning. Elevate your life._ Chapter 8 The 5 AM Method: The Morning Routine of World-Builders _It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth and wisdom._ _Aristotle _Welcome to The 5 AM Club!_ the billionaire bellowed as he bounded down the steps from his seaside home. _Bonzour! That_s Creole for _good morning._ You_re right on time! I love it! Punctuality is the trait of royalty. At least it is in my playbook. Stone Riley_s my name,_ he declared as he graciously extended a hand to greet his two guests. The tattered old clothes had been replaced with a black pair of trimly cut running shorts and a pristine white t-shirt with the line _No idea works until you do the work_ emblazoned on it. He was barefoot and cleanly shaven, seemed extremely fit and sported a wonderful suntan, all of which made him look many years younger than he had appeared at the seminar. On his head he wore a black baseball cap, turned backward. His green eyes were still uncommonly clear. And his smile was astonishingly radiant. Yes, there was something exceedingly special about this man, as the entrepreneur had sensed. A white dove hovered over the tycoon, floating in the air for about ten seconds as if suspended by magic. Then it flew off. Can you imagine this? It was a miraculous thing to see. _Let me give you two a hug, if you don_t mind,_ the billionaire enthused, wrapping his long arms around the entrepreneur and the artist at the same time, without waiting for a reply. _God, you have courage. Yes, you do,_ he mused. _You trusted a disheveled old man. A total stranger. I know I looked like a vagrant the other day. Hey, it_s not that I don_t care about how I look. I just don_t care that much about how I look,_ he said as he laughed at his own lack of self-consciousness. _I just like to keep things real. Nice and simple. Completely authentic. Makes me think of that old insight: Having lots of money doesn_t make you different. It just makes you more of who you were before you made the cash._ The billionaire peered out into the ocean and allowed the early rays of a fresh dawn to wash over him. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. The contours of his chiseled abdominal muscles were noticeable through his t-shirt. Next, he pulled a flower from the back pocket of his black shorts. Neither the entrepreneur nor the artist had ever seen a flower like this one. And it wasn_t at all damaged from being in the billionaire_s pocket. Strange. _Flowers are very important to anyone serious about creating magic in their work and private lives,_ spoke the mogul as he sniffed the petals. _Anyhoo, I wanted to mention that my father was a farmer. I grew up on a farm, before we moved to southern California. We thought simple, spoke simple, ate simple and lived simple. You can take the boy out of the country, you know, but you can_t take the country out of the boy,_ he added, expressing an enthusiasm that was contagious while his sights were riveted on the magnificent sea. The entrepreneur and the artist thanked the billionaire profusely. They explained that their adventure so far had been phenomenal and mentioned sincerely that the island and his exclusive beach were more beautiful than anything they had previously seen. _Utopia, isn_t it?_ said the billionaire as he put on his sunglasses. _I am blessed, that_s for sure. I_m so glad you cats are here._ _So, was it your father who got you into the habit of getting up with the sun?_ asked the artist as they strolled along the water_s edge. A tiny crab raced by while three butterflies ascended above. Stunningly, the billionaire started twirling around like a whirling dervish. While he spun, he began to shout these words: _I would have it inscribed on the curtains of your chamber: _If you do not rise early you can make progress in nothing!__ _Um, what are you doing?_ questioned the entrepreneur. _It_s an excellent quote from William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham. For some reason I just felt the need to share it right now. Anyhoo, let me answer the question about my father,_ the billionaire said awkwardly. _Yes and no. I watched him rise early every morning of my childhood. As with any good routine, he did it so many times that it became impossible for him not to do it. But like most kids, I resisted what my dad wanted me to do. I always had some form of rebel within me. I_m a bit of a pirate in a way. Rather than fight a small war with me every day, for whatever reason, he just let me do what I wanted to do. So, I_d sleep. Late._ _Cool father,_ spoke the entrepreneur, who was dressed in yoga gear this morning and carried her device with her to take careful notes. _He was,_ affirmed the billionaire, warmly putting his arms around his students as they continued to walk slowly along the pristine beach. Mr. Riley continued. _It was actually The Spellbinder who taught me The 5 AM Method. I was a young man when I first met him. I_d just launched my first company. I needed someone to guide me, challenge me and develop me as an entrepreneur, a peak achiever and as a leader. Everyone said he was the best executive coach in the world, by far. He had a three-year waiting list. So, I called him every day until he agreed to become my mentor. He was pretty young back then, too. But his teachings had a depth of wisdom, a purity of power and an ingenious impact that was remarkably advanced for his age._ _And the early-rising discipline helped?_ the artist broke in. The billionaire smiled at the artist. And stopped walking. _It was the one practice that changed_and elevated_every other practice. Researchers now call this kind of a core behavior that multiplies all your other regular patterns of performing _a keystone habit._ Wiring it in as a profound neural pathway took some effort, a little suffering along the way and the strongest commitment I had in me. I_ll be honest with you, there were days during the process of automating this routine that I was cranky, days when my head pounded like a jackhammer and mornings when I just wanted to keep sleeping. But once I locked and loaded getting up at 5 AM regularly, my days grew consistently_and vastly_better than anything I_ve ever experienced._ _How?_ both listeners wondered aloud, in unison. The entrepreneur touched one of her fingers on the artist_s arm affectionately, as if to suggest they were together in this experience, that they were now a team and that she had his best interests at heart. The artist locked his eyes onto hers. A gentle grin emerged. The billionaire went on: _In this time of exponential change, overwhelming distractions and overflowing schedules, getting up at 5 AM and running the morning regime The Spellbinder taught me was my antidote to average. No more rushing in my morning! Imagine what that alone does for the quality of your day. Starting your day luxuriating in the quietude only the early morning provides. Beginning your day feeling strong and centered and free. I found that my mind became dramatically more focused as the days progressed. Every great performer, whether we_re talking about a championship athlete, a top-tier executive, a celebrated architect or a revered cellist, has developed the ability to concentrate on optimizing their particular skill for long, uninterrupted periods of time. This capability is one of the special factors that allows them to generate such high-quality results in a world where too many people dilute their cognitive bandwidth and fragment their attention, accepting poor performances and ordinary achievements while leading lives of disappointing mediocrity._ _I definitely agree,_ indicated the artist. _It_s rare to see someone focus on their art for many, many hours in a row these days. The Spellbinder was right when at his session he called people addicted to their devices _cyber zombies._ I see them every day. It_s like they_re not real human beings anymore. More like robots, glued to their screens. Not present. And half-alive to life._ _I hear you,_ said the billionaire. _Protection from distraction is precisely how you need to work if you_re serious about dominating your field and winning at your craft. Neuroscientists call this peak mental state we_re speaking of, where our perception becomes heightened and our availability to original ideas rises and we access an all-new level of processing power, _Flow._ And rising at 5 AM promotes The Flow State gorgeously. Oh_and by getting up at before daybreak, while almost everyone around you is asleep_my creativity also soared, my energy definitely doubled, my productivity surely tripled, my . . ._ _You_re serious?_ the entrepreneur interrupted, unable to contain her fascination with the idea that a simple shift toward a bespoke morning routine could reorder a human life so completely. _Absolutely. Honesty has been one of my core convictions for all my years in business. Nothing beats going to sleep early each night with an unspoiled conscience and a mess-free heart. That_s part of my farm boy nature, I guess,_ observed the billionaire. Abruptly, the entrepreneur_s phone signaled the arrival of an urgent incoming message. _So sorry. I told my team not to call me here. I was clear with them. I can_t imagine why they_re bothering me now,_ she said as she looked down at the screen. In all caps, the following stark words appeared: LEAVE THE COMPANY. OR ELSE YOU DIE. The entrepreneur fumbled with her phone. Then she accidentally dropped it into the sand. Soon she was gasping for air. _What happened?_ the artist asked quickly, sensing trouble. Seeing the blood wash out of his friend_s face and her hands trembling, he repeated with greater intensity and even higher empathy, _What happened?_ The billionaire also appeared concerned. _Are you okay? Do you need some water or something?_ _I just received a death threat. From . . . um . . . my . . . investors. They want my firm. They are . . . um . . . trying to kick me out because they think I have too big a share. They just told me that if I don_t walk away they_ll_um_kill me._ Instantly, the billionaire ripped off the sunglasses he was sporting and held them in the air, making a circling movement. Seconds later, from behind a flourish of palm trees, two large men with earpieces and rifles sprinted down to the beachfront as fast as a cyclist on steroids. _Boss, you all right?_ the tallest of the two big men asked tensely. _Yes,_ came the confident and calm reply to his security detail. _But I need you two to check this out immediately_if it_s cool for me to do this for you,_ he said as he looked at the entrepreneur. _I can help you make this go away._ The billionaire then muttered something to himself. And a flight of doves soared by. _Sure. Yes. I_d appreciate some help,_ the businesswoman replied, her voice still shaking and pearls of perspiration appearing on her forehead, in the area where all those creases were. _Leave this with us,_ declared the billionaire. He then spoke to his protection people, politely yet with an undeniable air of authority. _Seems my guest here is being seriously harassed by some thugs hoping to take over her enterprise. Please figure out exactly what they_re up to and then present me with your solution. _Don_t worry,_ he told the entrepreneur. _My guys are the best in the business. This won_t be a problem._ Mr. Riley articulated this last sentence in a fashion that emphasized each word, for powerful effect. _Thank you very much,_ the entrepreneur responded, looking enormously relieved. The artist held her hand tenderly. _Okay if I continue?_ the billionaire requested as the sun rose higher into the glamorous tropical sky. His guests nodded. An attendant, impeccably attired, emerged from a hut that sat higher up on the beach. It was painted green with white trim. Soon, the aide was serving the richest, most delicious coffee the entrepreneur and the artist had enjoyed in their lives. _Fantastic cognitive enhancer when consumed in moderation each morning,_ expounded the billionaire as he sipped away. _And it_s packed with antioxidants, so coffee also slows aging. _Anyhoo_where were we? I was telling you about the awesome benefit that flowed to me after I joined The 5 AM Club and ran the morning methodology The Spellbinder revealed to me. It_s called The 20/20/20 Formula and, trust me, once you learn this concept alone and then apply it with persistency, your productivity, prosperity, performance and impact will increase exponentially. I can_t think of another ritual that has contributed to my success and well-being as much. I_m exceedingly low-key about what I_ve been able to accomplish in my business career. I_ve always viewed bragging as a major defect of character. The more powerful a person truly is, the less they need to promote it. And the stronger a leader is, the less they need to announce it._ _The Spellbinder spoke a bit about what you_ve been able to achieve,_ offered the entrepreneur, now looking even more relaxed. _And the wild way you dressed at the conference definitely confirmed it!_ interjected the artist, flashing a sensational smile that showcased a few broken teeth. _Rising at 5 AM every morning was the main personal practice that made most of that happen. Allowed me to become a visionary thinker. Gave me a reflective space to develop a formidable inner life. The discipline helped me to become ultra-fit, with all the beautiful income advancements as well as lifestyle enhancements that come with superior health. Early rising also made me a pretty amazing leader. And it helped me grow myself into a much better person. Even when the prostate cancer tried to devastate me, it was my morning routine that insulated me. It really was. I_ll go into The 20/20/20 Formula in an upcoming lesson so you_ll know exactly what to do to get amazing results from the first moment you wake up. You cats won_t believe the power and value of the information that_s coming. I_m so excited for you two. Welcome to Paradise. And welcome to the first day of a substantially better life._ * * * The entrepreneur slept more soundly that night in Mauritius than she had in years. Despite the threat she had received, the combination of the billionaire_s brief instruction, the magnificence of the natural setting, the purity of the clean ocean air and her growing fondness for the artist caused her to let go of many of her concerns. And rediscover a state of calm she_d long since forgotten. Then, at precisely 3:33 AM, she heard a thunderous bang on her door. She knew it was this time because she glanced at the alarm clock on the wooden night table in the stylish guesthouse her host had arranged for her to stay in. The entrepreneur assumed it was the artist, perhaps dealing with jet lag or sleepless after the excellent yet large dinner they had enjoyed together. Without asking who it was, she opened the door. No one was there. _Hello?_ she announced to a star-filled sky. Waves softly collided with the seashore near her cottage, and the scents of roses, incense and sandalwood could be detected in the breeze. _Anyone here?_ Silence. The entrepreneur carefully shut the door. This time, she bolted the lock. As she shuffled back to her bed that was covered with Egyptian cottons and English linens, three mighty knocks pounded on the door. _Yes?_ cried the entrepreneur, now alarmed. _Yes?_ _We have the morning coffee you ordered, Madam,_ a husky voice replied. The entrepreneur_s face was crowded by crevices again. Her heart began to thump vigorously. She grew deeply distressed, and her stomach filled with knots as humungous as the Alps. _They_re bringing me coffee at this nutso hour? Unbelievable._ She returned to the front of the guest house, undid the lock and opened the front door, haltingly. A stocky man with a disagreeable bald head and one eye that seemed out of joint stood there, smirking. He wore a red windbreaker and denim shorts that dropped just below his knees. Around his neck was a thin piece of blue string. Dangling from it was a plastic-laminated photo of a person_s face. The entrepreneur squinted to see the face more clearly in the darkness. And as she did, she saw the image of an older man. One she knew very well. One she loved very much. One she missed considerably. The picture in the plastic she was studying was of her dead father. _Who are you?_ screamed the terrified entrepreneur. _How did you get this photo?_ _I_ve been sent by your business partners. We know everything there is to know about you. Everything. We_ve tracked all your personal data. We_ve hacked all your files. We_ve investigated your entire history._ The bald man in the windbreaker reached under the front of his belt_and pulled out a knife, bringing it to within a few inches of the entrepreneur_s thin and particularly veiny throat. _No one can protect you now. We have an entire team focused on you. I_m not going to hurt you . . . yet. This time_s just about me making a point. Giving you an in-person message . . . Leave your company. Give up your equity. And say bye-bye. Or you get this blade in your neck. When you least expect it . . . when you think you_re safe. Maybe with that chubby painter friend of yours . . ._ The man pulled the knife away and replaced it under his belt. _Have a good night, Madam. It_s been a pleasure meeting you. I know we_ll see each other soon._ Then he reached forward and pulled the door shut with a slam. The entrepreneur, badly shaken, fell to her knees. _Please, God. Help me. I can_t take this anymore! I don_t want to die._ Three more strikes came to the door. These ones were gentler. _Hey, it_s me. Please open the door._ The knocking startled the entrepreneur. And woke her up. The tapping continued. She opened her eyes, peered around the lightless room_and realized she_d been caught in a bad dream. The businesswoman rose from her bed, shuffled across the wide-planked oak floor and opened the front door, knowing it was the artist after hearing his familiar voice. _I just had the most insane dream,_ said the entrepreneur. _A brutal man showed up here, had a piece of plastic hanging from his neck with a photo of my dad in it and threatened to stab me with a knife if I didn_t give my firm over to the investors._ _You okay now?_ the artist asked softly. _I_ll be fine._ _I had an unusual dream, too,_ the artist explained. _I couldn_t sleep after it. It_s got me thinking about so many things. The quality of my art. The depth of my belief system. The foolishness of my excuses. My cynical attitude. My aggressiveness. My self-sabotage and my endless procrastination. I_m analyzing my daily routines. And how I_ll spend the rest of my life. Hey, you sure you_re okay?_ the artist questioned, realizing he was talking a little too much about himself and not empathizing with his alarmed companion. _I_m fine. Better now that you_re here._ _You sure?_ _Yes._ _I missed you,_ the artist said. _Do you mind if I tell you more about my dream?_ _Go ahead,_ encouraged the entrepreneur. _Well, I was a little kid, at school. And every day, I_d pretend I was two things: a giant and a pirate. All day long, I believed I had the strength of a giant and the rule-breaking swagger of a pirate. I told my teachers I was these two characters. And at home, I told my parents the same thing. My teachers laughed at me_and put me down, telling me to be more realistic, to behave more like the other kids and to stop all my ridiculous dreaming._ _What did your parents say? Were they kinder to you?