We’re living not just in a global pandemic, but a global mental health crisis. More people are struggling mentally and emotionally than possibly ever before. In fact, nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
However, what can give you the power to manage your mental and emotional state, in times like these, is a strong sense of control of your inner world. Today, we talk about how GRATITUDE can be the key that unlocks the door to your inner freedom.
There are few people I know who excel when it comes to their mental and emotional well-being, like Chip Franks. Chip is a master of choosing the emotion that best serves him in any given circumstance, no matter how difficult or challenging it may be. You’re going to hear Chip talk about dropping his mom off at hospice last week, and how he’s able to remain grateful and joyful, even in the midst of losing his dear mother.
Today, Chip joins the podcast for the sixth time (not including the times he’s served as a guest host) to share insights on the power of gratitude, about the joy he feels even as he navigates the inevitable, and how we can bring those feelings into every challenge we face – and every area of our lives.
- Why gratitude is so much more than a feeling and why it’s something we need to actively work on all the time.
- Why complaining makes it impossible to see the positive in your life and negatively reframes reality.
- What makes gratitude a skill that can be learned and honed – and why so many people assume that it’s merely a mindset.
- The difference between “gratitude” and “appreciation” – and how Chip has learned to be truly grateful for things that would have crushed him earlier in life.
- Why living in a state of gratitude is not shutting off negative emotions or ignoring sadness.
- How to participate in Chip’s free gratitude challenge and cultivate a daily gratitude practice of your own.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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Hal Elrod: Hey, goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community. It’s Hal Elrod. And today I am having somebody on the podcast who you know, I think you probably know if you've listened to podcast for a while, Chip Franks, who believe it or not, I didn't realize this, but I went and looked back at our previous episodes. This is the sixth time I've had Chip on the podcast. I think that doesn't even include the amount of times he's hosted as a guest host, which is a few other times. So, Chip’s coming on today because we are in the midst of a not just a global pandemic. That's a popular topic. But we're in the midst of a global mental health crisis and people are struggling mentally and emotionally. And there's not too many people that I know, that have their s-h-i-t together mentally and emotionally more than Chip. And I was on his website right now and I've shared my thoughts on Chip and I will even actually when I start this conversation you're about to hear but I want to read what some folks on that I see on his site had to say.
The first is from Christina Rasmussen, the author of Second First and Christina said, "When you first meet Chip you are probably going to think that this guy can't be that perfect. But no matter the years that go by, the answer to that thought will always be Yes, he can. Oh, yes he is.” Steve Sims, author of Bluefishing said, “Chip Franks is @#$%& awesome.” Chris Plough, founder of Mavenware said, "Chip is good and giving and caring. All true. To the Nth degree. More importantly, he is real. From our first conversation...he was open to sharing the full range of life - to celebrate what is awesome and to freely discuss what isn't. That's truth. That's how we grow. And that's who Chip is.” And then Akira Chan, Founder of RARE Media said, “Chip Franks is all heart - and it's infectious. He is a consistent contributor to all those around him and has a superpower of offering the perfect token of useful device, love, or laughter, in the moments that you need it most.” And last but not least, Lisa Ferguson, Founder of 1000 Watt Life said, "Besides having a heart the size of an ocean, Chip easily sees what is possible for the future and can see the best path forward. He is a momentum catalyst and brings a contagious energy and a commitment to excellence to the table!”
With all of that, I'm excited to share this conversation. I just wrapped this up with Chip. And the one thing that I want to tell you is you're going to get a lot from this, but what impacted me the most and you'll hear this probably about three-fourths of the way through this conversation is Chip’s mother is in hospice care right now. Meaning she's been given a very finite time to live. And he dropped her off at hospice care. She's been fighting cancer for four years. He's taken her to most of those chemotherapy appointments. She's lived with him. He supported her. He's got to be the best son you could ask for. But now the end is nearing for his mother. And you're going to hear today why Chip is grateful for that. And how Chip is truly joyful even in the midst of the inevitable losing his mom who he loves dearly. And when you hear him talk about this, and you hear I asked him to, I go deep with him. I go, “No, no, you talked about it, Chip, but I really want to understand how are you able to process such a difficult challenge as the upcoming death of your mother in a way where you have this genuine, authentic joy, and, love and gratitude in your spirit?” And we can apply what his answer is to that question to every area of our life.
And for me, that's what this is about is how do you think in a way? What do you do? What are your practices? What are your thought process that allow you to be impervious to pain unless you want to feel it that allow you to be able to choose the emotion that best serves you in any given circumstance no matter how difficult or challenging it may be? And Chip is a true master exactly that and that's why I'm very grateful and honored and excited to introduce you to the conversation that Chip and I just had. I'm a better person because of it and I hope you will be too. Enjoy!
Hal Elrod: Chipster, how you doing, buddy?
Chip Franks: Man, I am on top of the world, Hal Elrod. Things are just beautiful in life.
Hal Elrod: I love that but I just feel like grateful would have been the right answer for today's podcast.
Chip Franks: Yes. I'm grateful and joyful.
