"It may or may not be your fault if you're not living the life you want, but it is your responsibility to start making the changes necessary to go to the next level."
It’s been a crazy week since the launch of The Miracle Equation – my first traditionally published book. I’m beyond grateful, humbled, and excited by the outpouring of support I’ve received from all of you, and if you’ve gotten a copy of the book already, I want to thank you.
I believe that this book will radically transform your life, and I am living the Miracle Equation right now as I work to share this message with as many people as I possibly can.
For today’s podcast, I read one of my favorite chapters in the book—Chapter 3: The Inherent Human Conflict: Moving from Limited to Limitless. (If you’re human, this applies to you.) :^D
I guess you could say this is kind of like me giving you a preview of the audiobook (the first of my books that I actually read the audiobook myself). However, unlike the audiobook (which I read word-for-word), in today’s podcast I go WAY off script quite a few times. (That includes kissing my wife in the middle of the episode!)
We all face this internal conflict – and we all have to overcome it. This is an unfiltered, unedited look at how we can conquer our limitations and stop living on autopilot, and even if you’ve already started reading (or listening) to the book, you’ll likely discover something new in this episode.
- Why so many of us forget that we are capable of limitless achievement – and the sneaky, harsh obstacles that set us up for self-sabotage.
- How to stop waging war with yourself, overcome inner conflicts, and live a life of greatness.
- The four (4) internal conflicts we must overcome to tap our limitless potential and navigate our way to what you really want.
- What happened when I failed to meet my initial sales goal with The Miracle Morning, how I applied the Miracle Equation to sell over a million copies of my first book in six years, and how extraordinary effort and unwavering faith helped me sell an additional 700,000 copies in the last year alone.
- How to become a miracle maven by making unwavering faith your default mindset and simplify extraordinary effort through consistency.
- Why “pretty good” gives us permission to be lazy and almost never helps us achieve Level 10 success, and how “being too busy” stops us from taking on high-priority activities that can move the needle and transform our lives.
- How society conditions us to live a mediocre life, be docile, and fit in, why this behavior is learned, and how to choose to be someone else.
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Hal: Goal achievers, hey, it’s Hal Elrod and what’s going on? So, today’s Friday, April 19. The Miracle Equation, the new book came out on Tuesday of this week, April 16, three days ago. It’s been three days since the book launch and it’s been crazy, three really incredible days. I am beyond grateful, humbled, excited with the support and just that outpouring of I guess support. I mean, it’s been really incredible. Thank you. If you’ve gotten the book, I really appreciate it. You’ll be listening to this on, well, it comes out Wednesday so about a week and a day after the book publishes but as of today, we’re not sure. I don’t know the numbers. I don’t know how many copies it was sold, anything like that. I know it’s sold at least 5,000 copies because we have over 5,000 people who have emailed, forwarded their receipt to get the bonuses that came with the book during the preorder campaign and the launch week, this last week essentially if you’re listening to this now, and yeah so over 5,000 people like 5,200 so far afforded their receipts so that’s really positive but we’ll find out the numbers I think next week. Yeah.
So, today I am going to read you a chapter from The Miracle Equation and I was going to do this last week and I decided to wait until this week because last week the interview that I shared with you, I just felt so good about. But I wanted today to choose a chapter and I’m looking at the chapter. In fact, I’ll read it to you real quick. So, chapter 1, taking the mystery out of miracles. So, we did an episode on that, but it was unique. It was an interview with Sean Stephenson a few weeks ago and I just felt like it will be aligned with that chapter, so I stole the title. Taken this we had miracles but did not read you that chapter. Chapter 2 is From Impossible to Improbable to Inevitable and that is the story of how The Miracle Equation came to be which, you know, one of the series, one of the episodes of The Miracle Equation podcast series we did was called The Origin of the Miracle Equation and that where I kind of shared that story with you. Chapter 3 is what we’re going to read today, and this is The Inherent Human Conflict. So, if you’re a human, it applies to you and it’s inherent meaning it’s like we’ve all got it within us and it’s conflict so we have to overcome the conflict. So, that’s where we’re going to dive in today.
And by the way, I thought wow what a perfect opportunity to mention too that I read the audiobook for The Miracle Equation and this is my 14th book that I’ve written and published and it’s the first audiobook I’ve ever read. So, every book if you listen to audiobooks and you listen to any of The Miracle Morning book series books then you know that my narrator, I mean, he’s not mine. I don’t own him, but he’s actually a good friend. He’s in our mastermind, Rob Actis, and he just got such a wonderful voice. He’s so good at what he does and so he’s done every book in The Miracle Morning series and I’ve had a lot of readers and fan say, “I love Rob. I love Rob’s voice but, Hal, I listen to the podcast every weekend, I want to hear you on your audiobook,” and so I did it. I went into the studio. It is not easy, man. Props to Rob Actis like recording an audiobook. It is tedious and it is long, and I kept losing my voice. It was if I’m going to go back and, yeah, it was an interesting, challenging process, but really rewarding and I’ve got feedback so far from the audiobook that people are loving it.
In fact, I went to Audible just now and there are 22 reviews people have posted and it’s 4.9 out of 5 stars so I’m like, “Oh, they get it,” because after I recorded, I was like, “Oh, how did I sound?” My audiobook producer, May, she kept saying, “Hal, you need to slow down, slow down, and you’re getting too excited. You’re too intense,” and I go, “May, that’s how I talk like that. That’s just how I talk. I don’t know what to tell you. If I’m not that way, people are going to be like, ‘Hal doesn’t sound like himself.’” So, I think you’ll find the audiobook I’m kind of like a little bit in between my normal just excited intensity and letting May kind of pull the reins in a little bit and keep me so you can understand what I’m talking about.