_ asked the entrepreneur, now sitting on the sofa with her legs crossed in a yoga posture. _Same as my teachers. They told me I wasn_t a giant. And that I definitely was no pirate. They reminded me that I was a little boy. And told me that if I didn_t limit my imagination, stifle my creativity and put an end to my fantasies, they_d punish me._ _So, what happened?_ _I did what I was told to do. I caved in. I bought into the attitudes of the adults. I made myself tinier instead of grander, so I_d be a good boy. I suffocated my hopes, gifts and powers in an effort to conform_like most people do every single day of their lives. I_m starting to realize how much we_ve been hypnotized away from our brilliance and brainwashed out of our genius. The Spellbinder and the billionaire are right._ _Tell me more about your dream,_ the entrepreneur urged. _I began to mold myself to the system. I started to become a follower. I no longer believed I was as powerful as a giant and as swashbuckling as a pirate. I sheepwalked with the flock, becoming like everybody else. Eventually I grew into a man who spent money I didn_t have, buying things I didn_t need to impress people I didn_t like. What a poor way to live._ _I do some of that behavior too,_ admitted the entrepreneur. _I_m learning so much about myself, thanks to this very weird and hugely useful voyage. I_m starting to realize how superficial I_ve been, how selfish I am and how many good things I actually have going for me in my life. Many people in the world couldn_t even imagine experiencing all the blessings I have._ _Got you,_ said the artist. _So, in my dream, I became a bookkeeper. I married and had a family. I lived in a subdivision. And drove a good car. I had a fairly nice life. A few true friends. Work that paid my mortgage, and a salary that handled my bills. But each day looked the same. Gray versus vivid. Boring instead of enchanting. As I got older, the children left home to live lives of their own. My body aged, and my energy fell. And, unfortunately, my wife in my dream passed away. As I grew even older, my eyesight began to fail, my hearing began to fade and my memory became extremely weak._ _This is making me feel sad,_ voiced the entrepreneur, sounding vulnerable. _And when I got really old, I actually forgot where I lived, couldn_t remember my name and lost all sense of who I was in the community. ButFiltered this_I began to remember who I truly was again._ _A giant. And a pirate. Right?_ _Exactly!_ replied the artist. _The dream made me understand that I can_t postpone doing amazing work anymore. That I can_t put off improving my health, my happiness, my confidence and even my love life._ _Really?_ wondered the entrepreneur wistfully. _Really,_ responded the artist. He then reached forward. And kissed her on the forehead. Chapter 9 A Framework for the Expression of Greatness _The men who are great live with that which is substantial, they do not stay with that which is superficial; they abide with realities, they remain not with what is showy. The one they discard, the other they hold._ _Lao Tzu _Hey, cats,_ boomed the billionaire. _You_re right on time, as usual. Nice work!_ It was 5 AM and, while the retreating outline of the moon remained in the sky, the rays of a new dawn greeted the three human beings standing on the perfect beach. The perfumed ocean breeze swirled with notes of red hibiscus, clove and tuberose. A Mauritius kestrel, the rarest falcon in the world, flew overhead, and a pink pigeon_the scarcest on the planet_minded its business near a lush cluster of palm trees. A family of geckos shot by on their way to someplace important and a giant Aldabra tortoise crawled along a grassy bank above the shore. All this natural splendor elevated the joy and electrified the spirits of the three members of The 5 AM Club who stood on the sand. The billionaire pointed to a bottle floating in the ocean. As he waved his finger from side to side, the bottle moved from side to side. When he twirled a digit, the bottle in the water swirled with it. And when he lifted a hand slowly, the bottle appeared to rise above the surface of the ocean. Soon the container washed up onto the wet sand and it became clear that a swatch of silk had been rolled up inside of it. Picture how mysterious all this seemed. _A message in a bottle,_ declared the billionaire happily. He started clapping his hands like a little tyke. He sure was an abnormal and totally wonderful character. _This conveniently sets the tone for my mentoring session with you this morning,_ he added. The industrialist then lifted the vessel, unscrewed the cap and pulled out the fabric, which had the framework below stitched onto it: _This is one of the simplest yet gnarliest of the teaching models The Spellbinder shared when he started coaching me as a young man,_ explained the billionaire, using more of his surfer slang. _And it_ll provide the context for all the teachings that will follow. So, I really want you both to understand it intimately. At first glance, it seems like a really basic model. But as you integrate it over time, you_ll see how profound it is._ Mr. Riley then closed his eyes, covered his ears with his hands and recited these words: The beginning of transformation is the increase of perception. As you see more you can materialize more. And once you know better you can achieve bigger. The great women and men of the world_the ones responsible for the magical symphonies, the beautiful movements, the advancements of science and the progress of technology_started by reengineering their thinking and reinventing their awareness. In so doing, they entered a secret universe that the majority could not perceive. And this, in turn, allowed them to make the daily choices few choose to make. Which, automatically, delivered the daily results few get to experience. The tycoon reopened his eyes. He raised an index finger to his lips, as if immersed in some splendidly weighty insight. Looking intently at the framework embedded into the silk, he continued, _Heroes, titans and icons all have a personal trait that average performers just don_t show, you know._ _Which is?_ asked the artist, who was dressed goofily in a muscle shirt and a Speedo swimsuit. _Rigor,_ replied the billionaire. _The best in the world have depth. Members of the majority often get stuck in a mindset of superficiality in their work. Their whole approach is light. No real preparation. Very little contemplation and then the setting of a towering vision for the desired outcome along with patiently considering the sequencing of executions that will result in an awesome result. The 95% of performers don_t invest painstaking attention into the tiniest of details and fail to refine the smallest of finishes like the great masters do. For most people the truth is that it_s all about the path of least resistance. Getting what they need to get done fast and just sneaking by. Mailing it in instead of bringing it on. The minority of exceptional creative achievers operate under a completely different philosophy._ _Tell me,_ appealed the artist, intrigued. _They apply a mentality of granularity instead of a mindset of superficiality. They have encoded depth as a lifetime value and exist under a profound insistence on greatness in all that they do. Exceptionalists fully understand that their creative output_no matter if they are bricklayers or bakers, chief executive officers or dairy farmers, astronauts or cashiers_represents their reputation. The best, in any endeavor, appreciate the fact that your good name is branded onto every piece of work that you release. And they get that you can_t put a price tag on people saying superb things about you._ The billionaire rubbed the bottle. Then he held it up and viewed the last evidence of the disappearing moon through its glass before continuing his discourse. _But it goes deeper than social approval,_ the industrialist indicated. _The grade of work you offer to the world reflects the strength of the respect you have for yourself. Those with unfathomable personal esteem wouldn_t dare send out anything average. It would diminish them too much. _If you want to lead your field,_ Mr. Riley went on, _become a performer and person of depth,_ he reinforced. _Commit to being a highly unusual human being instead of one of those timid souls who behave like everyone else, living a sloppy life instead of a magnificent one, a derivative life instead of an original one._ _Profound,_ the artist contributed, showing great exuberance while taking off his muscle shirt to get some sun. _In their work, the maestros of mastery are extraordinarily thoughtful. They think precisely about what they are doing. They hold their labor to the highest of standards and sweat the smallest of strokes, like master sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini did as he crafted Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi_Fountain of the Four Rivers_his masterpiece that sits gloriously in the center of Piazza Navona in Rome. Such producers are meticulous and craft at near-flawless. And, as obvious as this sounds, they just really, really, really care._ _But people have a lot to do in their days, these days,_ interjected the entrepreneur. _This isn_t the 1600s. My inbox is full. My schedule is packed. I have back-to-back meetings most days. I need to do pitches. I feel like I can never keep up with all that_s coming at me. Shooting for mastery isn_t easy._ _I understand,_ the billionaire replied kindly. _Less is more, you know? You_re attempting too much. Geniuses understand that it_s smarter to create one masterwork than one thousand ordinary pieces. One of the reasons I love being around the finest art is that the belief systems, emotional inspiration and ways of working of those great virtuosos rub off on me. And I can tell you with absolute certainty, these epic performers inhabited an entirely different universe than most people in business and society populate today, as I_ve suggested._ Just then, a brilliantly colored butterfly perched on the very tip of Stone Riley_s left ear. He smiled and said, _Hey, little buddy_nice to see you again._ The magnate then added, _When you deconstruct how the superstars, virtuosos and geniuses achieved what they did, you_ll realize that it was their heightened awareness of the opportunities for daily greatness that inspired them to make the better daily choices that yielded better daily results._ Mr. Riley pointed to the learning model. _That_s the power of self-education,_ he went on. _As you become aware of new ideas, you_ll grow as a producer and as a person. As you escalate your personal and professional development, the level at which you implement and execute around your gorgeous ambitions will rise. And, of course, as your ability to make your dreams and visions into reality increases, you_ll be rewarded with greater income and higher impact,_ the magnate spoke as he tapped a finger onto step three of the diagram. _This is why agreeing to this training with me was such a smart move. And this is what this framework here is designed to teach you._ The billionaire scratched his lean abs. And inhaled a deep breath of ocean air. _And may I say that because of the way the remarkable ones saw the world and how they behaved when it came to their crafts, and because they showed up in their lives so very differently from the way the mass of humanity operates, they were called kooks. Misfits. Weirdos. They weren_t!_ exclaimed the billionaire, exuberantly. _They just played at a much higher level_in rare-air. They brought rigor to what they did. They_d spend weeks, months, sometimes years getting the finishing touches perfect. They forced themselves to stay with the work when they felt alone or scared or bored. They persisted in the translation of their heroic visions into everyday reality when they were misunderstood, ridiculed and even attacked. God, I admire the great geniuses of the world. I really do._ __The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it,__ offered the artist succinctly. The entrepreneur looked at him as she began to rub a bracelet on her wrist. _George Orwell said that,_ he pronounced. _And _Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul,__ the artist carried on. _Alice Walker said that._ _The masters produce in a way that ordinary workers would label as _obsessive,__ expounded the industrialist. _But the reality of remarkability is that what The 95% of performers call _picky behavior_ surrounding an important project, The Top 5% of creators know is simply the price of admission for world-class. Here, look at the model again so we can bring even more precision to your understanding around it,_ instructed the billionaire as he touched the diagram on the piece of silk. _The majority of people on the planet today really are trapped in superficiality,_ he confirmed. _Superficial understanding of their power to rise. Superficial intimacy with the possibilities of their potential. Superficial knowledge of the neurobiology of mastery, the daily routines of the world-builders and the very ambitions they wish to prioritize the remainder of their lives around. The majority is stuck in vague, imprecise thinking. And vague, imprecise thinking yields vague, imprecise results. A quick example: ask the average person for directions and most of the time, you_ll discover, their instructions are unclear. That_s because the way they think is unclear,_ said the billionaire as he picked up a stick from the beach and pointed it toward the word _granularity_ on the framework. _Legendary achievers are vastly different. They get that amateur levels of awareness will never lead to the highest grade of professional results. Another example that I hope will dial in this important insight for you two. I_m a huge fan of Formula One racing. I was invited to hang out with my favorite team in the pit area recently. Their attention to the slightest of particulars, their dedication to the demonstration of extreme excellence and their willingness to do whatever it took to make things great was not only validating but tremendously inspiring. Again, to the ordinary person, the suggestion of the need for an obsessive attention to the most minor of details and the importance of a ridiculously rigorous approach in their pro and private lives seems odd. But that F1 crew! Their flawless calibration of the race car, their superhuman speed in executing pit stops and even the way they cleaned the pit area with an industrial vacuum cleaner after the car roared away so there wasn_t even a hint of dirt anywhere was fantastic. This is my point. The Top 5% go granular versus applying a superficial mindset to their daily attitudes, behaviors and activities._ _They really sweat the fine points so much they removed the dirt from the pit area after the race car left?_ questioned the artist, fascinated. _Yep,_ remarked the billionaire. _They swept and vacuumed the whole bay. And when I asked them why, they told me that if even a molecule of sediment got into the race machine_s engine it could cost them a win. Or even worse_it could result in the loss of a life. Actually, any small failure of even one team member to act with precision could create a tragedy. One loose screw left by an unfocused crew member could lead to a calamity. One checklist item missed by a distracted associate might cause a catastrophe. Or one missing measurement overlooked by a squad partner leaving some of his precious attention on the phone he was playing with prior to the pit stop could cost a victory._ _I_m beginning to agree with you that the approach you are speaking of is important,_ admitted the entrepreneur. _Very few businesspeople and those in other fields like the arts, sciences and sports think and behave like this anymore. It used to be normal, I guess. Developing high awareness around the things that we do and having a painstaking approach to making our work perfect. Refining the details. Sweating the little points. Producing with precision rather than being unprofessional and careless. Underpromising and overdelivering. Taking immense pride in our craft. Going deep and embracing_to use your words_granularity versus superficiality._ _I must give credit where it_s due,_ said the billionaire humbly. _This languaging and this model was taught to me by The Spellbinder. But, yes. Small things matter when it comes to mastery. I read somewhere that the space shuttle Challenger disaster, which broke so many hearts, was caused by the failure of a single O-ring seal that some experts valued at seventy cents. A horrific ending of lives was caused by a flaw around what appeared to be an insignificant detail._ _This all makes me think of the Dutch genius Vermeer,_ the artist contributed. _He was a painter who pursued work of the highest quality. He experimented with different techniques that would allow natural light to fall in a way that made his art look three-dimensional. There was such a depth to what he created. Such attractiveness to each stroke and such refinement in every move. So, I agree too: The average artist has a really light, basic, impatient approach to their painting. Their focus is more on the cash than on the craft. Their attention is on the fame, not the finesse. I guess that because of this, they never build the higher awareness and acumen that will help them make the better choices that will give them the better results that will make them the legends of their fields. I_m starting to get how powerful this simple model is._ _I love Vermeer_s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter and, of course, Girl with a Pearl Earring,_ said the billionaire, cementing the fact that he appreciated great art. _I love this insight that you_re sharing with us,_ observed the entrepreneur as her eyes widened. She then grasped the artist_s hand. Mr. Riley winked. _I knew this was coming,_ he muttered with obvious happiness on seeing their growing romantic connection. He closed his eyes, once again. The butterfly was still sitting on the ear of the eccentric tycoon. As it flapped its exotic-colored wings, Mr. Riley spoke these words from the mighty poet Rumi: Gamble everything for love, if you are a true human being. If not, leave this gathering. Half-heartedness doesn_t reach into majesty. _Can I ask you a question?_ wondered the entrepreneur. _Absolutely,_ replied the billionaire. _How does this philosophy of rigor and granularity play out in personal relationships?_ _Not well,_ was the candid reply of the shirtless baron. _The Spellbinder schooled me on a concept called _The Dark Side of Genius._ Basically, the idea is that every human gift comes with a downside. And the very quality that makes you special in one area is the same one that makes you a misfit in another. The reality is that many of the great virtuosos of the world had messy private lives. The very gifts of seeing a vision few else could see, holding themselves to the absolute highest of standards, being content alone for long stretches of time as they worked monomaniacally detailing the most minor points on their projects, behaving relentlessly in following through on their masterpieces, acting with rarely seen self-discipline and listening to their hearts while ignoring their critics made personal relationships hard. They were misunderstood and seen as _difficult_ and _different,_ _rigid_ and _unbalanced.