Updated: Jan 30, 2019
This credo is my commitment and my habit. It allows me to stay on top of my to-do's and go to bed feeling like things were accomplished and effort was put forth. When I Rise. Shine. Crush. I set the example for my family – preparedness, enthusiasm and productivity.
I write it on everything I create for this blog and I live it everyday.
People may not realize that many professional ballplayers struggle with loneliness, stress and anxiety. The "night hawk" lifestyle involved in nightly 7pm games and 14-hour bus rides through the abyss is tough on the body and the mind. When you're playing a summer sport for a living, the sun becomes the enemy. It assaults your eyes when you open the curtains at noon to start your day and it bakes you on the field and rises up from the ground, booking your feet from the bottom up. You do whatever you can to evade it - keeping the curtains closed and chasing the shade until it drops below the horizon. You don't feel normal, energetic or enthusiastic until the sun is gone and lights come on. Now being nearly 10 years removed from those years of my life, I've learned the value of the sunrise, and morphed into to a man who starts yawning around 7pm. I'm happier and healthier now, beginning my day on the same schedule as the sun.
When I first started my post-baseball career, I was working a 7pm-7am, 4 days on, 4 days off shift at an old built-in-1946 milling facility. Those were long nights with numerous of challenges and extreme manual labor. They were also very rewarding nights, balancing different tasks working with big machinery while operating as a team alongside the unique characters on the graveyard shift. There's just something special about toiling away while the rest of the city sleeps. I'll never forget the beauty of being on the top floors of that facility and seeing the first beams of the rising sun; a sign of the end of my shift and the beginning of a new day.
Among the many things I've learned since becoming a father, is the value of an early start to the day. Seeing the sunrise brings alot of joy and enthusiasm into my life. I've got so many memories of early early mornings where, sitting with a sick or teething child (or two); angry, struggling, worried about my wife surviving another day and I would find small moment of hope and bliss in the distinctive glow of a pink morning sunrise.
I never realized how many great quotes there are about waking early to start your day! While I was building this post I did some searching and found these gems:
“I would have it inscribed on the curtains of your bed and the walls of your chamber: If you do not rise early you can make progress in nothing.”
– Willian Pitt Chatham, British statesman
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
– Meister Eckhart, German philosopher
“It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.”
– Aristotle, Greek philosopher
POWERFUL STUFF! Successful people rise early, hard workers are up with the sun and game-changers are out of bed before their competitors. Rising early is a habit of happy, healthy, consistent, successful, enthusiastic, people.
As a hobby farmer, I've got a little bit of old cowboy in me, I love those small morning moments looking over the trees, feeding the animals, walking through the Oregon fog. That morning experience sets me up to enjoy my WHOLE day, whatever it may bring.
It is very important to me that my kids remember me as being up, energetic and ready to go every morning; thats the man I strive to be. To me, an early morning routine is evidence of a disciplined, self-controlled life. I like that.
How to rise early:
• The most important facet in establishing an early morning routine, is getting to bed at an hour that allows you to get the 8 hours of sleep you need. If waking up early requires you to live in a constantly-behind-on-sleep cycle, your early riser routine is destined for failure. When was the last time you read about a successful person who's secret was staying up late watching Netflix or surfing social media? Stop wasting your time late at night and start taking advantage of your time early in the morning.
• Use your phone's bedtime setting: You tell your phone when you want to wake up and it warns you when to start thinking about bedtime the night before, so you get your 8 hours.
• Find out what you need in the morning and get it ready the night before. Whether its your favorite blanket, your best sweats, coffee, ice water, music, instagram, exercise or a hot shower with eucalyptus-infused steam. Have it ready the night before and visualize it when your alarm goes off.
• Toss the blankets! Don't crawl out of bed, rip your covers off and stand up with aggression! Now you're awake. Now get going.
• Find some accountability in your spouse. Commit together, hold each other accountable, make some great coffee, talk about your plans for the day, always more fun to wake up with somebody else.
• Use the W.A.S.H. method! Getting in all 4 of the elements of the W.A.S.H. method everyday will give you the foundation you need to get to bed earlier, sleep better and rise earlier.
• Have the willpower and self-control to make changes! Increasing your follow-through in this area will increase it in other areas. Whether you want be healthier, stronger, get more DIY projects done, be a better dad or improve your performance at work, rising earlier is the catalyst!
I want people to know that when they deal with me, regardless of external circumstances, they always know what they're going to get: Enthusiasm, appreciation and optimism. These are more than feelings, they are personality traits! By exuding them you will bring them out of others. This is so important as the de-facto leader of your family, a dad who is full of energy and life and exuberance creates a house that is full of laughter, joy and fun.
Your children's attitudes and actions are a mirror of your own. A dad who is full of energy and life and exuberance creates a house that is full of laughter, joy and fun.
Be Big Picture:
Shining a light onto your family and into the world is all about perspective. In my experience, most people who are unhappy fail to observe and take into account just how good they have it. Are you able bodied? Are you of sound mind? Do you live in a country that allows you the freedom to choose what you want to do with your life? These are big picture advantages that thousands of people around the world do not share. Take responsibility for your day, your life and what you choose to do with your time. When you take full responsibility you begin to understand that you are not controlled and that your choices are not dictated by someone else. Choose to take into account just how good you have it, be grateful for the freedoms you have and make good decisions about what you do with your time. Surround yourself with people who do the same and separate yourself from people who don't.
Challenges Bring Rewards:
You get to choose how you view the speed bumps in your life. One simple, but powerful example is getting a flat tire (I experienced this last week). When a tire goes flat in your life, does it derail you mentally and take you to the brink physically? Or do you start your timer and see if you can beat your previous record on installing the spare? We must challenge ourselves daily through toil and learning and loving so when unexpected circumstances or opposition comes our way, we take in stride because we've seek out challenges every day by choice!
