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  • Writer's pictureJay Ashcroft

What I Learned From Joining The 5am Club - Here’s What it Got Wrong. Calling Out Robin Sharma

A photograph of the 5am club, waking up early and learning to install the mindset and routines that set me up for success throughout my day, using reading, writing and meditation as well as the book by Robin Sharma, the 5am Club.

Despite the seemingly aggressive title, I would like to state for the record that the 5am Club changed my life. Robin Sharma is a genius, and to be completely honest, I owe a lot of any success I’ve found in the past couple of years to this book.

Here's what I've learned from joining The 5am Club.


I’ve read the 5am Club twice now, and I’ve listened to it twice on Audible. And the affects have been staggering. If you aren’t familiar, I’ll give you a brief synopsis. If you are familiar, feel free to curse me and skip a few paragraphs (look for the wha-BAM as a drop in reference point).


In the book, a young woman and a young man meet a mysterious business mogul at a self-improvement conference. They’re referred to as the entrepreneur (the woman), the artist (the man) and the billionaire (mysterious business mogul).


The billionaire sells the entrepreneur and the artist on meeting him at 5am the next morning to have their lives changed forever.


We then travel through a series of events that present our main characters in learning the value of waking up early as hell, and running a specific set of routines – every single day, no matter what.


And wha-BAM! That’s the 5am club in a nutshell.


Okay, welcome back reader who already knows what the 5am Club is about.


So what did it get right? What did it get wrong? I’d like to take a deep dive and peel back the layers of my own psyche for a moment, to your benefit.


As a kid, I was so lazy. Like, ridiculously lazy. I fell asleep by likely 1 or 2 am. I hit that snooze button religiously in high school. I woke up every morning to my mother screaming at me to get out of bed.


I would drag myself up – with minutes to spare. And then, of course – I’m late for everything. Literally everything. From the beginning of the day to the very end. And then I start the cycle all over again.


All the while, I just accept it. As though I have no control over the matter. I’m sure it had a lot to do with excessive use of the electric lettuce. Maybe a little too much booze. But ALAS!


This continues into University and beyond. Although my responsibilities change as I move well into my 20s – I start to get jobs, I have to wake up early – I still only ever give myself just enough time to get ready and get my ass out the door.


Why? In hindsight this was so.. Obnoxious. So ridiculous. Just get your shit together, brother. But I couldn’t! It was hopeless.


I couldn’t get my shit together, until my niece died in 2020 in a tragic accident. Then I started to wake up. Literally and metaphorically. I started to look around and think “Oh, maybe I should use my time more wisely. What if I died soon too??” And then my dad passed in the same year, god bless his gentle soul. Now I’m REALLY waking up.


“But, I still had so much to learn from him… There wasn’t enough time. What if I’m running out of time too? Oh god, I kind of AM running out of time…”


This was a problem. But it was one that I was going to solve. The bane of my existence quickly became a lack of enough time in the day to do what I want with my life.


So, what do I do? I get to work. I start getting up earlier. I build a photography and videography business which quickly becomes some kind of marketing/social media management boutique hybrid thing.


As the months go on I eventually start to burn out – I can’t maintain. Or sustain. How will I grow past this point?


It’s around this time that I begin to become obsessed with continued self-education. I’m talking online courses. I’m talking YouTube videos and Google Enquires. And I talking books. I’m talking books – big time.


I start to read every single morning and every single night before I go to bed. It’s amazing. I’m changing. “This really is like The Matrix” I continue to think to myself.  


Then I pick up The 5am Club by Robin Sharma. I had heard of the thing, but I just never had any interest in reading it. I remember always thinking “5am huh? That’s ridiculous. No one can wake up that early.”


Well, I was incorrect. Quite substantially actually. For the next 6 or 7 months (I can’t remember exactly to be honest, likely due to sleep deprivation) I woke up at 5am and employed the tactics that Sharma taught in the book.


The 5am Club teaches the “power hour” and 20-20-20 principle. Up at 5:00. Exercise hard for 20 minutes, read for 20 minutes, meditate/contemplate and write for 20 minutes.


But I’m an extremist. I seem to feel the need to push things. So here we go.


My routine every morning? Up at 5:00. Go for an hour long run. Come back and read for 20, write for 20, meditate for 20-45 minutes. Then shower, breakfast and off to the office to get to work. The routine, all in all, took me 2 to 2 and a half hours every morning.


It was hardcore. And I loved it. Until I didn’t. Eventually the problems started to surface. I mean, for my girlfriend’s birthday we went camping with some friends. And what did my selfish ass do? I went to bed at 9:30pm. So I could stick to my beloved routine.


What an asshole. What a selfish prick, right? Probably. I don’t know.


But what I do know is that while The 5am Club teaches a lot of extremely valuable and life changing skills – it got one thing really, really wrong.


Ready for it? The real value has nothing to do with the time that you wake up. At all. It’s about the routine itself. The secret to unlimited efficiency and effectiveness is testing for yourself, learning as you go and permanently instilling a tried and true, tested by you, routine that you run. Every. Single. Day.


The problem with The 5am Club is that we can take it too literally. We’re all looking for a little help sometimes. And then this book comes along, and basically says “if you follow every single piece of advice in this book, step by step, you will be successful.” But, that’s all it is. It’s advice.


As humans, we need to take the average of all of the information that we absorb, and use our conscious and subconscious minds to make informed decisions. For ourselves and for no one else.


For me, 5am wasn’t sustainable. While it brought me a lot of success it also left me exhausted, depressed and lost – inevitably. Until my final demise as of late, where I slipped back into the old habits of hitting snooze for literally 5 hours. This went on for months.


Until I finally snapped out of it, and had a revelation. It’s not about the time that I wake up. It’s about the routine itself! Aha! I’ve cracked the code!


I woke up at a new time the next day, and haven’t looked back. So, what time do I wake up at now? The difference is subtle, but it makes all the difference.


I’ve started The 6am Club. Ha! It really is amazing all the difference that 1 hour can make. I can get to bed by 11:00 or 12:00, and still feel fine the next day. If I’m feeling tired, I’ll go to bed at 9:00 or 10:00. It is sustainable.And that’s the key concept here. Can you do this every single day for the rest of your life?


Because, much like a spiritual awakening, once you’ve experienced it – you can never go back.


The routine I’ve been able to install into my operating system is the best one I’ve come up with yet – and it feels amazing.


Up at 6am. Stoke the fire, put some coffee on. Drink a cup and read (right now I’m reading As A Man Thinkethby James Allen). Meditate (I’ve been using pre-recorded chakra tones as a meditation assistant), and then write in my journal. This lasts until 7am.


Then I have some rice crispies with a Greek Yogurt and OJ. From 7am – 9am I do deep focused work. At this time in my life that work includes blog writing. I’m sure this will change with time.


At 9am I take the dog for a half hour walk in the forest to reset and ground myself.


Then back to the office for more deep work until 11:30am. At 11:30 I lift weights while watching Building Off The Grid and listening to either Deadmau5, Bob Proctor or Earl Nightingale.


A big 2nd breakfast/lunch happens around noon.


From there and onwards, the rest of the day tends to become whatever it becomes. And each and every day I’m set up for success because of the work that I put in for the entirety of the morning.


If you haven’t read The 5am Club. Read that sucker! It changed my life. But please, please. Make it your own. Take everything that’s said with a grain of salt and then add your own spice to it.


Although, you should probably just learn your own lessons. Read it, follow it, or don’t. And enjoy.


To Your Success,

Jay Ashcroft


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