__ The billionaire then fell to the sand and started doing more push-ups at a ferocious pace. Next, while staring at a white dove that glided over the roof of his oceanside home, he did twenty burpees. Then he carried on. _And many of these legends of creativity, productivity and world-class performance were out of balance,_ the magnate stated. _They were perfectionists, mavericks and fanatics. This is The Dark Side of Genius. The very things that make you amazing at your craft can devastate your home life. Just telling you cats the truth,_ observed the billionaire as he sipped from a water bottle that had tiny lettering on it. If you looked at it closely and carefully, here_s what you_d read: Philip of Macedonia in a message to Sparta: _You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people and raze your city._ Sparta_s reply: _If._ _But just because your gifts have downsides to them doesn_t mean you shouldn_t express them!_ expounded the billionaire energetically. _You just need to develop awareness around where they can lead you into trouble in your personal life and then manage those traps. And this brings me beautifully back to this morning_s learning model that really does set the stage for everything you_ll learn about the transformational value of The 5 AM Club_and how to lock it in as an enduring habit._ The industrialist bent down, picked up a sea-worn stick and touched it to the silk swatch. _Please always remember the core maxim for elite performance that this framework for personal greatness has been built around: with better daily awareness you can make better daily choices, and with better daily choices you_ll start seeing better daily results. The Spellbinder calls this The 3 Step Success Formula. See, with better awareness of your natural ability to achieve great things, for example, or on how installing The 5 AM Method into your morning routine will upgrade your productivity, you_ll rise from the community of superficiality that currently dominates the Earth up into the society of granularity. This heightened level of insight and consciousness will then optimize your daily decisions. And, logically, once you get your daily choices right, you_ll accelerate your leadership, accomplishment and impact dramatically. Because it_s your decisions that make your results._ _For one of our coaching sessions,_ the billionaire continued, _The Spellbinder and I met in Lucerne, Switzerland. Such a pretty city set on a magnificent lake surrounded by breathtaking mountains. Sort of a fairy-tale kind of a place. Anyhoo, one morning he ordered a pot of hot water, along with some lemon wedges so he could have the fresh lemon tea he enjoys sipping most mornings. Here_s the thing . . ._ _This should be interesting,_ the artist interrupted as he scratched an arm with a tattoo built around an Andy Warhol quote that said: _I never think that people die. They just go to department stores._ _The tray arrived,_ the billionaire went on. _Perfect silverware. Excellent china. Everything calibrated to the highest order. And get this: whoever cut the lemons in the kitchen exercised the deep-craft rigor essential to sustained mastery by actually going the extra mile_and carving the seeds out of the wedges. Amazing, right?_ The billionaire began to do the same quirky dance that he did at the conference center. Then he stopped. The entrepreneur and the artist shook their heads. _A pretty uncommon level of care and attention to detail in a world of such superficiality and performers stuck in apathy,_ said the entrepreneur, pretending not to be distracted by the mogul_s dancing. _The Spellbinder calls the phenomenon pervading commerce these days _The Collective De-Professionalization of Business,__ noted the billionaire. _People who should be working, delighting customers, showcasing extraordinary skills, unlocking otherworldly value for their organizations so both they and their firms experience success are watching inane videos on their phones, shopping online for shoes or scrolling through their social feeds. I_ve never seen people so disengaged at work, so checked out and so exhausted. And I_ve never seen people making so many mistakes._ The billionaire pointed the crooked stick at The 3 Step Success Formula again. _Deseeding the lemon wedges is a fine metaphor to challenge you to consistently make the shift from superficiality to granularity. Real rigor in terms of your approach to not only what you do at work but how you operate in your private life. True depth as it relates to how you think, behave and deliver. Healthy perfectionism_and an unyielding quest to be the best that you are capable of becoming is what I_m suggesting to you two good folks here on this awesome beach. This will give you what The Spellbinder calls a _GCA: Gargantuan Competitive Advantage._ It_s never been so easy to own the sport in business today because so few performers are doing the things required to reach industry dominance. Mastery is a rarity, and people who play at a brilliant level are a scarcity. So, the field is yours! If you show up the way I_m encouraging you to show up. Here_s the powerful insight: There_s a ton of competition at ordinary, but there_s almost none at extraordinary. There_s never been such a glamorous opportunity to become peerless because so few people are dedicated to world-class in this age of such scattered focus, eroded values and deteriorated faith in ourselves along with the inherent primal power we hold. How often do you meet someone at a store or in a restaurant who is fully present, astoundingly polite, unusually knowledgeable, full of enthusiasm, incredibly hardworking, intensely imaginative, noticeably inventive and gaspworthily great at what they do? Almost never, right?_ _Yes,_ acknowledged the entrepreneur. _I_d have to interview thousands of people to find one treasure like this._ _So, you cats have a GCA! Lucky you,_ shouted the billionaire. _You can pretty much dominate your fields because so few are like this now. Raise your commitment. Step up your standards. And then get busy on hardwiring in this way of being as your default. And that_s really important: you have to optimize daily. Consistency really is the DNA of mastery. And small, daily, seemingly insignificant improvements when done consistently over time yield staggering results. Please remember that great companies and wonderful lives don_t happen by sudden revolution. Nope. They materialize via incremental evolution. Tiny, daily wins and iterations stack into outcomes of excellence, over the long-term. But few of us have the patience these days to endure the long game. As a result, not many of us ever become legends._ _All this information is fantastic. And so valuable for my art,_ the artist said gratefully as he put his shirt back on. _Wonderful to hear,_ acknowledged the billionaire. _Look, I know that you both have experienced a ton of learning in a very short time. I understand that getting up early is a new skill you_re installing and everything you_ve heard about chasing greatness, leaving the crowd, relinquishing average and renouncing ordinary is probably overwhelming. So just breathe_and relax, please. Exceptionalism is a journey. Virtuosity is a voyage. Rome wasn_t built in a day, right?_ _Right,_ agreed the artist. _Definitely,_ accepted the entrepreneur. _And I also get that rising into the more pure reaches of your superior strengths and most sovereign human gifts is an uncomfortable and scary process. I_ve been through it and the rewards that are on their way to you as you remain dedicated to learning The 5 AM Method are worth more than any amount of money, fame and worldly power you_ll ever have. And what I_ve taught you today is a necessary component to the system for waking before daybreak and preparing yourself to be an elite achiever and luminous human being that we_ll go much deeper into in our upcoming sessions together. I guess what I really want to say before I let you cats go for this morning, so you can go have some fun, is that while growth as a producer and as a person can be hard_it truly is the finest work a human being can ever do. And fully remember that you are most alive when your heart beats quickest. And we are most awake when our fears scream loudest._ _So, we need to keep going ahead, right?_ confirmed the entrepreneur as a lovely ocean breeze washed through her brown hair. _Absolutely,_ said the tycoon. _All shadows of insecurity dissolve in the warm glow of persistency. _Okay. One last example about assuming a rigorous approach in your professional and home life and gaining a GCA by going all granular on important projects, around essential skills and during meaningful activities. After that, I_d love for you two to go swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing. You should see the spectacular lunch my team has prepared for you! I need to head into Port Louis for a meeting, but I really hope you both will make yourselves at home. So . . ._ Mr. Riley stopped for a moment, reached down and touched his toes four times while muttering the following mantra: _Today is a glorious day and I_ll live it at excellence, with boundless enthusiasm and limitless integrity, true to my visions and with a heart full of love. _I remember reading an article,_ the billionaire continued, _where the CEO of Moncler, the Italian fashion company, was asked what his favorite food was. He replied it was spaghetti pomodoro. Then he shared that while this dish seems strikingly simple to prepare as it_s only pasta, fresh tomatoes, olive oil and basil, the executive remarked that to get the _calibration_ correct takes unusual expertise and uncommon prowess. That_s an important word for all three of us to keep top of mind as we tighten up our A-games, elevate our performance and accelerate our contribution to the world: calibration. Dialing in the finest of attitudes and refining the littlest of details is what granularity and ascension into the orbit of your inherent genius_and a life magically lived_is all about._ The eccentric magnate then placed the piece of silk from the bottle into a pocket of his shorts. And vanished. Chapter 10 The 4 Focuses of History-Makers _The life given us, by nature is short, but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal._ _Cicero The sunrise was dazzling as the entrepreneur and the artist walked hand-in-hand along the seashore to meet the billionaire at the designated meeting spot for the next morning_s mentoring class. Mr. Riley was already there when they arrived, sitting on the sand, eyes closed in a deep meditation. He was shirtless, wearing camouflage-patterned shorts similar to the ones The Spellbinder styled the day he appeared on the beach and a pair of rubber diving booties with smiley face emojis scattered over them. You would have been more than amused if you saw him in them. An assistant rushed out of the billionaire_s home the instant he raised a hand toward the heavens, displaying the universal victory sign. Three crisp pages of paper were efficiently extracted from a shiny black leather satchel and handed to the titan of industry without a word being exchanged. Stone Riley simply offered a slight bow of appreciation. In turn, he gave a sheet to each of his two students. It was exactly 5 AM. The billionaire then picked up a seashell and skipped it across the water. It appeared as if he had something profound on his mind this morning. Gone were the usual lightheartedness, festivity and awkward antics. _You okay?_ inquired the entrepreneur as she touched a bracelet engraved with the words _Straight on hustle. Rise and grind. I_ll sleep when I_m dead._ The tycoon read the words on the bangle. He placed a finger onto his lips. _Who will cry when you die?_ he asked. _What?_ exclaimed the artist. _What will those who know you whisper about how you lived once you_re no longer here?_ The billionaire articulated the question in the manner of a skilled actor. _You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last._ _Those are your thoughts? Brilliant,_ stated the artist. The billionaire looked mildly embarrassed. _I wish! No, they belong to the stoic philosopher Seneca. They came from his treatise On the Shortness of Life._ _So why are we talking about death on this beautiful morning exactly?_ queried the entrepreneur, appearing a little uncomfortable. _Because most of us alive today wish we had more time. Yet we waste the time we have. Thinking about dying brings what matters most into much sharper focus. You_ll stop allowing digital distraction, cyber diversions and online nuisances to steal the irreplaceable hours of the blessing called your life. You never get your days back, you know?_ said the billionaire in a friendly but firm fashion. _I reread Chasing Daylight yesterday after my meeting in town. It_s the true story of high-powered CEO Eugene O_Kelly, who was informed he had only a few months left to live when his doctor discovered he had three brain tumors._ _So, what did he do?_ asked the artist softly. _He organized his last days with the same commitment to orderliness he ran his business life by. O_Kelly tried to make up for the school concerts he_d missed, the family outings he_d passed up and the friendships he_d forgotten. In one part of the book he shared how he_d ask a friend out for a walk in nature and that this _was sometimes not only the final time we would take such a leisurely walk together but also the first time.__ _Sad,_ was the contribution of the entrepreneur as she nervously played with her bracelet. The worry lines on her forehead reappeared in full blazing glory. _Then last night I watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, one of my favorite movies,_ the billionaire continued. _It_s also a true story, about a man who was also atop the world, an editor-in-chief of French Elle magazine. Jean-Dominique Bauby had it all and then suffered a stroke that left him unable to move any muscle in his body_except for his left eyelid. The condition_s called _locked-in syndrome._ His mind still worked perfectly. But it was as if his body was encased in a diving bell, totally paralyzed._ _Sad,_ said the artist, echoing his companion. Filtered this,_ added Mr. Riley. _His rehabilitation therapists taught him a communication method called _silent alphabet_ which allowed him to form letters of words by blinking. And with their help, he wrote a book about his experience_and the essential meaning of life. It took him two hundred thousand blinks, but he completed the book._ _I have nothing to complain about,_ the entrepreneur said quietly. _He passed away shortly after the book was published,_ the billionaire kept on. _But the point I_m trying to offer with all this is that life is very, very fragile. There are people who will wake up today, take a shower, put on their clothes, drink their coffee, eat their oatmeal_and then be killed in a motor vehicle collision on their way to the office. That_s just life happening. So, my advice to you two special human beings is not to put off doing whatever it takes to express your natural genius. Live in a way that feels true to you and pay attention to the small miracles every day brings._ _I hear you,_ commented the artist as he tugged a dreadlock and fidgeted with the Panama hat he_d chosen to wear for this morning_s coaching session. _I do, too,_ stated the entrepreneur somberly. _Enjoy every sandwich,_ added the artist. _Very wise insight,_ said Mr. Riley. _It_s not mine,_ the artist replied sheepishly. _They are the words of songwriter Warren Zevon. He spoke them after he discovered he was terminally ill._ _Be grateful for every moment. Don_t be timid when it comes to your ambitions. Stop wasting time on insanely trivial things. And make it a priority to reclaim the creativity, fire and potential that is dormant within you. It_s so important to do so. Why do you think Plato encouraged us to _know thyself_? He understood intimately that we have vast reservoirs of ability that absolutely must be accessed and then applied in order for us to lead energetic, joyful, peaceful and meaningful lives. To neglect this hidden force inside of us is to create a breeding ground for the pain of potential unused, the frustration of fearlessness unembraced and the lethargy of mastery unexplored._ A kite surfer whizzed by. And a school of crown squirrelfish sailed through the water that was as clear as Abe Lincoln_s conscience. _This brings us beautifully to what I wanted to walk you through this morning. Please look carefully at your sheet of paper,_ the billionaire instructed. Here is the learning model that the two students saw: History-Maker Focus N1: Capitalization IQ The mogul explained the concept of capitalization developed by eminent psychologist James Flynn. The valuable insight he conceived is that what makes a legendary performer so good isn_t the amount of natural talent they are born into but the extent of that potential they actualize_and capitalize. _Many of the finest athletes in the world,_ Mr. Riley observed, _had less innate skill than their competition. But it was their exceptional dedication, commitment and drive to maximize whatever strengths they had that made them iconic. _It_s the old _It_s not the size of the dog in the fight, it_s the size of the fight in the dog_ insight,_ declared the billionaire as he rubbed his chiseled abdominals absentmindedly and put on a new pair of sunglasses, the kind you_d see on a surfer in southern California. _The Spellbinder taught me early on that by joining The 5 AM Club, I_d have a gorgeous window of opportunity every morning to cultivate my highest assets, take some time for myself and do the preparation needed for me to make each day a tiny gem. He helped me understand that successful people use their mornings well and that by rising before daybreak, I_d win a primary victory that would set me up for a triumphant day._ _I never seem to have any _me time,__ interjected the entrepreneur. _My schedule_s always so full,_ she repeated. _I_d love to have a block in the morning to recharge my batteries_and do some things that would make me a happier and better person._ _Exactly,_ remarked the billionaire. _So many of us lead time-starved lives. We absolutely need to have at least an hour first thing in the morning to refuel, grow and become healthier, more peaceful people. Getting up at 5 AM and then running The 20/20/20 Formula, which you_ll soon learn will give you an extraordinary head start on your days. You_ll be able to concentrate on high-value activities instead of letting your day control you. You_ll experience energy you never knew you had. The joyfulness you_ll reclaim will blow you away. And your sense of personal freedom will totally soar._ Mr. Riley then turned around to display a temporary tattoo on his muscled back. It bore a quote by French philosopher Albert Camus that read: _The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion._ Below these words, on the industrialist_s back, was an image of a phoenix rising from the flames. It looked exactly like this: _I so need this,_ the entrepreneur said. _I know my productivity, gratefulness and calmness would improve so much if I had some personal time every morning before it all gets so hectic._ _Me, too,_ said the artist. _An hour to myself every morning to reflect and prepare would be a game-changer for my art. And for my life._ _The Spellbinder taught me early on that investing sixty minutes in developing my best self and my greatest skills during what he called _The Victory Hour_ would transform the way the rest of my life unfolded mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. He promised it would give me one of those Gargantuan Competitive Advantages we discussed yesterday. And lead to the formation of absolute empires of creativity, money, joy and helpfulness to humanity. And I need to say he was completely right. _Anyhoo,_ chirped the billionaire. _Back to the concept of capitalization and the importance of intelligently exploiting whatever primal gifts you_ve been given. Too many among us have bought into the collective hypnosis that those with extraordinary skill are cut from a different cloth and have been divinely blessed by The Gods of Exceptional Talent. But that just ain_t so,_ observed the billionaire, a wisp of his farm boy manner emerging. _Dedication and discipline beats brilliance and giftedness every day of the week. And A-Players don_t get lucky. They make lucky. Each time you resist a temptation and pursue an optimization you invigorate your heroism. Every instant you do that which you know to be right over the thing that you feel would be easy, you facilitate your entry into the hall of fame of epic achievers._ The billionaire stared at a gigantic seagull clutching its slimy breakfast. He then released a loud burp. _Oops. So sorry,_ he spoke in the tone of apology. _As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the latest research emerging on successful people is confirming that our private story about our potential is the key performance indicator on whether we actually exploit that potential._ _What do you mean?