In this episode of MarieTV, we do have some adult language. So if you do have little ones around, grab your headphones now.
Marie Forleo: Hey there, it’s me and you’re watching MarieTV. Now we’re about to get into an interview with Robin Sharma all about how to maximize your day for productivity, rest, and joy. Now we recorded this interview long before COVID-19 hits so you’re gonna hear us talk about things like traveling and art galleries and other activities that are just not possible at this moment. Now that said, I think that this interview contains a lot of timeless lessons that can really help us all. I also want to say, you know, this worldwide pandemic, it’s difficult and everyone is dealing with it in their own ways. If you’re having a really tough time right now, especially as it relates to this interview, take what works for you and leave the rest. That said, enjoy it, have fun. I’m sending so much love Let’s dive in.
Marie Forleo: Hey, it’s Marie Forleo, and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. Now if you’re someone who wants to make the most out of your days, out of your weeks, out of your years, my guest today has some pretty good ideas to help. Robin Sharma is a globally respected humanitarian, bestselling author, and the founder of The Robin Sharma Foundation for Children. Considered one of the world’s top leadership experts, his clients include Fortune 100 companies, billionaires, athletes, music icons and members of royalty. Robin’s books have sold over 15 million copies in over 92 languages. His newest book, The 5 AM Club, is available now. Robin, thank you so much for taking the journey to be here.
Robin Sharma: Thank you, Marie.
Marie Forleo: So I want to talk about The 5 AM Club, and we’re going to dive deep into that. But first, for those that don’t know your story and your journey, I feel like there’s so many people in our audience that may find themselves in the position that you once were in a career that you’re like, “This isn’t necessarily me.” Can you take us back to those days, and tell us a little bit about how you started out, and what that transition was like from being in a place that didn’t feel aligned with who you ultimately were, to the career that you have today?
Robin Sharma: Sure. I think, Marie, life’s greatest heartbreak is being untrue to yourself. I come from very humble beginnings. I have a great family, and yet the people around me said, “If you become a lawyer,” like I basically had a choice. Become an engineer, a doctor or a lawyer. And so I followed through on that, and I went to law school. I became a really successful litigation lawyer. I had a nice place to live, and had a nice car, and I was making great money. People said, “I’m on… you’re on your way to being a judge,” and yet I would wake up every morning, and I would look at myself in the bathroom mirror and I didn’t like or even know the person who was looking back at me.
I love that word, angst. That angst just got to a point where I said I had to make some changes. I started listening to that silent whisper of my heart. There’s something I believe in, which is instinct is much more powerful and wiser than intellect. I think when all of us trust our instinct in a world that says intellect and logic is everything, we start to enter what Mr. Riley in The 5 AM Club calls “the magic.” That’s what happened to me.
Marie Forleo: So did you know what you wanted to do instead of your law career, or did you have… was there a period of transition? I know for me, when I was on Wall Street and I worked in magazines, I kept hearing that little voice of, “This is not where you’re supposed to be. This is not who you’re meant to be in the world, and not the work that you’re meant to do.” But I was really frustrated because I didn’t… I was like, “Well, can you please tell me what else I’m supposed to do?” It took me years to find my path. So I was curious about if you had clarity in that moment, or if you had to take a journey around to find some discovery in what else you could do?
Robin Sharma: Yeah, and I totally hear what you’re saying. I find your destiny doesn’t knock, it whispers. It wasn’t this epiphany. I think when you start to trust your instinct, and trust yourself versus the world, and you block out the opinions of other people, the pace of synchronicity starts to open up, and these doors that you’re supposed to walk through start to present themselves to you.
So what happened to me was I just started… I mean the angst, and the pain and the confusion. By the way, I think confusion has a bad rap in society. Anyone on a path to growth and self-excavation and personal mastery is going to be confused all the time. Because the very nature of leaving your safe harbor of the known, going out to blue ocean where possibility lives constantly means you’re going to be out in the unknown, which is where fear lives, but on the other side of your fear is your freedom.
