I ran away from school when I was 6 years old (because I was having a bad hair day).
My sister died (in front of me) when I was 8 years old.
I hosted my first radio show and started my first successful business at age 15.
These are just a few of the stories you’ll hear on today’s show. I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Brett Kaufman on The Gravity Podcast. He asked questions that no one’s ever asked me, and when we were finished, I knew I wanted to share this one-of-a-kind conversation
You’ll hear how you can go from being lazy and undisciplined for most of your life to being capable of achieving extraordinary goals (that your younger self never imagined you could).
Brett has a unique gift for asking thoughtful questions and helped me to peel back the layers of my life story, sharing everything from my early struggles to hilarious, never-before-shared tales from my childhood to difference ways of looking at the life-threatening hurdles that shaped me into the person I am today.
You’ll also learn the TWO powerful choices you can make at this very moment that will help you find the level of success in any area you’ve been working towards and help you develop into a more compassionate, driven, and fulfilled individual.
- Looking at life’s curveballs as teachable moments.
- Learning to accept difficult emotions without losing the ability for empathy.
- Using pain as a catalyst for finding purpose.
- Find work you love so that every workday feels like you’re living your dream.
- The secret ingredient that will change your life, no matter how much of a procrastinator you were before.
- Your success is directly proportional to the depth of your personal growth.
- The two decisions that will help you orchestrate miracles in your life.
THIS EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Organifi makes the highest quality nutritional products, which are made from whole food ingredients (not synthetic vitamins) that I enjoy nearly every day, and have for many years. Visit Organifi.com/Hal, and use the code HAL at checkout to get 20% off of your entire order. I hope you find something there that you love! :^)
Rise by CURED Nutrition is a natural supplement made from CBD, Lions Mane and Ginseng (among others) that helps boost energy, performance and cognitive function. There’s no caffeine, no jitters and most importantly, no crash. Visit CuredNutrition.com/Hal and receive 20% off of your entire order. They have tons of other products as well, hopefully you’ll find something that works for you. :^)
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- The Miracle Equation: The Two Decisions That Move Your Biggest Goals from Possible, to Probable, to Inevitable by Hal Elrod
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Hal Elrod: Hello, my friends. Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. And today is a little different. You know, we occasionally do this where when I’m interviewed on someone else’s podcast, if that someone else asks very unique questions and the topic of the podcast ends up being very different than anything I’ve covered on this podcast, I often, if I’m compelled, if I feel like it was just an A-plus podcast, I will ask the host, “Hey, would you be okay if I shared this episode as an episode on my own show?” Because what I talked about today, I’ve never really talked about before, at least most of what I talked about. And today that’s what we’re doing. This is a podcast that I did with Brett Kaufman on his show, The Gravity Podcast. And let me take just a second or a few seconds here. I’m going to read you what he describes about his podcast.
And before I do that, let me say this. It was from the very beginning when I got on with Brett, he said, “Hal, I like to do things a little differently than most podcasts do.” He said, “I like to actually focus on your entire early, like your story from the beginning. What were you like as a kid? What were your parents like? How did that shape you? What lessons did you learn early that stuck with you, that helped you to be successful or overcome challenges?” So, I thought, “Oh, that’s fun like going back and talking about my childhood.” So, I literally shared stories I’ve never shared before. I went much more in-depth on some of the stories that I may have touched on before. Here’s what Brett’s podcast, The Gravity Podcast, here’s the description. “When someone shares their experience openly and honestly, something magical happens. You’re able to see yourself in that story, connect with them and grow together. The Gravity Podcast is an experiment in consciousness, community, and connection, and we invite you to join us in our mission to elevate humanity by inspiring, connecting, and empowering individuals and communities.”
I think that just by hearing that, you go, “Wow, Brett,” it sounds like we’re pretty aligned, right? Elevating human consciousness, all of the above. So, today was a fun episode. It was a fun conversation with Brett. I really hope you’ll enjoy this. And again, it’s like the real origin story, the untold origin story, if you will, of my early life. And I didn’t even know what questions he was going to ask me or which stories I was going to tell but I’ll give you a hint. The first one is about the day I ran away from first grade. So, we went way, way, way back. I went behind that and talked about being bullied in kindergarten and how that shaped who I became and how I approached life. So, anyway, if you’re interested, awesome. If you’re like, “Hal, I don’t really care about your early childhood or stories,” totally fair. Totally fair. You could go listen to a different episode of the Achieve Your Goals podcast.
