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Creative Career Path

Art of the Early Start2009.10.21

    What time does your day start? More importantly, how do you spend the first hour? The way you begin your day sets the tone for everything else.

    If everything else is not going as well as it could, you can make one small change which will turn things around. Get an early start. Set your alarm 30 minutes to an hour earlier, and make good use of the extra time. Especially make good use of the morning sunlight.

    Are you aware of how little light you actually get indoors? Living in low light environments can lead to a condition know as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or winter depression. Long days at work, lack of sunlight, and cold winter commutes can be enough to drive people to the brink. But of these, the lack of light may have the worst effect.

    A normal living room light only emits about 100 Lux of brightness, while an office fluorescent light has a brightness of 300~500 Lux. Compare that to 1000 Lux of sunlight, an hour before sunset! Even a cloudy sky bathes you in 5,000 Lux, and this amount rises to 10,000 Lux on a clear day, and even above 20,000 Lux or more in bright sunlight. Bright light of at least 2,500 Lux can literally reset your body clock, and works better than your alarm clock.

    Note that within reason, greater exposure to light can enhance your mood, and increase amounts of serotonin, the hormone that induces wakefulness and elevated mood. Though it may feel pretty good to sleep in, the problems start after you wake up. Have you ever had the feeling that you got out of bed on the wrong side? That somehow your day is off to a less than perfect start and stays that way? You have not only lost valuable time, you have also lost precious light.

    A Japanese saying has it that, the career path is brilliant in the morning sun. And of course success has long been associated with early risers, from Benjamin Franklin to Bill Gates. Many proverbs have been formed around this notion. We intuitively sense that the early bird gets the worm, and that well begun is half done.

    It isn’t just that early rising gives you a head start or a little extra time. It is more that the habit of an early start carries over into whatever else you do during the day. One of the best ways to gain an advantage in your business or career is to be proactive.

    This is true for companies as well as individuals. Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything, is a book worth reading for anyone in business. Before you make up your mind, have a look at the Art of the Start Video on Guy Kawasaki’s blog at:

    If you live and work in Tokyo, you should know about the Marunouchi Morning University. Launched in April 2009 and located in the central Marunouchi business district of Tokyo, this is a non-traditional school for business men and women who want to gain an early bird advantage by taking one-hour lessons of their choice before going to work. Classes are held from 7:30~8:30 am, and courses are offered in art, food, environment, mind-body disciplines, personal finance, health, travel, and more. Known in Japanese as Marunouchi Asa Daigaku, the website offers detailed information at:

    Of course to gain an early start advantage requires discipline. Discipline imposed from the outside often feels like punishment. But self-discipline is its own reward. What happens if you drift along without discipline? You end up becoming a victim of your own bad habits, or as some would say, stewing in your own juices.

    Samuel Johnson (1709~1784) remarked brilliantly that, The chains of habit are too weak to be felt, until they are too strong to be broken.

    Are you really satisfied with the status quo in your life? Perhaps you would like to make a difference, but may not believe it is possible because you accept the limitations imposed on you. But how will you feel at the end of the day, and at the end of your life, if you really give in to that belief? There must be many things that you would like to experience and accomplish while you still can.

    A Catholic priest once remarked that few people on their deathbed regret what they did in life. People regret most what what they did not do in life. Get an early start, and you will have few regrets.

    William Reed


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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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