The Thing These Successful People Have in Common

Trevor Noah

Source: Comedy Central

If there’s a common theme among the daily habits of the world’s most successful people, it’s getting enough sleep. Maybe not just getting an adequate amount – which any expert will tell you is absolutely imperative to living a healthy life – but it’s when and how. Many highly influential and successful CEOs, entertainers, entrepreneurs, and politicians are famous for waking up extremely early, and getting to work long before most of us are even crawling out of bed.

But there are those who defy the trend. While it’s not exactly common, there are many successful people who stay in bed until a relatively late hour (relative among their peers, that is), and still manage to take the world by storm. Many famous figures from history did their best work at odd hours, like Winston Churchill or Hunter S. Thompson, and there are those who still do.

That’s what is really at the heart of the process – finding when and where you’re best able to hit your ‘zone’. Where the creativity and productivity gauges are redlining. When you feel comfortable, and you’re able to get a ton of work done, whether it be as a part of your job, writing a book, or any other endeavor. For some people, that’s during the middle of the night. For others, it’s very early in the morning.

For these five individuals, it is (or was, during their ascent) at hours odd enough to allow them to sleep in fairly late. Here are five people who have managed to reach a very high level while sleeping in – something that is not very common among the world’s most-celebrated and productive individuals.

1. Mark Zuckerberg

David Ramos/Getty Images)

David Ramos/Getty Images

While Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now a married man, living what we can presume to be a pretty awesome life, his daily schedule used to be the inverse of most entrepreneurs and CEOs. While building his company, Zuckerberg would work all night, and finally hit the sack early in the morning. That would mean he was waking up late – and that became a problem. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2006 that Zuckerberg couldn’t join conference calls at 8 a.m. because he was still asleep, which is part of the reason that these days he sticks to a more traditional schedule. Still, sleeping in during his younger years worked for him wile he built one of the biggest and most successful companies in the world.

2. Trevor Noah

Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Viacom

Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Viacom

Trevor Noah, like Mark Zuckerberg, now has a drastically different daily schedule than he once did. Noah’s a comedian, and comedians have very odd days. They usually involve sleeping all day (as Noah did), waking up late, and hitting the clubs to do shows. In Noah’s case, that meant waking up as late as 6 p.m., and heading out at around 7. That doesn’t really fly with the shooting schedule of The Daily Show, however, so he has since adopted a different routine. But like Zuckerberg, Noah found that a flip-flopped daily routine worked to get him where he is today.

3. Pharrell Williams

Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

Pharrell Williams – known as a singer, entertainer, and one of the four judges from the hit TV show The Voice – has a fairly traditional schedule. The only difference is, he sleeps in fairly late, usually getting up at 9 a.m. That’s not very late, but considering the company Williams keeps, and how that time compares to many other successful people (many who get up between the hours of 4 and 7 a.m.), 9 a.m. is definitely on the late side. But that’s one of the perks of being wealthy and famous. It works for Williams, and he still manages to get plenty of things done.

4. Tim Ferriss

Source: Tim Ferriss - Flickr

Source: Tim Ferriss – Flickr

Tim Ferriss is a lot of things, and for a long time, a late-riser was one of them. Ferriss is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, investor, and podcast host, and much of his time is dedicated to trying to share the tips and tricks successful people have discovered, and sharing them with the world. For a while, that meant that Ferriss was sleeping in very late, and working well into the night. He, like many others, switched to an earlier wake up time as part of his new morning routine – only after becoming successful.

5. Alexis Ohanian



He may not be a household name like Mark Zuckerberg, but Alexis Ohanian has probably stolen just as much of your time, as one of the founders of Reddit. In addition to being an entrepreneur, he’s also an author, which means he has to have his workflow dialed-in. Ohanian is another guy who likes to work late into the night – which pushes his wake-up time back to around 10 a.m. Again, that’s not all that late, to most of us. But when many of your peers and rivals are up at 5, 10 a.m. may as well be 4 p.m.

Either way, it works for Ohanian, as it does (or did) for the all the others.

Follow Sam on Facebook and Twitter @SliceOfGinger

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