Before we dive in, let’s just take a minute or two to thank our sponsors, first and foremost, Organifi. Organifi, which by the way, I was on the Organifi Podcast this morning, so that’ll come out here, I don’t know when in the next few weeks or months. That was fun. But Organifi makes the highest quality organic whole foods supplements on the market in powder form, meaning their Red Juice is a scoop that you put, I drink their Red Juice every day in the afternoon. I mix it with a little green tea for a little caffeine boost, and then the Red Juice has the mushrooms and such would help with focus on and on and on. Love the Red Juice. Their Green Juice, by the way, I just found out I had a call with Organifi the other day and apparently, the number one Organifi product that you all, our podcast listeners, buy is their Green Juice, which is interesting because, yes, it’s their most popular product but it’s not one that I ever talk about because I’m allergic to one of the ingredients, which is ashwagandha.
I’m allergic to the ingredient in that, which by the way, ashwagandha is amazing almost. It’s like a very popular supplement because it has great effects. So, their Green Juice, their Red Juice, their Vanilla Protein Powder, their Chocolate Protein Powder, their Immunity formula, they’ve got capsules for your liver function, on and on and on. If you want to boost your health in a fast, easy, and simple way, go to Organifi.com/Hal and thank you for them bringing you this episode each and every week.
And then last but not least, I just want to mention we had a great Ask Me Anything the other day and I wanted to mention our podcast, not our podcast, sorry, the Miracle Morning app. If you don’t have the app, it is a free app with a ton of free features. There is a free journal with prompts in it or you can completely free-write. There is an affirmations creator and that has prompts or, again, you can completely start from scratch. There are customizable timers in the app. There are trackers for your SAVERS, on and on. There’s a ton of free features. And we’re creating new features all the time. In fact, I have a full-time app team that all they do every day is figure out how can we make this better. And then they listen to your requests in the app and they implement them to create features that you want. We’re working on accountability partnerships for the future. We’re working on the Wheel of Life. We’re working on creating customizable journeys based on the one area of your life you want to improve.
Help from your finances? We’re creating the app and it’s probably a few months out but to where it will customize and give you affirmations for the area of your life you want to improve, meditations, guided meditations for that area, on and on and on. And then there’s a premium version of the app. If you love the free version, you can do a seven-day free trial of the premium version. The premium version is like less than $10 a month, and you can do an annual subscription for an even bigger discount. But that’s got guided SAVERS practices, audios, and videos where you literally just click play and Lucy Osborne and our other cast of Consciousness Elevators, if you will, lead you through a Miracle Morning start to finish in a matter of minutes. And it’s easy. You don’t put any mental energy because they guide you through it and you can do a seven-day free trial in the app. So, go to MiracleMorningApp.com and you can get it on the App Store or the Google Play store, whichever phone or mobile device you have.
All right. Goal achievers, oh, my wife’s gone. I love you. And here we go. This is the untold origin story of yours truly. I love you so much. I hope you enjoy this.
Brett Kaufman: All right. We are back on The Gravity Podcast today with Hal Elrod. Hal, thank you for taking some time to do this. I’m really excited to have the conversation with you.
Hal Elrod: Brett, I’m genuinely excited, especially when you just told me what we’re going to talk about. Like, I don’t get to talk about that stuff all the time, so a lot more fun to get to talk about new topics, new subjects. They’re not necessarily new, but just different, right?
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. No, that’s the thing. You know, we want people to see the full journey. I’m sure that our audience is familiar with you and your work and Miracle Morning and knows a lot about what you do today. But we really want to talk about the person behind that and how you arrived at that. And so, let’s start at the beginning. I’d like to just know kind of like early stuff. Where are you from? You know, tell me about your parents, your family kind of the early life of Hal Elrod.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, absolutely. I was born in Southern California, and then when I was five years old, we moved to Northern California, little small town called Oakhurst, California. When we moved there, there were no stoplights in the town. That’s how small of a town it was. Like, it was like a big deal when we got stoplights. It was like, “Whoa, we’re serious now.” But I grew up, for six months, I lived in a camping trailer because my parents couldn’t afford a house or trying to find a house. So, I lived in a camping trailer when I first moved to school or moved to Oakhurst. And I will say this, it’s kind of funny, one of my first memories was when I was in first grade, I had met a friend in school and my mom took me to his house for like a little playdate one evening and she wanted to talk to his mom or whatever. Well, I guess we stayed late and I fell asleep and I woke up the next morning kind of disoriented.