Hal Elrod: I would imagine that on top of the world incorporates grateful like you have to be grateful and joyful to qualify for being on top of the world. So, I'll say it was unsaid, right?
Chip Franks: Okay. Well, thank you for correcting that.
Hal Elrod: You got it, man. So, here's the deal. I mean, you know this, but I saw a few weeks ago, you did your first gratitude challenge. I've had you on the podcast. We were just counting. This is like your sixth time, which is that's the record. No one's been on, I don't think anyone's been on four times other than you pointed out Berghoff hosted a few years ago when I had cancer. He hosted for like a year. So, he has but in terms of actually interviewing somebody and having a conversation, this is number six for us. And so, I saw you do a gratitude challenge a few weeks ago, and I didn't take the challenge. Logistically, I wasn't available, but I was reading all the comments and I was kind of eavesdropping, if you will. And it was just profound. Seeing people like the gratitude they had for the impact that the challenge was making for them was awesome. And I've been really focusing on mental health and the one thing we can all control, which is our inner world. And you know me, I'm a big believer as you are, that gratitude is kind of the fundamental. It's one of the most important components in terms of our quality of life.
I always say that to the degree of gratitude that we are present to that's available to us at all times determines the quality of our life at any given moment. I think I butchered that but anyway, here's the point. So, later on, I want to talk more about this gratitude challenge, how people get involved, but I want to hear from you, someone who is one of the most grateful people I know at your soul, at your core, anyone that knows you would say the same. I want to know that from you, why is gratitude so important? You know, why is it so much more than a feeling? Why is it so important? And why is it something that we need to actively work on, not just feel from time to time?
Chip Franks: I appreciate that, Hal. Thank you. And just something I'd like to talk about and we probably will talk about this further on in the interview here but I haven't always been extremely grateful. And we will talk about that but thank you for that acknowledgment. That's wonderful. And you too, my friend, are just one of the most grateful people I know. So, it's an honor to talk with you about this.
Hal Elrod: Takes one to know one.
Chip Franks: Yes. And that's true. I mean, actually, you do recognize it when you have it. So, that's something that really helps out. But gratitude, and I would say actually, or our lack of it is the lens through which we experience our world. And I think, literally, it affects everything and anything in our life and when we have gratitude or when we are grateful, I should say, it changes our focus and you know this, but we get what we focus on. And when we're grateful, we get more to be grateful for. And I actually have a couple of quotes on this. This is really neat but Oprah, you may know Oprah, she says the more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. That's because, for sure, what you focus on expands. When you focus on the good in your life, you get more of it. And I completely and totally agree with that. And I also believe the converse is true that when we complain and when we're upset about things and we allow things to annoy us, that we will notice those more and get more of those things in our world. So, gratitude is super important.
And you'll love this quote. This is a fantastic quote. “People who regularly practice gratitude, experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness and even have a stronger immune system than people who don't regularly practice gratitude.”
Hal Elrod: Who said that?
Chip Franks: Hal Elrod said that.
Hal Elrod: Did I really?
Chip Franks: You really did. That’s brilliant.
Hal Elrod: That's funny. I was hoping for like a neuroscientist or something but I guess I’ll take it. That’s me.
Chip Franks: Yeah. We can talk about neuroscience on this because all of this already we know it in our hearts and we know that it's super important with it but the scientific community is just like kind of recently getting on board with this. And there's a lot of studies with it. In fact, one study was done in 2015 and they had 300 adults who were receiving psychotherapy, like these folks aren't necessarily really happy in life and they divided them up into controlled groups and about 100 of them, they decided that they would write one letter of gratitude a week for just three weeks. And then they tested the folks on how happy they were and how good they felt in life. And that group was significantly higher 12 weeks after the study had ended. And that was just writing one letter of gratitude a week for three weeks and that kind of positive effect happened on them with this study. And it's amazing what it can do for us and it makes us happier. It can lead to joy.
Then something that really affected me and this is kind of what when I started on my journey of becoming a better person and loving life more, something I heard on a podcast with James Altucher. He said that, "Anxiety can't live in the same head at the same time as gratitude.” And I just love that then it really is a cure for anxiety. So, really, it's one of the most important things that we can have in life and it's a skill that we can learn.
Hal Elrod: You reminded me of that Altucher quote. Say the Altucher quote again.
Chip Franks: Yes. He says that anxiety can't live in the same head at the same time as gratitude.
Hal Elrod: So, I love that I read a book years ago called A Complaint Free World by Wil Bowen. Have you read that, by the way?
Chip Franks: I have not.
Hal Elrod: Oh, you must read. It’s probably top 20 books, but I wonder how many books I say top 20 books and it's probably like 50 books so the math doesn't work but anyway, you get the point. But after I read that, what I wrote in my affirmations, I wrote, "Gratitude and complaining cannot coexist simultaneously. I must choose the one that best serves me.” When you think about at any given moment, complaining versus gratitude in terms of what serves you, what serves your emotional state of being, your quality of life, your mindset, your optimism, all of those things. And one of the things that you said earlier you said that the idea that what we focus on expands and what we focus on, we have to be grateful for. We have more things to be grateful for. In fact, there’s a Zig Ziglar quote around that, that we just put in the Miracle Morning movie. But here I think that to me, I look at it this way. Yes, there is truth that the more we focus on that we have to be grateful for, the more things that we will have to be grateful for. But I think that it's true or that statement is even true in the idea that you're actually just more aware of what's great in your life when you focus on gratitude. Right?
