You'd Probably Hate Living Like a Billionaire
In the world of business news and financial pop-culture reporting, billionaires – and the mega-rich 1%-ers -- have achieved something akin to guru status. For years, reporters and their loyal audience of aspirational readers have fawned over every tidbit of financial “power players" daily routines, convinced that the secret to
hoarding nearly-comical amounts of cash professional success lies in waking up at the same time as Apple's Tim Cook, following Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's diet, or measuring everything you own like Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto.
But what would happen if you actually put these wild (and often painfully contradictory) productivity tactics to the test? Would your 24 days hours feel more like 240 hour days? Would you innately understand how to learn to lean in, be a girlboss, and win friends and influence people – no books required? Would you suddenly gain the power to materialize money out of thin air? For the sake of science, we decided to find out through dreaming up an unnecessarily-elaborate hyperbolic hypothetical.
From following the mantra of "kill what you eat" to taking exactly 57-degree ice baths, here's what a day would look like if you magically became a billionaire overnight – as told by your ultra-wealthy peers.
3:45 a.m.: Wake Up
It's 3:45 a.m. The moonlight gently gleams onto the corner of your goose-feather, Egyptian cotton comforter. The sounds of crickets chirping, the wind rustling through the trees, and drunk 20-somethings stumbling back from the club softly echos through your window. You're sleeping peacefully, enjoying dreams of celebrating your newly-minted billionaire status by diving into a pool of hundreds Scrooge McDuck style before blowing it all on roughly three NFTs of apes wearing hats and sunglasses. But just as you're about to practice your cash-pool backstroke, your alarm goes off. It's time to get up.
Yep, despite his abundant wealth and (probable) ability to dictate not only his exact schedule, but also those of everyone else around him, Apple CEO Tim Cook likes to rise and shine at 3:45 a.m., because why the f--k not, I guess. As the old adage goes, the early bird gets the worm. The even earlier bird gets to become the CEO of a Fortune-500 company, apparently.
4:00 a.m.: Work Out
Now that you're awake before pretty much every college student in the entire United States has even gone to sleep, it's time to get your day off to a running start – literally – with a workout. For Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, this consists of getting on the treadmill for an hour while watching “educational DVDs," whatever the hell that entails. If you're SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, this means occasionally lifting weights with a personal trainer, although he admittedly “wouldn’t exercise at all if I could."
Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, however, opts for something a bit more, erm, feral than his human counterparts. While the tech icon and apparent Sweet Baby Ray's enthusiast has mentioned that he enjoys running with Beast, his adorable
mop puppy, the exec embarked on an ultra-visceral physical challenge back in 2011 – adopting a year-long "kill what you eat" diet.
“I’m eating a lot healthier foods," Zuckerberg told Fortune of his penchant for killing not for sport, a habit he stuck to for one year before leaving the butchering to the professionals. “And I’ve learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals,” he continued. “It’s easy to take the food we eat for granted when we can eat good things every day.”
5:30 a.m.: Breakfa--Nevermind
You return from your workout looking like a Silicon Valley Patrick Bateman, sweaty, exhausted, and soaked in blood, ready to chow down on some extremely fresh bacon. Yet just as you finish butchering your breakfast, a skill every member of the 1% instantaneously learns how to execute the very moment their bank account ticks from $999,999,999 to the big $1-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0, your billionaire spidey senses start tingling – you can't eat for another 12-and-a-half hours at the earliest. Jack Dorsey and his bizarre daily routine has struck again.
The Twitter overlord is a big fan of intermittent fasting, eating only one meal per day during the week – dinner between 6:30 and 9:00 p.m. every weekday – and fasting throughout the entire weekend, a tidbit he revealed during a 2019 appearance on the Ben Greenfield Fitness: Diet, Fat Loss and Performance podcast.
“The first time I did it, like day three, I felt like I was hallucinating," he explained. "It was a weird state to be in. But as I did it the next two times, it just became so apparent to me how much of our days are centered around meals and how — the experience I had was when I was fasting for much longer, how time really slowed down."
Ahh yes, because as the old adage goes, “time flies when you're not absolutely starving." As of January 2020, however, Dorsey seemingly relaxed this rigid routine, telling Wired that he now eats “seven meals every week, just dinner."
5:31 a.m.: Coffee Time
Considering good ‘ol cups of joe are generally acceptable in intermittent fasting regimes, you can at least treat yourself to a coffee following your workout – although it can under NO circumstances come from anywhere but your own damn kitchen, according to Shark Tank shark/hustle porn star, Kevin O'Leary.
“Do I pay $2.50 for a coffee? Never do I do that,” he told CNBC Make It (a.k.a my former employer and the cartographer behind the world's greatest map) back in 2018. “That is such a waste of money for something that costs 20 cents. I never buy a frappe-latte-blah-blah-blah-woof-woof-woof," he continued, adding that his cup “costs 18 cents" and that he makes a point to "invest the rest.” After all, why stop at one billion dollars -- a.k.a more money than most humans can actually comprehend – when you could invest and have two billion? Plus, enjoying things is so overrated.
