There’s always a price for the prize.
Are you willing to pay it?

Actually this should read: there’s always a price. Period.

For you’ll either pay the price for your greatness; or you’ll pay the price of mediocrity.

Do you get the difference?

I’ve always been really straightforward with you, frank and to the point. Sometimes I’m just downright blunt; and I always will be.

I believe the time for us to collectively move beyond a magical mindset and romanticism is long overdue.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand there’s value in that romantic position. We all go through it at some point in our own evolution. This is the first point of entry in our realization that we have some type of impact and influence on our world.

It’s the beginning of a path of ever-unfolding awakening and awareness. Yet there is much more to the path to be learned. And you must keep walking.

It’s time to step forward.

In fact, developmental psychologists agree that there are at least seven level of conscious evolution; and you can’t skip any of them. The only way beyond anything is through it.

The only way beyond your current situation in life is through it.

The fact remains that there will always be more people in grade school then in grad school. That doesn’t mean that grade school is bad, it’s the beginning of the path. It’s where we all start. The wise understand that grade school is the foundation that must be mastered and integrated on the way to greater things.

Life is an ever-unfolding and winding path with many dips, falls and turns.
Get up. Keep walking.

Even those that tell you in some way-shape-or-fashion that there’s an easy quick way to the top are not getting there in an easy quick way. If you saw what was going on behind the scenes it might be shocking to say the least.

It’s in the struggle that greatness is born

The human experience is often a struggle. Steven Kotler writes in The Rise of Superman that during the times we’re really pushing to our next level of performance, there’s a time of darkness and frustration. Sometimes it’s a long time.

Things have to get messy to get magnificent

There will be times when you feel alone, misunderstood and maybe downright abandoned. There are times when you wish you could just be “normal” whatever the hell that means. Yet no one who was normal ever made history. Never have. Never will.

So let’s agree right now that while there is a magnificent and amazing path through life. There is no easy path. Accept it. Keep walking!

The path of life is not easy, nor is it meant to be.
Yet it’s beautiful and full of adventure.

This is true whether you’re going after your own UHP or whether you’re in the unhappy and uninspired 71%. (reference UHP6 “What’s Your Resistance?”)

When you accept the struggle on the road to greatness, it begins to change. Suddenly your struggles and challenges have meaning and purpose. The price you’re paying is for a cause.

Your cause!

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. That doesn’t mean you necessarily like it. A lot of the time you won’t.

But you can find the reason and purpose behind it. Do you follow?

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
~ Friedrich Nietzche

I get up at 4AM in the morning every single day. Except with a rare exception on the weekends, when I feel I need to catch up a bit on sleep.

When I started this practice I really didn’t like it at all. But it’s become a habit. A habit begun all the way back to my teenage years. A habit that has served me well.

When I became old enough to get my drivers’ license, I quickly bought a motorcycle with the money I had saved; and I signed up for two (not one), morning paper routes. This was not my first job by the way, just my first job starting at 4AM.

For whatever reason I’ve always had an attraction to hard work. My first job began at six years old standing on the corner of the local grocery store selling Grit Newspaper to the exiting shoppers.

I’m curious… is there a metaphor here? Yes… I think there is!

“America’s Greatest Family Newspaper.” My first entrepreneurial adventure! Little did I know the true grit the entrepreneurial path takes.

All day Saturday and Sunday from early morning to late in the evening. I also mowed lawns in the local neighborhood.

In the winter I shoveled snow. Living in Oklahoma there was plenty snow to be shoveled. I remember countless nights going long after dark and telling myself “just one more house and then I’ll go home.”

This began at six years of age. And I juiced it. Imagine a little six year old coming to your door at dark and dinner time, worn, cold and frazzled and asking to shovel your driveway.

It was better than selling Girl Scout cookies. What hard hearted person could say no?

Many nights a worried mom sent dad out to find me in the darkened neighborhoods. He could most often find me by following the trail the shovel made as it dragged behind me in the snow.

I was often just too exhausted to carry its weight any longer.

What drove me like this at this early age I’ll never know. At some level it just seems that I came in with this drive. And it still serves me to this day.

Like everything in this universe, it is both a blessing and a curse.

This work ethic drive certainly didn’t come from my parents or my peers. As my parents often scolded me for staying out too long and too late; and my peers jeered me for wanting to work instead of play.

And at some level that continues to this day. No one who was normal ever made history.

I recall being involved in a mastermind group of leaders in personal development years ago and having one of them tell me, “I’ve often thought that you work too hard.”

“The people who are trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off.
Why should I?”
~ Bob Marley

These many years ago my practice of getting up at 4AM began, which continues to this day. It even carried me through prison. 4AM was the only time I could experience a couple hours of silence.

The paper route was rough. The morning hours were cold and brutal. Especially for a 16 year old who often needed to study late into the night. School never came easily for me.

In the dark cold mornings in the dead of winter you could follow my tripod trail down the deeply covered snow-filled streets. The motorcycle tire tracks were book cased on either side, by my sneakers dragging in the often ankle deep snow, to stabilize the wobbly bike loaded with newspapers.

Numb feet were common-place.

Once again, there’s always a price for the prize.

Are you willing to pay it?

Most aren’t.