“Where am I?” And she goes, “Oh, you fell asleep. Don’t worry. I’m going to take you to school.” And at that time, I did my hair in a very specific way, using a very specific form of hair gel. And I started freaking out because I go, “Well, wait, did she leave my hair gel?” And she goes, “No, but don’t worry, we have something you can use.” And she gives me some pomade or I don’t know what it was, mousse or something, and it doesn’t fit. And so, I do my hair and it just comes out totally awkward and totally weird. So, we get to the school, I ride the bus and I’m like crying. I’m like so upset. The new school. I feel like I look funny. The kids are going to laugh at me. So, I get off the school bus and I’m like, “I can’t go to school.” Well, we lived a mile away from the school in that trailer. So, I ditched school in first grade at six years old, and I walked home so that I could fix my hair.
And when I got there, my parents were at work. I didn’t even think about that. And I remember dropping to my knees and we had a Dalmatian dog and I was hugging my dog crying, “Barney, where are mom and dad? I can’t go to school like this.” And I ended up just finally walking to school and some woman sees me and calls my parents and they drop me off. Anyway, that’s one of my earliest childhood memories and I don’t know what that says about me.
Brett Kaufman: Well, yeah, I sort of am curious about that. I’m just going to play with this for a minute because it’s funny. Interestingly enough, I was recalling with my therapist yesterday about a childhood memory I had that’s similar where I don’t remember exactly how old I was. I was probably around seven or eight years old, but I decided that I didn’t like the way that my parents had been styling my hair.
Hal Elrod: No way.
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. Literally, I’m telling my therapist this yesterday that is asking me to do some inner child work and I remembered my parents always wanted it to be real parted and combed over. And I’m like, I’m not feeling that anymore but it took so much nerve for me to get the nerve up to say those words that like, “I don’t want to look like that.” And I just wonder, like, if there is something there, like tell me more maybe about your upbringing that like is it just normal young school-age stuff about getting picked on our looks or…
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. Tell me more.
Hal Elrod: I think it was because if I go back one year prior and we were living in Southern California, I remember the preschool I went to. I did get bullied by there was this one kid that used to bully me. I remember a nightmare that I had. You remember the show, The Jeffersons? “Movin’ on up. Movin’ on up.”
Brett Kaufman: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Hal Elrod: So, I remember I had this nightmare and I won’t take long telling you about a nightmare but it was a nightmare that I was at the Jefferson’s apartment and then a monster chased me off, and then the bully showed up and I was like, “Oh, that’s the toughest kid in our school. Mike, will you please help me?” And then the bully, actually, defeated the monster. So, again, that’s like some deep psychological work. But I think that might have been it, right? Like, I was picked on and I’m sure he made fun of me for my appearance and stuff in kindergarten. So, now it’s a year later. I’m at a new school. So, yeah, it’s interesting. Will you be my therapist, Brett? Do you do like a side gig?
Brett Kaufman: No, I’ve no credentials but I am, I’m sort of just curious and love kind of this subject, really. All right. Tell me beyond that. I am kind of curious about your family and your parents and kind of how they were in shaping you as a young child.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, I’m really blessed to have two phenomenal parents. They stayed married until I was, I think, 20, 21 years old. So, they ended up getting a divorce eventually but they were married throughout my entire childhood. They both worked really hard, hard-working, middle-class family. They worked at a grocery. They both worked in grocery. You know, my dad used to spank. It was a different time, right, where I would get spanked. If I was really bad, I’d get spanked with the belt. But overall, like, my dad’s dad used to beat the heck out of him. I was never beat once. I got smacked on the butt. That’s one smack. So, it was really a nice thing to see like the sins of, you know, they say the sins of the father repeat but like he’s told me stories of what his dad used to do to him and my dad, if you ever meet him, he’s one of the sweetest, kindest man. And like I’m blessed with just amazing parents.
In fact, we might get there but I was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and given a 20% chance of surviving. My dad immediately flew out, called in sick to work, or whatever, flew out. And then for me, it was this long journey where I was going to have to go through 700 hours of chemotherapy and it was going to be eight months or beyond. And my dad called his boss and said, “I can’t come back to work until my son is healed.” And my dad’s an executive. I mean, he oversees a bunch of people and he’s like, “Nothing else matters.” And my mom, too. I mean, I sort of have those kind of parents that are just like, will do anything for their kid. Really good. My mom is very strict. Well, my dad’s a little looser. My mom was the, you know, she’s the one that was like very strict when I was a kid. My dad would let us do a little extra. It’s kind of a normal dynamic. Here’s a turning point in the life of our family.
