American (Not-So) Psycho Morning Routines

“There’s an idea of Patrick Bateman…”

If you’ve read Bret Easton Ellis’ book American Psycho or seen the movie, then you probably remember the intro scene where Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) talks you through his detailed morning routine.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s a 2-minute clip (warning: explicit).

I was recently reminded of this iconic scene when I saw this shot-for-shot parody starring Australian actress Margot Robbie earlier this week.

It’s a funny spoof that ends with Robbie breaking character, smiling, and dancing. But it also got me thinking about morning routines.

To the average viewer, Patrick Bateman’s or Margot Robbie’s fictional morning routines sound ostentatious, “I always use a small-batch placenta-infused facial toner for that third-trimester glow, without the cravings” — LOL, maybe even psycho.

But, I bet if you were to write these seemingly psycho morning routines down on a piece of paper and showed them to a high achiever, my guess is the high achiever wouldn’t bat an eye. This kind of detail is normal for success-minded individuals.

Don’t believe me? Let’s play a little game.

Below are the names and morning routines of four high achievers, in no particular order. Let’s see if you can match names with routines.


Tony Robbins
T. Boone Pickens
Ivanka Trump
Patrick Bateman


Routine 1 — My regimen is I start with something to strengthen and jolt my nervous system every single day. Either I go into a 57 degree Fahrenheit plunge pool or I spend 2-3 minutes in my cryotherapy chamber that uses nitrogen to drop my body temperature 30-50 degrees. This reduces my total body inflammation. Next, I go through three sets of 30 Kapalabhati Pranayama breaths. This helps me move and breath better. After my breathing exercises, I take a few minutes to express what I’m grateful for. After my gratitude, I spend a few minutes in prayer. The last thing I do in the morning is eat breakfast, typically fish and salad to fuel my body…

Routine 2 — I get up at 5:30 a.m. and meditate or work out — or both. Then I shower and listen to a TED Talk while I moisturize. Afterward, I dress and read the paper — always the New York PostThe Wall Street Journal, and the front section of the Times. I like getting my news in the morning and I prefer the paper to online. I like how the papers pace the stories. Visually, it’s easier for me to see what’s most important, as opposed to scrolling through the headlines online…

Routine 3 — My first call to the office in the morning is 6:15. It’s 15 minutes before I start working out and I already have traders on the desk and I get what happened around the world at 6:15 in the morning. I have a trainer that comes in at 6:30 in the morning. Somebody asked me one time ‘Would you stay on that schedule if you didn’t have that trainer?’ I don’t think I would. This trainer has been with me 26 years. The commodities market opens at 8:00, and equities open at 8:30. I’m in the office before 8:00 and I have called the first meeting for the opening of the equities at 8:30…

Routine 4 — I live on West 84th street. I believe in taking care of myself and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches (I can do one thousand now). After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower, I use a water-activated gel cleanser. Then a honey-almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating-gel scrub. Then I apply a herb-mint facial mask which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine…

How do you think you did? Let’s find out…

Routine 1 — Tony Robbins
Routine 2 — Ivanka Trump
Routine 3 — T. Boone Pickens
Routine 4 — Patrick Bateman

The one thing all these high achievers (even fictional Patrick Bateman) have in common is their morning routines are set. They don’t switch it up day-to-day, they have specific routines and actions they stick to before starting their workdays. It doesn’t matter if they’re on the road, their routines always come first.

The reason why is simple. Ian Sarachan says, “If I have a good morning my day is usually great, regardless of what happens throughout it. If I start in a bad mood it makes for a much longer 24 hours.”

Be ruthless with your mornings, your success depends on it. 

Nick Papple
Managing Editor
The Daily Brief


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