So I started paying attention to that angst, and that confusion. I went to books. I went to books, and I started interviewing people who were financially successful, as well as emotionally successful and spiritually successful. I started putting together this new philosophy for living. Then, as we know, ideation without execution is delusion, and so I started living what I learned step by step. I started changing the way that I lived, and given my “transformation,” I said, “I want to share my message with other people.”
I self-published a little book called Megaliving. That was actually my first book. It had a super cheesy title, 30 Days to a Perfect Life. I had this little passport picture on the front, and it was poorly designed. The type was so small you couldn’t read it. I had 3000 copies that were published, and they sat in my little dining room. That book started selling, and then I self-published a book called The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari in a Kinko’s copy shop. My mom was my editor. My father helped me sell it at service clubs. Just one book at a time. That led into a whole new reality for me, a whole new career for me.
Marie Forleo: What’s so cool about that is when I started my journey, I remember I first published an ebook, which was new at the time, right? This is the late ’90s. I just remember that journey in my… it turned from an ebook into a self-published book. My parents helped me get it out into the world, and shrink wrapped it. I Just look back at those days, and it was so cool, the beginnings and then to see where it could go. So thank you for sharing that, because I know so many people listening right now might have… whether they want to transition into a career where they share their thoughts and ideas, or they want to just transition into being an artist, or maybe an engineer or maybe a lawyer. Just to understand that it takes time, and that it’s okay to start humbly and you can go to great places. You just have to listen to that instinct. I want to transition into The 5 AM Club, because you’ve shared that this book took you four years to write. So how was this process different than your other books?
Robin Sharma: I wanted The 5 AM Club to be the most beautiful, content-rich, handcrafted book I’ve ever done. Now, whether that happened or not is up to the readers. One of my favorite books is The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. I don’t know if you’ve read it, but it’s just…
Marie Forleo: Yes, I have.
Robin Sharma: It’s just a masterpiece of philosophy. One of the things that I read about Kahlil Gibran is he carried the manuscript around with him for five years because he wanted every single line to be the best line he could possibly handcraft. That was my intention with The 5 AM Club. So I wrote it in Rome, which is one of my favorite places in the world. I wrote it in Mauritius. I wrote it in Russia. I wrote it in Sao Paulo. I wrote it in Switzerland. It was just this beautiful, dangerous, messy, confusing, inspirational process where I just wrote to try to make it the best piece of work I could do.
I faced self-doubt. I faced people who looked at the content and said, “Okay, everyone’s talking about mindset. You’re talking about these four interior empires that the book is based upon. Mindset, Heartset, Healthset, and Soulset. What’s that all about?” I tried to have images, little pieces of art in there. I have these frameworks on exponential productivity and elite performance. Then towards the end of the book, there are those 11 letters from Mr. Riley, the eccentric tycoon talking about entering the magic, and the mysticism of prosperity, and philosophy on living a life that soars, and sings, and has an impact and is beautiful.
I just tried to write from the deepest, most honest, honorable place I could because I think the world is in a very messy place right now. I think a lot of people are bored, and struggling and exhausted. This isn’t a platitude, I think every single human being has this bigness, and this bravery, and this creativity, and this magic inside of them. I’ve experienced it in my life. Not everyday, but I’ve experienced it. I wanted to share it with people, how they can enter it in their own lives.
Marie Forleo: So was the process hard for you because you feel like it was a different style of writing, or was it hard just because of travel and balancing the business? I’m trying to understand a little bit more about what made this one more difficult or different than the others for you, because you’ve written a lot. You’ve written a ton of books.
Robin Sharma: Yeah. It’s a very great question. It was different for me. It was different for me because a lot of my other books, it was teaching, and what I tried to do in this book is balance. How do you master the world by first honoring and building intimacy with your primal hero? It was a hard book because I wanted to go deeper. It was a hard book because there are a lot of new concepts that I believe are disruptive to the field of call it personal development and elite performance. There was a lot of self-doubt as well when I wrote this book, because I think when you try to present anything new to the world, it’s… you’re going to doubt yourself. Also, to be completely candid, as I always want to be, I hadn’t written a book for roughly 10 years.