When you say that that's true like that it's not about just more things in the future will come your way to be grateful for that. Yes, that may be true. But to me, it's just you're actually realizing when you're focusing on gratitude that you already have all these amazing things in your life. And if you're not actively focusing on gratitude, then you don't even notice them. If you're complaining, you're noticing all those negative things. So, kind of your reality is shaped by gratitude in that way. What are your thoughts on that?
Chip Franks: I absolutely believe that and we all know that like we go to third-world countries and see the kids happy and playing and loving life, when they have nothing, and they are grateful for it. Maybe they don't have a specific gratitude practice as kids or whatever, but you can tell that they just love life. And I think that that gratitude literally it makes everything in our life better. For instance, we stop complaining when we go to gratitude and I don't think it's a choice as far as choosing complaining or choosing gratitude, but I think that when we choose gratitude, the complaining just kind of stops on its own because it's filling it up and it's just like anxiety can't live in the same head. And complaints can't live in the same head as gratitude. So, that's true. And then what I like to say this or this is what I think is that when we truly appreciate life, life appreciates in value for us. And like everything that we have, our relationships get better. When we appreciate our spouses, that relationship grows in value. And when we appreciate the opportunities, we take them more seriously. And it just makes us better at life by looking through the lens of gratitude and appreciation.
Hal Elrod: Let me ask you this, and actually, I want to, well, we'll get into that in a second. I want to ask you this, though. What are your thoughts or your experience of gratitude, not just for you internally, but when you express gratitude to other people meaning like I think that the relationship you have with yourself is impacted by the amount of gratitude or the quality of gratitude or just the amount of time you're present to what you have to be grateful for? But what I want to ask you is what's your experience in terms of how does it impact your relationships and the quality of the people's lives in your life, your kids, and your wife? When you express the gratitude that you're nurturing every day within yourself and it kind of comes overflowing and out of your mouth comes all this appreciation and gratitude and thanks for the people in your life, I'd love for you to speak on how that impacts your life.
Chip Franks: Yeah, absolutely. And here's the thing too is when we express it, that's when the most good is done, then it's not good to just have gratitude and sit in a heart. I mean, I guess that's better than not having it which we can get into here in a little bit but expressing it when the good is actually done. And the first thing is that it makes more of us when we express it, we become more grateful when we express it. And that's something that is neurologically proven. It literally changes our brains when we do that, and we do it consistently. But I would say that when we do that for other people, it's almost like an act of kindness. And I've been studying joy for a few years now and acts of kindness or being of service to other people or doing something wonderful for someone else is one of the paths to joy as is act of appreciation and gratitude. And what happens with that I know when we do a kind act for someone else, so we tell them how much we appreciate someone, then we are benefiting from that because it makes us feel better. They are benefiting from that because it does make them feel better and there's neuro responses to it. It helps them to be in a better mood, and then everyone that witnesses it as well gets the same effect from it.
That's beautiful because, I mean, it's a win-win-win anytime that gratitude or acts of kindness or when you express love for someone, all of those are just pure goodness. And you had mentioned how does it affect others and how does it affect our kids? I mean, obviously, when we express gratitude for them, that's a big deal and it makes them feel better and us feel better. But the other thing is you're showing them by example how to live. And when we as parents are complaining or ungrateful or don't see the miracle of everyday life, then we're showing that to our children and to our wife. And really, if you want to get down to it to God, if you believe in that or the universe or the source, and actually, I remember a few episodes back, by the way, I love your solo episodes. They're great. You read the excerpt from The Untethered Soul.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. The unconditional happiness.
Chip Franks: Yeah. And it's beautiful because it asks what would a God or what would a source think of someone who didn't appreciate all of this beauty that we've been given? And so, I mean, obviously, gratitude is the thing and it's the way to live life and I think that we know that, we've known that as kids, and we kind of lose it over the hustle and bustle of the world and all that pressure and noise and deadlines and notifications on our phone when really it's all about appreciating life.
Hal Elrod: And you said when you talked about setting the example for your kids and even for your wife or anybody for your employees, I mean, for any human beings that you come in contact with by being grateful, I set a goal a long time ago. I don't know if a goal is the right word for it, but it was in my affirmations to be the most grateful person that I know. And just striving every day for them. Actually, I literally showed to my daughter a few days ago, I said, “Sweetheart, you know I set a goal when I was younger to be the most graceful person I know and the most positive person that I know,” and she said something like, "Well, you succeeded.” I said, “Well, I'm inviting you to join me. It feels good to be the most grateful person that you can possibly be.” But there was something in my daughter's gymnastic class when she was like four years old, it’s like six years ago, there was a quote on the wall. I don't remember who said it but to paraphrase it was something along the lines of, “Be careful what you say to your children because your words become their inner voice.”
