Is lack of sleep a superpower?

A story about my relation with sleeping

Last updated on 17 July 2022. Created on 15 August 2021.

About 10 years ago, if you asked me what kind of superpower I want my answer would be related to... sleep. Wait, what? Superpowers and sleep? How does that work?

Let me tell you the story.

So the younger version of me, had this thing in his head. A voice that was always nagging him. This voice was telling him to do more, to learn more. More clients, more projects, more development etc.

When I knew it was time to sleep, I was annoyed. I felt interrupted. It felt so unnecessary. I dreaded it. I secretly wished I didn't have to. As a child, I saw a movie once in which an alien went to bed for 3 seconds, and he was fully rested. Needless to say I was very much impressed. It stuck with me for a long time.

Now, coming back to that superpower talk. My answer was something similar to "The power to not need any sleep". I had fantasies about having a double life. By day, I would do the same things as before. And by night, I had the chance to do something completely different. Some days I would dream that I was able to finish what I started during the day. Thus, I would be more productive.

Other times, I thought about how much different the world is during the night. Less traffic, less noise. And I would start thinking about building something while everybody else was asleep. For me, that was a superpower.

As time passed I learned one or two things. I learned about sleep. I read about its role and functions. How everything ties together.

But I also learned something unrelated to sleep: Even if I possessed those capabilities, in a short amount of time I would be back to square one.

In the first few days, maybe weeks, I would be ecstatic. I would probably double down on my to-do list and start crossing of more items from it. The list would get shorter and shorted. Friends and family would be surprised by the progress. A lot more things would be developed or implemented. And so on. You get the idea. But then, slowly but steadily, everybody around me, myself included, would start adjusting to this new reality.

And then what? Then, everybody will change their behavior. They would expect more from me. Or faster. Or both. My to-do list would start growing. At a faster pace than my new-found speed.

In a couple of months I would probably be in the same exact place. A person with a ton of things to do and not enough time. Just like everybody else.

It's not about quantity. It's about quality.

This is the lesson learned that is unrelated to sleep that I mentioned earlier.

  • it's not important how much time you have available
  • it's not important how much stuff you can do at work
  • it's not important how many things you can do
  • it's not important how many tasks you can complete

None of that is important. Do you know what it is?

  • it's important to do the things that matter! In life, work, with friends, with family. Everywhere.

To do things that move the needle. The things that pushes work forward. The things that bring family and friends closer. The things that make you a better person. The things that have a positive influence on someone around you (even if you know that person or not).

And you don't need a superpower for that. All you need is focus. A vision, a general idea of what you want and to start going in that direction.

Now, it's time for me to think about another answer to that superpower question.

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