_ requested the entrepreneur as she stopped taking notes on her device to look into the eyes of the billionaire, who had now put on a tight t-shirt that read, _Victims have big TVs. Leaders own large libraries._ _Well, if you_re running a mental narrative that says that you don_t have what it takes to be a superb leader in business or an acclaimed expert of your craft, then you won_t even start the adventure of getting there, will you? And world-class is a process, not an event. Running a limiting psychological program that says _everyday people can_t become great_ or _genius is born, not developed_ will cause you to think it would be a complete waste of time to do the studying, put in the practice hours and prioritize your days around your heartfelt desires. What would be the point of investing all that labor, vigor and time and making all those sacrifices when virtuoso-level results are impossible for someone like you, under your belief system? And then, because your daily behavior is always a function of your deepest beliefs, that very perception of your inability to realize victory becomes real,_ noted the billionaire. _Human beings are hardwired to act in alignment with our self-identity, always. You_ll never rise higher than your personal story. Important insight there._ He then peered out into the ocean at a small fishing boat with a net strewn across the end of it. A fisherman in a red shirt was smoking a cigarette as he navigated the vessel away from some dangerous coral reef. The billionaire mumbled another mantra to himself. _I am grateful. And I am forgiving. I am giving. My life is beautiful, creative, productive, prosperous and magical._ Then he continued the discussion around capitalization. _The positive psychologists call the way we embrace a story about who we are and what we can achieve and then behave in a way that makes that fantasy actually come true _The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy._ We subconciously adopt a thinking pattern by learning it from the people who most influence us at an early age. Our parents, our teachers and our friends. Then we act according to it. And since what we do creates the results we see, this generally faulty personal story becomes a reality of our very own causing. Amazing, right? But that_s how most of us operate through the best years of our lives. The world is a mirror. And we get from life not what we want, but that which we are._ _And I guess that the more we accept that core belief about our inability to produce excellent results in whatever it is we hope to do, the more we not only reinforce it so it becomes a trusted conviction but we also deepen the behavior that_s associated with it so it becomes a daily habit,_ recited the artist, sounding professorish instead of bohemian in the pure morning air. _Wonderfully said!_ replied the billionaire excitedly. _I love the _trusted conviction_ idea. That_s good. You should share that phrase with The Spellbinder if you see him today. I think he_s out fishing but, knowing him, he_ll be getting some sun here on this beach later in the morning._ The billionaire continued. _Every human being has an instinct for greatness, a hunger for the heroic and a psychic need to rise toward the heavens of their finest capability, whether we remember this consciously or not. A lot of us have been minimized and pushed down so much by the dark and toxic influences around us we_ve forgotten all we truly are. We_ve become masters of compromise, slowly and steadily allowing in more aspects of mediocrity until a point arrives where it_s our standard operating system. Real leaders never negotiate their standards. They know there_s always room to improve. They understand that we are most connected to our sovereign nature when we are reaching for our best. Alexander the Great once said: _I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.__ The billionaire inhaled audibly. A butterfly fluttered by. And a crab scampered past him. _I_m here to remind you,_ he carried on, _that each one of us holds a profound capacity for leadership within us. And as you now know, I_m not speaking of leadership in the sense of having a title, a lofty position or needing some formal authority. What I_m referring to is so much more weighty and exquisite than that. It_s the true power inside a human heart versus the transitory power delivered by a big office, a fast car and a large bank balance. What I_m speaking of is the potency to do work that is so great we just can_t take our eyes off you. The capability to create massive value in your marketplace. The capacity to impact_and disrupt_an entire industry. And the power to live with honor, nobility, audacity and integrity. So that you fulfill your opportunity to make history, in your own original way. Doesn_t matter if you_re a CEO or a janitor. A billionaire or a ditch digger. A movie star or a student. If you are alive today, you have the ability to lead without a title and make your mark on the world, even if you don_t currently believe you can due to the limits of your current perception. Your perception isn_t reality. It just isn_t. It_s just your current perception on reality, kindly remember that. It_s simply the lens you happen to be looking at reality through at this moment of your ascent toward world-class. Makes me think of the words of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who wrote, _Most people take the limits of their vision to be the limits of the world. A few do not. Join them.__ _So, there_s a large difference between reality and our perception of reality, right?_ inquired the entrepreneur. _It seems from what you_re saying that it_s almost as if we see the world through a filter that_s made up of all our personal programming. And we run the program so much we get brainwashed into believing that the way we are seeing the world is real, right? You_ve got me rethinking the way I see everything now,_ she admitted as the skin on her forehead scrunched together like a rose contracting in the cold. _I_m beginning to question so much,_ she went on. _Why I started my business in the first place. Why social status is so important to me. Why I have such urges to eat in the sleekest restaurants, live in the best neighborhoods and drive the most stylish cars. I think part of the reason I_ve been so crushed by the takeover attempt at my company is because I get my identity as a human being from being the founder. Honestly, I_ve been so busy driving my career, I haven_t stopped for gas in terms of really thinking things through_and living intentionally. And it_s like The 3 Step Success Formula you taught us yesterday. As I develop better daily awareness around myself and why it is that I do what I do, I_ll make the better daily choices that will give me better daily results._ The entrepreneur was unstoppable. _I have no clue what my authentic values are, what I want to represent as a leader, why I_m building what I_m building, what really makes me happy and how I want to be remembered when I_m no longer here. The story of that CEO and the stroke of that editor really spoke to me. Life really is super-fragile. And_now that I_m speaking so openly_I think I_ve been spending many days chasing the wrong things. Stuck in the noise of complexity instead of hearing the signal of those top-value pursuits in my career and in my private life that would really make a difference. And I think about the past a lot. What happened to me in my childhood. I also haven_t had any time for any friendships. I have no real passions. I_ve never watched the sun rise, until now. And I_ve never found true love,_ said the entrepreneur as she anxiously rubbed her bracelet. The entrepreneur looked over to the artist. _Until now._ Tears filled his eyes. _Trillions of planets in this universe,_ he pronounced, _billions of people on our planet and I was fortunate enough to meet you._ The entrepreneur smiled and then proceeded to respond in a gentle tone. _I hope I never lose you._ _Don_t be too hard on yourself,_ interjected the billionaire. _We_re all on our paths, know what I mean? We_re all exactly where we need to be to receive the growth lessons we_re meant to learn. And a problem will persist until you get the education it showed up to bring. And I do agree with you that human beings have a tragic habit of remembering the things that would be smart to forget and forgetting the wonderful things it would be wise to remember. Anyhoo, I do understand you. Please just trust that the highest and wisest part of you is leading you. There are no accidents on this path to legendary and the making of a life that matters. And, if you ask me, there_s nothing wrong with magnificent homes, fast cars and lots of money. I really, really need you to hear me on that. Please. We are spiritual beings having a human experience_as the old saying goes. Having plenty of money is what life wants for you. Abundance is nature_s way. There_s no scarcity of flowers, lemon trees and stars in the sky. Money allows you to do superb things for yourself_and for the people you care most about. And it offers you the chance to help those in need._ A tourist waterskiing behind a speedboat zoomed by. You could hear him laughing with glee. _I_ll let you in on a little secret,_ the magnate continued. _I_ve given away most of my vast liquid fortune. Yes, I still have the jets and the Zurich flat and this oceanside place. And though my business interests are still valued at an amount that makes me a billionaire, I need none of it. I_m not attached to any of this._ _I read a story that I think you_ll like,_ shared the artist. _Kurt Vonnegut, the writer, and Joseph Heller, the author of Catch-22, were at a party hosted by a renowned financier on Long Island. Vonnegut asked his companion how it felt to know that their host made more money in the day before the gala than he had made from all royalties of his bestselling book. Heller replied, _I_ve got something he can never have._ Vonnegut asked, _What on Earth could that be, Joe?_ Heller_s reply was priceless: _The knowledge that I_ve got enough.__ _Brilliant!_ enthused the billionaire. _Love it!_ he shouted inappropriately loudly as he high-fived the artist. He then performed the little dance he loved to do when he was happy yet again before launching into a series of jumping jacks. His eyes were closed as he did them. Such an oddball. The artist went on talking. _Anyway, I understand what you_re teaching us on this point about capitalization and The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. No one will believe in our ability to do great things until we first believe in our greatness and then put in the sincere and rigorous effort to realize it. You know what Pablo Picasso once said?_ _Tell us, please,_ implored the entrepreneur, her stance showing that she was very open in this instant. _Picasso announced, _My mother said to me, if you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the pope. Instead, I was a painter. And became Picasso.__ _Gnarly, man,_ the billionaire remarked. _Now that_s faith and confidence in one_s potential._ The billionaire ran a fist along his tanned chin, looking down at the white sand for a moment. _And it_s not only our parents who are responsible for the limited programs most people are running through their minds during the finest hours of their greatest days. Like I suggested, many well-meaning yet unaware teachers reinforce the idea that the heroic geniuses of the arts, sciences, sports and humanities are _special_ and that we need to accept that we are _ordinary,_ incapable of producing towering work that leaves people breathless by its excellence and generating a life that is matchless. And then we have the association of our friends and relentless messaging of the media supporting the same _facts._ Essentially it all becomes this consistent hypnotization where, without us even knowing it, the once-blazing fire of genius within us grows dimmer. And the once-passionate voices of possibility get quieter. We minimize our abilities and begin a lifelong process of playing small with our powers and constructing prisons around our strengths. We stop behaving as leaders, creative producers and possibilitarians. And we start acting as victims._ _Disappointing what happens to so many good people. And most of us can_t see this brainwashing away from our best selves happening,_ reflected the entrepreneur. _Yup,_ responded the billionaire. _Even worse, the potential unexpressed turns to pain, I need to emphasize._ _What do you mean by that?_ wondered the artist, turning his eyes away and shifting his posture somewhat nervously. _Maybe I_m sabotaging creating art as original and exceptional as the great masters did because I_ve avoided capitalizing on my potential for so long that I_m hurting deep inside,_ the artist thought to himself. _Well, our noblest selves know the truth: each of us are built to do astonishing things with our human gifts and materialize astounding feats with our productive talents. The word _astonish_ is actually derived from the Latin word _extonare,_ which means _to leave someone thunderstruck._ Every single person alive today carries the capacity deep within their hearts_and spirits_to do this. The more we decrease the volume of our unhealthy narrative which, neurobiologically speaking, is a creation of our limbic system, the more we will hear this sublime call on ourselves to rise up to the blatant expression of our greatest genius. This is true whether you_re a supervisor within a large organization, a programmer in a small cubicle, a teacher in a school or a chef in a restaurant. You absolutely have the capacity to lift your work to the level of artistry and have an impact for the betterment of humanity. And yet we resign our lives to apathy because of this faulty perception of who we truly are and what we can really accomplish, staying violently stuck in half-alive lives. And here_s the really big idea: as we betray our true power, a part of us starts to die,_ noted the billionaire. _Dramatic insight,_ acknowledged the artist. _I seriously need to make some massive changes. I_m tired of feeling tired. And neglecting my creative abilities. I_m beginning to get that I_m special._ _You are,_ affirmed the entrepreneur. _You are,_ she repeated, in a voice of tenderness. _I_m also starting to see that I care too much about what others think. Some of my friends make fun of my paintings. And they say I_m a screwball behind my back. I_m realizing they just don_t understand me. And my vision for my art._ _Many of the great geniuses of the world were not appreciated until decades after they died, you know,_ the billionaire offered, in a murmur. _And on your point about your friends, I_m not so sure you_re surrounding yourself with the right ones. And maybe now it_s time to do you rather than limiting your talent and aliveness because you are seduced by the opinions of others. Kurt Cobain said it better than I ever could: _I was tired of pretending that I was someone else just to get along with people, just for the sake of having friendships.__ _Hmm,_ was the artist_s only response. _What I_m sharing is accurate. We become our associations. And you_ll never have a positive influence in your field and make a beautiful life if you hang with negative people,_ continued the billionaire. _Oh_and that pain I was just speaking of_if not attended to and released_starts to form a deep reservoir of fear and self-hatred within us. Most of us don_t have the awareness or possess the tools to process through this well of suppressed anguish. Most of us are unconscious to this quiet torment created by the disrespect we have shown to our promise. And so, we deny it if someone even suggests it. We flee from it when presented with an opportunity to manifest it. And we subconsciously develop a series of soul-crushing escape routes to avoid feeling this pain generated by our talents denied._ _Like what?_ quizzed the entrepreneur. _Addictions. Like constantly checking for messages or scanning for _likes._ Or spending vast chunks of our daily lives watching too much television. TV shows have become so superb these days, it_s so easy to get hooked. And when one episode ends, on some viewing platforms, the next one begins automatically. Many among us also make flights from their greatness by chatting and gossiping endlessly, not really understanding that there_s a staggering difference between being busy and being productive. _High-impact performers and genuine world-builders aren_t very available to whoever seeks their attention and demands their time. They_re hard to reach, waste few moments and are far more focused on doing real work versus artificial work_so they deliver the breathtaking results that advance our world. Other avoidance tactics from the pain of potential unexpressed are hours mindlessly surfing online, electronic shopping, working too much, drinking too much, eating too much, complaining too much and sleeping too much._ The tycoon sipped from his water bottle. Another fishing boat motored by. The woman who captained it waved to Mr. Riley, who bowed mightily in reply. _The Spellbinder calls this whole phenomenon _Learned Victimhood,__ the billionaire carried on in a wonderfully exuberant way. _As we leave our youth, there_s a pull toward complacency. We can start to coast, settle for what_s familiar and lose the juicy desire to expand our frontiers. We adopt the paradigm of a victim. We make excuses and then recite them so many times we train our subconscious mind to think they are true. We blame other people and outer conditions for our struggles, and we condemn past events for our private wars. We grow cynical and lose the curiosity, wonder, compassion and innocence we knew as kids. We become apathetic. Critical. Hardened. Within this personal ecosystem the majority of us create for ourselves, mediocrity then becomes acceptable. And because this mindset is running within us each day, the viewpoint seems so very real to us. We truly believe that the story we are running reveals the truth_because we_re so close to it. So, rather than showing leadership in our fields, owning our crafts by producing dazzling work and handcrafting delicious lives, we resign ourselves to average. See how it all happens?