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In our work with young adults around the world we share a simple yet powerful formula that makes a real difference in helping them plan their lives. Of the six steps in “The Formula,” the step that many young adults surprisingly say is the most impactful is getting up early in the morning.

“I thought I could never achieve that (getting up early),” said a young adult in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “But when I started doing it, I realized how powerful it is, and how many things you can do when you get up early. It feels like the day is…longer!”

While this may seem obvious to many in the older generations, it is one of the discoveries our young adults can make as they consider their lives and what success and fulfillment mean to them. This, coupled with the other five steps in The Formula, provide a base from which to build a productive life that also includes the rallying cry of Millennials – GIVING BACK.

The Formula was originally developed by my mentor, Jim Ritchie. Jim retired at the age of 35 and has been serving humanity in the form of full-time missions and other Church service since 1978. As our adopted mentor, Jim shared with my wife and I The Formula—which had not yet been put on paper. He obtained half of The Formula from his Mission President David B. Haight. The other half he obtained from studying the life of J. Paul Getty—one of the richest oil tycoons in the world at the time. When combined with all of the other principles (outlined in our book Launching Leaders: An Empowering Journey for a New Generation), The Formula is the key to maximizing success and living a joyful and abundant life.

Jim has spent 40 years teaching The Formula to thousands of people (primarily young adults) all over the world. As a segment of the Launching Leaders curriculum, we see it impact lives on a continuous basis.

We don’t have enough space to cover the full importance of each step in The Formula in one article, so I invite you to get the Launching Leaders book and study chapter five, The Formula, for a full explanation of how to apply this simple but life changing formula to your life or the life of your favorite young adult. I’ll share a brief synopsis here (see also the chart at the bottom of this article):

  1. Get Up Early

The Lord started His days early. Moses, Joshua, and many other prophets have done the same. The early morning hours are known as “Magic Hours,” and the practice of this habit will yield un-told positive results. It allows the space needed to establish foundational attributes and habits of success—including time for daily devotionals (prayer, scripture study, pondering, etc.)

  1. Work Hard

There is a big difference in working hard or just staying busy. Your daily bread may be started by getting up early and implementing your daily devotionals. Now watch how working hard toward inspired objectives moves you rapidly toward desired outcomes and a more holistic life.

  1. Get Your Education

ALL forms or learning count—from formal education, to acquiring a skill, to reading a book. We have been admonished by prophets to get all the learning we can. Be an avid reader and learner. Invest the time needed to implement your passions toward changing the world for the better. Decide to become a constant learner.

  1. Find Your Oil (Your Passion)

We must discover that thing which excites, motivates, empowers, and creates the cause for our passion. The key to eternal joy may well rest on the investment spent following the Holy Spirit toward passionate objectives. It’s not just about money or income; it’s about how to spend time in applying that which you are “called” to do in shaping the world.

  1. Make Your Mark

In simple terms, this phrase means making a difference. How will the world be different because you lived? Regardless of one’s wealth, job, career or life circumstance, we can all find a way to make a positive mark on the world around us.

  1. Give Back

The rising generation has taught all of us a more perfect way to give back. It can be an authentic smile or reaching hand. It might involve mentoring or working in a homeless shelter. The key is to implement a form of giving back daily. Giving back ought to become a part of our “Holier” way of ministering.

Each step in The Formula is designed to help you progress toward a successful, happy, and abundant life. What makes The Formula so unique and powerful is that your own happiness isn’t the sole objective. The Formula’s ultimate purpose is to empower you to become a tool in the hands of God.

And if you need a place to start, follow the examples of our young adult friends and get up early!

For a full discussion on The Formula, see chapter 5 in Launching Leaders: An Empowering Journey for a New Generation, available at Deseret Book.