But here we go. So, I’m going to read this chapter to you. You’re going to have like a preview of the audiobook if you will but the meat of it is I’m not, I don’t have a producer here so I’m going to talk how I talk and I’m probably going to go off script and if there’s anything that I want to add to it, I’m going to. So, get ready, buckle in, here we go. And of course, if you got The Miracle Equation, Miracle Morning/Miracle Equation, if you have Miracle Equation, if you purchased a copy, I just want to thank you. It’s been a real journey and it’s just beginning of course. My publisher, I said, “Look, I’m not known for having huge launches. That’s not necessarily my forte. My forte as though I’m willing to give it everything I have for as long as it takes to impact people to reach my goals, etcetera,” and interestingly enough, if you started reading The Miracle Equation or listening to The Miracle Equation or listen to the series that we’ve done over the last six weeks that I’ve done at seven weeks I think, now, this is the seventh week. Then you know like I’m literally living The Miracle Equation to get The Miracle Equation book into the hands of millions of people. So, meaning I have unwavering faith that this book will radically transform people’s lives who read it, who apply it, and I am committed to putting forth extraordinary effort until just like with The Miracle Morning I reached over a million people.
And then once you do that, the book will take on kind of a life of its own and it usually just keeps going with The Miracle Morning. By the way, this is really important. With Miracle Morning, my goal was to reach 1 million people in the year that the book came out and I did not reach 1 million people the year that the book came out. In fact, we didn’t even sell 10,000 copies that year. Maybe we sold 10 a year right around like just over under 10,000 copies. But think about that. My goal was 1 million copies sold, 1 million lives touched, and I sold 10,000 copies. So, while human nature is to give up and be like, “Ah, well, I have been kidding myself. I was committed to The Miracle Equation for The Miracle Morning meaning I apply The Miracle Equation to The Miracle Morning and now I’m applying The Miracle Equation to the Miracle Equation and so it took me six years before I got to a million copies of the Miracle Morning and then listen to this. We’re now at 1.7 million. So, it took me six years to get to a million copies and in just over a year we’ve sold 700,000 more copies.
So, that’s the power of The Miracle Equation. When you maintain unwavering faith that you can achieve a meaningful, measurable goal, a.k.a. a tangible, measurable miracle, and you put forth extraordinary effort, not for a little bit, but for as long as it takes and it usually takes longer than we thought it would, or wanted to, or hoped it could, but your success moves as the book subtitle says, from possible to probable to inevitable, and that word, until. Circle it, underline it. That’s how you make your success inevitable. So, we’re going to dive into Chapter 3 of the Miracle Equation, The Inherent Human Conflict, Moving from Limited to Limitless. And I’m like when I read the audiobook, I had an editor there taking notes so when I would mess up, he would just make a note and I kept messing. I mess up like every minute. He’s like, “Wait. Scratch that.” I don’t know what’s going to happen when I read this. I might be messing up a lot so here we go. All right. We’re going to open with a quote from Patrick Connor. Patrick said, “The world we live in, the light we perceive is a perfect reflection, a mirror image of our internal reality.”
There is a chance that you like so many people have forgotten a really basic fact about yourself. You are limitless. Human beings are destined for greatness and proof of that abounds every day. Previously held limitations are shattered as another one of us taps into our shared limitless potential and sets new standards for what we are all capable of achieving. Anything that another person has done is evidence of what’s possible for you and everything you want for your life is available to you right now just waiting for you to make the decision and go after what you want. If you think that’s your childhood, you might be able to remember feeling this about yourself. Becoming a famous ballerina or baseball player seemed totally plausible and within your reach. You never considered that you might not achieve what your mind’s eye was showing you. As a kid, everything was possible. Your future was limitless. Some of us have lost this awareness completely. Others can retrieve this perspective with enough prompting or reminiscing about what could have been. But even then, though, this feeling seems distant and no longer relevant to the life they are living today.
The life with a pile of bills on the counter, a job that doesn’t fulfill them, and a few extra pounds they just can’t get rid of, but not remembering this information, this fact about who you are and what you’re capable of, does not make it not true, nor does it make it any less relevant. So, how did we forget this important fact? Through no fault of our own, we’ve been unknowingly sabotaging ourselves and it only gets worse as we get older. I know. It’s not very encouraging, but it is true. We’re up against some harsh obstacles in life both inside our own heads and the world around us, and these obstacles can be a bit sneaky. Oftentimes, we don’t even know they exist. To start, we have this innate tendency or these innate tendencies that are hardwired into our brain and constantly knock us off our path to greatness. Our inborn human nature leads us to take the easy road, doubt ourselves, and give up when things get difficult.
The easy path is usually more comfortable in the short term and our brains translate that comfort into this must be what I should be doing, then as we’re growing up and right tubes or messages both spoken and unspoken from those around us we’re taught to follow the rules to fit in, to play along, and we even allow the irrational, limiting beliefs of others to influence our own and stifle our ideas of what’s possible for us. Our loved ones offer us a pat on the back and requisite. You gave it a good shot and they let us give up. They never hold us accountable for stretching into our full potential and it’s probably because they’re not fulfilling their own potential. So, we support each other right into the depths of mediocrity and after a while, we join the conformists and eventually buying into the whole why I can’t be amazing and just settle for what’s easy song and dance. We accumulate an arsenal of self-sabotaging limitations, beliefs and habits that for the most part, we don’t even realize we have. We put forth just enough effort to get by. We run through our days on autopilot doing the same things over and over again, often with no clear goal or intention. We allow others to impose limits on us and ultimately, we settle for less than we truly want and are capable of. In part, both our brains and our well-meaning friends and family members hold our life of miracles hostage.
Sheesh. How is a guy or gal supposed to create extraordinary life with all these hurdles constantly thrust upon him or her? It’s a good question and the answer lies in understanding the inherent human conflict that we all face. What is the human conflict? The inherent human conflict. Deep down inside we know that we are limitless, but our own brains in the world around us can find us so we remain smaller than we should be. This conflict leads to unhappiness, anxiety, fear, and the constant feeling that there is something else, something more out in the world for us. We know it, but we don’t know what to do about it until now. To create the most extraordinary life you can imagine, the one that you really want, the one that you deserve, and the one that you are destined for if you choose to be, you must overcome this inner conflict and take the path that leads to greatness which won’t necessarily be the easiest path, the option that feels more comfortable or even the safest. When you feel yourself haggling in your head over a decision it comes down to your being limited based on your past or limitless based on your potential, choose limitless, period.