_ _Yes. At least it_s all becoming clearer. So, the key is to rescript our personal story, right?_ inquired the entrepreneur. _Absolutely,_ confirmed the billionaire. _Every time you become aware of yourself dropping into victim mode and make a more courageous choice, you rewrite the narrative. You raise your self-identity, elevate your self-respect and enrich your self-confidence. Each time you vote for your superior self you starve your weaker side_and feed your inherent power. And as you do this with the consistency demanded by mastery, your _Capitalization IQ,_ that is your ability to materialize whatever gifts you_ve been born with, will only grow._ The billionaire invited his two students to move to the terrace of his home to continue the morning_s lesson on The 4 Focuses of History-Makers. History-Maker Focus N2: Freedom from Distraction The billionaire pointed to the model with a pinky finger. _Remember that important brain tattoo of successful people? _An addiction to distraction is the death of your creative production._ It will guide us through this section of today_s mentoring session. And I_ve decided to go deep into the importance of winning the war against diversion and cyber nuisances because it_s an extremely serious issue in our culture. In some ways, the new technologies and social media are not only eroding the Everests of our glorious productive potential, they are also training us to be less human. We have fewer real conversations, fewer true connections and fewer meaningful interactions._ _Um. Yes, I_m realizing this more and more as the mornings pass on this beach,_ admitted the entrepreneur. _Filling valuable hours with meaningless moves is the drug of choice for most people,_ the billionaire continued. _Intellectually we know we shouldn_t be wasting time on zero-value activities, but emotionally we just can_t beat the temptation. We just can_t fight the hook. This behavior is costing organizations billions of dollars in lost productivity and deficient quality. And as I suggested earlier, people are making more mistakes in their work than ever before because they aren_t present to what they_re doing. Their precious concentration has been hijacked by a foolish use of technology and their priceless focus has been kidnapped, costing them their chance to create their best work and calibrate their finest lives._ The stillness and quietude that only the day_s earliest hours provide was still evident. The industrialist paused. He scanned the entire scene, gazing at the flowers neatly ordered around his home, then at the cargo ships on the horizon that looked like they hadn_t moved and finally at the ocean. _Look, cats,_ he said at last. _I love the modern world_I really do. Without all the technology we have available to us life would be a lot harder. My businesses wouldn_t be as successful as they are, I wouldn_t be as efficient as I am and I possibly wouldn_t be here with you two._ _Why?_ wondered the artist as a single dolphin swam by gracefully. Astoundingly, it then soared high out of the ocean and spun in the air four times before returning to the water with a lavish splash. Mr. Riley looked delighted. _I_m so happy I discovered how to become a magnet for miracles,_ he whispered to himself. _And I can_t wait to teach these good folks how to do the same for themselves._ He then kept on with his discourse. _All the innovations in healthcare tech saved my life when I was sick,_ the billionaire explained. _Anyhoo, technology well used is a phenomenal thing. It_s all the silly ways people apply it now that really concerns me. So many potentially outstanding people are suffering from _broken focus syndrome_ because they_ve filled their professional and personal lives with so many gadgets, interruptions and cybernoise. If you_re in the sport of winning, please model all of the great masters of history and strip away all the layers of complexity from your days. Simplify. Streamline everything. Become a purist. Less really is more. Concentrate on just a few work projects so you make them amazing versus diluting your attention on too many. And socially, have fewer friends but go deep with them so the relationship is rich. Accept fewer invitations, major in fewer leisure activities and study, then master, a smaller number of books versus skimming many. An intense concentration only on what matters most is how the pros realize victory. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. _Stop managing your time and start managing your focus,_ added the billionaire. _Now there_s a principle for greatness in this overstimulated society we live in._ _Thanks to your teaching so far,_ said the artist, _I now understand that being busy doesn_t mean you_re being productive. I_ve also come to see that when I work on a new painting, the closer I get to great art, the more some darker part of me wants to get me distracted so that I avoid doing something mind-blowing. It happens fairly often now that I think about it. I_ll get nearer to fantastic work and I then begin to break my work routine. I_ll go online and just surf. I_ll sleep later and watch entire seasons of my favorite shows or play video games with my virtual friends all night. Sometimes I_ll just drink too much cheap red wine._ _The closer you get to your genius, the more you_ll face the sabotage of your fears,_ agreed the billionaire powerfully. _You_ll become scared of leaving the majority and having to deal with the by-products of mastery, like being different from most people, jealousy from competitors and the pressure to make your next project even better. As you rise toward virtuosity, you_ll become anxious about failure, threatened by a concern of not being good enough and insecure about blazing new paths. So, your amygdala_an almond-shaped mass of gray matter in the brain that detects fearFiltereds all fired up. And you begin to tear down the productivity you_ve built up. We all have a subconcious saboteur that lurks within our weakest selves, you know? The good news is that once you become aware of this condition . . ._ _I can make the better daily choices that will give me better daily results,_ the artist interrupted with all the energy of a puppy seeing its owner after a long day alone. _Exactly,_ said the billionaire. _Once you are aware of the fact that, as you near your highest talents and most luminous gifts, the scared side of you will rear its ugly head and try to mess up the masterpieces you_ve been creating by pursuing every distraction and escape route possible to avoid finishing, you can manage that self-destructive behavior. You can step outside of it. You can disempower it, simply by watching its attempts to denounce your mastery._ _Really profound insights here,_ contributed the entrepreneur. _This explains so much about why I_m limiting my productivity, performance and influence at my company. I_ll set an important target. I get the team enrolled in it. We sequence the key deliverables. Then I get distracted. I_ll say _yes_ to another opportunity that adds more complexity to our business. I_ll fill my days with useless meetings with people who love to hear the sound of their own voice. I_ll check my notifications obsessively and watch _breaking news_ reports religiously. This morning it_s become super-clear how I_m totally sabotaging my effectiveness. It_s also pretty obvious that I am addicted to the digital nonsense you_re speaking about. I_ll be honest, I haven_t gotten over some of my exes because it_s so easy to watch their lives on social media. I_m understanding now that a lot of the hours I could be super-creative I trade for online recreation. Like you said, Mr. Riley, it_s a form of escape. I can_t seem to stop shopping on my devices. It_s just too easy. And it makes me feel happy, for a few minutes. I_m getting why Steve Jobs didn_t give his kids the very things he sold to the world. He understood how addictive they could be, if improperly used. And how they could make us less human and less alive._ The billionaire raised a hand. Another assistant sprinted from the beach hut up to the now sun-soaked terrace. He wore a crisp white shirt, charcoal gray sailing shorts and well-cared-for black leather sandals. _Here you are, sir,_ the young man said with a French accent as he handed the mogul a tray with mysterious markings on it. In the center was a model of the human brain. It looked exactly like this: _Merci beaucoup, Pierre. Now let_s explore the neuroscience of self-sabotage so you cats can understand it better_and then beat it. Remember, each of us has what The Spellbinder calls _The Ancient Brain._ This is made up of the limbic system_a set of brain structures that sit on both sides of the thalamus, right under the cerebrum. The amygdala that I mentioned a few moments ago is part of this. This basic and lower-functioning brain served to keep us safe thousands of years ago in a primitive world of relentless threats like starvation, temperature extremes, warring tribes and saber-toothed tigers. It functions to do one main thing: maintain a steady state while warning us against dangers so we survive and propagate our species. _With me so far?_ asked the billionaire politely. _Understood._ The entrepreneur and the artist responded in unison as a housekeeper served fresh lemon tea with some chunks of ginger in it. _Excellent. One of the fascinating traits of our ancient brain is its negativity bias. To keep us safe, it_s far less interested in what_s positive in our environment and significantly more invested in letting us know what_s bad. _This brain_s default is to hunt for danger,_ the billionaire continued happily. _So back when life was much more brutal, we could respond swiftly and stay alive. That mechanism served our ancestors exceedingly well. But in today_s world, most of us don_t face death daily. The reality is that the ordinary person lives a higher quality life than most members of royalty did even just a few hundred years ago. Please think about this blessing._ The tycoon slurped some tea. _And yet, because of this built-in negativity bias within our ancient brains, we_re constantly scanning for breaches against our security. We_re in hypervigilance mode, mostly anxious and uptight, even when everything_s going great. Fascinating, right?_ _Explains a lot of why we think the way we do,_ noted the entrepreneur as she, too, enjoyed the tea. _Now I see why I always seem to feel I_ve never achieved enough, even though I_ve accomplished more than anyone I know,_ the entrepreneur carried on. _I have such a successful business, a robust net worth and before my investors got greedy_a fairly wonderful life. Yet despite everything I have, my brain seems to always focus on what I_m missing, where I don_t have enough and how I_m falling short of expectations around winning. Drives me crazy. I hardly feel any peace. Ever._ The entrepreneur crossed her arms. The artist blew her a kiss as his dreadlocks dangled in the fragrant breeze. _Theodore Roosevelt said something I think it_s important you hear,_ expounded the billionaire. _What did he say?_ inquired the entrepreneur, her arms clenched tightly. __Comparison is the thief of joy,__ responded the billionaire. _Someone will always have more fortune, fame and stuff than you do. Think about my earlier point about detachment and embracing the wisdom of knowing when enough is enough._ _Yes. I remember,_ said the entrepreneur courteously. _More and more of this hunger you have comes from deeper feelings of scarcity. And a lot of this is stemming from the workings of your ancient brain. It_s scanning your environment and the negativity bias is being activated, preventing you from enjoying all the good you have. Okay,_ said the billionaire. _Let_s go even more granular. As time advanced, our brains evolved. And the prefrontal cortex developed. This is the part of our brain responsible for higher thinking. Neuroscientists consider it the crown jewel of advanced reasoning. The Spellbinder calls it _The Mastery Brain._ But here_s the thing: As we began to dream bigger, learn quicker and raise our levels of creativity, productivity and performance, the ancient brain and the mastery brain began a conflict. They went to war. The primitive brain senses our growth, knows we_re leaving our safe harbor of the known and gets fired up because we_re leaving our traditional ways of being. It senses the threat_even though the threat is essential to our personal ascension and professional advancement. We absolutely must venture into those unexplored places where possibility lives to become more intimate with our primal genius and to become all we are meant to be. Knowing we have higher reaches of talent and courage left to visit floods a human heart with immense excitement. This knowledge is one of the vast treasures that make life worth living. The celebrated psychologist Abraham Maslow once stated, _If you plan on being anything less than who you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life._ But the amygdala kicks into high gear as we exit what_s familiar and try something new. The vagus nerve gets provoked, the fear hormone cortisol gets released. And we begin to destroy the very intentions and implementations that our mastery brain so intelligently wants us to realize._ _This explains why so few people are highly creative and extremely productive,_ the artist observed. _As we leave our comfort zones, the ancient brain gets triggered. As we raise our expertise and lift our influence, it gets frightened by the change._ _Exactly,_ applauded Mr. Riley. _Then cortisol is released, our perception narrows, our breathing grows shallow and we drop into fight-or-flight mode. Actually, the three options of fear are flight, fight or freeze._ The artist added, _Our higher thinking wants us to grow, evolve, do more masterful work, lead better lives and inspire the world,_ continued the artist. _But there_s a battle of our brains going on. And the ancient, lower_more primitive_brain inside all of us wants to stop our evolution._ _Exactly,_ said the billionaire as he fist-bumped the painter. _And so, speaking to the second focus of history-makers on the model you_re walking us through_freedom from distraction_I guess it_s because of this fear we face that we embrace as many diversions as possible to make us feel better, even if only for a minute?_ questioned the entrepreneur. _Truth,_ confirmed the billionaire. _And to escape the discomfort that comes with us becoming more intimate with our inherent genius._ _This is such a big piece for me._ The artist couldn_t contain his enthusiasm. _You_ve just walked us through why our culture is so addicted to distractions. And why the majority don_t experience their greatness. And I guess that_s why creative and productive people are the real warriors of our society. We not only have to face the insults of our naysayers and the arrows of those critics who don_t understand our art, we also need to have the guts to push past the alarm bells of our ancient brains pleading with us not to reach for our brilliance._ _Poetically said, my friend!_ exclaimed the billionaire gleefully. He did that little dance again. The housekeeper, who was sweeping the veranda, just shook her head. _It takes an awesome amount of courage to feel the terror of true personal and professional growth_and to keep going_even when you sort of feel you_re dying,_ taught the titan. _But continuing when you_re frightened is how you become a legend. You two cats are makers, builders of great things. And all builders consistently break through their fear, daily, to find higher levels of prowess, impact and human freedom. Oh_and the fantastic reward you_ll receive as you fully express your strengths and gifts isn_t only the product of your heroic efforts. It_s who you_ll become by advancing through the fire of your fears and the heat of your trials along the process to mastery. You get to know who you are, you see your abilities more clearly, your confidence soars, you need the stroking of the crowd a lot less and you begin to live your authentic life versus a plastic one manufactured by a world that doesn_t want you to be free._ The billionaire sipped from his water bottle before continuing to explain the importance of breaking free from the death grip of device distraction and digital diversions. _And that_s where being a member of The 5 AM Club can also work its magic for you,_ he told his audience of two. _One of the ways the great men and women of the world avoided complexity was by incorporating tranquility and serenity into the front part of their days. This beautiful discipline gave them absolutely essential time away from overstimulation to savor life itself, replenish their creative reservoirs, develop their supreme selves, count their blessings and ground the virtues that they would then live out their days under. Many of the people who fueled the progress of our civilization shared the habit of rising before daybreak._ _Could you name a few of those people?_ quizzed the entrepreneur. _John Grisham, the famous novelist, for one,_ replied the billionaire. _Other celebrated early risers include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Georgia O_Keeffe, Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway, who said that early in the morning _there is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.