Chip Franks: Yes. I love that. And actually, I have said that before, and I don't remember the name of the person but I have had that in my affirmations before. And it's beautifully said and it's very true. And the thing is, too, I think that not only do they see an example of how to be but it gives them permission to be more grateful as well, to be happy because when we get to school and everyone has to try and be cool, it's not the greatest thing to be grateful. It's not considered to be cool to just be enthusiastic about life and I think that life kind of tempers that in us from a young age. And when we are grateful and we are joyful, we give permission for others to do that. And I think it's one of the best things in the world truly.
Hal Elrod: One of the things you say I've heard you say is that gratitude is a skill. And I agree, but I'd love for you to explain that.
Chip Franks: Well, sure. And this is a really big deal because like a lot of people, I think they assume that we are either grateful or we're not and it's something that we have but I would suggest that gratitude is actually something that we do. And it's not just gratitude, like having gratitude. It's gratitude practice that makes the difference and with a skill, you learn how to do it better. And it's something that each and every one of us can get better at. And this is funny. I mean, you can't see me now but I'm wearing a Henry David Thoreau shirt because I'm a geek. But Henry David Thoreau, one of his quotes is, he says, “I know of no more encouraging fact than the ability of man to elevate his life through conscious endeavor.” And I love that. I mean, that's one of the best quotes ever because we can absolutely get better at it. And I know that because I've experienced it in my life. I haven't always been a really grateful person, but I have gotten very, very good at it.
And it's actually this is backed up by science, because if you think they could do an MRI for an accountant, for instance, and they can look at their brain and see that the neural matter in their brain is more dense and more prepared and more capable in the area of their brain that runs numbers. It's the exact same way with gratitude. As we get better at gratitude, literally, our physiology changes with it, and we become more wired to be more grateful. And I know that this is the case to me and I am not the same person that I used to be with it.
Hal Elrod: Well, talk about that for a second. How did you become so wise in the ways of gratitude where you're hosting these gratitude challenges for people and you're writing books about, you know, it's in your book that I've read, Life Lessons From Dad, how did you come by this?
Chip Franks: Well, thank you. Part of it starts in about 2014 and some of you have heard my story because I've been on. This is my sixth time. Yay me. I'm gunning for Jon's record, even though he hosted for a year. But I've mentioned this before, and at 2014 I was going through a long drawn-out low-grade depression, and here's the thing is I had checked all the boxes in life. I mean, I had the beautiful family. I had a wonderful relationship with my wife that did get better but it was all good. I have three. My kids are just amazing. And I had a business that did very well financially and helped a lot of people. And I was still horribly depressed. And that was despite having done the self-development and reading the Jim Rohns and the Tony Robbins and Brian Tracys and Zig Ziglars and applying those to my life, and I was still really depressed in life. And the thing is, and I think that a lot of self-development, it concentrates on knowing and thinking and rather than doing and the thing that, actually, there's three books that helped change my life.
And the first of which I’ll mention is the Miracle Morning, which that's when I was first introduced to you, didn't know that would be great friends at that time. Then another one was Choose Yourself by James Altucher and actually, I became his friend too, which is interesting. And then the last one is Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant. So, I know you've had him the podcast before and is just wonderful. But the thing about all of those books is that they all concentrated on changing our behavior. And our behavior is what changes us. It's not enough to know what we have to do. And it wasn't an overnight thing for me, but I got better and better. Part of it was that I didn't like myself. I wasn't grateful for myself. I didn't like the guy that I saw in the mirror. And as that changed, everything in life changed, and I got a lot more grateful. I listened to the podcast. I started taking notes and journaling. And when you do the process, you feel better about yourself. And as you feel better about yourself, you're able to do more in life. So, it's a virtuous cycle, you just get better and better at it. One of my friends, he says that your gift is right next to your wound.
Hal Elrod: Who said that? I’ve heard that before.
Chip Franks: Yeah, that's Philip McKernan. You get him on your podcast because he is magnificent and his accent is awesome. So, he's just a great guy. But he says that in my wound was not being joyful and it was not being as grateful as I could be. And I considered myself grateful but it was more of we'll talk about the levels of gratitude that it was more of being grateful for things that were given to me. Like if a magnificent sunset happened in front of me, and that was given it was placed in my life and I would say, “Oh my gosh, that's beautiful. That's wonderful,” and that's what most people consider being grateful but I was able to move well beyond that. And I learned stoicism and amor fati which translated in Latin, it roughly means love fate or love life or love everything. And I incorporated all of those into my practices, and I saw the difference that it made. And from there, I knew what difference it made in me. So, I did a lot of research and a lot of study and then I started helping other people with it, and I saw the improvements that it made in their lives. So, that's been my gratitude journey.
Hal Elrod: That’s a good journey.
Chip Franks: Yeah. Thank you. And I feel that, of course, you put it in your affirmations that you would be the greatest, the most grateful person but I think that we can have a gratitude challenge, if you like. I would be on it.