It’s not easy. I never said it wouldn’t, but it is possible and if you apply The Miracle Equation, it becomes probable and if you continue to apply The Miracle Equation, it will move to inevitable and specifically, this is true for you. It’s true for all of us. If you’re willing to read to the end of this chapter, in this case, listen to the end of this chapter, you’re going to get a lot of new insights into what is standing between you and the miraculous life you deserve to live and you’re going to realize, “Wow. I can totally do this.” So, let’s get started. The war you wage with yourself. Let’s gain some perspective. Wherever you are in your life right now whether you’re at the top of your game or during circumstances that are unpleasant, painful, or somewhere between, consider this, you are exactly where you’re supposed to be and who you’re supposed to be right now to learn what you need to learn so that you can become the person that you need to be who is capable of creating everything you’ve ever wanted. That is a mouthful. But I believe every single word of it and I hope that you do too. Every experience you’ve had in your life up until this point, including those that have been the most difficult and the most painful, all of it, they’re all assets when you choose to learn from them, and you choose to grow from them.
Now, here’s the rub and where you need to step in. It may or may not be your fault if you’re not living the life you want, but it is your responsibility to start making the changes necessary to go to the next level. No one is going to do it for you. No one is going to save you as my friend Mel Robbins always says and remind us of. Choosing to live your life at a level 10 is up to you and the first step to getting there is to overcome this internal conflict. The choice to live either a limited or limitless life shows up in all sorts of ways. Should I leave my job and start my own business? Should I leave this relationship when I don’t know if I’ll find someone else? Do I really have to stop eating the foods I enjoy if I want to drop 10 pounds? Each of these decisions and so many more impacts a different area of your life. Still, they all boil down to being limited by your past, your fears, your failures, or other people versus choosing to be limitless. Think about a decision that is on your mind right now. Can you filter it through this lens? Does it look any different when you do? When I was writing the Miracle Morning I constantly battled fear and self-doubt that tempted me to give up and stop writing, though I believe so much in the concept and in seeing the results from other people and my own life firsthand, my inner voice kept standing in my way.
I would always think, “Who am I to convince people that they should wake up early and how am I possibly going to compel anyone to overcome a deeply ingrained limiting belief that says, ‘I am not a morning person?’” And they likely believe that, and their behavior is reinforced it and when I say they, maybe you, for their entire lives. And thankfully, I didn’t allow my internal conflict to have the final say in what I did. I just kept on writing. I refuse to let my fears dictate my actions. Now that we can surely identify hundreds, maybe thousands of ways this conflict shows up in our lives, right now we’re going to identify four internal conflicts that tend to show up often that we must overcome. The first, we have a brain that registers new opportunities as dangerous. We also reject the notion that we are deserving of all that we want and instead settle for mediocre effort and results in one several or literally all areas of our life. We also lose sight of our innate gifts and failed to see all that we can accomplish. And finally, we allow the world to influence our thinking. We allow our friends, our family, and other people to define us which usually leads us to believe that we are less capable than we actually are and standing against all of these limitations is the belief that inside of you there is potential left untapped, so our internal angst persists.
Alone, each of these conflicts is enough to put a real dent in your grand plans for life. Together though they make it nearly impossible to navigate your way to what you really want. So, let’s go deeper and explore each conflict so we can understand where it comes from and what the results will be if you don’t overcome it. Toward the end of the chapter, we’ll discuss how to overcome every single one of these conflicts so that you can start moving toward creating a life you’ve been waiting for, start moving from limited to limitless. The irrational fear of opportunity versus maintaining the status quo, conflict number one. Most of us fall in the cycles of getting all excited about a new goal and abruptly stopping either when things get tough or even before we begin. So, why is this? It all starts with the human brain. The human brain is pretty incredible. It’s the central command center of our body. It keeps our lungs breathing, our heart pumping, and our body moving. It even enables us to determine how good or bad our life is like simply focusing on the aspects of our life that make us feel good or those that cause is still bad. All that we do or don’t do begins with our brain.
Now, of course, we can get esoteric and metaphysical and talk about spirituality, but for the sake of this conversation, our brain is the central command system for our nervous system but even though our brains enable us to experience life, it also gets in the way of our creating the life that we want. The world born with this limitless potential were also born with a brain that operates under many of its primitive prehistoric reflexes. We are hardwired to scan our environments for danger because back in the caveman days, not spotting a fast-moving lion meant a painful death. Eating the wrong greens could be toxic. We can encounter life-and-death situations multiple times a week. We were just trying to get through the day, literally trying to get through another day. Luckily, most of us don’t render these types of experiences often, if ever, unless you camp a lot like my wife. She brings me along, but our brain doesn’t know that. It’s still paranoid, always scanning for potential threats in a constant attempt to keep us safe. But instead of fearing death, our brains are on high alert for anything that could take us out of our comfort zones. So, the fear of death has been replaced by the fear of failure or even just discomfort, both emotional and physical.
So, staying in shape is no longer about avoiding predators. Now, we avoid opportunities too. For the most part, we fear the unknown, so we stay safe and certain in our comfort zone. When a new opportunity pops up that would give us a chance to develop ourselves further into the person we’d like to be, our brain sounds the panic alarm. We immediately run through everything that could go wrong, to fail, “I could be embarrassed. I could be disappointed. It could be a total waste of time.” All of this stress makes it difficult to make intelligent decisions and it disrupts our emotional well-being and sometimes it can feel as though our emotions control us, rather than the other way around. Our external circumstances begin to dictate our internal state. I’ll say that again. Our external circumstances begin to dictate our internal state. And by the way, if you listen to the episode, Becoming Emotionally Invincible, that we did as part of the series, that’s a chapter in the book and, again, I didn’t read the chapter. I just kind of went off the cuff on that but that’s what we are talking about here is in terms of the way that it affects our emotional state. Where was I?