Marie Forleo: Interesting. I didn’t know that.
Robin Sharma: Yeah. So I really had focused more on other things, and there were people who were saying, “Well, his best days are over. Oh, he’s the monk who sold his Ferrari, or the greatness guide, or the leader who had no title but he’s not an author anymore, and perhaps he’s not relevant anymore.” So I felt that challenge, and I wanted to do something that was hopefully special.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. I think you really accomplished it.
Robin Sharma: Thank you.
Marie Forleo: Before we… the cameras turn on… I really, really enjoyed it. But I think what you just mentioned there is important because so many of us, no matter what stage of life we’re at, I remember when I was in my early 20s having this constant voice in my head like, “You’re too old. You’re too old already. You haven’t done X, Y, or Z by 22 or 23,” which now sounds absolutely just… I could slap myself, right, going back. But I think that is one of the most prevalent undercurrents of anxiety and fear in our culture is a fear of irrelevance, and somehow that our best days are behind us. So thank you for sharing that, because it’s something that I think all of us, if we haven’t faced it yet, it’s definitely coming.
Robin Sharma: Yeah. I think that’s an important point, which is I think we live in a world where the seduction is to push 1,000 pieces of mediocrity, versus deliver one piece of mastery. What I mean by that is if you spend 20 years on one book, but it is the greatest book that you could possibly do, then that’s a win. By the way, even if the world doesn’t applaud what you bring to the world, if you’ve delivered your piece of magic to the world, your Sistine Chapel ceiling to the world, you’ve won.
Marie Forleo: Yes.
Robin Sharma: We live in this world that is much more about egoism versus heroism. I think heroism is… it’s really… The race is really a race against yourself. I’m not that into applause and worldly accolades. I think if you feel you’ve done your best, and you’ve been true to your creativity, and you’ve lived by your values, and you’ve released what you believe to be magic to the world, and you’ve done your best to raise others while you’ve honored yourself, you’re a hero. You’ve won. It doesn’t matter if you’re an army of one. I mean van Gogh didn’t… I believe van Gogh didn’t sell one piece of art while he was alive.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. Let’s talk about The 5 AM Club specifically. I love the subtitle, which is “Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life.” So is this a practice for you that you had not only experienced for yourself and the transformative nature of it, but clearly you’ve taught it to other people? Were you like, “Goodness, if people could just get this one thing”? Obviously, there’s so much more in the book than just The 5 AM Club idea, which I want to dive into, but there’s something. I mean that’s the title of your book. So was this practice itself so transformative you’re like, “This is what the next book has to be about”?
Robin Sharma: Absolutely. I have two children, Colby and Bianca. If there was one habit, or if there was one piece of advice –– not that they listen to my advice –– but if there was one piece of advice I’d ask them to listen to, it’s rise before the sun. There is a reason many of the great women and men of the world, the great history makers, the great poets, the great philosophers, the great movement makers rose before the sun. There is a magic in the air at 5:00 AM.
That’s why The 5 AM Club is so transformational, because it’s the time of greatest quietude. I believe tranquility is the new luxury on our planet. It is a time of intimate creativity, because you’ve just been rested. Your brain is fresh. There’s very recent cutting-edge science coming out now. When you sleep, your brain actually has a mechanism to wash itself. When you wake up in the morning, your willpower is strongest. When you wake up in the morning, you’ve got a full well of mental focus. We know that focus in our world is even more valuable than intelligence.
I could go on and on on the benefits. I mean you get up at 5:00 AM, you’ve got the world to yourself. There’s no crowds. You can think. You can plan. You can care for yourself in a world where so many people are so depleted. The 5 AM Club really is a game-changer. Then it’s not just get up at 5:00 AM and scratch your stomach, or stare up at the ceiling.
