The One Rule for Life

written by MARK MANSON

Depending on your perspective, Immanuel Kant was either the most boring person on the planet or a productivity hacker’s wet dream. For over 40 years, he woke up every morning at 5:00 AM and wrote for exactly three hours. He would then lecture at the same university for exactly four hours. He followed that up with lunch at the same restaurant each day. Then, in the afternoon, he would go on an extended walk through the same park, on the same route, leaving and returning home at the exact same time. Every day.

Kant spent his entire life in Königsberg, Prussia. I mean that literally. He never left the city. Despite the sea being an hour away, he never saw it. Kant was efficiency personified. He was so mechanical in his habits that his neighbors joked they could tune their clocks based on when he left his apartment each day. He would leave for his daily walk at 3:30 PM, have dinner with the same friend every evening, and return home to finish work and go to bed at exactly 10:00 PM.

It’s easy for us to scoff at a guy like this. What a dweeb. Seriously, get a life, dude. But Kant was one of the most important and influential thinkers in modern history. He did more to steer the world from his single-room apartment in Prussia than most kings and armies ever did before and since.