My wife thinks I’m crazy. My friends shake their heads in bewilderment. Even the cats look at me funny.
Because I get up in the morning between 4:00 – 4:30am each day apart from the weekends when I generally get up between 5:30 – 6:00am.
Getting up at such a crazy hour for me is the best time of the day because nobody wants anything from you at 4 o’clock in the morning. The phone is not ringing. The kids are not fighting. The wife is not reminding me to do something I’ve forgotten to do around the house. Yes. 4 o’clock in the morning is a brilliant time. It’s “Clay” time. And it allows me to spend two to three hours reading, thinking, and/or writing.
I am not alone in this sentiment. George Berkeley, the English empiricist philosopher, proposed the same idea. He suggested that a person who wants to obtain self-knowledge should “spend regularly and constantly two or three hours of the morning in study and retirement.” He emphasized that spending two or three hours out of 24 in private is minimal.
In a letter he wrote to John Percival. He wrote: “there is a person whose acquaintance and conversation I do earnestly recommend unto you as a thing of greatest advantage: you will be surprised when I tell you it is yourself.”
If you want to obtain self-knowledge, you have to spend time with yourself. It’s not enough to be good at perceiving and imaging and making observations about the world. To be of value to others, you must turn inward.
Now I know I have some friends who are terrified with the thought of spending time with themselves, but that is another story. And I have another lot of friends who are quick to say that they don’t have time to spend on themselves. Well to that group I say try getting up an hour or two earlier each day. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done for yourself and how connected you’ll feel. Once I’ve had my “Clay” time then I don’t mind what the busy world has in store for me for the rest of the day.
The Merovingian said it best when he said: “How can you ever have time, if never make time?”