I’m not sure why the World Economic Forum — a gathering of the allegedly brightest minds in academia, politics and business — would even bother to create a seemingly arbitrary and nonsensical listicle like “14 Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast.” With all the problems income inequality, a lack of business ethics and impending environmental collapse could bring to the world, I really could not care less what Successful People are doing before breakfast, unless it directly involves doing something about those aforementioned issues.
But it doesn’t. It’s just…God, it’s not even funny. It’s just a list of boring platitudes. Even The New York Times’ Modern Man thing at least tried to be amusing.
Let’s make it better! The original list is in bold, and the rest is my attempt at humor.
They wake up early.
Are they going to bed early, too? Or are they up late in conference calls with other Successful People? I don’t want Successful People tired out, man. I want them on point in order to make the world a better place. Groggy does not help me, or them. Get your sleep, Successful People.
They drink water.
This may not be backed by science, but I’ve observed that most living things — including People Not Successful — actually drink water as well. Successful People should be drinking High-Intensity Successful Water. Not our plebeian tap water. Plain water? That’s average, man.
They exercise before it falls off the to-do list.
I can relate to this one, because I have to work out first thing in the morning so I can fake myself out. I’m still groggy enough to think I’m not sweating and aching. Is this success? Or is it kind of pathetic? Dude, I’m 43. Success is getting on the elliptical any time of day. Also, do success people have a to-do list? I think it should be a To-Succeed list. Slackers.
They work on a top priority business project.
So wait a second. They got up early, haven’t had coffee yet, and they’re all sweaty from exercising. NOW they work on a top priority business project? You’re gonna get exercise-sweat on the laptop. Then it short-circuits and you lose all your work. Good Lord, shower first, will ya? Gonna get your Successful Home Office all stinky, too.
They work on a personal-passion project.
Still stinky. Still no coffee. Probably still no sunlight. Just water and sweat. Does your personal passion project involve groggy dampness? Hopefully it involves showering. And at this point, you’d have to get up at 4 a.m. to tackle this. Why can’t you be passionate in the evening? The Successful Spouse would probably appreciate that a great deal.
They spend quality time with family.
Now, I consider myself Modestly Successful, even though I don’t work on stuff prior to coffee. But I’m usually out the door to get into the city before the family is up. Is that detracting from my success? Should I stay home and spend time with my daughter? She’s super-cranky in the morning. How is this quality? I want to have a Successful Daughter, but forced quality time is just awkward at any hour.
They connect with their spouses.
But my Successful Spouse needs to get going in the morning as well. Kid’s got to eat breakfast, get to school. She has work to do. I have to go to work. And at this point, it’s probably well past 7:30 a.m. How am I connecting here? And have I brushed my teeth yet? Dental hygiene is important, too. My Successful Spouse would certainly appreciate a brush-and-floss before any connection attempt.
They make their beds.
I suppose I could attempt to connect with my Successful Spouse by making the bed. But she’s typically still in it, and intertwined with the covers so much that it’s practically quantum superpositioning. So I either let her sleep, or attempt to connect while making the bed with her still in it. I am doomed to Not Successfulness.
They network over coffee.
Finally, a goddamn cup of coffee!! But wait…I haven’t had breakfast yet. So am I eating at home with my family for some quality time? Or am I going out to network with equally tired and conflicted Successful People? Who networks before breakfast? DURING breakfast, sure, I’ve done that once or twice. I hated it. I’m not fully awake then. But this is BEFORE breakfast. Screw that. I need coffee before talking to fellow humans, Successful or not.
They meditate to clear their minds.
When does this happen? Before my networking breakfast? Is this a substitute for quality time with the family? Now that I’ve had coffee, I’m a little bit energized. Now I gotta settle in and find Nirvana? Am I supposed to do this on the bus? Have you seen New Jersey Transit?!
They write down things they’re grateful for.
I can tell you one thing: I’m absolutely not grateful for this listicle from the World Economic Forum that’s pointing out all of the pre-breakfast habits of Successful People, thus firmly setting the bar way over my head. So where do I write that down? Email? Blog? Super-expensive pocket journal? Fine. I’m grateful for my wife, my daughter, my job, my authorial career and my readers, coffee, beer and bacon. Done! BRING ME MY SUCCESS.
They plan and strategize while they’re fresh.
I am not fresh before breakfast. Fresh implies that I’m ready to tackle the day. You have me networking over coffee, trying to connect with my family, sweating over my projects and attempting to meditate without falling back asleep. I’m fresh after breakfast, roughly around 11:15 a.m. Try me then. Goddamn morning people.
They check their email.
This is like the water thing. Everyone checks their email in the morning. Email is constantly with us now. I actually check mine BEFORE I get on the elliptical, if only to clear out the Banana Republic and Northern Brewing sales offers. I hate clutter. Now I’m one up on this list, though. Modest levels of success await me!
They read the news.
So in order to fit everything in, this is where I attempt to connect with my Successful Spouse and my Successful Daughter…by reading and discussing the news prior to my departure for my networking coffee. Not a good plan. I’m basically now a super-annoying morning person. My family now hates me. People don’t even want to network over coffee with me. They’ll only network over drinks if I’m buying. I am Not Successful. I am doomed. Don’t ever look to me to solve income inequality, because I won’t have any.