So, we continuously crawl back into the cave that is our comfort zone. Although it’s dark in there, it feels safe. All of our energy and mental focus is directed toward trying to turn off that stress response which by the way is resisting it and it makes it worse. And we did interrupt a great opportunity and then we interpret a great opportunity as being too hard, too dangerous, or just too much to attempt. So, any opportunity that pulls us away from what we have come to understand as our norm is perceived as something to be avoided. It’s hardwired into our brain. Now, miracle mavens on the other hand, and if you haven’t read the book yet for context, the word “maven” comes from the Yiddish word “meyvn” which means one who understands. So, in the book, we talk about the miracle mavens are the world’s top achievers and performers and not even just the world. Just individuals who understand that these two fundamental decisions of The Miracle Equation, unwavering faith and extraordinary effort like that’s become their default way of approaching everything. And imagine that, right, if you’re reading the Miracle Equation, that’s what you can look forward to is when you get to the end of the book, the 30-day challenge that’s the final chapter of the book is designed so that 30 days from finishing the book and implementing the challenge, you will be a different person.
Well, you’ll be the same person, but you’ll start to be your default way of thinking, your default mindset will be unwavering faith that you can overcome or accomplish anything and everything in your life that you want to or you’re committed to. And you’ll have simplified extraordinary effort. You will have made it ordinary during those 30 days and it’s about that consistency so that extraordinary effort will feel ordinary and it will be your default way of showing up every day. That’s the objective. You will be a miracle maven by the time those 30 days are up. All right. Dang it. I kept losing my place when I start talking to you and going off of the script here. All right. So, miracle mavens have figured out something the rest of us have not, how to bypass the stress response so that they can achieve extraordinary results or more accurately stated, they understand how to turn off the stress response when it’s harmful or detrimental to their success. It’s holding them back. They’ve trained their brain to understand the difference between an uncomfortable situation that will allow them to grow and one that is truly life or death or dangerous. They consistently choose to replace the fear of what could go wrong by consciously choosing to focus on and maintain the faith that things will likely go right and that they will put forth the extraordinary effort until they go right.
They invest time on exploring and pursuing the possibilities that will make them happy and fulfilled even though they know that the possibility of failure always exists, although you’ll learn in Chapter 5, A New Paradigm of Possibility, it actually doesn’t. You cannot fail. If you live by The Miracle Equation, you can only learn, grow, and become better than you’ve ever been before. Whether or not you reach in the individual goal is inconsequential compared to the growth because only the growth last forever, So, rather than dwelling on their fears and past failures, miracle mavens understand how crucial it is to both have faith in themselves and to actively figure out which steps they must take to turn their most meaningful goals into reality. By taking control of their brain, they take control of their lives. Now, most of us have not and do not from high school students get into the workforce all the way up to Fortune 500 CEOs, all of us struggle with the irrational fears and overactive stress response. We need to consider how our irrational fears suck the air from our dreams and the lives that we could be living. Instead of fearing and avoiding opportunities, we need to take a deep breath. Do it now. Take a deep breath. Inhale and exhale. And we need to run toward our dreams and the lives that we want to be living.
We need to be willing to fail, to learn from our mistakes, and try again. We need to replace our fear with faith, once more and that to come in the book, because really there is no way to overcome this conflict, no other way to overcome this conflict and achieve success. Misdirected entitlement versus enlightened entitlement. This is conflict number two. However you define level 10 success, I’m sure that if you’re listening to this right now, you probably want to have more of it, right? We all do. But what level of success do you believe that you deserve? Unfortunately, most of us don’t believe, at least not truly deeply unconsciously believe or genuinely feel that we deserve much more than we have now or have seen those close to us have or achieve. So, whatever levels of success, happiness and fulfillment we are accustomed to become our norm and the standard for which we expect in our future and that way we keep perpetuating our past with no plans to live larger moving forward. So, many of us never get out of the gate because we don’t really believe that we deserve what’s at the end of the road. In order to become a miracle maven, you’re going to have to believe not only that your biggest goals and dreams are possible, probable and inevitable but you have to believe that you deserve to achieve them.
Without that last piece, you’ll never get to the goal because you don’t really believe you deserve it either so you’re not going to really give it everything you have. You’ll always find an excuse to back away from your greatness. But when you believe that you are entitled to success, you’ll fight for it. Now, I know that using the word entitled could make some folks feel kind of icky. The word entitlement is often associated with individuals who believe they deserve special privileges or resources though they’ve done nothing to earn them. A sense of entitlement is often linked with narcissism or arrogance and a person with an entitlement complex is often thought of as similar to a child who has never learned that he or she is not the center of the universe. This describes a sense of deservedness regardless of whether or not any effort has been put forth and this is what most people think is entitlement but there are two other forms of entitlement, both of which you need to be aware of and one of which you need to move toward. The other you need to avoid. The first type, enlightened entitlement, which is what we should all strive for and it’s characterized by the fundamental belief that each of us is just as deserving, worthy, and capable of creating and having anything we want for our lives that is anything we’re willing to put forth extraordinary effort to achieve. We must believe that we are just as deserving as any other person on earth.
Nearly every great accomplishment begins with an individual believing that he or she is capable of putting forth the effort necessary to accomplish it and that he or she deserves the subsequent success that will come with that accomplishment and this kind of entitlement is healthy and it’s a prerequisite to creating tangible, measurable miracles. It reinforces our belief and our potential and our recognition of that potential. To be clear, this is not easy for many people, myself included. We tend to turn away from recognition of our efforts, we blush when someone praises or thanks us for a job well done. Sometimes we even reject the reward outright. We say, “It really wasn’t a big deal,” even if it was. Receiving praise feels uncomfortable like I deal with that. I don’t know about you but that for me is I always deal with that. It just makes you [inaudible]. But think about how much harder it is to pursue a goal when you don’t really feel that you deserve it. It’s virtually impossible to put forth the effort necessary to create miraculous, tangible results when you don’t feel entitled to them. In many cases, enlightened entitlement is what you’ll use to ignite your unwavering faith because you’ll find it’s often easier to believe that you deserve the end result than believing that you can accomplish it.
