Did you ever see those articles like “HERE’S WHAT THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO EVERY MORNING” or “TOP 10 HABITS OF THE RICHEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD”, as if by doing what these people do, or by taking on their habits, we too will become “successful” and “rich”.
So you read the article and you think:
“Damn, it says here that Bill Gates wakes up every morning at 5am, drinks a litre of lemon water and listens to whale music whilst holding a handstand for 45 minutes. If he does this and he’s a billionaire, if I copy him I’ll be a billionaire too, right?”
Let’s clear two things up:
First of all, Bill Gates doesn’t really do this. I made it up. And please don’t hold a handstand for 45 minutes.
Secondly, copying the habits of someone else does not guarantee you the same fortune as them.
You hear that?
These things are not going to make you more successful, or smarter, or rich, in the same way that these habits do not directly make these people more successful. Or smarter. Or rich.
It’s just what they do.
Whether it’s a cup of coffee, or a morning walk, or 15 minutes spent reading: it’s a part of their routine and, whatever it gives them, be that peace, perspective, motivation, whatever, it has helped them to get to the stage they are at now.
But these people are not you, and these habits are not yours.
If you can’t stand lemon water, what the hell makes you think that forcing down a litre of it every morning is going to help you in any way to reach your goals, just because it happens to feature in the morning routine of a very successful person?
You have to find what works for you, what gets you going, and what sets you up for the day.
And that’s how we come to the cold shower.
“So you take a cold shower every day?”
And no, not just because I’m currently in Mallorca and it’s super fucking hot from dawn til dusk.
No. This is something I do every day, and have done for a long time, because it works for me.
It goes something like this:
- I get into the water at a lovely warm temperature and quickly wash my hair and my body.
- I take a very deep breath.
- I turn the tap to the coldest possible temperature and let it rinse over my body for at least 60 seconds.
And that’s it. Simple.
You might be wondering why the hell anyone in their right mind would do this. I did too at first.
But here’s why.
Apart from the physical benefits (cold water is great for the skin, great for the body and wakes you up like no cup of coffee ever will) and its environmental effects (ummm HELLO reduced energy consumption), it’s the psychological effects that I do this for. There are two very important things that you experience when you shower in freezing cold water:
Endurance and gratitude.
(Okay… and mild pain.)
I think we can all agree, having freezing cold water pouring over your body isn’t how most people would choose to start their day.
And that’s exactly why I do it. Because it reminds me of my strength.
Believe me, it takes a lot of will power to turn the tap to cold and to keep it on and stay there, when you know you could just turn it off at any second and return to the comfort of the hot water.
But fighting that urge every morning does something pretty cool to your attitude.
It prepares you for the day and what’s to come because, before you’ve even set foot out of the house, before you’ve even had your breakfast, you have challenged yourself. You have proved to yourself the strength and the power that you have to choose to leave a place of ease and comfort, and your ability to withstand something unpleasant and testing.
And, believe me, that sets you up with a pretty good approach when you step out into the world.
Something testing happens in your day?
No biggy. You survived an ice shower at 6:30am babe, you got this.
Gratitude is one of the most precious qualities you will ever acquire, and trust me when I say spending 60 seconds of your morning in freezing cold water makes you pretty damn grateful. You know why?
Because it wakes you the fuck up. It makes you aware. It’s a reminder that, at any second, it can all be switched off. It makes you realise how utterly divine that hot water was that was pouring over your body just seconds ago, and how god damn lucky you are to be able to roll out of your warm, comfortable bed in your warm house and into your warm shower where you can stand there for as long as you like in your warm little heaven.
And starting your morning off with that realisation is probably the best thing you will ever do, because you realise: it’s not just the hot water that can be switched off. It’s everything. We are all far too comfortable in our lives, completely oblivious to the beauty of our little bubble until the bubble gets popped and suddenly everything is upside down and broken and lost. Until suddenly, the water is freezing, and it’s too late for gratitude.
So… a cold shower is the secret to success?
No, of course not. If it was that simple, we’d all be Bill Gates.
The secret isn’t the cold shower.
The secret is making decisions which challenge you and change you.
The secret is doing things that push you and test you.
The secret is finding something which gives you some god damn perspective on life, and doing it every day. Something that makes you realise how lucky you are and how grateful you should be for the wonderful life that you have been given, and realising that it’s always only ever seconds away from changing.
Because, people who realise this don’t waste time. They get shit done.
You have to figure it out, whatever it is that challenges you, whatever it is that makes you grateful, and you have to do this every day. It won’t lead directly to your success, but it will provide you with a better outlook and a better mindset which, when nurtured and used well, will take you further than you ever thought possible.
So. Change your habits. Change your life.
That’s the secret.
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