Brett Kaufman: Okay.
Hal Elrod: When I was seven years old, so I had a five-year-old sister, Haley, who’s a year-and-a-half younger than me, and my mom had a baby, Amery. Amery was born with a very rare heart condition to the point where they detected her condition early on and they told my mother to have an abortion. They said, “Your daughter will probably not make it through the pregnancy. And if she lives the pregnancy, she won’t live much longer.” And my mom said, “I’ll let God decide that. We’re going to see. I’m not going to have an abortion.” So, my sister was born with metatropic dysplasia, I think. I might be mispronouncing that but something like that’s a very rare condition. There were like 6,000 people alive in the United States with that condition. And my sister was born.
It’s actually a form of dwarfism, so she never would have been like four feet tall, I think was the tallest she would have ever been. She had a very curved spine. It was noticeably curved. And she basically lived in and out of the hospital. My mom and dad had to constantly take her for treatments and she looked different. So, some of the kids at school made fun of her. And I dealt with that. I was in probably second or third grade at this time. Well, a year and a half into her life, I was at home. It was a Saturday morning. It was me, my mom, and my youngest sister, Amery. My dad was at work at the Pines Market, the grocery store he worked at at the time, and my other sister, Haley, was at my grandmother’s house three hours away. And I woke up to the sound of my mother screaming, “My baby, my baby, my baby!” And I literally remember coming to kind of groggy and I remember my first thought was, “Oh, my mom’s playing with Amery.” “My baby, my baby, my baby.”
But as I started to become more awake, I sensed like horror in my mom’s voice. And so, I ran across the hall to my mom’s bedroom, and she was performing mouth-to-mouth CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on my sister. And I stood like a deer in headlights in the door, just trying to, at eight years old, trying to process what I was seeing. And my mom’s out of breath and she said, “Hal, call 911.” So, I grabbed the phone. Called 911. “Tell the police to come.” And then she said, “Go tell Grant,” our neighbor, our 80-year-old neighbor, 80, maybe even 82, whatever, he is in his eighties. He had an oxygen tank, a very large like five-foot-tall oxygen tank that he always was hooked up to and he carried it with him. Now, we lived in the mountain. So, there was no sidewalk between the houses. It was like uphill, downhills, right? We were on a couple of acres. And so, I run across to Grant and I say, “Grant, Grant, my sister is not breathing. We need your oxygen tank.”
And so, I mean, poor Grant, he’s 80 some years old and he’s like shuffling across my yard, which has sticks and pinecones. And so, I mean, it probably took him 10 minutes to get back with his oxygen to my mom. And I don’t remember if it was him or my mom, but we put it over Amery’s face and the air, it was too big for her face. It just blew out the sides of her cheeks. My dad shows up. Ambulance shows up. My friend Ben, his mother shows up. My mom, my dad had called and said, “Hey, will you take Hal to your house? He probably doesn’t belong at the hospital.” And so, I went to her house and just played with Ben. And in my mind, I’m thinking, “Oh the ambulance is going to save my sister. That’s what they do. Like, she’s going to the hospital. They save people there. Right?” So, I had not a second thought over what was happening. I’m just like, “Oh, yeah, my sister is not breathing, but it’s okay. The people came to save her.”
And a couple of hours later, Janine, my friend’s mom comes out and says, “Your dad’s on the phone,” and she looks very – so I remember like she’s very somber. And I went in and my dad’s crying. I never heard him cry. And he says, “Amery’s in heaven.” You know, I don’t fully remember, Brett, what I was thinking but I know what I said first, not to my dad, but I think to my dad I said, “Wait, she’s dead?” And my dad said yes and my brain, I think, is trying to process this, what it means. And I go out in the living room and I said, “Hey, guys. Hey, Ben, guess where Amery is,” in a really positive, upbeat voice. And I remember I can see Ben’s mom’s face, like she tilts her head and furrows her brow. And I just see this look of like a sadness. And I said, “Guess where Amery is,” and Ben said, “Where?” I said, “She’s in heaven. Isn’t that great? Heaven’s like the best place ever from what I’ve heard.”