But this is not the case for everyone or for every miracle. Speaking for myself, I know that digging up this deserving feeling doesn’t always come so easily. I see other people struggling or I’ll see those less fortunate and think, “Why do I deserve to be any happier or more successful than they are? We’re both human beings. Why do I deserve a success that’s in my life or that’s coming my way, or even that I’m creating?” So, keep in mind that sometimes you need to gain a little traction through extraordinary effort before you can experience enlightened entitlement because as you begin to put forth consistent effort and the more effort you put forth, the more deserving you’ll naturally feel of what it is that you’re working towards. Now, the order is less important than the fact that you must own that you deserve anything you want and are willing to put in the effort for it. In order for The Miracle Equation work, this is important and miracle mavens own their contribution and therefore feel deserving of the rewards of their effort.
Now, let’s get into the second type of entitlement. This is the one you want to avoid. On the other end of the spectrum, we have misdirected entitlement, which is really laziness masquerading as a feeling of deservedness. I’m guilty of this. I bet you are too. We tell ourselves, “Oh, I deserve this cookie. I’ve been pretty good about my eating,” or, “I deserve to buy this thing that I don’t really need because I’ve been pretty good about my spending,” or, “I deserve to miss the gym today, I can miss the gym because I’ve been pretty good about working out.” Do any sound familiar to you? We all do this from time to time, but it is harmful because this kind of behavior reinforces mediocrity. We treat ourselves for being pretty good but pretty good isn’t great and certainly doesn’t get us any closer to miraculous results. It simply allows you to give yourself a pat on the back for subpar performance. It gives you permission to be lazy, just as overworking yourself to the point of exhaustion and burnout is unhealthy, obviously doing less than you know you should be doing is detrimental to reaching your goals. I know it should go without saying but, again, we do this misdirected entitlement unconsciously, sometimes, all the time. I think we’re all guilty of it. Accepting mediocre effort from yourself holds you back from achieving that level 10 success, that level 10 life that you want and your level of effort that is needed is relative to whatever it is that you are attempting to accomplish. A person who is training for a marathon might need to run five days a week. Well, if someone who’s just trying to get a little healthier might need to just walk for 30 minutes a few times a week. So, extraordinary effort is different for all of us. Our process as we talk about in the book is different for all of us.
And only you know the truth about how much effort you’re putting forth when nobody is watching, nobody is looking. Your definition of levels in success though is also unique to you and whatever you’re trying to accomplish in your life. The point is to align your actions and the amount of effort needed with your goals so that you feel deserving of it and avoid falling into the trap of being lazy and going down that path of misdirected entitlement. Now, hold on. Let’s be honest, being lazy feels nice. Who does not enjoy watching television, lying around the house with no responsibilities, no concerns, and no guilt? But and this is a big but, in order to be lazy with no guilt, you have to accomplish something first to award yourself what I call earned laziness. So, I have a rule to spend time with my kids, do something that adds value to my wife’s life and complete all of my work-related tasks before I get to enjoy what I call guilt-free laziness. If you’re going to binge on Netflix, there’s no judgment here, just make sure that you do it after you accomplish your most important priorities for the day.
One major problem with laziness when it’s not preceded by doing anything to earn it is that it prevents you from feeling entitled to the success that you want. When you don’t put forth sustained effort, you don’t really deserve what you’re striving for and deep down you know it. So, this causes you to not believe in yourself and not to believe that you deserve anything better than you have now. This is why misdirected entitlement is so dangerous and so detrimental to the life that we are working towards creating that we want, that we dream of, that we imagine. And another roadblock that we throw in front of ourselves, which is another manifestation of misdirected entitlement is staying busy. How many times have you told yourself that you can’t take advantage of a new opportunity or you don’t have time to work on your biggest goals and dreams because you were, drumroll please, “I’m too busy. I’m too busy. I would but I’m too busy.” Being too busy is essentially doing things that often don’t really matter and obviously, matter is a very subjective word but, I mean, matter in terms of are the things you’re busy with creating the most extraordinary life you can imagine, the life of your dreams?
I know that’s a cliché statement, but it’s only cliché because people aren’t doing it. If you’re doing it, Oprah Winfrey has a quote and I even said it in my presentation, in my keynote and I’m going off memory here, but it was something like the greatest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams. In fact, I think that might be the words. I might have gotten the first ever got a quote off the top of my head right. I think that was actually it. The greatest adventure you can take is live the life of your dreams. And when I used to tell that in my keynote, I go, “Look, I bet half of you roll your eyes when I say that.” But here’s the deal, people roll their eyes because they’re not living the life of their dreams and they’ve been settling for less than they wanted for too long but if you read that quote to someone who has worked their tail off and they are living the life of their dreams, they don’t roll their eyes. They nod their head. They go, “Damn right. It’s the greatest adventure I ever decided to take was to commit to give it everything I had to create the most extraordinary life I could imagine, the life of my dreams. I don’t roll my eyes at that. It’s not cliché. It’s what I live every day.” So, where was I in the book here? But the point is right, that, yeah, is that don’t roll your eyes at that. Go, “You know what, yeah, why wouldn’t I live the life of my dreams? Why would I end up anything less? Why would I live anything less? I should’ve brought water before I started reading this audiobook. I’m thirsty. My wife’s not here to bring me water either. I can’t text her. All right. So, here we go.
Being too busy is essentially doing things that don’t – I already said that. All right. Here are some examples. It’s doing things that don’t really matter, so we trick ourselves into thinking that we’re being productive. The responding to dozens of emails might make us feel as though we’re being productive and in turn deserving, but deep down we know that’s a lie. In Cal Newport’s groundbreaking book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, great book by the way, highly recommended, he explains our ability to perform deep work or to focus on one task that requires a lot of brainpower for an extended amount of time is decreasing just as this very skill is becoming more of an asset. Those who can develop the skill will be rewarded for it. In the context of miracles, only those who can detach themselves from the distractions around them, move beyond spending time on inconsequential tasks and instead focus their mental and physical energy of a single objective for an extended period of time. And when you read the book, you hear those words over and over and over for an extended period of time. Most of us give up too soon on our biggest goals and dreams.