Hal Elrod: I don't know how we would actually conduct that but that'd be an interesting thing. Yeah.
Chip Franks: Yeah, there we go.
Hal Elrod: That's great. I feel gratitude today. I'm more grateful. No, I'm more grateful. Let's put it to test.
Chip Franks: I'm more humble too so there.
Hal Elrod: Great. I don't know. You are self-proclaimed like the handsomest man so I don't know humble if you win that one.
Chip Franks: Yeah. Maybe I don't think I would win humility. I look so much like your dad so we're both handsome men.
Hal Elrod: That is true. That is true. So, I want to pick apart a few things that I've heard you say that I could almost challenge our semantics. So, I'd want to hear kind of your thoughts on this. So, one is I've heard you say a lot, that there is a difference between gratitude and appreciation. So, again, is that just semantics or what's the difference?
Chip Franks: Okay. This is a beautiful question. I appreciate it. Now, I want to preface this by saying I heard someone else on a stage. He's a friend of ours, Jesse Elder, and he said that, "Gratitude is to appreciation as walking is to running.” And when I first heard that, I didn't like that because I love the word gratitude, I love the word grateful, and I thought he was kind of disparaging it and it kind of sat wrong with me. But I started thinking about that. And this is kind of what I came up with and this is my framework for gratitude and I really believe that there are levels of gratitude. We can start with gratitude zero. And actually, there's negative gratitude, which we can talk about in a little while. The gratitude zero are people who are not grateful. An example for that might be someone who just doesn't appreciate anything in life. They're the kind of people you hold the door open for them, and they walk through and they don't say thank you.
Hal Elrod: You mean kids? No, I'm just kidding.
Chip Franks: Yeah. Well, actually, yeah. So, I mean, that could be part of it. Yeah, kids could do that.
Hal Elrod: Sure.
Chip Franks: That's a gratitude 1.0 is what most people think of as gratitude. And this is what I would say is grateful or gratitude and that is that you appreciate what's put in front of you, like I mentioned before about seeing a sunset and saying, “Oh, that's beautiful,” or if a waiter brings you a meal and you turn and you say thanks, you're being gracious, and you're having some gratitude. But here's the thing, that is when something is given to you, and that is passive in nature. So, that's gratitude 1.0. Now, gratitude. 2.0 is what Jesse talked about, and what some other folks talk about and that's active appreciation. And this is having an active gratitude practice that's not passive, but it's proactive. It's you going out to appreciate the things in the world versus waiting for them to come to you. And this could be as simple as doing a gratitude list or having a gratitude practice or saying prayers for things that you're thankful for but that is active appreciation and that's gratitude. 2.0.
Now, this is something that kind of appeared to me this last year and I do a lot of meditation, a ton of journaling, and I think about this, but there is something that I call gratitude 3.0. And I used to call it divine cherishing but I think that divine love is a better word for it, a better phrase, and that is deciding to love it all, everything, the good and the “bad”, the awful things in the world and everything that you love it all and accept it all as it is, but not just accept it, but love it, obviously. And whereas Jesse said that gratitude is to appreciation like running is to walking or walking is to running. I would say that divine love is to appreciation like running is to flying. And when we get to this point where we can appreciate, deeply appreciate the bad things in life, then that's when we're acing life. And most people never get to that because most people, I mean, we don't learn about gratitude. It's not something that's taught in schools or something that we consider.
But I'm thinking about this, because my mom, we just put her in hospice last week and that she's going to pass. And I'm so grateful. I just love that I know all of this now because something that would have just crushed me in the past is something that I can truly be grateful for now. And I can be grateful for the times that we had together and when she raised me, and how she raised me, and the fact that I have a philosophy and a belief, a very firm belief, that this isn't the end of the world and that this narrow band of reality that we have as humans is something that's very small and temporary, and that our loved ones, their souls are intertwined with ours throughout eternity. And I can choose to be grateful for that and to love that. And that's kind of an example of the divine love of life. And that's gratitude 3.0. So, for me, I still use the word gratitude because that's what everyone knows but I would say that appreciation or again, even love, are better words for it and different levels of that.
Hal Elrod: So, I love this. I love gratitude 3.0, divine love, and I want to ask you more about how you're processing this, a little bit more about how you're processing what's going on with your mom because to have your mom, she's battled cancer for the last how many years now?
Chip Franks: Four years.
Hal Elrod: Four years. You've been with her…
Chip Franks: She’s had strokes too.
Hal Elrod: Strokes in between. You've been with her in the hospital. And what I love about gratitude 3.0 is that it's this unconditional way of being where nothing impacts your internal quality of life. And for me, that's the ultimate, right? That's everything that we do is to optimize our internal quality of life. We do things because we think it'll make us “happy”. But for me, what I'm always working on and the message I've been trying to get across to people is that you don't need to let your internal well-being be dependent on anything outside of you, that it needs to be this rock, solid, unconditional, unwavering state of joy, gratitude, bliss, whatever you want to call it, that you live with, no matter what's going on around you because all that matters is what's really going on inside of you. And so, what you're giving people here is this is a tool, you can call it a tool, call it a framework, call it a process, a practice, a philosophy. It’s kind of all of the above but it's the ultimate.