Marie Forleo: Or look at your phone.
Robin Sharma: Especially not. I believe you can play with your phone or change the world. You don’t get to do both.
Marie Forleo: Yeah.
Robin Sharma: The 5 AM Club method is based on the 20/20/20 formula. I’m happy to get into it. But that is the…
Marie Forleo: Yeah, tell us what it is.
Robin Sharma: That’s the revolutionizer. It started from my experience with working with many billionaires. I’ve coached many of the most successful financiers and titans of industry for over two decades. One of the things I would run them through is the way you begin your day sets up the way you live your day. The 20/20/20 formula that the book is based upon is pretty simple.
I go into great detail in the book, but essentially it’s from 5:00 to 5:20, the first pocket is move. I’m a fanatic about neuroscience. Why do you get up and move? Because you’re going to release serotonin, which is going to make you feel better. You’re gonna release dopamine, which is the pleasure and inspirational neurotransmitter. You’re gonna release norepinephrine, which will boost your focus. You’ll promote neurogenesis. Marie, you can actually grow new brain cells.
Marie Forleo: Oh, hell yeah you can.
Robin Sharma: You will increase your metabolic rate. The way you feel when you first wake up is not the way you’re going to feel at 5:20. Second pocket of the 20/20/20 formula, 20 minutes from 5:20 to 5:40. That’s on reflection. So a lot of us are busy, but what’s the point of being busy if you’re doing the wrong things? The billionaires, the great creatives, the people of great impact, the people who live beautiful lives are very intentional. They’re very deliberate. They’re very conscious. So for 20 minutes, you write in a journal. You can visualize. You can pray. You can meditate. You can simply contemplate how you’re going to live your day, what you want to stand for during the day, for example. Then the final pocket of the 20/20/20 formula is all about grow. That’s where you just read from a biography, or a business book, or philosophy book or a…
Marie Forleo: Or watch a MarieTV.
Robin Sharma: Well, especially watch a MarieTV. Yeah, of course. That’s the game-changer, isn’t it? So that’s 20 minutes of growing, because I think we’re most alive when we are growing. I believe the leader who learns the most wins. So that’s, in a nutshell, the 20/20/20 formula.
Marie Forleo: I loved it. I loved how you weaved this tale, and this wonderful narrative in with all the teaching. I wanted to share that. So one of the gifts I’ve developed from doing this show for almost a decade now is I can almost hear when folks are like, “But wait.” So for my audience who’s thinking, “All right, Robin, this sounds good, waking up at 5:00 AM, but what about the fact that I have tiny babies, and a dog that just threw up, and all of these concerns or constraints that I don’t think I can do this?” What do you say to people when they’re like, “That just sounds too hard”?
Robin Sharma: Well, the pathway to world class is hard. I think suffering has got a bad rap. I think difficulty… You look at any great athlete, for example, they understand that challenge, difficulty, grit, persistence, wiring in new habits, morning rituals, evening routines are the price of admission for world class. Let’s go to the research again. University College London says it takes 66 days of practice to wire in a new habit.
In other words, the gift of genius is not genius. The gift of genius is actually neuroplasticity. In other words, we have a brain that can grow. It’s plastic. It’s malleable. The good news is that’s not just for Kanye, and Beyonce, and Federer, and Oprah and Phil Knight. Every one of us has that capability in our brain to build genius. So what I’m suggesting is anyone who wants to get up early so they get an extra hour and they can do the things that we’re talking about, practice it for 66 days until you will reach what researchers call a state of automaticity, where it actually gets easier to get up at 5:00 AM than not to get up at 5:00 AM.
So in the book, one of the brain tattoos is all change is hard at first, and it’s messy in the middle, and it’s gorgeous at the end. Everything, Marie, that we once found… that we now find easy, we once found difficult. We do have the ability to wire in new habits. Joining The 5 AM Club is simply the best habit anyone can wire in to lead to an upward spiral of success for greater productivity, better health, more peace of mind, more happiness and living a much more high impact life.