6:00 a.m.: Meditation
Now that you've downed your 18-cent cup of coffee, it's time to put those caffeine jitters to good use – by meditating for an hour, a practice Jack Dorsey says has had "the biggest impact” on his mental health. For a sweet, sweet 60 minutes, you've managed to swap suffering through the hell of billionaire-dom for suffering through the hell of sitting alone with your own mind – presuming you manage to stay awake.
7:00 a.m.: Walk to Work
Think your billionaire status means you get to roll up to the office in a foreign whip? WRONG. If you're Jack Dorsey, you skip the car and use your own two feet as your method of transportation, hoofing it five miles to work each and every day, according to CNBC.
“I might look a little bit more like I’m jogging than I’m walking,” Dorsey said of the practice, adding that “it’s refreshing” and "just this one of those take-back moments where you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m alive!’”
Walking places: a memento mori of the stars!
4:00 p.m: Ice Bath Time
After a long day of
being treated like a god among men by poor people who wholeheartedly fear you work you finally arrive home, presumably sweaty from your five-mile walk back to your mansion. Yet instead of jumping in the shower, you decide to add a little spice to your bathing routine, hopping into a freezing-cold ice bath instead. A habit of performance coach and certified douchecanoe, Tony Robbins, who takes a 57-degree bath each day, the practice allegedly has several health benefits other than sounding wholly unenjoyable, including boosting happiness levels (whatever the hell that means) and soothing itchy skin, according to his website.
As you shiver underneath the surface of the icy water, the key to success washes over you, like the waves of painful cold – making yourself absolutely miserable for some mystical greater good – or, well, to sound interesting when answering “what's your secret” interview questions for the hundredth time – is the only way to truly thrive in the world of business.
7:00 p.m.: Dinner Time
After a long day of ice baths, meditation, and killing livestock, it's finally time to enjoy your lone meal of the day – dinner. Like Dorsey, you opt for a healthy, nutrient-rich spread consisting of steak, fish, or chicken – or, well, whatever meat you slaughtered Zuck style roughly 13-and-a-half hours ago – with a side of either spinach, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or salad. Yet no meal – not even one for a health-conscious CEO – is complete without dessert. According to CNBC, this often consists of dark chocolate, mixed berries, and perhaps even a glass of wine.
Billionaire-dom: When Starbucks is pearl-clutchingly frivolous, but popping a nice -- presumably four-figure -- bottle of vino is just good 'ol dinner time.
8:00 p.m.: Dishes
It's 7:30 p.m. You just finished your single three-in-one brunchinner and boy, are you tired. Although like Dorsey, who says after embracing intermittent fasting, he could “actually knock out in 10 minutes, if not sooner than that,” noting that the diet “really changed how quickly I felt asleep and more so how deep I felt I was sleeping,” you're now disgustingly wealthy, and with great wealth, comes great responsibility.
No, not only the responsibility of paying your fair share of taxes – that's so 1935. I'm talking about the responsibility of giving a half-assed attempt at staying grounded, remembering what it was like to exist like the rest of us poor plebeians – well, at least for a little while, before you inevitably forget how much laundry detergent costs.
As such, you decide to give your fleet of housekeepers the hour off, doing the dishes yourself, a pastime you swiped from Bill Gates, who first shared his penchant for the chore back in a 2014 Reddit AMA.
“I do the dishes every night," Gates explained, replying to the question of what is something unexpected that he enjoys doing. "Other people volunteer, but I like the way I do it.”
8:45 p.m.: Measuring Literally Everything You Own
Now that the dishes from your single meal are sparkling clean and put away, it's time for the serious work to begin – measuring everything you can possibly see, a la Nintendo's legendary Creative Fellow, Shigeru Miyamoto, an ultra-wealthy, notable non-billionaire who “has a compulsion to measure things in his head and then see if he is right,” according to Polygon.
“I started doing this 10, 20 years ago when we were building a house,” he explained in a translated behind-the-scenes green room clip from his 2016 appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. “I started getting interested in measuring things and how big things were,” Miyamoto said, adding that “it’s also fun to do the same type of game when you’re trying to guess how much something weighs.”
You proceed to spend the next several hours measuring everything and anything in your midst, seeing if your spatial predictions did, in fact, come true. All in a day's work!
11:00 p.m.: Journaling
Now that you know the exact dimensions of your couch, it's time to take stock of something even more important – your thoughts, winding down this seemingly never-ending day (at this point, you've been up for nearly 20 hours straight) by organizing anything and everything that crosses your little billionaire brain, a habit beloved by Bill Gates, Virgin mogul Sir Richard Branson, and legendary baseball player, Alex Rodriguez (who isn't in the 10-figure club, but we'll count him anyways).
“I had a list of my 10 things I had to do, and I would check it every night before I went to bed to see how many I’d done,” Rodriguez told The New York Times Magazine back in 2019, referencing how he used the practice back in his MLB days. “I was maniacal about my work ethic," he continued, later explaining that he's still “old school” and that he remembers “things better if I write them out."