It's what we all need to where and you're living it right now, Chip, like you're living it at the highest level, which is like, "My mom is in the process of dying like we just put her in hospice. I've watched her battle cancer, and now the end is coming,” and yet you have this genuine joy and serenity and peace and gratitude about you. And so, that's why I didn't want to overlook this. I want to really emphasize this for people. Because if you can be grateful in the midst of losing your mother, who you're extraordinarily close to, then we can be grateful in the midst of COVID-19 or losing a job or just damn near just about anything. Nothing is permanent, right? At least in this what do you call it? Narrow bend of reality? What do you call it?
Chip Franks: Yes, our narrow band of reality.
Hal Elrod: Narrow band of reality, right? So, nothing in the narrow band of reality is more finite than death, you could argue. Anyway, I just want to hear, I'd love for you to just share a little bit more. So, if someone's listening and they're like, “Okay. Wow. Your mom's dying and you're grateful for that?” Like I don't know how you get there. Let me ask you this. What are the emotions you experience? Because I'm sure gratitude is not the only state that you're in the midst of, right? I would imagine there are other states such as, and I don't want to put words in your mouth, you tell me, but sadness, fear, anxiety, loss. I'm not sure. What is that for you?
Chip Franks: You know what, I appreciate that. And this actually, this leads to something else which might be semantics to some but this is a way of life for me and it's really important is that happiness is not joy. And there's a difference between the two because I consider myself very joyful and full of joy and love but most people conflate the terms happiness and joy or think that they're interchangeable or the same thing. And for me, happiness is moments and moments it's externally triggered, it's things from the outside that affect us and it's fickle. It's here sometimes are dependent on circumstance and it's a lot of times it's outward in nature. It's like what does the world give you so that you're happy or you're sad? You know, is the number on the scale the right thing? Or is my spouse treating me the right way? You know, that type of thing. And then happiness like to get to what you're talking about, it shuns and avoids pain and grief. It’s like if your mother is dying, you're not happy per se. But what I would say is that you absolutely can be joyful with that.
And joy, in contrast to happiness, it's lasting. It's something that continues and it's cultivated from within. And it's portable so you take it with you for any circumstance or any feeling that you might have, like something happening to a loved one. And I say where happiness is dependent on circumstance, joy shape circumstance. And it's very inward in nature and it also, joy can take in the entire range of human emotions. And I am sad for me that I won't get to spend more time with her. However, I'm joyful for her because I firmly believe that she's in a better place and I am also joyful again, and the things I mentioned before that I had this wonderful time with her that I was gifted this extraordinarily generous and enthusiastic and happy woman that was my mom. And I can still be joyful in the midst of sadness. And I think that we've all seen this like if we go to a funeral, and as someone who's lived a great life at a funeral, and yes, there are tears, but there are also smiles.
And that's kind of what I'm feeling right now is, yes, there are some tears but there's a deeper inner knowing that that things are going to be they’re not just all right, but they're going to be divinely perfect in the end. And if it's not divinely perfect, it's not the end. And that's one of my core philosophical beliefs in it and that just really, that helps me with this whole situation. So, any sadness is going to be for us and not for her.
Hal Elrod: Beautiful. Well said and thank you for being open with that and sharing with us. I think that one of the differences is the sadness isn't something you're receiving from a place of pain, but I see that you're receiving, you're processing the emotions, even the ones that are potentially more difficult, such as sadness, it's from a place of love and I feel like you have this space of love that is holding these challenging emotions that allows them to be, I don't exactly know what I'm trying to say, but does that make sense? Like, it's not like this sadness from a place of desperation but it's from this place of like peace and comfort and like it's healthy to grieve, right? Would you say is there any truth to that?
Chip Franks: Oh, yeah. I would believe that it is. And just to shut it off or to pretend it doesn't exist, I don't think is healthy at all. And I used to call my affirmed philosophies, which is one of my pillars of joy, and that's our operating system for life and how we approach it and the different things that we believe in. I used to call it my spiritual armor.
Hal Elrod: I love that.
Chip Franks: Well, I appreciate that and it's good, but I've actually changed it because armor keeps things out and it could keep grief out and I think that it's much better than to just shut it off and to keep it out as for it to come in and let it, as Jim Rohn would say, let it touch you but not let it crush you and just be tempered by that feeling and just know that again, that this entire existence and everything in it is something that's been gifted to us and we get to experience loving someone so much that it hurts when they leave. And that's kind of how I believe with it. And I think that grief is definitely appropriate. And it's something that you can do while you're still being joyful.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Beautiful. I'd love to share some ways or for you to share some ways that we can all get better at gratitude, the things the listener can use right now that will immediately in the next 24 hours or the next hour or the next minute, the things people we can apply to enrich, and be better at it, the gratitude that we're practicing and experiencing in our life.