Marie Forleo: Yeah, it’s the one thing. I’ll tell you, getting up early in order to write my book, that was the only way I could get it done. I knew it was going to be a hard journey, but it was such a beautiful time for me. Those moments when it’s still dark out, and when it’s so silent and so peaceful. I remember it was honestly so transformative for me. I kept up the practice after finishing the book because it’s worked so well. So yeah, thank you for that.
So I love that you share too, and we talked about this a little bit, but I feel like we need to go back to it. Actually, I want to go here first. You share in the book one of the rules, “When faced with a choice, always choose the one that pushes you the most, increases your growth, and promotes the unfoldment of your gifts, talents, and personal prowess.”
I agree with you on kind of running towards that which is challenging or difficult. I feel like there’s a balance. For anyone listening going, “Are you guys telling us to make everything so hard?” It’s like no, there’s this zone I think where you stretch yourself and you see what you’re capable of. It’s not pushing it over where you get injured, or you get sick or you get burnt out. But in your career, have you noticed that when you’ve taken that path towards growth, you’re like, “Oh my goodness, look at all I can accomplish now”?
Robin Sharma: Yeah, absolutely. I think a bad day for the ego is a great day for the soul. You were talking about people that say, “Well, maybe I don’t want to get up at 5:00 AM. It’s not for me, and here’s why I can’t do it.” One thing I’ve realized is we become victims when we recite our excuses, and we recite them so many times we actually believe they are true. I think you can cling to your excuses, or you can go out there and have an impact, and live a fulfilling life, and be highly creative and enjoy the magic life, but you don’t get to do both.
You’re right. No one’s saying, “Burn yourself out and hurt yourself,” or anything like that. There’s a whole chapter in The 5 AM Club on the essentialness of rest. I believe that elite performance without deep recovery leads to depletion of all your assets of genius. So I think it’s self-awareness to know when should you rest, when should you pull back, when should you give up from a project, or when you should just continue past your limits so you can find new horizons. That’s about getting to know yourself.
But I think growth comes from stretching ourselves. I mean often we talk about physically, but in the book I think one of the disruptive ideas are the four interior empires. If I may, I’d just love to get into it, because everyone’s talking about mindset. Everything is mindset. Change your thinking, change your life. I think that comes from a lot of messaging from men, candidly.
We are more than just our mindset, because our mindset is our psychology. But a human being is mindset, and then what I call heartset, which is your emotionality, and then your healthset, which is your physicality, and then your soulset, which is your spirituality. If you really want to master yourself, and honor these four interior empires so that you experience other interior… other exterior empires, then it’s not just mindset. That’s only 25%.
Yes, you want to work on your psychology and be a positive thinker and install the beliefs of prosperity and elite performance. But you can have a great mindset, and if you have a toxic heartset because you have pain, shame, heartbreak, anger, sorrow, then that’s why you’re not going to get traction around your ambitions. So in the book, I explain how to calibrate the mindset, how to purify your heartset, and then how to optimize your healthset. Then I’m going to be a little dangerous here, if I may, how to escalate your soulset.
I know you speak to a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of creative people. So they might say, “Well, Robin, soulset isn’t relevant to me.” I would, with humility and respect, say it’s essential to everyone, because soulset is nothing mystical, and it’s nothing religious. Soulset is about saying, “I am going to turn down the voice of my ego through my deep inner work, so that the primal hero and highest part of me runs my life.” Soulset is about saying, “Life is short. Before I know it, no matter how long I live, I’m going to be dust. How can I serve as many people as possible?” Soulset is about finding a cause that is bigger than your life, that you’re going to donate the rest of your life to. I suggest to you when you calibrate your soulset, you become a force of nature on the planet that becomes undefeatable, and yet people don’t really focus on soulset.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. Well, I loved it in the book. I actually think our audience is really tapped into this, and they’re gonna love that reaffirmation of it. So you also share, “A lot of people are spending their best hours of their best days playing with their phones,” and I loved this line. “Your phone is costing you your fortune.”
