Posted By Randy Jones on August 18, 2009
Commandment #5, “Wake Up Early—Be Early,” means making the most of the time you’ve got. That means starting your career early, starting your day early—and showing up for your meetings early. Fully 98 percent of the RMITs cited the ability to show up, and show up on time, as integral to their success. I saw this first-hand: Dennis Albaugh, famous within his company for saying, “Nothing is beneath me or beyond me,” was a typical example. When we set a phone appointment for our first interview, he called two minutes early. He respects his time and he respects the time of others. And having wrangled multiple interviews with a hundred RMITs in the course of researching and writing The Richest Man in Town, I can tell you emphatically—I really, really respect that. Perhaps the most important lesson to be taken from the fifth commandment is this: Your time is precious—and so is everybody else’s.
Albany RMIT Karthik Bala, who cofounded video-game sensation Vicarious Visions with his brother Guha, told me, “Nothing is more destructive to one’s personal success than the inability to be on time because it sends a powerful statement of arrogance, self-absorption, and disrespect to those with whom you are meeting.” It may not seem like a big deal to be ten minutes late for a meeting, but people who share their time with you are giving you something of great value, and by not taking that gift seriously, you devalue both their time and your own. The more you become addicted to ambition and make the most of every minute, the more you’ll come to realize how much you can accomplish in those ten minutes. But then, once you’ve considered all you could accomplish in those ten lost minutes—a phone call made, an e-mail sent, a blog post started—multiply that by everyone waiting at the table. You’ll come up with a remarkable sum of opportunity that’s going to waste. Each person has lost ten minutes of precious time, but in those ten minutes, you’ve lost an hour.