Chip Franks: Well, thank you. I'd love to do that. And one, I'm going to start with this and this is something that I added to my appreciation practice in the morning. And actually, at night, I do it as a bookend practice, but one of my appreciations is appreciating something that is bad, or no good, horrible, awful, terrible kind of thing. And I actually put it in my appreciation list. And then I write all of the things that are good with that or that that you can find in it and in that could be and actually my mom has made the list several times, although I encourage people to always have different things on their list. So, it stretches us and we think more and it opens our heart but just one thing is put that on your list, put something that you would consider bad normally, and then write out after all of the good that can come from that. So, that's one and that's part of the way that we can cultivate that divine love that I'm talking about, the gratitude 3.0, because when challenges come along, and life just knocks you to your knees, which we all know that it can do sometimes, that we don't say, “Oh, this is horrible. God, why did you do this to me? Or woe is me,” but instead you think, "How is this going to be good? And how can we change this and alchemize it to be something wonderful in our lives?” Because you know, as the stoics say, the obstacle is the way and it makes us better. Again, when we get to that point to where we're just loving everything that comes along no matter what it might be, then we're doing really well in life. So, that's one quick way.
Another one is what I call the Wayne Dyer and I've mentioned this once before in the podcast but this is great. And I saw a movie called The Shift with Wayne Dyer and he gets out of bed in the wee hours in the morning three or four o'clock. He was an early riser like us. He lights a candle, and he puts his feet on the floor and closes his eyes and looks up and he just says, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” And it's the first thing that happens when he wakes up and I just remember that and it's the first scene of the movie. So, I remembered seeing that and it just affected me in a way because it started the day with gratitude. And that kind of sets the cells for the entire day. You know, I call it putting up your appreciation antenna and it just starts the day in the right mood. It's very, very simple. It's easy not to do, but it's also very easy to do. So, the Wayne Dyer is a great one. And I'll give you two more quick ones here. And just by the way, I have over 20 of these in the gratitude challenge.
So, there are lots of them and you can pick which ones you like and which ones resonate with you. But one that I love and I know that lots of people this has been really good for them is the joy alarm. And that is you put on your phone, just put an alarm, and I'd recommend it being at a time of day when your energy is the lowest or when you're not feeling good, but you put an alarm and when the alarm goes off, you're joyful. And for me and I don't know if you've been around me when it happens, but my kids know this but what a wonderful world by Louis Armstrong starts playing and for me…
Hal Elrod: We've been hanging out many times when that's gone off.
Chip Franks: Yeah. So, I mean, this is a big deal for me because when it goes off, it still surprises me every single day and I've been doing this for many years now. It goes off but it's my trigger to just stop and breathe deeply and just appreciate the miracle of it all. And just think about how blessed that we all are that we're humans and we get this exquisite and sometimes painful experience. And you just take that and internalize it and just feel the deep gratitude in your heart when that alarm goes off. And there are variations of it and other things that you can do which I talked about in the challenge. But the last one I'm going to share with you this is awesome, very simple, very easy, and you can start using it when your family returns, Hal, but it's the 22nd hug and that is obviously a 22nd or more hug when you hug someone that you love, but what you do, and this is how you do it and you typically want it to be someone in your family or someone you're really close to, obviously, because otherwise, it's creepy, especially for us guys but you put your head to the right and forcing their head to go to their right and when you hug, it's a heart on heart hug. And you hold it for 20 seconds. But not just that, while you're holding it, you think of how much you appreciate that person and you think of the love that you have for them and the times that you've had together.
I go into this in the challenge and I'm writing a book on this, not just on the 22nd hug but the whole gratitude. But when you do that, all kinds of things happen physiologically. I mean, your heartbeats start to align, your breathing starts to align. You get releases, of course, dopamine and oxytocin and there's just like this wonderful chemical cocktail that goes through both of you and it's just a wonderful time in the day and I'm doing that with my family and have been for a few months now. And it's the best part of my day. I mean, just hugging them and they know they're like sometimes the teenagers roll their eyes or whatever.
Hal Elrod: “Dad, let go of me.”
Chip Franks: “Let me go!”
Hal Elrod: “I can't breathe.”
Chip Franks: Yeah, but when you do that, you just become a more gracious person, a more appreciative person. Again, there's a lot more with that but that these are ways that just really help us become great at gratitude, which is the URL, by the way, GreatAtGratitude.com.
Hal Elrod: So, the URL, are you talking about where listeners can go to participate in your free gratitude challenge?
Chip Franks: Yes, that is it. GreatAtGratitude.com.
Hal Elrod: Got it. And what can they expect? I know the first one you did was like a five-day challenge. Now you spread it out over multiple weeks. Talk about real quick when people go to the GreatAtGratitude.com to do this free challenge, what are they getting themselves into?