So let’s talk about cyber zombies, and distractions, and the epidemic of mistakes being made at work. I thought this was really interesting. Josh, my man and I, we often talk about this just in our personal lives where just dealing with whatever it is, the cable company, the day-to-day stuff. We’re always like, “Did people always make this many mistakes?” It feels like the errors in every single facet of every single industry have skyrocketed way more than I’ve ever noticed as an adult. We can go wherever you want to go with this, but you are one of the first people that talked about that, the epidemic of just shoddy, crappy work and mistakes that are being made. I believe, I think as you do, a lot of it has to do with distraction, and technology and our phones
Robin Sharma: For sure, you’re right. Now it’s very popular to talk about the addiction to technology. I’ve been talking about it for over 10 years. One of my brain tattoos that I share in the book is an addiction to distraction is the death of your creative production. We all know about the dopamine addiction that happens when you play with your phone. I mean it taps into the nucleus accumbens of the brain, which is the reward center. So every time we look for a like, every time we play with a phone, every time we respond to a notification, there’s a shot of dopamine that creates a habit.
Then over time the habit turns into an addiction that is just as powerful as an addiction to cocaine, so everyone who can’t break free of their technology is like a cocaine addict. They are hooked to their phone versus hooked to their projects, and hooked to their values, and hooked to doing something that’s going to allow them to feel amazing about their lives at the end. This could be helpful to your viewers and listeners, but there’s a concept known as attention residue. Every single time you respond to a notification, every single time you look at your phone, you deliver or give a piece of your priceless attention to that notification. If you do it 100 times a day, then by the end of the day you have zero focus.
I was in a high-quality hotel relatively recently, and I ordered a large bottle of Evian water. I kid you not, they delivered 11 bottles of Evian water. You want to talk about the mistakes being made. It is stunning. There are very few people who are fully present, and yet one of the traits of the great geniuses is this: They could spend long stretches of time in acute focus, thinking about one project free of distraction. In the book, I talk about the model. It’s called Transient Hypofrontality, which is really flow state. We all can tap into flow state where genius lives, but you don’t get to do there if you’re checking your phone all day long.
Marie Forleo: Yeah, totally. In terms of those mistakes, I find that in terms of economics, what that’s costing us globally, I can’t even. Makes me want to throw up. Then just when it comes to business and just being your best in the world, sometimes it’s like if someone actually just shows up and does what they say they were going to do, they show up on time, they actually follow through, I’m like, “Wow, they’re amazing.” But they’ve just met the bar of what’s expected. Anyway, I think there’s just an opportunity for people when they bring their full presence and their heart to their work. You will be seen now, given the landscape, as extraordinary.
Robin Sharma: In The 5 AM Club, I call it a GCA, a Gargantuan Competitive Advantage. It has never been so uncrowded at world class, because so few people are doing the fundamentals of world class. So few people literally sit down in blocks of time, create what I call a tight bubble of total focus, and do real work versus fake work. Then I think you were hinting at this, but right now, I mean there’s so much loneliness on the planet. We are so technologically connected, and yet how many people do you meet, Marie, that are so cellularly present that just by their listening or just by their being, you feel safer around them?
Marie Forleo: It’s pretty rare. I will say one of the things that I love about Team Forleo, I’m just going to brag on them for a minute, that it’s our culture here. I think that’s why so many of the folks that we work with are so happy at work, because we actually pay attention to each other and we’re really present. But to your point, it’s transformative in so many ways, and just that ability to be here. I had a friend. Recently he said, “Can you please tell me your secret?” Because I don’t respond to texts very quickly, and he’s like, “What the hell are you doing?” I’m like, “I literally have my phone off.” I go check it at maybe the end of the day, but for long stretches of time it’s just not even in my eyesight. It’s because that’s the only way I can do what I do, and feel great about my life and about my work is to get that freaking thing out of there.