Considering the day you just had, your nightly to-list would probably include items like “try not to get too hangry” and “wash splatters of chicken blood out of workout gear"
1:00 a.m.: Meditation Session 2: Electric Boogaloo
Yep, just like Jack Dorsey, you have to meditate for yet another hour, just for good measure (because apparently the two hours and 15 minutes you just spent measuring everything else just weren't good enough).
“I’ve more or less kept up the practice of two hours ... a day,” Dorsey explained, noting that “if you can just get 10 minutes, and sometimes that’s all I can find, that’s what I do.” But as billionaires with all the time in the world, why the hell not go all out.
2:00 a.m.: Send Explicative-Filled Late Night Rage Mail to Your Employees
Although your mind may be completely clear after your second hour-long bout of meditation, you, a newly-minted billionaire, are still a human. Humans, regardless of tax bracket, really, really love being complete and total a-holes. Considering you're now a member of the 1%, and can pretty much roast whoever you want whenever you want and generally evade all consequences, you decide to take a page from Bill Gates's book and send a variety of late-night emails verbally abusing your employees.
Even with his wholesome public image as Warren Buffett's nerdy billionaire bestie (one that has been recently called into question with the release of some eyebrow-raising reports) Gates was notorious for being a complete and total jerk during Microsoft's early days. According to the 1993 biography Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire, Gates had a reputation for being a “critical and sarcastic” a-hole, sending “flame mail” to his workers at odd hours of the evening. During his time at the company, more than one “unlucky programmer received an email at 2:00 a.m. that began, ‘This is the stupidest piece of code ever written.'" Because as we all know, the key tenet of successful billionaire entrepreneurship is bitching out your workers in the middle of the night! Synergy!
2:15 a.m.: Bedtime, at last
22 hours and 30 minutes after you first opened your eyes, it's time to finally hit the hay, taking a page from the book of Reddit co-founder/Serena Williams's husband, Alexis Ohanian. The tech mogul recently told Fast Company that he likes to go to bed around “2 a.m.–ish," his bedtime routine consisting of brushing his teeth – a habit he groundbreakingly describes as “really important” – and not cuddling his computer.
“I try not to have the computer in the bedroom,” he explained. "I used to sleep with it, though. I used to wake up spooning my laptop.” This advice probably does not apply to you, or the rest of us, that don't have the alternative option of cuddling up to the world's greatest tennis player instead.
3:45 a.m.: Rise and Shine, Rinse and Repeat
After a luxurious 90 minutes of shut-eye, you wake up to your old-school alarm clock radio screeching “okay, campers, rise and shine!" You suddenly realize this mysterious, magical pact that made you a billionaire overnight has trapped you, Groundhog Day-style, in your own repeating billionaire hell, endlessly taking ice baths and abstaining from non-homemade coffee until the end of time – well, either that or until you manage to tongue kiss Elon Musk, breaking the curse.
The Bottom Line?
Now my dear reader, if you saw this (admittedly very hyperbolic) itinerary and found yourself thinking “Hell yeah, measuring everything I own? Sign me up!” by all means, give this theoretical billionaire schedule a try. I'm the writer of an article you're probably skimming while riding the train or taking a dump – not a cop. Odds are you'll be irritable, exhausted, and salivating Homer Simpson-style at the sight of any morsel of food (maybe you could be the first non-cartoon character to unironically say “mmmm, 64 slices of American Cheese!") but as long as you're not being a Bezos-level a-hole, get down with your bad, albeit very hungry and tired, self.
All jokes aside, having aspirational figures, even in our adulthood, is never a bad thing in this highly-cursed timeline. Even at 25 years old, I still have a framed portrait of Dolly Parton, the country singer, vaccine champion, and the only thing America can seemingly agree on, hanging in my living room that reads “What Would Dolly Do?” a mantra that I use to remind myself to treat everyone with kindness, compassion, and to never take myself too seriously (although considering I make bad puns on the internet for a living, that last point probably isn't super necessary).
If your Dolly Parton is Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, Warren Buffett, or hell, Jeff Bezos, who am I to judge – well, maybe a little bit on that first and last one, but that's beside the point. While each of these power players may have their own respective gems of good advice, daily routines, just like everything else, are not one-size-fits-all – or even one-size-fits-billionaire, as you can clearly see through this absolute abomination of a schedule. As the old adage goes, different strokes for different folks. Aside from remembering that what may help skyrocket these power players to ungodly riches may not be conducive to your personal success, it's also important to remember that no matter what you do, you probably won't ever be a billionaire. While according to Financial Samurai, your overall chances of becoming a millionaire, with an m, range from between 6% to 22.3%, a lofty, albeit relatively attainable goal, joining the 10-figure club is a much, much harder feat.
There are roughly 7.9 billion people in the world. There are only 2,755 billionaires, per Forbes. That puts you, me, and pretty much everyone reading this at a 0.00003487341% chance of joining the exclusive billionaire club. In other words, try new things, take advice from your role models, and work hard for your goals, but at the end of the day, the best schedule for facilitating success is the one that makes you the happiest and healthiest, regardless of what “educational DVDs” Bill Gates watches each morning.