Chip Franks: Okay. Yes, thank you. What they're doing is we're giving it through Facebook. So, when you sign up for that, you'll be given a link to join the Facebook group, the Great At Gratitude Facebook Group. And what we will be doing in that Facebook group is I will be going live once a week to actually train people on gratitude and to become great at gratitude. And the reason why we spread it over five weeks is I did this in five sessions, like daily for the first one and I think that was a little too much for even the most ardent person to take. Although we had several dozen people, we stayed on all of them, which is really cool. But I think that spreading it out, it gives us more time to breathe. And also, I do have challenges in it. Of course, it is a challenge. So, at the end of every training session, and I call it training versus a course or something like that because this is active, this is us training our behavior and doing something different. But at the end of the training session, there are several things that we can do. And it might be to practice that Wayne Dyer technique or to set our phones to have the joy alarm.
Actually, I'm hoping people hear this and they just go ahead and do that because it's just an awesome experience. It's a wonderful thing to do. And it takes almost zero efforts, and there's so much payoff. But in the gratitude challenge, we go over that and give people the chance to actually do that and start applying these 20 different gratitude techniques. Actually, it's 20 plus, I should say, and lots of variations on each one and to figure out which ones resonate with them. So, I'm excited about that. And I just want to point out to when they go there, there is a chance to get my joy journaling training as well but there's no requirement for that, obviously. And it's how I use journaling to help live a more joyful life and it includes some gratitude things and includes lots of other things but it is just a really good, inexpensive. It's about the same cost as a hardback book but it can change lives. And I just love people going through that because I know how effective it can be for someone.
Hal Elrod: Beautiful. Beautiful man. So, the challenge is totally free. It's GreatAtGratitude.com and, Chip, I mean, I can just personally say something that you said earlier, which is like anything in life, it's the more you practice it, the more you focus on it, the more it's top of mind, the more it becomes part of who you are, and part of the way that you live. And for me I've been using the Five Minute Journal for, I don't even know, 10 years, eight years, five years, seven years, something like that, and the first thing in there is you write down three things that you're grateful for. So, I've been starting my day with gratitude virtually every single day for at least half a decade, if not more, and then before I go to bed, that's usually how I end my day is I just think of things I'm grateful for that make me smile as I'm drifting off to sleep. And so, kind of bookending the day with gratitude, it creates this beautiful inner sense of, wow, life's amazing, I am blessed, I am grateful, I am alive. There is so much to be grateful for and I think that for anybody listening, if you want to be I know you would say more joyful, Chip, I'll say happier, more joyful, healthier, all of the things, I'd encourage you to check this out, GreatAtGratitude.com and just start practicing the four strategies that Chip gave today.
Appreciating something that is bad or negative, I think, that's huge. For me, every day that I had cancer, I was like, “God, thank you for this gift that is cancer.” I may not know what all the wonderful things that are going to come out of this are. I don't know. Right now, it's painful but I'm grateful I have faith that those will be revealed to me when the time is right. So, you can be grateful for anything. The Wayne Dyer technique, the joy alarm, and I think more than one joy alarm is probably ideal, right? Maybe every hour on the hour I’d be grateful. Right? Oh, yeah, I was stressed out. I was focused on the wrong thing and get really centered in this miracle that we call life. And then number four, the 22nd hug, and you better believe that the next person I see, well, it’s like my gardener or something, but most likely, in fact, the next person I see is going to be Nick Conedera and that might be awkward, a 22nd hug, but I'm gonna give it a try. My editor, or sorry, the director of the Miracle Morning movie is at my house this week. We're working on the film finishing final edits. So, I don't know. Chip, you know Nick. What do you think? You think he would be comfortable with the 22nd hug? Should I try it?
Chip Franks: You know, I think it might be awkward like the first five seconds and the last five seconds.
Hal Elrod: And then maybe the 10 seconds in the middle.
Chip Franks: I think he's a grateful person too. So, I say go ahead and go for it and if he struggles, maybe let him go.
Hal Elrod: There you go. I might struggle too though. I don't know. Anyway, cool. Well, hey, Chip, I am genuinely grateful for you. And this is exactly what I was hoping for. Thank you so much. Thanks for coming on. Thanks for sharing, just being vulnerable, making it personal, and giving value. I really appreciate you.
Chip Franks: Oh, you're very welcome, Hal. I appreciate it and I appreciate you and I am so grateful for our friendship and that we were put in each other's lives. So, thank you, sir.
Hal Elrod: Ditto, brother.
Hal Elrod: Well, goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community, I tell you all the time, I am grateful for you. I love you. Thanks for tuning in. And I hope you were impacted as I was today by this conversation with Chip and one of the reasons I love Chip is he just by him being who he is and exuding love and gratitude and optimism and all of these qualities that he works on every day through his Miracle Morning and through his journaling, all of his gratitude practices, if you ask anybody that knows Chip or if you just go be Chip’s friend on Facebook and follow him, you can't help but when you look at him, you smile. When you think about him, you smile and that's just the impact that you live your life with joy and gratitude and you exude that. You impact that. There's a ripple effect that impacts every person whose life you touch. So, it's my hope that you will check out Chip’s free gratitude challenge GreatAtGratitude.com and immediately start practicing these four tips that he gave you today and be more grateful and your life is blessed. And just be aware that it already is. So, I love you, I appreciate you all, and I will talk to you next week.
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