In a world of self-help gurus and productivity coaches, it’s time to challenge the status quo and celebrate the unique strengths and chronotypes that make us who we are. Inspired by the insights of organizational psychologist Adam Grant, who boldly declared, “The world is unfair to night owls,” I want to explore the idea of rethinking our long-held beliefs that to be successful, you must be an “early bird”.

When I originally saw the post with the statement, “The world is unfair to night owls”, it stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly all of the memories of being called lazy, accusations of lacking initiative, and being viewed as average flooded my mind. No truer words have been spoken. He probably will never know just how seen and understood he made me feel with that one line.

The Night Owl’s Plight:

brown and white owl in close up photography
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

As a student of Organizational Psychology, I’ve often thought about the implications of societal norms that impact how we live and work. The relentless promotion of early mornings and the glorification of those who rise with the sun have created a bias in our society.

It’s as if success is exclusively reserved for those who can function optimally in the early hours of the day. This bias not only alienates night owls but also fails to acknowledge the diversity of chronotypes that exist among us.

Chronotypes refer to our natural biological predispositions to be most alert and productive at different times of the day. While some people thrive in the morning, others, like night owls, reach their peak performance later in the day or even during the night. It’s not about a lack of drive or initiative; it’s about how individuals are wired.

I’ve come to a deep place of self-acceptance compassion. I don’t feel obligated to be anything other than who I am. (side note: turning 40 was a game changer for me…I became perpetually unbothered)

I acknowledge and accept the fact that I’m not a morning person, and I’ll never be one. According to Calm, I am a cross between a Wolf and a Dolphin. My ADHD adds an extra layer of complexity. My brain, much like many night owls, doesn’t truly come alive until the clock strikes 11 a.m. (sometimes later). While I genuinely enjoy what I do in my 9–5, it feels like a special kind of torment to drag myself out of bed at 8 a.m. when my creative juices are nowhere near starting to flow. Not to mention attempting to compensate for executive dysfunction on top of that is a challenge within itself!

Screw the Early Bird: On Redefining Success

You and I have heard the saying, “The early bird gets the worm”. You’ve also probably heard teachings or advice that say success is reserved for those who rise before the sun, establish a morning ritual, and seize the day. But what if this well-intentioned advice doesn’t work for you? What if it works against your natural inclinations? What if, like many, you’re a night owl trapped in a world designed for the early risers?

You know what I say? Screw trying to be an early bird.

The 9–5 workday may have served its purpose during a different era, but it’s time to evolve. Redefining success means acknowledging that peak productivity can occur at various times for different people. It’s about creating a more inclusive and adaptive work culture that honors individual differences, maximizes productivity, and ultimately leads to a more fulfilled workforce. So, let’s challenge the early bird bias and embrace the full spectrum of human potential, one adjusted work schedule at a time.

The path to redefining success begins with embracing the diversity of chronotypes and recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to productivity. Rather than forcing everyone into the same mold, we should celebrate the unique strengths that each chronotype brings to the table.

Night owls often possess qualities that are particularly valuable in today’s fast-paced, 24/7 world. They tend to be more creative, adaptable, and capable of handling complex tasks during their peak hours. When we acknowledge and accommodate their natural rhythms, we unlock a wealth of untapped potential.

Embracing the Entrepreneurial Spirit

woman using MacBook Air on table
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

My father was an entrepreneur for my entire life. He owned his own painting company. My grandfather owned a furniture store. My uncle had a painting and home renovation business. So, I think deep down I always knew I was meant to work for myself. I felt the pull. It just took time to sort through all of my varied interests as a multi-passionate and develop the confidence to take action on my inclinations.

I decided to go all in on taking the steps to follow in my father’s footsteps this year. I officially formed my company in April. The motivation to start my own business originated from wanting to serve a higher purpose and the desire to break free from the constraints of working during hours that don’t work for me.

I’ve come to realize that my most productive and creative hours are at night. So, why should I force myself into a mold that doesn’t align with my natural rhythms in order to succeed?

Final Thoughts

As I continue to navigate a world that often seems to prefer the early risers, I must remember that success isn't limited to a specific schedule in order to avoid discouragement.

I'm committed to sharing my journey and progress to provide inspiration and hope. Perhaps, one day we will find ourselves living in a world that is a fairer place for those who thrive in the moonlight as opposed to the sunlight.

The world may celebrate the early bird, but the night owl is positioned to thrive by rewriting the script. By redefining success, embracing chronotypes, and tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit, individuals can chart their own course to fulfillment and productivity. It’s time to say, “Screw the early bird,” and pave the way for a more inclusive and adaptable future.