__ _Beethoven rose at dawn,_ said the artist. _The great ones all spent a lot of time alone,_ offered the billionaire. _Solitude_the kind that you can access before the sun comes up_is a force multiplier around your power, expertise and connection to being human. And your escalation requires your isolation. See, you can be in the world all day long chatting endlessly on your phone about one thousand senseless things or you can change the world by exploiting your talent, refining your skills and being a light of upliftment that raises us all. But you can_t do both. Princeton psychologist Eldar Shafir has used the term _cognitive bandwidth_ to explain the point that we have a limited amount of mental capacity when we rise each morning. And as we give our attention to numerous influences_ranging from the news, messages and online platforms to our families, our work, our fitness and our spiritual lives_we leave bits of our focus on each activity we pursue. Massively important insight to consider. No wonder most of us have trouble concentrating on important tasks by noon. We_ve spent our bandwidth. Sophie Leroy, a business professor at the University of Minnesota, calls the concentration we deposit on distraction and other stimuli _attention residue._ She_s found that people are far less productive when they are constantly interrupting themselves by shifting from one task to another throughout the day because they leave valuable pieces of their attention on too many different pursuits. The solution is exactly what I_m suggesting: work on one high-value activity at a time instead of relentlessly multitasking_and do so in a quiet environment. Albert Einstein made the point exquisitely when he wrote, _Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason, mastery demands all of a person._ This really is one of the most closely guarded secrets of the virtuosos and history-makers. They don_t diffuse their cognitive bandwidth. They don_t dilute their creative gifts chasing every shiny diversion and every attractive opportunity that comes their way. No, instead they exercise the fierce discipline required to do only a few things_but at an absolutely world-class level. It_s like I said before: the great ones understand that it_s far smarter to create one piece of art_a genuine masterpiece_that endures for generations rather than thousands of projects that express no genius. And please also remember: the hours that The 95% waste The Top 5% treasure. 5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory and greatest peace. So leverage The Victory Hour well. You_ll make quantum leaps in your productivity as well as in your personal mastery. I don_t want to get too much further into the neuroscience I_ve shared this morning, and I have an amazing surprise planned. But there is one more concept that I_d love to share with you two. It_s called _transient hypofrontality.__ _Transient what a whatta?_ queried the artist as he laughed. The billionaire walked over to a towering palm tree with a thick trunk revealing its vast age. A sun-bleached wooden table with a wide circular top sat under it. A model had been meticulously carved into the wood. You would have been most impressed_and fascinated_if you saw it. The magnate cleared his throat and chugged some of the lemon tea. After a few seconds, he began to gargle. Yes, gargle. Then he carried on his discourse. _When you_re up early and all alone, away from the overstimulation and noise, your attention isn_t being fragmented by technology, meetings and other forces that can limit maximum productivity,_ mused the billionaire. _And so the prefrontal cortex, that part of your brain responsible for rational thinking_as well as constant worrying_actually shuts off for a short time. Lovely information, right? That_s the _transient_ part of transient hypofrontality. It happens only temporarily. Your nonstop analyzing, ruminating and stressful overthinking stops. You pause from trying to figure everything out and being so concerned about things that will probably never happen. Your brain waves actually shift from their usual beta to alpha, and sometimes even down into theta state. The solitude, silence and stillness of daybreak also triggers the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine, the inspirational fuel that serves superproducers so well, and serotonin, the beautiful pleasure drug of the brain. Automatically and naturally, you enter what I described earlier as _The Flow State._ Mr. Riley waved his left hand over the diagram on the table. It looked like this: _The Flow State is the peak mindset that all exceptionalists like top violinists, iconic athletes, elite chefs, brilliant scientists, empire-building entrepreneurs and legendary leaders inhabit when they produce their finest product,_ the industrialist added enthusiastically. _When you give yourself the gift of some morning peace away from your busyness, the hardwired capacity of every human brain to access the realm of pure genius becomes activated. The excellent news for you two cats is that with the right moves, you can habituate this state of awesome performance so it shows up with absolute predictability._ _Transient hypofrontality. A very helpful model,_ declared the entrepreneur as she gingerly placed her phone into her shorts. _The entire world would transform if people knew this information,_ pronounced the artist. _They should be teaching all this to kids in schools,_ the entrepreneur suggested. _So true,_ agreed the billionaire. _But, again, I need to give all the credit for this philosophy I_m sharing with you_and the transformational methodology that I_ll soon walk you through so you implement all this potent information_to The Spellbinder. He_s been my greatest teacher. And with zero doubt, the finest human being I know. Ingenuity without integrity isn_t so impressive to me. Unusual accomplishment free of uncommon compassion is senseless. And, yes, if every person on the planet was educated in this material and then they had the commitment to apply it, the entire world would be advanced. Because each of us would own and then live our latent power to realize extraordinary results. And rise into completely glorious people._ History-Maker Focus N3: Personal Mastery Practice The billionaire walked his two students past the expansive terrace that offered delightful views of the ocean around to the front of his house. A black SUV shimmered in the driveway, as the rays of the morning sun washed over it. _Where are we going?_ asked the entrepreneur. _Well, I promised you both at that dramatic meeting we had at the conference that you would swim with the dolphins if you came to visit me in Mauritius. So, I_m delivering on my promise. We_re going to the western part of the island, to a small seaside village called Flic-en-Flac. Two young and delightful dudes are waiting there for us. They_re skilled at finding where the dolphins are. Get ready to be blown away by what you_re about to experience, my friends. This will be unforgettable for you._ The SUV was soon veering through the charming pocket-sized towns that surrounded the compound of the industrialist and rolling onto a perfectly kept highway. The billionaire sat in the front with his driver, asking about his children, his latest fascinations and his aspirations for the future. Throughout the journey, Mr. Riley would ask a thoughtful question, then lean back and listen carefully. One could see he was a man of towering depth. With a mammoth heart. As the vehicle eased up to a lovely harbor, graced by a sandy beach, a few white cottages, a quaint fish restaurant and many aging boats moored in the water, a rooster proudly sang his morning anthem. And the miraculous sight of a double rainbow unfolded across the magnificent blue sky. Two young fishermen greeted the billionaire with hugs. The group then set off into the vast Indian Ocean, searching for a school of dolphins they could swim and play with. The song _Strength of a Woman_ by Jamaican singer Shaggy blasted from an inexpensive speaker roughly installed into the side of the boat with gray duct tape. The spray coming off the motorboat as it struck the waves soaked the faces of the billionaire, the entrepreneur and the artist, making them giggle like children dancing in puddles left after the rain. After a few attempts, dolphins were spotted swimming jubilantly in a small cove surrounded by soaring cliffs, the kind you_d see along the Pacific Coast Highway in California. The way those creatures rejoiced as they glided through the ocean would make you feel as if there were a thousand of them in that little inlet. But there were only about eleven or so. The billionaire threw on a diving mask and quickly slipped into the water from a platform at the back of the motor boat. _C_mon, cats,_ he said excitedly. _Let_s go!_ The entrepreneur went in next, her eyes alive and her heart beating with an elation she hadn_t accessed since her youth. Her breathing sounded shallow and rapid through her snorkel. It sounded like hooosh, hooosh. The artist followed, doing a belly flop off the end of the boat. Guided by one of the young fishermen, who was wearing surf shorts with a colorful tropical print and sporting rubber shoes, the three adventurers frolicked with the dolphins as they swam smoothly just below the water_s surface. When the dolphins descended, so did their three euphoric companions. When they would twirl around, so would the members of The 5 AM Club. When they would flirt with one another, so would the entrepreneur and the artist. The experience only lasted about fifteen minutes. But it was miraculous. _That was unbelievable,_ exuded the artist breathlessly as he emerged from the water and struggled to get back into the boat from the small stage near the motor. _One of the most amazing experiences of my life,_ gushed the entrepreneur, as she kissed him lavishly. The billionaire soon surfaced. He was hooting with laughter. _Boy, that was a blast!_ On returning to the harbor, the morning mentoring class resumed on the beach, next to a pile of stones that locals used for barbecuing fish. The double rainbow remained extended across the sweeping sky. The billionaire lifted a hand toward the heavens. Four white doves appeared abruptly, out of nowhere. Then a cluster of pink and yellowish butterflies sailed by. _Good,_ announced the tycoon as he stared at them. After letting out a few throaty coughs that also seemed to come out of nowhere, he proceeded to point to the third area of The 4 Focuses of History-Makers model he_d been walking his two students through on this particular day. It had _Personal Mastery Practice_ printed on it. _What are we talking about here?_ wondered the artist, his dreadlocks dripping and his thick tattooed arms around the entrepreneur to keep her warm. She was shivering. _Training the best parts of you,_ was the straightforward reply. _Remember the Spartan warrior credo that The Spellbinder shared at the seminar? _Sweat more in practice, bleed less in war._ Well, the quality of your morning practice determines the caliber of your daily performance. Battles are won in the early light of intense training_when no one_s watching. Victories occur before warriors walk onto the field. Triumph belongs to the one who prepares the most. It_s obvious that if you want to be the best in the world at business or art or chess or as a designer or as a mechanic or as a manager, you need to put in enormous amounts of practice time to advance your expertise. Specifically, a performer must invest at least two hours and forty-four minutes of daily improvement on their chosen skill for ten years, as preeminent psychologist Anders Ericsson of Florida State University has taught us through his groundbreaking research. This is the minimum viable amount of practice required for the first signs of genius to appear within any domain. Yet so few of us think of the importance of putting what amounts to ten thousand hours of training into becoming better human beings. And that_s why so few among us unlock that code which, once cracked, liberates our sovereign selves with all the wisdom, creativity, bravery, love and inner peace that comes with that manifestation. It_s only when we improve that our lives improve, know what I mean? What I_m suggesting to you two is that you need to practice advancing toward personal mastery daily, just as we must dedicate ourselves to any other skill we seek to be world-class at. Fortify and bulletproof and nourish the core dimensions of your inner life and, trust me, you_ll x100 your life. Everything you do in your outer world is an absolute consequence of what_s happening within you. This is where you need to do the real morning preparation. Then you_ll walk out into the world every day thinking, feeling and producing at levels that make you unconquerable. You owe this gift to yourself._ _I_ve never believed much in self-improvement before The Spellbinder_s conference,_ stated the entrepreneur flatly. _It_s never seemed real to me._ _Have you ever tried it? I mean seriously practiced it over an extended period of time?_ asked the billionaire, firmly. Yet another dove flew overhead. And when the mogul glanced up at the sun, it almost appeared that the clouds parted. _Not really,_ admitted the entrepreneur. _Until now. Until I joined The 5 AM Club._ _Okay. Good. So, let_s keep going. Here_s the key,_ said the billionaire. _During your Victory Hour, from 5 to 6 AM each morning, concentrate on upgrading what The Spellbinder calls The 4 Interior Empires. This will be the smartest, and sometimes the most difficult, work you will ever do in your life. Deeply working on you. Cultivating the four central inner arenas that I_ll walk you through in a moment is your golden key to transformation. It won_t be easy_I need to reinforce that. But it will be totally worth it._ _Why?_ wondered the entrepreneur. She_d stopped shaking from the cold water of the Indian Ocean. But the artist still held her. His dreadlocks still dripped. And the renegade rooster still crowed. _Because inner empires need to be unfolded up to world-class before you_ll ever see outer ones. And your fortune always follows your fearlessness. Powerful insight, cats: Your influence in the world mirrors the glory, nobility, vitality and luminosity you_ve accessed in yourself. Very few people in this time of superficiality and human creatures behaving like artificial machines remember this essential life truth. External always expresses internal, without always reflects within. Your creativity, productivity, prosperity, performance and impact on the planet are always a sublime expression of what_s going on inside of you. For example, if you lack faith in your ability to get your ambitions done, you_ll never achieve them. If you don_t feel deserving of abundance, you_ll never do what_s required to realize it. And if your drive to capitalize on your genius is weak, your fire to train is dim and your stamina to optimize is low, it_s clear you_ll never take flight into the rare-air of outright mastery. And realize domain dominance. External always expresses internal. And to experience empires in your outer life you need to develop your inner ones first,_ reinforced the billionaire. He started to sip from a bottle of green-colored liquid that one of the fishermen had given him when he hopped out of the motor boat. If you looked very closely at the text printed on the glass, you_d read these words of Mahatma Gandhi: _The only devils in the world are those running in our own hearts. That is where the battle should be fought._ _As you consistently increase the inherent power inside you,_ Mr. Riley continued, _you_ll actually begin to see an alternate reality flush with gorgeous opportunity and luxurious possibility. You_ll play in a universe of the marvelous that members of the majority can_t even perceive. Because their eyes are blinded by doubt, disbelief and fear. Greatness is an inside game,_ the billionaire affirmed as he drew yet another learning model into the sand. It looked like this: _Okay, let_s go granular on this framework so you cats have a high and ultra-clear awareness of what aspects of your inner life to improve during your Victory Hour. I_ll provide you with the complete morning routine to run soon, when I teach The 20/20/20 Formula. For now, please just know that there are four interior empires to train, cultivate and iterate before the sun comes up: Mindset, Heartset, Healthset and Soulset. Together, these four private arenas form the foundation of the true primal power that rests inside every human being alive today. Most of us have disowned and discredited this formidable force as we_ve spent our days pursuing things outside ourselves. But we all have this profound and illustrious capacity within us. And the best time to optimize your four interior empires is from 5 to 6 AM. That_s the most special time of the day. Own your morning, and you_ll elevate your life,_ encouraged the tycoon. _Oh, a question: What if I only want to do this five days a week and take weekends off? How strict is this whole 5 AM Method?_ asked the entrepreneur. An ancient dog shuffled by and the song _Occhi,_ by Italian music legend Zucchero, could be heard playing from the fish restaurant. You would probably have found that part of this scene quite strange. But it really did happen this way. _It_s your life. Do what fits you best and feels right to you. What I_m revealing is the information The Spellbinder shared with me. It caused me to make my fortune. And helped me find a consummate sense of daily joy and ongoing peace. Really, all of this gave me personal freedom. Apply it all in whatever way works for your values, aspirations and lifestyle. Yet also know that part-time commitment truly does deliver part-time results,_ stated the billionaire as he turned to catch a fly with his fist. _Could you please go deeper into The 4 Interior Empires?_ the entrepreneur asked. _This piece you_re teaching us will really help me become a lot stronger in my fight with those investors and get even more of my hope, happiness and confidence back. I haven_t told you this, but over these past days since I met you, I_ve been applying so much of what you_ve been so generous to share with us. As I_m sure you saw, at first I resisted a lot of The Spellbinder_s philosophies. I really didn_t want to go to his seminar, you know. But at least I was open to his_and your_teachings. Desperately open. I love life, you know. And I now plan to live a long time._ _Good,_ the artist said as he picked up a heart-shaped seashell and placed it tenderly into a palm of the entrepreneur. He closed her fingers around it. And pressed her hand to his chest. _I_m already noticing some significant improvements,_ the entrepreneur went on. _By rising at five, I feel more focused, less stressed, more secure and way more energetic. I have a larger sense of perspective over all the aspects of my life. I_m becoming more grateful for all the positive in my world, a lot less concerned with the attack on my company and a lot more excited about my future. Look, those investors are bad guys. And I_m not ready to handle them yet. I will, though. But the fear I felt around the whole thing, and the dark sense of hopelessness about it all, well, that_s faded._ _Neato,_ said the billionaire using the vintage slang of hipsters of a bygone era. He then changed his t-shirt on the beach. The SUV had returned, and the driver was parked directly in front of the seafood restaurant. _And you_re wise,_ the billionaire added. _All this information is priceless. But_as you_re finding_it_s the ceaseless practice and daily application of it that will make you a heroic human being and an inspirational leader in business and a worldwide uplifter of many. And I congratulate you for letting go of your past. No one_s suggesting you act irresponsibly and not deal with the issue you_re facing at your firm. But your past is a place to be learned from, not a home to be lived in._ The three friends climbed into the waiting vehicle and it pushed ahead to return to the estate of the eclectic host. _So, let_s talk more about this learning model, because it is so crucial to your success and happiness,_ the billionaire commented as the SUV sailed along. _Many gurus speak of mindset. They teach the importance of installing the psychology of possibility, to use Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer_s phrase. They coach you to think optimistic thoughts every day. These teachers tell you that your thinking forms your reality and that, by improving your mind, you_ll improve your life. For sure, calibrating your mindset is an essential move to make toward the personal mastery that will then lead to a legendary outer reality. _Yet,_ the billionaire continued, _and it_s incredibly important that you two understand this because most people don_t: The Spellbinder taught me that elevating your Mindset_the first of the four interior empires_is only 25% of the personal mastery equation._ _Seriously?