"Victims have big TVs, leaders have big libraries."
-The Tycoon, The 5 am Club
"Poor people have big TVs, rich people have big libraries."
-Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, author, and speaker
The 5 am Club: Owning Your Morning, Elevate Your Life by Robin Sharma is an interesting book. I am on my second listen on Audible. I may be a little bit in love with this book, even though I almost quit listening to it the first time.
The formatting of this self-development (formerly known as self-help) book is different from any book in this genre that I have ever come across. Instead of the author telling us how to make our lives better, Sharma has taken himself out of the equation. The concepts covered in the book the reader learns about via a hallmark movie type story (I mean that in the best possible way). The main players in the story are:
"There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches."
As the book opens, the tycoon is described as a homeless man. Although a bit skeptical (guess which one), the artist and the entrepreneur trust the homeless man/ tycoon and take him up on his offer to go to his island "called solitude." Even if you are not a religious person, we have all heard stories of characters who aren't beautiful (or are different in some way from the norm) offering help to the protagonist. Sometimes the protagonist refuses to help (or refuses to receive the support offered), and they are punished. Disney's Beauty and the Beast comes to mind. In other stories, the protagonist (sometimes against others' warnings) takes the help, and their path to the goal is eased. But I think that modern media gives us very few of these stories. The different are usually just plain ole bad/ evil and have nothing to offer.
The central learning from this self-development book can be simplified into three points.
Granted this those points are not just with Sharma but with self-development books in general.
The pull yourself up by your boot straps/ all you have to do is...
The artist and the entrepreneur both have the time/ resources to just up and leave to go on an adventure with the billionaire. I have been a single mother since 2001. If I had gone to this conference and meet the homeless man, I would not have been able to go (as much as I would have wanted to). Both characters also have freedom in their careers (the entrepreneur owns her company, and the artist is a freelancer. What about those who have to clock in/out of a 9 to 5?
And if we forget about the fictional opportunity of the adventure (gosh, Jamie, that's why the man wrote the book). The book's main concept is waking up at 5 am and using that first hour to change your life, but although we all have 24 hour days, not everyone's 24 hours are equal. Beyonce can get more out of her 24 hours than I am. She has a staff that probably includes a chief, trainer, personal shopper, and things I haven't even thought of. I can get more of my 24 hours than someone who has to work zero-hour contracts (and therefore has to work multiple jobs). I have health insurance, some savings, and I don't have to worry about having enough to pay my bills.
This book and many others like it do not acknowledge that resources (even time) are not applied equally to everyone in society.
"When people talk about the good old days, I say to people, 'It's not the days that are old, it's you that's old.' I hate the good old days. What is important is that today is good."
In the past, they had the answer. If only we didn't have modern technology, we all would be perfect people.
It erks me when authors use the past as shorthand for all that is right and good and paint technology with the brush of evil. There have always been humans who are exceptional (the overachievers and the layabouts), and there have always been humans who are just getting through life (the majority of us). I do not understand why writers feel the need to compare the imperfect present with the supposedly perfect past. I think this comparison takes away from the actual message. The message that no matter your place, position, or personality, if you follow the prescribed plan, you to can be great.
Why is every self-development writer a Luddite? I wonder if they were writing their books if they would hate on using the printing press, the steam engine, or the loom. I agree that all new technology comes with contemporary issues and consequences. Still, the answer is not getting rid of the technology. Like your daily coffee (from your coffee house of choice) isn't making you poor, having a smartphone isn't making you stupid and lazy (I can be lazy without using my phone, thank you very much).
The 5 am Club doesn't include any new innovations in the world of self-development; it is a nice easy listen. If you purchase the Audible, it comes with a PDF that contains the models that are covered.
Have you read the 5 am Club? What did you think about it? Do you have any self-development suggestions (I am looking for suggestions written by people of color and women).