So, only those who can focus their mental and physical energy on a single objective for an extended period of time are able to create tangible, measurable, miracles a.k.a. extraordinary results. Staying busy by wasting time on lower productivities directly opposes this notion. So, when we look at our to-do list, it’s very natural to gravitate toward the lower priority, lower risk activities which have the fewest significant consequences attached to them. That’s why we move toward them. These activities might include checking email, posting on social media, doing online research, any form of organizing, whether physical or digital or even personal development if you’re using it to justify procrastinating on other higher priority tasks, the ones that will move you toward what you really want. By staying busy with low priority activities, we keep ourselves distracted and safe from engaging in the activities that actually matter that as Brendon Burchard says, “Move the needle and that will move us in the direction of achieving our most significant goals and dreams.”
Doing high priority activities can be scary as they come with significant consequences that could be meaningful in our lives and they could force us to flex our “I deserve” muscle. Staying busy with low priority activities is a behavior that keeps us from feeling we deserve the success that we want and we are moving on. Potential dysmorphia versus actualized potential. This is conflict number three. You’ll hear a little later on about when I was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of cancer at the age of 37. When I first began cancer treatment, my weight quickly dropped from 167 pounds to 127 pounds. By the way, it’s 25% of my body weight. Thirty of those pounds were dropped in the first three weeks. So, imagine three weeks losing 20% of your body weight. Just over 6 feet tall my cheekbones became more prominent as in my ribs and my hipbones, my legs more than anything got so skinny and I also lost every hair on my body. The interesting thing was when I looked in the mirror after really just a few days I just started to see the same old me minus the hair, but I didn’t see the skinny cancer patient looking back. I saw the same person I have always been.
Now, I knew intellectually, I knew conceptually that my body must look different. I mean, 40 pounds is a lot of weight to lose especially for somebody who was already thin as I am. In fact, roughly one-fourth of my body weight had disappeared in a matter of weeks. When I mentioned to my wife Ursula that I thought I still looked pretty much the same, the expression on her face told me that I did not, definitely did not. And not to mention my well-meaning parents kept trying to feed me every chance they got. So, the messages I got from the outside world were quite different from my internal perceptions. In this case, my perception of myself was skewed. I thought this must be how somebody with body dysmorphia, someone who suffer significantly or significant insecurities over a perceived minor physical flaw, this must be how they feel but in reverse. Such folks will exercise to exhaustion because they think that they’re fat when the scale clearly shows they are at a healthy weight. They obsess over how to deflect attention away from their nose that they decide it’s too big for their face even though nobody else notices. They cannot see their body in an accurate way and at that time neither could I.
Unfortunately, we do this with our own potential cue. We don’t see what we are truly capable of. In fact, if you were to pause and listen to your thoughts for a moment, you probably hear a lot of negative statements that most of us unconsciously repeat to ourselves. I’m unworthy, I’m unlucky, I’m too busy, I’m lazy. I don’t know where to start. He or she is so much better than I am, smarter than I am, more talented than I am, more disciplined than I am. I’ve tried to improve this area in my life, but I just never stick with it. Sometimes we form in the form of questions like what if I fail? What if I’m unlucky? What if it doesn’t work out? What if it’s a waste of time? But negative statements like these, negative thoughts are the recording that we listen to on constant rotation in our heads. We hear it enough that we believe it to be true and then we act accordingly based on our limits or limitations. We point to past failures and say, “No, not going to try that again.” We internalize slights that we’ve received about our abilities over the years. We look for evidence to support and even prove our limitations. After all, we arrive at conclusions as to what we believe is realistic or likely to achieve based on the paradigm of our past and we end up with the false belief that we are less capable than we actually are.
There isn’t a single person on the planet, including the most successful who doesn’t look back at his or her past and see failures. What’s important is that you don’t live that way, you don’t live based on your past, but you can consciously choose to make decisions based on your limitless future. In the Miracle Morning, I include a bonus chapter titled The Email That Will Change Your Life and I’m talking about in the book, The Miracle Morning. It should include this bonus chapter, The Email That Will Change Your Life. I told a story about the time I realized that I didn’t have an accurate view of my strengths and weaknesses. I was around 25. I sent an email over to approximately 20 of the people who knew me really well in different capacities so that I ask for their honest feedback. Now, this group of people that I emailed included family, friends, colleagues, mentors, and yes even a couple of former girlfriends. I wanted a real 360° feedback on who I was and how I showed up for people.
The response that I received were both eye-opening, motivating and a little painful. It was like I saw myself in 3D for the first time. I finally saw all of me both how I viewed myself and how I appeared to a variety of people who knew me in various facets. That email and responses, that exercise that I did, it changed my life because I embraced the feedback that I received even though some of it was painful. I wrote it down. I turned it into affirmations so I could keep reading it, remembering it, reinforcing it, and I proceeded to make changes to my behavior accordingly. This exercise has also changed the lives of countless others who have tried it. I received so many emails of people saying, “Wow. I sent out that email and it was hard. The feedback was so helpful. If you think you might not be able to accurately see all of yourself, and you probably can’t. Most of us can’t. This is definitely an exercise to consider. And by the way, if you have the Miracle Morning book, go back, find that bonus chapter and the word-for-word email that you can copy and paste or modify is in that book.
Now, all those who have gone from being average to being extraordinary, again, any person in any walk of life that’s gone from average, maybe an average kid, average growing up or an average adult to making a decision that led them down a different path to going from average to extraordinary. Every single one of those people began by first seeing themselves as better than they had ever been in the past. Think about that. They were willing to see a vision for themselves based on their limitless capabilities and then begin living in alignment with that vision. Now, it doesn’t mean that they saw themselves as from average to like the most extraordinary perfect version of themselves. It might have been just they saw an incremental improvement, but again they saw themselves as better than they have in the past and then they started to live into that vision. It is rarely easy to do at first, a few things are, unless you can feel inauthentic. However, when you revisit that vision often enough and see daily, over time it becomes more and more true. It feels more and more true because it is the real you. You are that limitless person. Eventually, over time your new vision becomes your new identity and inevitably your new reality.
