Why I Don’t Sleep In

I don’t have to be anywhere this morning until 8:00, and the meeting is 7 minutes from my house. Yet and still, this morning I woke up at 5:30, made a cup of coffee and pulled out the laptop and got to work.

You see, I don’t sleep in.

One advantage to having once been immersed in Evangelical Christian subculture is long-term exposure to what genuinely passionate and devoted people look like. It is life-changing, actually.

I was once listening to a sermon preached by an “apologist”. If you don’t know, an apologist is a person who has devoted their lives to proving their chosen faith “true”. Think of them as trained rhetoricians who want to argue with non-believers about the veracity of the claims of Evangelical Christianity.

So anyway, this apologist was berating us for not having memorized the 5 pillars of Islam and the arguments from the Christian Bible against them, and he mentioned that devout Muslims often memorized the entire Qur’an.

“They are willing to do for a lie what you are not willing to do for the truth!” he shouted at us from the pulpit.

Now, I think his arguments against Islam are full of holes, and how do you argue against faith, anyway? – but the point is that line – “they are willing to do for a lie what we are not willing to do for the truth”. Or, in other words – they are willing to work harder than you are, and that is why they win.

I think about this all the time in my work.

For example, much of homelessness is a byproduct of unfettered capitalism. So, I read business memoirs all the time, because I want to understand capitalists. (You can’t change people you don’t understand).

Almost all of them have very detailed, rigorous morning routines. Virtually none of them sleep late. Many of them take great pride on waking up early, going to the gym and getting to work before anyone else does. Lots of them talk about strategic decisions around clothing (like this article about Obama’s productivity secrets and why he only wears grey or blue suits) or what they eat for breakfast.

In other words, they apply extreme care to their day, and their day is designed, purposefully, to generate the results they get.

Meanwhile, in most of the activist circles I hang out with, meetings don’t start on time, they run over, you aren’t sure if the guy leading the meeting showered today and we spend the first half of the meeting arguing about how the meeting will be run. These people don’t reply to email, and they won’t hire anyone to answer it for them, and then say they can’t afford it, but somehow can afford artisanal food and laptops designed for graphic designers when all they do on them is type.

While we slept in this morning because we don’t want to be held down by the man, the man was up early, ate a balanced breakfast, and planned how to increase corporate profits by laying people off or shuttering a company. And he did that before you got out of bed.

They are willing to do for a lie what we are not willing to do for the truth. And that is why they win.

And that is why I don’t sleep in.

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