After midnight I stopped looking at the clock. From experience I knew that being aware of the precise time we were still awake did not induce sleep. Also from experience I knew that even if I didn't get that revered, at least by conventional people, good night's sleep, I would still likely be able to perform in a superior way. I was going to be pitching to two prospects.
On about two hours sleep, I did the pitches. On the spot I got the two accounts. A fourth of a century ago I had started that pattern of not sleeping, at least not long and well, and succeeding. Without much sleep I had dragged myself from Connecticut to suburban New York to take the law boards. Although I had had a history of being a lousy scorer on standardized tests, I aced the boards, at least well enough to be admitted to Harvard Law School.
Of course, I have a theory. Mine is that adequate sleep removes my edge. I go through the whatever a little too relaxed, not alert enough to pick up on the subtle signals which guide our moves. Recognizing that I am in an impaired state of not having slept, I tend to overcompensate. For example, at both pitches to prospects I listened more deeply and provided enhanced responses, including recommendations for their tactics.
If we want to extend that theory we might speculate that well-cared for human beings - physically, emotionally, spiritually - might lack the internal drivers to speedread reality in ways that make for breakthrough performance. So many giants like John F. Kennedy and Steve Jobs were wounded.