Robin Sharma: There’s actually a piece of research that just came out. There was a dummy phone, not even a real phone. But the very physical presence of a phone that wasn’t even real reduced people’s cognitive ability. In other words, the very presence of a phone makes us dumber.
Marie Forleo: Yes. There’s this other great research by this woman. I actually believe she might be Canadian. Maybe not, but she was talking about how if you’re at a meal, and let’s just say you and I were having a meal together. If we put a phone on the table, the level of our connection is absolutely going to go down. We try in our family just to make it as a practice of, even if we’re expecting a call or something’s happening, we’re like, “Nope, phones can not be in eyesight. They need to be somewhere else.” But thank you for sharing that.
I love this too. We touched on it a little bit, but I want to remake the point because we live in a culture that encourages nonstop hustle. You write, “We make our worst decisions and lowest choices when we’re exhausted, so don’t allow yourself to get exhausted.” So I want to talk about the importance of taking breaks throughout the day, and also time off.
As of the time of this recording, I know we don’t necessarily air immediately, but I’m getting ready to take a nice little two week trip to Italy. And first stop is Rome. And it has been transformative for my business the past couple of years… I think it’s how long guys? Maybe five, six years now when we shut the company down two times a year. Our company goes dark in the summer and in the winter for a few weeks. It’s like no tweets, no posting unless I get really inspired by taking a photograph somewhere. But talk to me about how this has played out in your own life, because you’re busy, you run a business, you speak around the world.
Robin Sharma: Yeah. I smile, because after this interview… and thank you again for the opportunity and privilege to be with you. I know how many people that you influence and elevate.
Marie Forleo: Thank you.
Robin Sharma: But I smile, because after this interview I go dark for a long time as well. I’m in Rome, which is one of my favorite places as well. I travel to other places. In The 5 AM Club, there’s a model that I think is profound because you’re right, we live in a world that evangelizes nonstop hustle. It’s all about the hustle. If you’re not scheduled 24/7, then you’re a loser and you’re not doing something right.
What I believe, and the research actually bears this out, the elite performers don’t operate as marathoners. It’s more like a sprint. The Energy Project, for example, has done some wonderful work in this field. The model is basically HEC, your high excellence cycle, and your deep recovery cycle. In other words, there are periods through the day where you bring on intense fire, intense creativity, and then you pull back and recover.
One of the rituals in the book is then the 60/10 method. You work for 60 minutes. It’s full on fire, sprint. 10 minutes you recover. You drink a cup of tea, you meditate, you listen to music, then you come back with an alarm clock in front of you. Another 60 minutes of profound work, creative work, sweaty work, and then another 10 minutes of recovery. Then you do that during the week. You take two days off or three days off to refuel. Then, as you probably do as well, you take a month off or two weeks off.
So what I’m trying to suggest is if all you’re doing is being an elite performer, then you’re going to actually deplete the very assets that allow you to own your game and play the long game. In the book, there’s five assets of genius. It’s not just your talent. I believe it’s your mental focus, your physical energy, your personal willpower, your original talent and your daily time. Smart creative people and the most productive people, they work really hard, and then they rest without guilt, and they recover and they have fun. I mean the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami says, “When I’m not writing and enjoying life, my ideas are incubating and I’m writing my next book.”
Marie Forleo: Yes. I always find it’s so fascinating. Last year, after another trip to Italy, it was when I was the most productive in writing my book. I came back, and it’s like stuff just poured out. I definitely have those deep-seated beliefs and even cultural history of work ethic, because that’s where… when you come from humble beginnings. One thing I do want to say for everyone listening, because again I have that ability to hear a voice in my head. Obviously, not everyone from a financial position right now where you’re at may be able to take several weeks off. That’s understandable. But what we can do I think is model that incredibly smart practice of hey, work for 60 minutes, and take a 10 minute break, and actually take a break and get out into nature. You know what I mean?