“If I rise early I can achieve so much more in a day; and therefore in life.”
~ Richard Branson

If you haven’t figure out one of the prices we’re speaking of here it’s early mornings. Coupled by the way with many late nights. Long hours; and hard work.

Long hours are common place for those pursuing their UHP. But it’s not about watching the clock. For studies prove that when you’re in Focused Flow, time warps. Hours turn to minutes and weeks turn to days.

When you pursue your purpose you’ll work hard but it’s hardly work.
You’re doing what you’re here to do. You’re doing what you love.

I encourage many of my personal Ultimate Human Performance Coaching® clients to jump into what I call the “Golden Window of Productivity.”

Circadian rhythms tell us that the best sleep we get is between the hours of 2AM and 4PM and then again between 1PM and 3PM. This time in the early afternoon is when our energies dip.

If performance is your objective, then it seems to me that you want the deepest sleep; and yet you don’t need more than that.

It’s a fact that you sleep 33% of your life away. Fully 1/3 of your life is spent sleeping!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of sleep deprivation. Not a chance. Being deprived of sleep is counterproductive to your own UHP. What I am an advocate of is living your life fully.

Like it or not, even with a full long life of one hundred years or more, it goes really, really quickly.

“There are those who do not fear death
For they are more afraid of not really living.”
~ Ancient Proverb

You’ll read a lot about how much sleep you need. Some say 6-8 hours. Some even say 9. The fact is that The National Sleep Foundation with all their research cannot conclusively state how much sleep an adult needs. All they know for certain is that very young children need more.

So do dogs by the way.

You’re not a young child or a dog.

When my clients tell me they’re not achieving their goals and dreams in life one of the first questions I ask is “What time do you get up in the morning?” and “What time do you go to bed?”

For those who tell me, “Oh James, I need at least 8-9 hours of sleep.”

I say, “Sleep faster!”

You’re sleeping your life away. Tick tock. Are you going to really live?

I promise you if you’re going to achieve your own UHP, you’re obviously not going to do it in bed!

I further promise that for every single minute that you sleep longer than you need for recovery, there’s someone else who’s up and at it. Working hard to achieve their dreams.

Tell them, “You might have gone to Harvard or Yale, but I’ll work circles around you to achieve my own ultimate performance in life. I come early and I’ll stay late!”

Because it’s in this glorious pursuit in the early morning hours, in the Golden Window of Productivity between 4AM and noon, where the masters carve their destiny.

And then, when they finally step out and lay the gauntlet down, they know they can look back upon their own Grand Adventure and say, “I fought a good fight, I finished my course, I kept the faith, I was totally used by, and committed to, a cause greater than my selfish little wants and ailments.

The price of greatness: solitude and hard work. You can’t reach your Focused Flow without either.

You’ll find it in the Golden Window of Productivity I can assure you. Because not many will even consider joining you there.

The price of greatness: early mornings and late nights. For you’re living your purpose and it cannot be denied.

“Hard work may not always result in success, but it will never result in regret.”
~ Moneyball

Yes, hard work is a given. But then again it’s hardly work when you love what you’re doing now is it?

And there’s more. Isn’t there always?

And the journey continues…

Stay Awake, Love Life, and Be Epic!

james arthur ray


8 Responses

  1. I love the "Sleep faster" phrase! thanks, I still have problems accepting the 4am part.I am a night owl and accomplish most part of my work at night, sometimes I believe I am not as creative at day then I am at night.
    You always mention that your get up at 4 am but you have never mention at what time do you go to bed. What do you consider a good time to go to sleep is?

    It is very true that when you love what you are doing you don't consider that hard work, you don't even call it work. And that is the blessing in doing what you love.

    Thanks James for another great lesson, lots to think about this week.

  2. 😀 usually, i go to sleep at 2am… it is impossible to get up at 4am:Dfor me:D and if i do not put an alarm ,my kitten letting me sleep as much i wanna:D6-7hours..just timeing is different:D if..Life is an ever-unfolding and winding path with many dips, falls and turns.
    Get up. Keep walking…. and..It’s in the struggle that greatness is born..and indeed..Things have to get messy to get magnificent…but.. The path of life is not easy, nor is it meant to be.
    Yet it’s beautiful and full of adventure…if..He who has a why to live can bear almost any how…but still..The people who are trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off.
    Why should I?..and…
    There are those who do not fear death
    For they are more afraid of not really livin..then, i read out that i live really magnificent full brilliant life..soon as i can think, yessshhh im happy..boom… something makes me struggle again:D challenging:D

  3. 4am is a wonderful hour to spend 'generating' the day. The trouble is putting 'it' into play. Many times the 'liftoff' or concentration stage, initiation takes 5 to 100x to get one unit back out. Not knowing that people tend to quit. A rocket expends a huge amount of energy at liftoff and appears to barely move during its initial shuddering and moaning. Once moving it takes less and less to move further and further. There is a gap between the two. Listening to mind chatter why it will never work is worse than going back to sleep. Thank you James for validating the path!

  4. Yes fully agree Michael. Getting started takes tremendous energy. That's why I put my personal coaching clients on what I call the Master Protocol… a way to habituated behavior for Ultimate Human Performance. #LIVEBIG

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *