Recently, I went to an event and at the end, the floor was open for questions. Not surprisingly, one of the first questions was "what's your morning routine?"

I get it, we see successful people and want to emulate their model hoping to achieve a level of success close to them. This conceptually makes sense. But practically, focusing on someone's morning routine is missing a critical piece of the puzzle that got this particular person to their level of success.

Wake up and meditate. Perhaps exercise and make a specific smoothie concocted with a diverse array of micronutrients. Maybe a coffee and then it's time to journal. And lastly, jot down four things you're grateful for.

We live in a world obsessed with morning routines. As with anything else in life, too much of a focus on something tends to leave devoid another area of importance.

Before I go any further, I'm actually a fan of morning routines. But what I, unfortunately, see happen often times is unreasonable expectations placed on morning routines.

While it's great to learn from people and adopt their routines, the routine in itself isn't going to make you great. To become great entails that you become a doer and someone who is good at taking action and sticking with this until they're finished.

Waking up early won't morph you into Elon Musk. Asking yourself the same question that Steve Jobs asked himself every morning won't turn you into him.

As you progress along your career and journey, there's a better question to ask than "what's your morning routine?". Instead of that question, we should be asking "what's your thought process?"

Why "what's your thought process" is the most important question to ask?

We all want to know what the ultra-successful people do to achieve their great feats. The morning routines are merely the feature-length film. While that's informative, it's leaving out a critical step of the process and that's the behind the scenes work.

When you ask someone or even investigate the thought process behind someone's actions and approach toward their craft, you're venturing beyond superficial metrics.

Asking "what's your thought process" entails numerous benefits to your life. But this is the biggest benefit it'll provide.

It'll expand your thinking allowing you to form a new mental model.

It goes without saying that to get to the next level requires a different array of tools and skills than what currently got you to your current position. As I've learned, the hardest thing about reaching new levels of success in any endeavor is shifting your mindset (i.e. your foundation).

In more practical terms, it's unlearning concepts so you can allow new concepts to come in (think of this as building a new cake foundation).

When you ask someone what's their thought process, you're most likely going to get a well-thought-out answer and explanation that is often times something totally different from the way you see the world.

Being exposed to these mental models challenges your core beliefs and existing knowledge. If you mix all those things together, you're going to become a more diverse thinker and see new opportunities which are essential for growth.

Morning routines are valuable because they bring stability and structure. But your morning routines are merely the tactics and tips (i.e. cake toppings and icing) to your foundation.

While there's a time and place for adding the toppings and icing, a more focal point should be on the actual foundation of the cake (i.e. our mindset and thought patterns).

Published on: Jun 8, 2018
The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of