You are Surrounded by Profound Miracles
Are you paying attention? Do you watch the sun rise? Do you observe the way the seasons change? Do you take time to consider the incredible rate and which your children grow and learn? Do you put yourself through physical toil so you understand what your are truly capable of? Your life and all of the processes that surround you and meander along with or without your involvement are daily evidence of how incredible life is. Look around, listen, observe and appreciate.
Seek Out Things That Make You Feel Good
Have you ever heard the term Cognitive Dissonance? This is psychological invention, a way to describe somebody who experiences misalignment in their thoughts, beliefs and attitudes and their behavior or decision-making. We live in an age of information, the research has been done, we now know, beyond any debate, what types of behaviors and decisions lead to happy lives and what behaviors and decisions don't. Pursue behavioral patterns that contribute to a happy life long-term. Hint: Netflix binging, social media addiction, video game obsession, sugary foods, sedentary habits, drug and alcohol dependance and social isolation do not.
Once you rise, you have a responsibility to shine. The amount of positivity and enthusiasm you receive from your environment is equal to the amount you put into it. Chances are, all things considered, you have it really good, dwell on that, take advantage of your freedom to choose your habits, pursue those that lead to long-term happiness, tell others.
This word can come across as too aggressive for some people. Some feel like they've been beat over the head with such terminology, as though they have to go out and run a marathon, build a house from the ground up, squat 500 lbs. or participate in Mixed Martial Arts street fights to be considered a "crusher." This is understandable.
For me, crushing life everyday is as much about planning, preparing and finishing as it is about strength building, extreme labor or physical dominance. Crushing involves forward movement, constant improvement, exploration and continuing education. NOT STANDING STILL. When viewed this way, having the goal of crushing your day, your workout, that DIY project or that presentation at work sounds much more reasonable. And that's what I'm after here, being the best you can, staying on top of your tasks, completing what you say you will, being a dependable person.
Here are a few strategies I use to crush everyday:
Keep lists on your phone:
• Things you need to achieve what you desire - For me, this is books, tools, equipment, software, technology. Anything that requires an investment I need to plan for. This ensures I receive productive gifts for my birthday, anniversary or christmas and it forces to plan future pursuits against materials necessary for those pursuits.
• Things you said you would get done - A constant to-do list, big and small things, nothing is deleted until its complete. Every project I complete is predicated by it's inclusion on my to-do list. As you start to rise and shine, you'll have more free time, with that free time you'll want to get more done, to get more done, you need a list to work off of. This leads to more productive days, weeks, years and life!
• Ideas you have - Crushlife Acres started as a note in my phone. After my failed attempt at the Crushlife clothing line, I started to jot down ideas for how it could be done more effectively, what I learned, quotes that impacted me, ideas for content.
• Every day off is an opportunity - I rarely start a weekend without a list of things I want to accomplish. Things I need from home depot, workout plans, activities with the family. The best way to take advantage of days off is to have list to work from.
Few things are more satisfying than checking things off of a list. Sometimes, I'll type out something I've already completed just so I can delete it! You may call me crazy, but you'll never be able to call me unproductive.
Articles discussing the power of lists:
More on this is forthcoming in a future post, so I'll keep this short. If you able-bodied and you aren't pursuing consistent physical toil in your life – either through demanding exercise or manual labor – you are not as strong, mentally or physically, as you could be. Without physical and mental toughness you will never realize the level of crushing you are capable of and mental and physical challenges that are small in the scheme of things will be more difficult for you than they should be.
Fear of failure is fallacy:
There is a never ending list of quotes regarding failure, many of them are corny, they are all true. Many people have a tough time starting projects, plans or lifestyle changes because they are paralyzed by failure. I've told my wife many times, and she has learned this as she has started helping around the farm more, that no project ever goes exactly as planned. Whether you're installing a light, building a chicken coop or removing a wall of cabinets, crap will happen, you won't have what you need, something won't fit. Even at the highest levels of business, engineering, construction and production, there is no perfect project, no flawless design, no blameless leader. When you fail at something, big or small, you don't fall out of the perfect club, it's quite the opposite actually, you join the party of those who've tried, learned and pursued. Take on new projects, deconstruct machinery that you're not sure how to put back together, just make sure whatever project you're undertaking is on your to-do list. Michael Jordan and Steve Jobs didn't give a rat's rear about failure, but you do?? C'mon brother, branch out.
Finish this before you start that:
My wife's favorite question: "When are you gonna start the (insert project name here) project?" Women are wonderfully complex creatures, it mostly works like this:
1. As discussed above, I make lists and hammer out projects all types
2. I crush those projects efficiently and quickly
3. The planning, time and effort to crush those projects isn't fully appreciated
4. The forthcoming project is mentioned prior to the current project being completed
5. I explain that I will not start the forthcoming project until the current project is complete.
6. This allows me to complete steps 1 & 2 repeatedly.
Short story short, do one thing at a time. Don't let your efforts leak! Hold off on prep or the buying of materials and tools for the next project until your current project is officially off your to-do list! This relieves pressure, allows you to dedicate your mental and physical energy to one thing and it helps you get more done over the long haul.
Have you seen that show Hoarders? Psychologists say one of the main reasons men become hoarders is they make plans and purchase things for hundreds of ideas and projects, all at once i.e. they are INDECISIVE. Mentally moving between ideas, projects, passions and possessions is a road to chaos. Although this is an extreme example, it paints the picture of how destructive indecisiveness can be. Pay no mind to what your lady says, get this done, then move onto that.
Shine in all that you do.
Get more done.
Repeat to live your fullest life.