And finally, The World Defines You Versus You Define You. This is the fourth and final conflict. If you ever step yourself into an old pair of jeans that are too small, you know how uncomfortable that can be. The buttons dig into your abdomen and the fabric is like gripping your legs. It may even be hard to walk normally. Not only is it that not a good look but it’s uncomfortable. The reality is we do something similar with our lives. When we allow others to dictate who we should be, we end up pushing down our instincts to be a little different, to be better, to do things on our own terms, to fight for what we really want. We stuff ourselves into a mold that other people believe we should fit into and then we start to believe it. In the process, we come to feel as though we can’t move as freely as we like to. We feel confined or restricted, or even controlled by the expectations of others. And just like that pair of jeans, it feels uncomfortable. For the most part, we’ve been taught to think small to stay within the lines, to fit in, and to follow the rules, but these are other people’s rules. These rules are designed to help us fit into society, but they were counter to our innate desire to achieve level 10 success.
Nowhere in my formal education was I taught how to think outside the box to think big, to explore my unique gifts or discover which rules, not the majority of society play by but which rules the world’s most successful, happy, fulfilled individuals played by, which would’ve given me a clear rulebook showing me how to join them. Where in the heck was that curriculum? The standard white trap is to go to school, get a steady job, and work until you’re 65 when hopefully you’ll have just enough money for a mediocre retirement. How exciting is that? We are conditioned to be responsible, docile, and average to fit in, but all of this behavior is learned and has nothing to do with the person that you are and the person that you can choose to be. Eventually, we learned to distrust our own instincts and become cynical toward ourselves. We see people achieve extraordinary success as outliers. They are different. Starting from childhood and over many years, we are conditioned by other people’s beliefs about what is possible for us and although forcing ourselves into this mold might be the path of least resistance, it is also what lands us where we are now looking for a way to scratch that I-know-I’m-capable-of-more itch.
How do you define yourself? If you can’t answer that question in any kind of meaningful way, don’t worry, most people can’t. I used to have no way to answer that question. Instead, we start up a bunch of labels that have been given to us by other people and we take them as gospel. I am a wife or husband. I am a mother or father. I’m a lawyer or I’m a student or I’m a creative or an analytical or I’m a homemaker, provider. The labels can go on forever, but do they really capture you at your core, at your essence, as the limitless being that you are? As children, we were all labeled in some way. Whether it was a clinical diagnosis or just a nickname that our family gave us, the problem is that we often grew into the labels given to us as children even though we became adults and we grew up. Some of us were angels, my sister. Others were troublemakers, me, and others might’ve been good athletes or artists or valedictorian. Those names and labels help to shape our identity based on how those around us saw us and we quickly learned who we were based on other people’s perceptions of us.
Those labels also to some degree shaped our friendship circle, our activities, our likes, our dislikes and our ambitions for the future. Now, I’m not saying that silly childhood nicknames and medical diagnoses are inherently bad or that they’re not useful. Nicknames are often a term of affection. People haven’t stopped calling me Yo Pal Hal ever since my mom gave me the nickname for my job as a radio DJ when I was 15 years old. It still sticks with me today. Medical diagnoses can guide us toward the help we need. The problem arises when we allow those names and labels to define us and to limit us and then those limits follow us into adulthood where we continue to look to others to tell us we are. Sweetie, can you give me water, please? Did you hear that? I just kissed my wife on the podcast. Sweetie, I’m on the podcast. No, I love it. You’re here for the water. I was saying earlier I’m so thirsty I wish my wife was here so no, please. My podcast. I’m recording an episode now. I love you which is probably in the conversation at some point. Okay. All right. It’s my wife Ursula. She came in and gave me a kiss. She brings me water. I love her to death. All right. Where are we at? Then those limits follow us into adulthood where we continue to look to others to tell us who we are.
Now, I’m especially aware of this with my children and I try to safeguard them against labels that could define and confine them as labels often do. My daughter, for example, Sofie, she thinks that she has ADHD and I am not even sure why she thinks that. She’s never been formally diagnosed and none of her teachers have given her that label. I think that it is because and this is my fault, my bad. Am I a bad dad? That she’s heard me talk about my own ADHD which I was formally diagnosed with as an adult. But regardless of how she got that into her head, I don’t want her to use her self-diagnosis as a way to limit what she believes she’s capable of. When we talk about it together, I described ADHD, we being me and my daughter, I described ADHD as a character trait that some of us are fortunate to have. I say that it enables us to be creative and to stumble on great ideas since our minds are constantly wandering and bouncing from one idea to the next. It often takes a wandering mind to stumble on a great idea.
I’ve also Googled phrases such as famous people with ADHD or successful people with ADHD and I’ve shown her stories of people who never let that diagnosis limit them and I pointed out their accomplishments. There is evidence that it actually can be an advantage. I also explained to her that although we may have to work a little harder to stay focused, it’s not that we can’t. My point for her is that no one, no one but herself will define what she can or can’t do. Now, someday she accepts my explanation more easily than others and as adults often do, sometimes she fights her own limitations and uses it as an excuse.
All right. We’re about to go to the next section. I’m going to take a quick drink of water that my lovely wife just brought me. One sec. And by the way, I know I could have my editor edit that out but who cares? It’s just real life. I’m having a drink of water. Big deal. Are you hydrated? If you’re listening to this podcast right now, you should be drinking water too. Go drink some water. Onto the next section of this chapter. Chapter 3. And then we justify our limitations. We’ve all been hurt. We’ve all been let down and we’ve all been disappointed. We’ve all experienced situations that we wish had gone one way but didn’t. And, yes, all of those things sucked but what sucks even more is when we allow such experiences to color our entire world. Our fear of being hurt again prevents us from taking risks and pursuing opportunities. It keeps us living smaller than we could be, should be, should be, and want to be. Even worse is when we allow our hurt to nudge us toward the self-destructive cycle of arguing for our limitations meaning that we continuously reinforce the belief that we cannot do, be or have something that we want, because of some sort of isolated experience.