Robin Sharma: Yeah.
Marie Forleo: Just build up, because when you start I think taking better care of yourself in that sense, your performance is going to go up. Then you might be able to create more pockets of time to have a vacation, even if you don’t go anywhere or even jump on a plane. To be able to stay home, and to be with your kids or to be with your family, and to just step away from them even… work even for three or four days can be incredibly recharging.
Robin Sharma: There’s a concept I teach, Marie, called the Five Great Hours concept. You see, this 12 hour workday or 8 hour workday comes from the industrial era where the more we work, the more tires we could make or more cars we could produce, but we’re cognitive workers now. We’re creative workers. Our ideas are the currency of our success right now.
Five Great Hours is simply this. I believe that you don’t need to work anymore than five great hours every day, because just think about it. If you know how to set up your ecosystem, if you created what I call that tight bubble of total focus, if you worked without your phone, if you use some of the ideas that are in the book, basically your five hours would be equivalent to most people’s 12 hours or even a few days of work. So I teach people work from 8:00 til 2:00, and then at 2:00 go to an art gallery, go get a massage, go get on your mountain bike. Five incredibly powerful hours every day. You don’t need to work any more than that.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. No, it’s very true. I want to end with something that you write in the book, and it’s something I talk about a lot. You write, “Tomorrow is a promise, not a fact.” I often like to say, “We’re all on the same train heading to the same destination, we just don’t know when our stop is coming up.” So for anyone listening today, if they’re like, “You know what? I’ve heard so many good things,” and of course we want them to get the book, and to read the book and to use it. But if someone was feeling hopeful right now, and they’re just like, “Robin, what’s one thing that you would share with me that could help me just make all of the changes?” If you had one piece of advice, what would you share with them right now?
Robin Sharma: I would say get up at 5:00 AM, run the 20/20/20 formula, stay with it for 66 days. Make that commitment. After 66 days, look at how your life looks like in terms of your productivity, happiness. Also, I’d say when I was growing up, my father, who’s just celebrated his 83rd birthday, and he’s one of the great heroes of my life. When I was growing up, Marie, he shared something from Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali poet, that I’ve never forgotten. My dad used to say, “Son, when you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced.” He said, “Robin, live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice.” What I mean by that is no matter how long we get to live, right now everyone on the planet, in 100 years we’re going to be dust.
Marie Forleo: Dust. Total dust. Powder.
Robin Sharma: So all the things that we think are so important, the accolades, applause, the number of likes, followers, bikini pics or wearing the right watch, none of that matters. I believe only two things matter on the last hour of our last day. Number one, who did you become? Were you good? Were you authentic? Did you walk towards your fears, and as messy and bloody as it was, walk through them so you wear your scar tissue with pride? Number two, how many people did you serve? I believe that to lead is to serve. I believe the highest form of a human being is doing your work and living in a way that helps other people believe in themselves, and that makes the world a better place. I would just remind people of those two ideas, because I think they’re very important.
Marie Forleo: They are very important, and your work is very important.
Robin Sharma: Thank you, Marie.
Marie Forleo: Thank you so much for this beautiful book, and for making the time to be with us today. I hope we get to do it again.
Robin Sharma: Thank you so much, Marie. I appreciate it.
Marie Forleo: Now Robin and I would love to hear from you. We covered a lot of juicy stuff today. I’m curious, what is the insight that meant the most to you, and how can you turn that insight into action starting right now? Of course, you can let us know if you want to become a member of that 5 AM club. Leave a comment below and let us know.
Now as always, the best conversations happen over at the wonderful land of marieforleo.com, so get on over there and leave a comment now. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to our email list and become an MF Insider. You’ll get instant access to an audio I created called How to Get Anything You Want. It’s so good. You’ll also get some exclusive content, special giveaways, and some personal updates from me that I just don’t share anywhere else. Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams, because the world really does need that special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching, and I’ll catch you next time on MarieTV.
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