Cutting Down on Sleep to Become "Successful" - Thomas Mondel

Cutting Down on Sleep to Become “Successful”

The alarm clock knocks me out of my sleep. It was a short and unpleasant sleep anyways. Who cares. Three hours earlier I was still up trying to wrap up my work.

“I have to finish it.” Somehow. I have to in order to end this misery I found myself. But I failed. I didn’t finish in time. And fell into the bed exhausted soon after I gave in.

“Enjoy your three hour sleep, my man.”, I said to myself in irony while my body collapses into the bed.

Then the alarm.

The sound of my alarm clock is the mp3 version of a motivational video I found on YouTube. It’s the weirdest thing I ever did. But “happy melodies” didn’t work for me anymore. There was no other way left to get my ass up in the morning. The body was too exhausted.

My body tried to tell me to slow down. “Take it easy, buddy.” But I ignored it instead. I didn’t listen to it and overruled it. Because I was trying “to make it”. Whatever that means. I was stupid.

Now I know that it was not worth it. Nothing is worth sacrificing your health for. Because what is left, when there is no health to enjoy whatever it is you are thriving towards?

But again. I was stupid.

My alarm clocks gives me a pep talk:

“When you know – within yourself – that there is something you wanna do and I believe that all of us are born with a purpose. That all of us have something that we are supposed to do. That all of us have some goodness within us and that goodness gives us a responsibility. To manifest our greatness…”

I turn around and press the button to shut it. I crawl out of bed and walk over to my living room. My cat looks at me confused. She is not used to this new sleeping schedule either.

I sit at my couch drink a coffee. With my headphones in my ears I listen to the rest of the seven minute video. I start to cry. I have no idea how to keep going like this.

(Why don’t you just fucking stop?)

“Not only is it possible to have your dream. But it is necessary. It’s necessary that you have it. That you work on it. That you develop yourself. That you go for what is yours in the universe.”

But I have to. I tell myself. I try my best to find SOME strength within me to keep going. Is there something left?

“Just try to make it through this one day. Only one more day.” I didn’t know it would take me 12 more months.

I finish my coffee and get ready to get to work.

The voices from the video keep running through my head:

“Every single day when you wake up, you better be spending time on your dream. You better be spending time. You ain’t got no time to waste. It is a sense of urgency. It’s a character of who you are. It’s not the title that makes you, it’s not the success that makes you. It’s the character that defines the success, defines the fame. And it starts right there.”

I don’t know how I managed to pull off the following eight hours at work. Everything blurred into each other. One moment I was at the meeting. Nodding. The other moment I was sitting in front of the computer coding.

It was a weird phase in my life. Every day. Now I can’t remember much looking back. Maybe it’s better this way.

Two more coffees. I somehow have to keep going. My body is freaking out. My heart is pumping too strongly. It doesn’t feel right. I force it to keep up with the misery. My body tries its best.

(But why? Just stop!)

I question my choices. Is it really worth it to sacrifice so much? I doubt it. But what is the alternative?

(Just don’t…)

I finish my work and drag my body home. I read famous autobiographies while on the metro. I secretly adore the people in there. It sounds so easy when you read it about it. It’s so easy to connect the dots when they are presented in front of in the right chronological order. “Of course I had to do A to get to B. Well, of course.”

But within MY REALITY everything is just a mess. I don’t know if what I do here is the right thing to do. I don’t know if this is what I am supposed to be doing. I hope. But I don’t know. How could I even?

I just knew I had to get out of of this life situation I found myself in now. And I have to do this ASAP.

(Why not just try to make your CURRENT life situation as pleasant as possible then?)

And for whatever weird reason something within me said I can pull it off. It also could be that I brainwashed myself into thinking so.

Who knows.

I arrive at home. Eat a quick dinner and start writing today’s blog post. It’s the only thing that kept me sane at this strange period in my life. It cleared out the toxins. It made me see things clearly again. It gave me strength.

Which I desperately needed.

I publish it to the world. Nobody is going to read it anyways. But that’s not the point. You just have to do your work. And put yourself out there. And the rest will auto correct itself. That’s what I believe. You just have to sit down and do your work. Every day.

And then I sit down once more and work on my app business. My only hope on getting out of this misery. At least so I thought.

(So the best alternative to working myself to death in a dead-end job is working another eight hours in the night? That doesn’t sound right.)

I work and forget about time. I forget about my chronic sleep deprivation. All that is important is to find a way out of this mess.

(But isn’t the best way to get out of your pain… to just get out of it?)

But how? I didn’t know back then. I had no better option.

“I have to keep going.”

Suddenly it’s five in the morning.

“I guess today I skip sleep altogether and go to work directly. Can’t be any worse, right?”

I put in my speakers and listen to the motivational video once more.

Then I get ready to work.