_ the artist asked. _I always thought that our thinking determines everything. That there wasn_t much more to it than that. The whole _change your thinking and you_ll change your life_ and your _attitude determines your altitude_ kind of thing._ _Look,_ said the billionaire. _It_s definitely true that your deepest beliefs drive your daily behavior. You know I believe that. And you know I also agree that the way you perceive the world drives the way you perform in it. Yet, a superbly developed Mindset without a magnificently purified Heartset is a hollow triumph. Just working on your Mindset will never deliver the fullness of your sovereignty and fully express your resident genius,_ the industrialist said with great clarity. _I think I_m getting you,_ noted the artist with a grin the size of Mount Kilimanjaro. _Charles Bukowski said, _Stop insisting on clearing your head . . . Clear your heart instead.__ _He was right,_ agreed the billionaire as he relaxed deeper into his rich leather seat in the SUV. _So, help me understand exactly what _Heartset_ is?_ asked the entrepreneur. She was watching a group of school kids running in a playground with unsparing exhilaration. Her thoughts drifted to her childhood. _Heartset is your emotional life. Even with battleproofed beliefs and the distinguished thinking of a world-class Mindset, you won_t win if your heart is full of anger, sadness, disappointment, resentment and fear. Just think about it: How can you produce amazing work and realize astonishing results if toxic feelings are weighing you down? It seems like everyone_s talking about building a healthy and undefeatable Mindset these days. You hear it everywhere. But no one_s speaking of Heartset_or Healthset and Soulset. All four of these interior empires must be polished beautifully through morning practice for you to know the awe-inspiring power that lurks within you. And it_s only when you grow and deepen your relationship with this natural authority that exists at your core that you can ascend into the company of the virtuosos. And the gods. As you elevate your four interior empires, you_ll begin to achieve success in the external world at a level you_ve never believed you could achieve. And more elegantly than you_ve ever imagined. It_s as if you_ve developed the capabilities of a magic worker. You start to increase the power of others, by your very presence. An improbable yet consistently reliable stream of miracles will infuse your common hours. And a prolific joyfulness born of brilliant accomplishment and worldwide service will come to you, as life_s reward for the admirable ways you_ve behaved._ Mr. Riley looked out of the vehicle_s window. He then continued his discourse. _So many of us know what we should do mentally but nothing extraordinary ever happens because our emotional life remains a mess. We stay stuck in the past. We haven_t forgiven the unforgiven. We_ve repressed all those unhealthy emotions from all that has hurt us. Sigmund Freud wrote that _unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and they will come forth later in uglier ways._ And we wonder why our attempts at positive thinking aren_t working! What I_m sharing with you explains why so many self-improvement books don_t lead to lasting evolution. And why so few conferences make an enduring difference. Our intellectual intentions are good. We really wish to become brighter producers and better people. But we merely get the information at the level of thought. And then we sabotage our lofty aspirations with the residue of our broken hearts. So, nothing shifts. So, nothing increases. So, nothing transforms. If you want to experience exponential growth and unparalleled performance you need to dial in a masterful Mindset but also repair, rebuild and reinforce a winning Heartset. So that all the dark and toxic emotion from your past pains are cleared out. Released and cleansed and purified. Forever. And so your heart, once hardened by life_s trials, reopens in all its noble glory._ _Amazing insights,_ the entrepreneur acknowledged. _But how exactly do I do this during my Victory Hour from 5 to 6 AM?_ _You_ll learn how to implement The 5 AM Method in the near future,_ the billionaire replied. _You two cats are becoming open enough and strong enough to embrace The 20/20/20 Formula soon. And like I_ve suggested since we_ve hung together, your lives will never be the same once you know and run it. The 20/20/20 Formula is an absolute game-changer. For now, please just understand that a great Mindset with a poor Heartset is a giant reason good people end up dissolving their attempts at greatness. _Oh,_ added the billionaire. _I should also mention that working on your Heartset isn_t only about removing negative emotions that have built up from life_s frustrations, disappointments and burdens. It_s also about amplifying the healthy ones. That_s why part of your morning routine needs to have a gratitude practice as part of it. To feed your sense of awe and fuel your reservoirs of exuberance._ _Love it,_ said the artist. _Profound what you_re sharing, brother. Revolutionary, I_ll admit,_ he emphasized. _Yes. Absolutely. And so The Spellbinder taught me to do some profound work on my Heartset each morning, during my Victory Hour. Yet here_s the thing: even upgrading your Heartset along with growing your Mindset before the first rays of the sun display themselves still means you_re only doing 50% of the personal mastery work required to materialize the interior empires that will yield the outer empires of your highest wishes. After Mindset and Heartset, you also need to fortify your Healthset each morning._ _New word for me,_ observed the entrepreneur. _Healthset. I like it._ _Well, this one speaks to your physical dimension,_ explained the billionaire as the SUV passed one of the many tea plantations in Mauritius. _One of the main elements of your rise to legendary is longevity. Here_s a quick tip if you want to lead your field and experience continuous escalations of your eminence: do not die. You_ll never become a titan of your industry and an icon who makes history if you_re dead._ Both the entrepreneur and the artist grinned as the billionaire began to clap vigorously, apparently as happy as a family of squirrels playing in a forest, on hearing his own words. _But I am being serious. Beautiful things happen once you commit seriously to peak fitness and go hard on cheating aging. Just imagine living an extra few decades_and staying ultra-healthy as you do so. That_s another few decades to refine your craft, to grow into an even more influential leader, to produce work that_s radical artistry, to compound your prosperity and to build a luminous legacy that will enrich all of humanity. Epic producers and great leaders understand that you just can_t rise to mastery without leveraging_and then armor-plating_your vitality. Every day_s just dramatically better with some exercise in it. I need to say that again because it_s so essential to a life amazingly lived: every day is just dramatically better with some exercise in it. And few things feel as good as getting uber-fit. I guess what I_m offering to you is that Healthset is all about dialing in your physical dimension so your brain is operating at its highest level of cognition and so your energy is igniting and so your stress is dissolving and so your joy is expanding. Getting really healthy and ultra-fit worked wonders for my business, you know?_ The billionaire paused. He drew his hands together as is the custom in India, where people say _Namaste,_ which is Sanskrit for _I bow to the divine in you._ _And that brings me to Soulset, lady and gentleman. I have learned that every single one of us has an unstained spirit and spotless soulfulness that rests at our very center. Most of the world is uninterested in whispers from and the requirements of the soul. As a race, we_ve neglected that portion of ourselves that is most wise, wonderful and eternal. The majority, programmed by society, is all about getting the goods that will boost popularity, gaining validation and social currency from their selfies and accomplishing popular results that will give them legitimacy. However, feeding your spirit_daily_is the activity of genuine leadership royalty._ _And tell me, Mr. Riley, when you refer to Soulset, what exactly are you speaking of?_ inquired the entrepreneur, clearly making steady progress as a student of The Spellbinder_s teachings. She also appeared more present, strong and free than at any time since the artist had met her. _Yeah_I_m not clear either, brother,_ mentioned the artist sincerely as he, too, reclined in his seat as the chauffeur navigated the vehicle up the winding driveway of the tycoon_s home. More butterflies floated by. The double rainbow remained transfixed in the sky. The billionaire peered at it and then went on. __There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportions,__ observed the billionaire as he waved to his gardeners and stuck his tongue out at a frog. _The English poet Christopher Marlowe said that. And, dude, he was speaking some truth there. Anyhoo, to help you understand the fourth interior empire, please allow me to bring this learning all together by simply saying that since Mindset is all about your psychology and Heartset is all about your emotionality, and Healthset relates to your physiology, Soulset refers to your spirituality. That_s it. Nothing mystical, really. Nothing religious. Nothing voodoo or freaky._ _Go deeper, please,_ pressed the entrepreneur. _You_re reordering my perception with all of these points._ _Well, it_s all The Spellbinder_s work, not mine, kindly remember that. Anyhoo, my encouragement is to become a devout spiritualist. And just so that term doesn_t spook you_and shut you down to this education_all I mean to say is spend some time in the quietude of the early morning to make the return to the courage, conviction and compassion within you. All I_m encouraging is that you soar with the angels of your highest nature and dance with the gods of your most precious talents for a little time before sunrise, as a tribute to what_s most wise and true within you. Only then will you begin to know_and understand_the Shangri-las of greatness and Nirvanas of light that inhabit your sovereign self. Soulset is all about remembering who you truly are. The sages, saints and seers of history all rose at dawn to forge even weightier bonds with the hero we all have at our cores. Insecurity, scarcity, selfishness and unhappiness are all children of fear. These characteristics were taught to you. They sure aren_t your natural state. After we are born, we begin the departure from our spiritual power and descend into more of what this damaged world wants us to be. We become more about acquiring, hoarding and comparing instead of creating, helping and adventuring. Awake human beings work on elevating their Soulset in the serene hours before daybreak, in the sanctuary of solitude, silence and stillness. Through hope-filled contemplation of the finest version of yourself, without errors in your character. By marvelous meditation on how you wish to show up during the day ahead. By thoughtful consideration of the quickness of life and the suddenness of the exit. And by rich reflections on what gifts you aim to materialize so you leave the world in better shape than you encountered it, on your birth. These are some of the ways you can raise your Soulset game. _Yes,_ continued the billionaire, the vulnerability of his open-hearted delivery displaying itself even more potently in his now soft voice. _You two have a brave, loving and wildly powerful hero at your foundation. I know to most people this idea sounds crazy. But it is truth that I speak. And by spending some time on your Soulset during your Victory Hour, you_ll improve your awareness of_and relationship with_this most magnificent part of you. So you are consistently serving society instead of gratifying the ego hungers of your smaller self._ _And with better daily awareness of our Mindset, Heartset, Healthset and Soulset, we_ll make the better daily choices that will guarantee better daily results, right?_ pronounced the entrepreneur, reciting The 3 Step Success Formula she_d discovered in an earlier mentoring session. _Precisely,_ applauded the billionaire. _Exactly,_ he added, nodding his head. _And please, always stay sincere to what_s most important in a life greatly lived,_ pleaded the billionaire. _Be not seduced by the superficialities that suffocate the human spirit and divorce us from the best within us._ He pulled a thin wallet out of a front pocket and read the words of Tolstoy from a tattered piece of paper that had been folded in a sleeve. Here_s what you would have heard him say in his raspy yet dignified voice, if you were in that SUV with them: _A quiet secluded life in the country with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one_s neighbor_such is my idea of happiness._ The three companions were now standing outside the magnate_s house. An owl was perched on a lemon tree. It hooted terrifically as it saw the billionaire. He replied with a simple wave. _Nice to see you, buddy,_ the billionaire said. _What took you so long to come home?_ History-Maker Focus N4: Day Stacking _Remember that each of your prized days represents your precious life in miniature,_ the billionaire observed. _As you live each day, so you craft your life. We all are so focused on pursuing our futures that we generally ignore the exceedingly important value of a single day. And yet what we are doing today is creating our future. It_s like that sailboat over there,_ expounded Mr. Riley, pointing to a water craft off in the distance. _A few navigational shifts, seemingly irrelevant and infinitesimal, when done consistently over a long voyage, make the difference between ending up in breathtaking Brazil or fantastic Japan. All you need to do to pretty much guarantee a hugely successful and a splendidly meaningful life is Own the Day. Make those 1% course corrections and improvements over each twenty-four-hour allotment you receive, and these days will slip into weeks and your weeks into months and your months will slip into your years. The Spellbinder called such daily personal and professional optimizations _micro-wins._ Enhancing anything in your day, ranging from your morning routine to a thought pattern to a business skill to a personal relationship, by only 1% delivers at least a 30%_yes, 30%_elevation only a month from starting. Stay with the program and, in just one year, the pursuit you_ve been focusing on has elevated 365%, at least. The main point I_m making here is concentrate monomaniacally on creating great days_and they_ll stack into a gorgeous life._ _Small daily, seemingly insignificant improvements, when done consistently over time, yield staggering results,_ reinforced the entrepreneur, recalling one of the brain tattoos she_d been schooled in during this magical adventure. _Yes,_ declared the billionaire cheerfully, as he stretched and then touched his toes while whispering to himself, _Life is good, and I must help these two kind souls become great_before it_s too late._ _Here_s the real takeaway,_ the billionaire carried on. _Elite producers and everyday heroes understand that what you do each day matters far more than what you do once in a while. Consistency really is a key ingredient of mastery. And regularity is a necessity if you_re amped to make history._ In that moment, the entrepreneur_s attention was stolen by her phone as the screen lit up. Stunningly, the following words showed up in lettering that resembled blood dripping, leaving her trembling and shaken: A killer IS coming _Baby_what_s up?_ asked the artist, revealing more of the growing intimacy of their relationship. _Yes_what happened?_ wondered the billionaire on seeing the ghost-white face of the entrepreneur. _It_s . . . um . . . It_s . . . well . . . it_s . . ._ she sputtered. She fell to her knees, in a flower bed close to where the chauffeur had parked the SUV. Almost as quickly, she stood up again. _It_s another death threat. They_re telling me someone is on the way to kill me. The investors again. Pushing me to leave the firm. Guess what, guys?_ the entrepreneur said, pivoting into a posture of high confidence and mighty defiance. _I_m not leaving. I built this company. I love what I do. I would do anything for my team. Our products are incredible. And growing the enterprise has given me great fulfillment. I_m ready to fight them. Let_s go! Bring it on, I say!_ _It_s being handled,_ murmured the billionaire, echoing what he_d said at his beach, on first learning about the situation. _Just stay fully present to the teaching you_re learning and this special opportunity of being a new member of The 5 AM Club. Keep having a blast here with me in Mauritius. Continue this little love story unfolding between you and my tattooed friend over here,_ smiled the billionaire. _And keep strengthening the awareness of your natural power, as a leader, performer and human being. I_m really happy to see your progress. You already seem braver, lighter and much more peaceful. Good on you._ Filteredting up at 5 AM is getting easier as each day passes,_ the entrepreneur said, feeling comforted and sounding composed. _The insights you_re sharing are valuable. I_m growing a lot. I can_t wait to go granular on how to make the habit stick and learn The 20/20/20 Formula so I know exactly what to do during my Victory Hour. I_ve been practicing some yoga and walking along the sea in the darkness before the sun comes up, yet I_d love some help on a more specific ritual. I know you have one. But the philosophy, so far, has been remarkably helpful._ _The precise methodology is coming soon. At this point I simply want you to know that the concept I_ve just shared with you both is called The Day Stacking Foundation. Winning definitely does start at your beginning. Own your morning and the quality of your day rises exponentially which, in turn, upgrades the calibre of your life exceptionally. You_ll be so much more energetic, productive, confident, excellent, happy and serene_even on the most difficult of days, when you calibrate the front end of it. Okay, now you two go and have an amazing day together. I love the words of the poet John Keats, who wrote: _I almost wish we were butterflies and lived but three summer days_three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain._ Pretty great, right?