Joining the 5am Club
A True Story
on Apr 12, 2023
On most mornings, I have often felt dozy, dopey, drowsy, groggy, sleepy and heavy-eyed. (Okay, I know those adjectives mean the same thing. I am just emphasizing how I have struggled to stay awake in the morning.) My tendency to doze in the morning has sometimes made me stay in between the sheets or nap on my desk long after the sun has risen in the east.
It all started in August 2008 when I was a second-year student at the university in JKUAT. During that month, I would stay in bed till as late as 1.00pm on some days. If Dr. Geoffrey W. Griffin, the founder of Starehe Boys' Centre where I had my high school education, was to hear how I slept till afternoon, he would turn in his grave because we were taught at Starehe to be diligent and disciplined.
Over the years, I have tried to overcome my tendency to oversleep in the morning. I'd get myself psyched-up to be an early-riser and even boast about it to my friends on email and social media. But you know what? After a few days, I'd fizzle out and lapse back into an over-sleeper.
Having consistently failed to be an early-riser in over ten years, I had given up rising before dawn. But I still felt ashamed of my over-sleeping. When I slumbered during the day, I'd sometimes lie it was because I had stayed awake the previous night, just to avoid being labelled as lazy. I'd utter that lie even before someone asked me why I was sleeping during the day.
Given how I struggled with over-sleeping, I used to admire those people who rose early with ease. People such as the physiotherapist who treated my disabled mother a few years ago. Imagine the physiotherapist would dutifully come home at around 6.00am, often finding me deep in sleep. I calculate that he used to get out of bed as early as 5.00am for him to be at our home by 6.00am.
After contrasting the physiotherapist's early-rising with my inability to get out of bed in the morning, I came to agree with former U.S. President Bill Clinton when he wrote in his memoir that it hurts to struggle to attain something that seems to occur so naturally in others. Rising early was a real struggle for me.
It was that struggle with rising early that compelled me to buy and read Robin Sharma's The 5am Club, an enlightening book about getting out of bed at 5.00am everyday. The book's subtitle is, "Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life."
Although I can't really say the book moved me, I am sure its message gradually inspired me to be getting up before dawn. I can happily report that I have for the past three months been getting out of bed at 5.30am, mostly to read and meditate.
Gosh! I can't believe that I have been waking up at 5.30am for three months now. Whereas before I found rising before dawn to be a Herculean task, I am now getting out of bed at 5.30am with relative ease. That, to me, is truly a miracle worth thanking God for.
As a result of getting out of bed at 5.30am, I have added several hours to my waking life each week. My self-esteem has also improved since early-rising is one of my values that I used to preach to others in my stories.
The Chinese people have a proverb that says, "No one who rises before dawn 360 days in a year fails to make his family rich." That proverb has given me hope that I will achieve my dreams by rising early consistently.
I have therefore resolved to continue getting out of bed at 5.30am, come what may. Already, I have banned myself from sitting on my bed right from when I wake up till 7.00pm. I have also banned myself from folding my hands during the day, except for that short time after lunch when I usually have a power nap on my desk.
Drawing from my past experiences, I now fully realize that if I dare over-sleep on only one morning, I will lose momentum and relapse into an over-sleeper. Which is why I have resolved that, however chilly the weather is or how stressed I am, never to give in to the temptation to stay in between the sheets when my phone alarm rings at 5.30am.
My beloved reader, I challenge you to also join the 5am club if you don't rise early. Be waking up before dawn. There is so much we can do in this life that we have no excuse for staying in bed longer than necessary. Before I bid you goodbye in Italian, let me leave you with this quote by a Starehe schoolmate of mine called Charles Masaki: "The warmer the bed, the colder the future." Ciao!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the story above about joining the 5am club, you might also enjoy another one on "Developing Good Sleeping Habits" that I wrote four years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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The Things We Take For Granted
A True Story
on Apr 7, 2023
In his free ebook The Top 200 Secrets of Success and the Pillars of Self-Mastery, motivational writer Robin Sharma advises us to do 100 sit-ups everyday. He says doing 100 sit-ups helps tone up our stomach muscles, leading to improvement in the quality of our lives. Mmmmh, that sounds interesting, doesn't it?
As for me, I came to discover that stretching with rollers is more effective in toning up our stomach muscles than doing sit-ups. I have therefore been stretching with rollers 12 times everyday for the past five years. Judging from the pain I used to feel when I first began using rollers daily, I reckon stretching with rollers 12 times must be the equivalent of doing 100 sit-ups.
Yes, I used to feel excruciating pain in my stomach muscles when I first began stretching with rollers everyday in 2017. Whenever I jumped, my stomach muscles would ache - the kind of pain that would force many people to quit stretching with rollers. But I didn't quit. I persisted.
Guess what! As I continued with my stretching exercises, the pain in my stomach muscles gradually subsided. I can happily report that I have been stretching with rollers effortlessly 12 times each passing day for the past five years. And I'd have been stretching more times had my eldest brother Joe Kagigite not warned me that over-exertion with rollers can cause severe back-pains.
Early last week, something odd happened to my body. I started feeling searing pain in my stomach muscles - the same kind of pain I used to feel five years ago when I began stretching with rollers everyday. My stomach muscles have been aching not only when stretching with rollers but also when jumping, laughing and sneezing.
The ache in my stomach muscles has made me dread the time I habitually stretch with rollers. Whereas before I would stretch without thinking about it, I have in the last thirteen days been in pain whenever I have done a single stretch with rollers.
Honestly speaking, I don't know what caused the pain to reappear in my stomach muscles. I hadn't stopped stretching with rollers for some time. Neither had I stretched more than 12 times on any single day. The cause of the pain remains mysterious to me.
Last week when the pain was most intense, I prayed that it was only a passing ache of my abdominal muscles and not a developing problem in any of the vital organs in the stomach region (liver, kidneys, pancreas, intestines or the stomach bag itself). I even picked a biro and scribbled this on my tummy: "God, heal my abdominal muscles!"
God seemed to have listened to my prayers because for the past three days, the ache in my stomach muscles has lessened. I firmly believe the pain will completely go away just like it did five years ago and sooner than later, I will gradually resume stretching with rollers smoothly.
Believe you me, I had come to take for granted my ability to stretch with rollers effortlessly everyday. But last week when I began feeling searing pain in my stomach muscles every time I did a single stretch with rollers, I realized what a big blessing it was to stretch with rollers easily. And that has made me reflect on other little blessings that I have been taking for granted such as:
- climbing stairs
- going for walks
- swallowing food
- having hair on my head
- having appetite for food
- having pain-free white teeth
- thinking clearly and creatively
- feeling joy and peace in the soul
- having joints that bend effortlessly
- breathing so easily that I don't even notice it
- having the strength to queue up in a supermarket
Realizing how richly blessed I am to have those blessings I have listed above has made me resolve to appreciate and enjoy them. I will no longer take them for granted. As someone once said, those little blessings will one day appear big to me. Why not value them now?
My beloved reader, I urge you to also pause once in a while and ponder on the things you take for granted - plain, everyday things - and appreciate them before it's too late. Perhaps that might help you rise above the petty worries, conflicts, jealousies and resentments that litter our everyday living. Happy Easter holidays!
NEW! NEW! NEW! If you missed my social media update two days ago, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new hymn titled "Hear Me, O Lord". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the hymn.