Rise and Shine

The morning routines of 10 fascinating people

The Dalai Lama

The ultimate early-bird, His Holiness wakes up around 3 A.M., begins the day with two hours of meditations and prayers. Then light exercise, breakfast — then more meditation and prayer until 9:00 A.M. Until lunch he’s studying Buddhist texts.


As one might guess, Oprah’s morning is the epitome of balance…

  • 7:10AM — Wake up
  • 8AM — Take the dogs out
  • 8:30AM — Spiritual exercises
  • 9AM — Work out
  • 10:30AM — Trunk show
  • 12:30PM — Home-grown meal

“As I wait for the brew to froth, I pull out a card from my 365 Gathered Truths box. I read five of them each morning; it’s a beautiful way to start the day…”

Kanye West

Per his single, “30 Hours”, we might get a glance at his particularly intriguing morning approach. Upon waking (a rumored 6 a.m.) West goes online to check what he refers to as “the damages.” This includes an email and social media perusal to take inventory of public perceptions regarding his recent activities.

Then it’s vegan breakfast, “all veggies, no eggs” followed by a workout, “all chest, no legs”.

Nelson Mandela

Mandela was about the early rise and grind.

Starting boxing in college, he knew that strenuous exercise relieved stress and focused the mind.

During his 27 years in jail, despite enormous amounts of manual labor, Mandela opted to get his extensive exercise routine in early. Waking at 5 A.M., his regimen included 45 minutes of running in place, 100 fingertip push-ups, 200 sit-ups, 50 squats and burpees to top it off.

As one who opted for small meals, breakfast was cereal and a bowl of fruit.

Steve Jobs

Ever the luminary, Jobs’ routine was simple. He would make his bed, shower and then look in the mirror and ask himself “If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I’m about to do today?” If the answer was all too frequently a “no”, changes were made.

Barack Obama

Although being someone capable of fully functioning on 6 hours of sleep, Obama is not an early riser.

“I’m a night owl. My usual day is: I work out in the morning; I get to the office around 9, 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; work till about 6:30 p.m.; have dinner with the family, hang out with the kids and put them to bed about 8:30 p.m. And then I’ll probably read briefing papers or do paperwork or write stuff until about 11:30 p.m., and then I usually have about a half hour to read before I go to bed, about midnight, 12:30 a.m. — sometimes a little later.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

Far from the norm, Napoleon’s day began early with coffee in bed, followed by one or more servants bathing and clothing him — a process taking one or two hours. He would then usually take a long walk or ride horseback until breakfast.

Guatama Buddha

- The morning session or Perabath Kisa (4:00 a.m. to noon)

Starting at 4:00 a.m. the Buddha would bathe and then meditate. He would “look around the world with Great compassion from his mental eye to see if anybody needed help.” Then he would put on his robe and go out to help the needy. While on this morning almsgiving (a rite involving the giving of blessings in exchange for food), Buddha would silently receive any food put in his bowl.

Abraham Lincoln

As practical as one might expect, Lincoln usually awoke at 7 a.m.- working for an hour before breakfast. Then sometimes he went out for the morning newspaper.

“Before breakfast he liked to exercise, often by walking around the spacious White House grounds. After a simple meal, usually a single egg and a cup of coffee, he made his way down the corridor to his office, where on cool days a fire blazed in the white marble fireplace with a big brass fender.”

Albert Einstein

At breakfast between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m, Einstein read the newspaper. Afterward he would usually walk to his Princeton office.
















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