_ _Totally,_ voiced the artist as he tugged on three dreadlocks, patted his stomach and then laced up a black combat boot. _Totally agree._ _And what time should we meet tomorrow, cool cats?_ inquired the billionaire, with a look that confirmed he was quite sure of the answer. _5 AM,_ the entrepreneur and the artist replied enthusiastically, in unison. Chapter 11 Navigating the Tides of Life _The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart._ _Helen Keller The entrepreneur had learned to sail as a child. She_d loved the sensation of salt water on her young face and the feelings of freedom that being out on the vast sea brought her spirit. She wondered why she had stopped sailing. In that instant, she also considered why she_d given up so many of the pursuits that had brought her such harmony. And she cherished the fact that in this basic moment, in a small boat gliding through the endless Indian Ocean, she was truly open. And wildly alive. _Our culture measures success by how much money we have, the amount of achievement we complete, and how much influence we reach. Yet,_ thought the entrepreneur, _while both The Spellbinder and Mr. Riley agree that those victories are important, they_ve encouraged me to consider how well I_m running my life by another series of metrics as well. By my connection with my natural power and by my intimacy with my authenticity and by the vitality around my physicality and by the size of my joy. This seems like a much better way to look at success. Being both accomplished in the world yet peaceful within myself._ Her time at The Spellbinder_s conference and her wonderful days here on this pristine island with people who still took the time to say _good morning,_ smile at strangers and show genuine warmth continued to inspire and provoke both tiny and large shifts in her understanding of the true nature of a productive, prosperous and fulfilling life. The entrepreneur was noticing she was becoming less machine-like and more human. She no longer checked her technology compulsively. She couldn_t remember feeling so creative, so available to the miraculous wonders of life. She_d never been so awake to the blessings every day on Earth brings. And she_d never, or at least she couldn_t recall a time when she had, felt so thankful. Yes, utterly appreciative_for everything she_d experienced. She realized the hard points of her life had strengthened her and made her more insightful, interesting and wise. A fascinating and richly colorful life is stamped with many scars, she began to understand. She promised herself that she_d exploit the challenge she was facing with her investors to raise her grade of courage. The partners_ takeover attempt would simply escalate her commitment to defending the natural heroism she_d learned we all have within us, at our center beneath the layers of fear, insecurity and limitation that we all collect as we advance through life. The behaviors of her untrustworthy partners would only serve to make her a braver, better and more decent person. Often, a bad example teaches us more about who we wish to become than a good one could ever provide. And, in this world of so many hardened human beings who have lost access to who they truly are, she vowed to conduct the remainder of her days modeling excellence, resilience and the utmost of kindness. As the entrepreneur and the artist navigated their little wooden vessel through the waters that were as clear as crystal, around coral that could be brutal if struck and farther away from the beach where the billionaire had delivered his morning instruction, the entrepreneur spotted the distant land mass where Mr. Riley suggested she and her new love have a picnic. She also detected an ever-growing affection for the large man who sat next to her. Though they came from entirely different universes, their chemistry was undeniable. It was as if galaxies had collided. And though they had different ways of operating, their compatibility was as nothing she_d experienced before. Her mother had once told her that if you are fortunate enough to fall in love even two or three times within a lifetime, make each of these stories count fully. Her companion_s artistic powers intrigued her. His desire to be great on his own terms attracted her. His occasional hard edges challenged her. His sense of humor amused her. His palpable compassion moved her. And his dark eyes melted her. _This was a good idea,_ the artist said as the entrepreneur adjusted the set of the sail and skillfully directed the boat around some buoys placed there by early morning fishermen. _To come out here_away from everything. I needed a break from the learning. I_m loving all the information. I_m getting so much from Mr. Riley. Man, he_s a treasure. But my head is full. I don_t want to think for a while. I just want to have some fun and enjoy life. Being out here, with you, is special._ _Thanks,_ replied the entrepreneur simply as her hair waved playfully in the wind and her sparkling eyes stayed fixed on the water in front of her. _This is the happiest I_ve seen her look since I met her at the conference,_ thought the artist. He put an arm around the entrepreneur. She didn_t retreat in any way, remaining relaxed as their brightly painted vessel ventured deeper into the ocean. After a while, the small island they had been heading toward came into clearer focus. _The billionaire_s team stocked us up for a pretty good picnic,_ noted the entrepreneur. _How about we drop anchor in the shallow area over there and have lunch on the white sand part of the beach?_ The island looked deserted aside from the well-fed seagulls, some with live fish dangling from their skinny yellow beaks, that soared overhead. And the gigantic turtle ambling along the damp shoreline as though he ruled it. _Cool,_ the artist replied. _I_m good with that,_ he added as he took off his shirt unselfconsciously and dove into the water with a wide splash. The delightful meal the two enjoyed consisted of grilled spicy prawn and a fresh mango salad, along with a humongous chunk of pecorino cheese flown in that morning from Italy. Watermelon mixed with pineapple and kiwi had been provided for dessert. The entrepreneur shared her longing to build one of the world_s greatest companies as they savored the food and relaxed in that sanctuary of peaceful isolation. She spoke of her desire to build a genuine empire and then, perhaps, to retire in style to the rustic side of Ibiza. She also confided even more of her pained childhood, from the terrible divorce of her parents to the depth of her trauma around the violent passage of her beloved father. She spoke in further detail of the series of failed relationships that had caused her to concentrate most of her time on her work and the loneliness she felt when she wasn_t in the process of advancing her business. _Those weren_t _failed relationships,__ mused the artist as he munched joyfully on a chunk of watermelon. _They made you who you are, right? And I really like who you are. Actually,_ said the artist candidly, _I love who you are._ He leaned over and kissed the entrepreneur. _What took you so long to say that?_ she asked. _I don_t know. My confidence has been low for a long time,_ confessed the artist. _But hearing The Spellbinder at the seminar and meeting you and feeling our amazing vibe and then being on this totally insane yet incredible adventure . . . I don_t know. It_s making me believe more in myself again. This is all helping me to trust life again, I guess. To open up to someone again is great. I should paint later today. Something special is going to show up. I just know it._ _Yes, you should,_ encouraged the entrepreneur. _I sense it, too. You_re going to be a hugely successful and truly legendary painter._ And then, after a lengthy pause, she added, _I love you, too, by the way._ The romance of that moment being shared by the two new members of The 5 AM Club was suddenly broken by the sound of loud hip-hop music. A figure could be seen in the water moving dazzlingly fast_zigzagging and then racing along straightaways. It soon became evident who this noisy and uninvited intruder was: Stone Riley, riding on a souped-up Jet Ski and wearing a top hat that had been strapped to his chin. Yes, a top hat. And if you looked closely, you would see a skull-and-crossbones symbol on it_the sort that sits on pirate flags. Soon he, too, was up on the unspoiled beach with the two lovers. Soon he, too, was eating the prawns and mango salad and wolfing down large pieces of the fresh fruit dessert. And soon he was holding hands with the entrepreneur and the artist. This man was a pure oddball. And a most human hero. The entrepreneur and the artist looked at each other as the billionaire did his thing. They shook their heads, clapped their hands and laughed easy laughs. _Dudes,_ shouted the billionaire above the volume of the thumping music as his Jet Ski bobbed in the shallow water. _Missed you two. Hope you don_t mind me crashing your picnic,_ he communicated with food in his mouth. Without waiting for an answer, he turned up the decibel level of the song and sang along to the words. _Gnarly tune, right?_ he asked with all the energy of a power plant. _Def,_ replied the artist instinctively. _I mean definitely,_ he corrected. The three companions spent the rest of that unforgettable afternoon swimming, singing, dancing and talking. That evening the billionaire hosted a magnificent dinner out on his beach, which was lit with tiki torches, cream-colored lanterns and what you would have guessed were thousands of candles. A long wooden table, draped with the finest of linens, supported platters of exquisitely prepared food. The Spellbinder also appeared at the banquet, swapping stories with the billionaire while a few of Mr. Riley_s other friends showed up later to play the bongos, share in the fabulous meal and sip some fine wine. Even the ultra-professional and exceptionally hospitable attendants were encouraged to join the festivities. It was all surreal. And special. For an instant, the entrepreneur reflected on the preciousness of the evening and recalled a quote her father had placed on the door of the family fridge. It was from Dale Carnegie, the self-help author, and it read: _One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today._ The entrepreneur smiled to herself. She realized she would postpone living fully no more. She_d not only fallen in love with a good man. She was beginning to experience a lavish lust for life itself. * * * At 5 AM the next morning, the sound of a helicopter pierced the sereneness that only presents itself at that hour of the day. The entrepreneur and the artist waited on the beach as they_d promised the billionaire they would. They held hands, tightly, and awaited the next lesson he told them he_d share. But the billionaire was nowhere to be found. An assistant wearing a crisp shirt the color of the sky and pressed Bermuda shorts the hue of a tomato, with red leather sandals, ran down from the home of the titan of industry. _Bonjour,_ she said in a highly polished way. _Mr. Riley has requested that I escort you to his helipad. He has a huge gift for you both. But you_ll need to hurry. Please. We_re on a strict timeline._ The three of them scampered along the beach, up a groomed trail through lush trees, past an herb garden with wooden signs containing quotes from famous leaders as well as one that said _Trespassers Will Be Composted_ and, finally, to an expansive manicured meadow. At the center of it sat a gleaming helicopter with its rotors whirring against the radiance of the early morning lightfall. Inside the aircraft a single pilot could be seen. He wore aviator glasses, a black flat-brimmed baseball cap and an all-black uniform. As his passengers were led inside, the pilot remained silent, manipulating the controls and writing on what appeared to be a detailed checklist attached to a scuffed-up clipboard with the phrase _Rise and shine so you_ll escape the misery of mediocrity_ written at the top in red. A smiley face emoji was evident below this line. _Good morning,_ said the entrepreneur enthusiastically to the pilot. _Where_s Mr. Riley?_ The pilot didn_t answer. He tuned a dial. Tweaked a knob. And made another tick mark on the white page. _Good luck, and have a safe flight, you two,_ announced the assistant as she adjusted the seat belts and placed headphones with a microphone snuggly onto the heads of her VIP guests. _Where the heck are we going?_ demanded the artist, reverting to angry-man status. No reply. The door shut with a thud. Then locked, with a click. The engine noise grew louder, and the propeller accelerated its rotations. Whoosh, whoosh whoosh, went the sound. The pilot, seemingly in some sort of imperturbable trance and certainly not at all friendly, pushed the control stick. The helicopter began to rise above the grassy field. Unexpectedly, the aircraft tilted to the left dramatically. Then it descended aggressively toward the Earth in a freefall before jerking upward again. _Total disaster,_ shouted the artist. _This pilot is incompetent. I hate him._ _Just breathe. All will be well,_ reasoned the entrepreneur. She looked relaxed, secure and in complete control. Her morning training was working. She pulled the artist closer to her. _I_m here. We_ll be safe. This will end well._ Soon, the helicopter was high in the sky and moving steadily, efficiently and gracefully. The quiet pilot fiddled with the dials and tinkered with the controls, seemingly oblivious to the fact he carried two passengers. _I_ve seen that watch before,_ observed the artist as he spied the big timepiece on the pilot_s lean wrist. _Same one Stone had on at The Spellbinder_s presentation. This is nuts,_ he stated in a quivering voice. The painter was sweating like a polar bear in a heatwave. _Own your morning. Elevate your life,_ came the singing voice from the front of the helicopter. _Hi, cats. Bonzour. Enjoying being members of The 5 AM Club this morning?_ he questioned in a raspy tone. _Boy, oh boy, you_re gonna love the surprise that_s coming. Another country for another lesson on the morning routine of legendary leaders, creative geniuses and the great women and men of the world._ The pilot turned his head around radically and whipped off his sunglasses intensely. Then he let out a monumental burp. It was the billionaire. _Hey, people. I didn_t mean to scare you two glorious human beings. I do have my helicopter pilot_s license, you know,_ said Mr. Riley sincerely, almost apologetically. _Sure,_ remarked the artist, still clinging to the entrepreneur like a gambler holding his last chip. _Got it years ago,_ the billionaire continued. _Helicopters are uber-cool. But with all my business ventures these days, I don_t get in the airtime I used to. Sorry for the rough liftoff. I guess I need more practice._ _So where are we going?_ the entrepreneur asked as she eased into her supple leather seat. _Agra_ was the billionaire_s one-word answer. _What does that mean?_ asked the artist. _What_s an Agra?_ _I_m taking you guys back to the airport,_ said the billionaire. _Gotta keep us moving on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure we_re on._ _We_re leaving Mauritius?_ wondered the entrepreneur with disappointment. Her bracelets dangled and knocked against each other as she said this. _What about everything you still have to share with us?_ the artist asked. _We still haven_t learned The 20/20/20 Formula you say will revolutionize our lives. You told us that it_s pretty much the foundation of The 5 AM Method. I_ve been waiting to learn it,_ argued the artist, punching a fist into a hand again. _And I really, really love Mauritius. I wasn_t ready to leave._ _So do I,_ agreed the entrepreneur. _I thought you promised us you_d get into the detailed tactics around what to do after we get up at 5 AM. And at The Spellbinder_s conference you promised that you_d share practical productivity hacks so I could scale up my business and some key techniques to build my own fortune. And me and my man only had one picnic together. And you crashed it with your loud music and your pimped-up Jet Ski!_ No one spoke for a moment. Then, slowly, everyone in the helicopter began to giggle. _Relax, guys!_ hollered the billionaire. _My home is your home. You can come back to Mauritius any time you want. I_ll send the same drivers and the same jet, and I_ll make sure you feel the same love from me and my awesome team. No sweat. Happy to be helpful. Always._ He adjusted another dial before adding, _I_ve got a plane waiting for us on the runway right now. You lovebirds have been tremendous students. Absolutely first-rate. You_ve passionately embraced The Spellbinder_s teachings. You_ve been up with the sun and on time every morning. I_ve seen all your progress. So I wanted to give you a great present today._ _A present?_ the artist queried. _I_ll need to get back to my studio at home pretty soon. I_ve got some serious restructuring of my craft and fixing of my life to do after all this._ _And I_ll need to be at my company soon, too,_ the entrepreneur said. Some of the worry lines returned to her forehead as she pronounced these words, though there were many fewer than before she had joined The 5 AM Club. _Well not yet, guys. Not yet_please,_ pleaded the billionaire. _We_re going to Agra._ _I have no idea where that is,_ admitted the entrepreneur. _Agra is in India,_ the billionaire explained. _I_m taking you two to see one of The Seven Wonders of the World. And get set to learn the next part of The 5 AM Method. Everything you_ve learned so far has been preparation for all that_s coming. Lock and load, dudes. We_re now ready to get into the advanced information to help you drive exponential productivity, maximum performance, legendary leadership and a towering life that upgrades the world. Get set to receive the most practical information you could ever learn on the morning routine of world-builders and history-makers. The best is about to come._ The billionaire expertly landed the helicopter next to a pristine private jet that had its turbines running. Unlike the first one, this aircraft was all black. But like the one that brought the two students to Mauritius, it had 5AC emblazoned on the tail, also in a hue of orange similar to a mandarin. _Let_s go to incredible India!_ exclaimed the billionaire energetically. _Let_s go, then!_ replied the entrepreneur and the artist. One of the most valuable experiences of their extraordinary escapade with Stone Riley, the eccentric magnate, was about to begin.

  • The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever /  .   (by Jeff Kinney, 2011) -   The Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame /     (Disney, 2012) -   The Hunchback of Notre Dame /
  • Pirate Patch and the Treasure Map /      (Parker, 2014)    Pirate Patch and the Treasure
  • The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts /   :    (by Gary Chapman, 2010) -   The Five Love Languages: The

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