Starting a new skill or habit is easy, but maintaining the journey is often difficult. More than 30 days ago on this blog I made a declaration of starting and continuing a journey of mindfulness. Making an update is always hard, especially when you don't reach your goal. I started out full of enthusiasm and a plan: during one of my planning periods I would take ten minutes to engage in my mindfulness practice. For two weeks I was able to follow through with this plan, but my plan had a small flaw. My weekend practice during these two weeks was almost non-existent. It is super easy on the weekend to sleep a little later, to head to the local coffee shop for a late morning coffee with friends, and to complete all the task and errands that never get done during the school week. Then came Chinese New Year, which includes a two-week break from school. During the second half of my thirty-day timeframe, my mindfulness practice went from okay (hey it's a journey) to non-existent. The two-week break was an extended version of my weekend. At this my initial public check-in for this mindfulness journey, I won't say I have failed, but there is room to grow. While the plan to have a practice daily during my planning block is a good idea, I think this next 30-days I will switch my practice to the morning upon waking (because you know I wake up each morning even on the weekends). I will check back in with you in another 30 days.
How much coffee have I had this morning? Or this week? Or this year? Goodness gracious probably enough to fill the Yellow Sea or at least a couple of bathtubs. Have I worked out this week? There are grades to enter and lessons to plan. How did I end up on some many committees? Does a spoon full of peanut butter count as dinner?
These questions illustrate the routine of my life recently. As a teacher and a parent, I don't often think about taking the time to care for myself. The past week or so I have gotten home and fallen into bed (the other day I fell asleep with all my clothes on). I am resolving to take better care of me. As the saying goes, you can not pour from an empty cup.
If you don't know me, I am a planner (I am a nerd that way). So I have made a self-care plan to ensure (hopefully) that I am taking care of me. This plan includes time for practicing mindfulness. For the past few years at QISS teachers have been learning about mindfulness, but I have not been consistent with my mindfulness practice. I have downloaded the app HeadSpace. The goal is a streak of 30 days using the app to practice being more mindful. I would also like to start implementing some mindfulness practices with my students to help them learn more about self-care. The students I teach often perform at such a high level that they forget to do things like sleep and eat a proper meal.
Check back to see how my students and I are doing on this mindfulness journey.
In the world of international teaching, you often get to practice using the word goodbye. The end of the first semester has come and gone, and as both a parent and a teacher, I have to help the students in my care deal with the loss of classmates and friends.
The companies that bring families to our school from countries all over the globe often make the decision to end an employees time abroad before the start of the new year. This means that the winter holiday while greatly anticipated is also a time for tearful goodbyes.
For many people making friends can be tough and with the frequent changing of the student body some students can be reluctant to make an effort to make friends when they may be gone in a year (sometimes even sooner).
I have talked to a few students recently about the difficulty of making and maintaining friendships within a small international school setting. They stated that the fear very significant possibility of friends moving away makes them hesitate to form bonds.
But, what is high school without close friends to laugh and hang out with? One of the things I look back on with joy when I think about my high school years were the three girlfriends I walked the hallways of East High with. Having a group of friends is essential to the mental health and wellbeing of everyone, especially students in an international school who may be away from everything that is culturally familiar.
As a teacher, I try to have a classroom culture and fosters positive peer interaction.
Allowing students to chat (about off topic things) both to me and with peers.
Chatting with students during off times (at lunch, in the hallway) helps me learn more about them and may allow me to help them to make connections with another student. i.e., I know that student A is really into fashion and I learn by chatting with student B that he is also into fashion. I can use that knowledge to play friend matchmaker. (I usually do this with new students or students who are having trouble making friends.)
Loss is inevitable and being in the world of international schools means that you are always saying goodbye to old friends and welcoming new friends. As a teacher, I try to be there to support students when they are dealing with the loss of a friend, and I encourage them to be open to meeting new friends.
A teacher from the United States of America, currently teaching abroad. I teach science to middle and high school students. I enjoy reading and doing nerd things.