We give ourselves an out at every new opportunity because we assume that we aren’t qualified or capable or that probably won’t work out or it’ll be too hard, and we scratch our head wondering why the life of our dreams hasn’t played out quite as we had hoped. Have you ever heard someone justify their complaining by saying something along the lines of, “I’m not negative. I’m just realistic.” That is a classic example of arguing for your own limitations because really, it’s not even logical. Consider this. How is it any more “realistic” to focus on and verbalize our limitations which inevitably discourage us from taking meaningful steps to improve? How is that more realistic than it is to focus on and verbalize our limitless capabilities which give us strength and confidence and, in our minds, that we have ability to improve and accomplish anything. Both are equally realistic, but which one you consistently – I really over-pronounced that word – which one you consistently focus on has a very different impact on both the quality of your current life and your future?
Besides, nobody really knows what is and isn’t possible. We simply don’t know what we don’t know. Everyday things that we once considered impossible become possible and eventually the nom. Experts once believed that it wasn’t possible for a man or a woman to run a mile in under four minutes. As you know the story of Roger Bannister, that all changed in 1954 when the British runner, Mr. Banister, made the impossible, possible. He ran a mile in just under three minutes and 59.4 seconds. And the impossible became possible for everybody else. Forty-six days later John Landy broke Bannister’s record. Think about that. In the history of the world, no one had done it. And now high school students today routinely surpassed the four-minute mark. Some of us remember the time before email, text messaging, and fax machines when snail mail was the best mode of transferring letters and business documents from one person to another. I have trouble remembering, literally, I have trouble remembering how we drove to new locations without GPS especially at night. Like, when I’m going, “What would I have done looking for street after street after street and find the one I was looking for?”
There was a time not so long ago when we didn’t have cell phones seemingly attached to our palms. Today, I have a talking robot in my house named Alexa from Amazon, maybe you do too, and she plays music for my family. She sets reminders. She looks up recipes. She tells my kids bedtime stories. She turns our lights on and off, buy things for me online and does all sorts of other things. Think about that, just by talking to her. A few years ago, that was only possible in science fiction movies and now it’s our everyday reality. Had any of the people who discovered these advancements give into their skeptic’s logic based on their past or even our collective past, our world would look very differently than it does today. When it comes to how the future unfolds and how the universe actually works, it’s very likely that there is more that we do not yet understand than what we do. So, although a healthy level of skepticism about our limitless nature can be a good thing, keeping us safe, a healthy little level of optimism might be even better.
And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for, the way to overcome all of these conflicts. How can we escape this inner conflict and step into unlimited success in all areas of our life when there are so many hurdles before us? Many people spend years in therapy, countless dollars on personal coaches and a lot of time banging their heads against the wall in the name of finding their happiness. Now, I’m not saying that therapy or personal coaching is not helpful. Now, banging your head against the wall, I wouldn’t advise that one but I’m a firm believer in both of those therapy and personal coaching, but I also believe that people can get a lot of mileage out of living their life in alignment with the two simple but life-altering decisions that we began exploring that make up The Miracle Equation, unwavering faith and extraordinary effort. Remember the feedback loop that we discussed in Chapter 1. Sorry, guys. If you haven’t read Chapter 1, you don’t know that yet but here’s where it becomes so critical. When you take the leap into enlightened entitlement and decide that you deserve everything you want and are willing to put in the effort for and then you actively believe in your limitless capabilities instead of vying into your self-imposed limitations, you build the energy and the drive needed to improve your life. The more you do this, the more authentic you realize it is and in turn, the more faith you have in yourself and your abilities and your willingness to commit and follow through.
You know at that point that you’re capable of anything because you dictate what you can and cannot do. Not your past, not your parents, not society. Only you. Making and maintaining these two decisions over an extended period of time through all the hurdles and obstacles and the setbacks is how you break free of your innate conflict between the desire to be limitless and your perceived limitations. This feedback loop, the faith effort feedback loop as we call in the book will automatically put you on the path to creating tangible, measurable miracles. Now, I realize this may seem a bit anticlimactic that there are only these two seemingly simple decisions that will supposedly pull you out of your lifelong internal conflicts, the primary reason that persistent high levels of success have alluded you in the past or may have alluded you, but this is really what it takes. Don’t let your irrational fear of opportunity deter you from experiencing this for yourself. Now, that you understand the four fundamental manifestations of the inherent human conflict, how they show up for us and how to overcome them, we can move into the next chapter which will tell you exactly how to get yourself into the optimum emotional state for The Miracle Equation to work. Hint: You’ll need to release every negative emotion that’s ever held you back but as you’re about to read, this will only take about five minutes. I promise.
And that leads you into Chapter 4, Becoming Emotionally Invincible: How to Release Every Negative Emotion That’s Ever Held You Back. But you got to get the book to read that. I’m not going to – it’s been an hour. Wow. I didn’t know it’s been that long. I’m not going to read that chapter right now but if you want to, you can still get The Miracle Equation book at MiracleEquationBook.com. You can get more copies for different people, but, again, the audiobook is what I’m interested in. I actually have seen quite a few people say they started reading the book and they got the audiobook to reinforce the concepts so they could read the book and then listen to it in their car. So, I’m not saying you do that but that’s an idea but anyway, hope you enjoy this today. I had a lot of fun. I went off of the script. If you actually read the book while you listen to this, you’ll see how much I went off the script which is kind of fun. So, I added a bunch of sentence and words and this and that so not to mention I drank water and kissed my wife. You got a little bonus there. Anyway, that’s PDA via podcast, public display of affection via podcast. That’s a first for me. So, anyway, goal achievers, I love you, I appreciate you, I really, really do. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your life. It’s such an honor like I’m so humbled and it just means a lot. So, thank you, I love you, and I will talk to you next week. Take care, everybody.
"You are exactly where you're supposed to be and who you're supposed to be right now, to learn what you need to learn so that you can become the person that you need to be, who is capable of creating everything you’ve ever wanted."