And so, doing some of my own psychological work and reflection, I think that at that moment, my eight-year-old self didn’t understand the emotions that were coming up. And I think that I didn’t know how to handle them or process them. And somehow a switch flipped in my brain and I went, “Well, wait, if I look at the positive side of this and I make light of it, I don’t have to feel the things I was feeling.” And I think, Brett, Amery obviously died that morning and there’s a couple of things I want to wrap this up before I turn it back to you. Number one is how I responded and what that meant for the rest of my life and then how my parents responded and what that meant for our family’s life and my life. So, number one, I’ve identified that, in that moment, I think I developed a superpower and we all have superpowers. And almost every superpower or maybe every superpower has a shadow side. It has a dark side.
My superpower was I became able to handle any painful circumstance that ever came my way. When I was 20, I was hit head-on by a drunk driver, found dead at the scene, broke 11 bones, came out of a coma seven days later to be told I would never walk again. And I was so positive about it, I was genuinely happy and at peace that the doctors thought I was in denial or delusional. But it was very real. It’s the way that I process. I go, “Look, I can’t change that I was in a car accident, that I broke 11 bones, that I have permanent brain damage, that I might be in a wheelchair the rest of my life but I can choose to focus on what I’m grateful for, to focus on what I still have in my life, to focus on what makes me happy. It’s not delusional. Those things are real. I’m just accepting the things I can’t change.” That was the superpower.
When I had cancer, the day I was diagnosed with cancer and given a 20% chance of surviving, I was 37 years old at the time. I have a seven-year-old daughter at the time, a four-year-old son, and it was the scariest thing in my life that I was being told I was most likely going to die and leave my family, my kids, without a dad. Nothing was worse than that to me but I couldn’t change the circumstance I was in. So, my superpower was I’m going to accept what’s out of my control that I can’t go and change. I can’t change that I have cancer, but I can choose to be the happiest and most grateful I’ve ever been while I endured the most difficult time in my life. And I did. And because of that, I believe I’m alive today. Because of that, I believe I took my first step within three weeks after doctor said I never would and I broke 11 bones, including my femur broke in two separate pieces, and my pelvis broke in three places.
So, this superpower has gotten me through the mental, emotional, physical, and even later financial challenges of my life. The shadow side is emotional suppression. It’s a lack of empathy. I never developed empathy in my life because I never experienced emotional pain and I didn’t understand what that was like. So, when I got married or any relationships and my wife or even girlfriends throughout the years are like, “I’m really struggling with this. It’s really hard,” I go, “Just accept it and move on. Just focus on the positive.” So, it really made my relationships challenging and I could only help people to a point because I didn’t understand what it was like to be them going through these difficult emotions. That all changed for me in 2020. After three years of chemo, I went through chronic sleep deprivation. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. I became suicidal and we could go back to that if we want but I’m just mentioning that because that period was when I was so depressed and had so much anxiety that I wanted to kill myself for six months, literally.
And I got therapy. I did everything that I could. And as I went through it, at one point, I realized, “Oh, I’m going through this so that I can experience the most difficult mental and emotional trauma so that I can now develop the empathy and understanding of what people go through when they’re at such a low point that they want to die, that they don’t want to live anymore so that I can help more people.” Before, I didn’t understand what it felt like to be that low. Now, that I do, it’s my responsibility to figure it out, to get over it, to get through it so that I can help the other millions and tens of millions of people that are themselves suffering from extreme mental health issues, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and on and on. So, that’s the superpower. And the last thing I want to share and I know it’s a long answer, I’ll turn it back over to you but my parents set the example for my work that I do now.
My mom lost a baby. As a parent, I can’t even imagine. I could imagine but even imagining, I don’t want to imagine it, right? It’s like to me, with your parents, it’s the worst thing that could happen. Within six months, rather than giving up and, I mean, she went through her grieving. Within six months, she founded a support group for other parents who had lost children so that she could turn her pain into purpose and help other people through what they were going through. That’s where I learned to do that with everything that I’ve gone through, my car accident, my cancer, my financial collapse, everything else. My book, The Miracle Morning, was born out of the 2008 financial collapse. Because I got through it with this morning ritual, I started teaching it to other people. They use it to transform their lives.
And I went, “Well, wait a minute. If it changed my life, the Miracle Morning changed my life and I wasn’t a morning person. The Miracle Morning changed all my clients’ lives and they weren’t morning people.” Most of them were not. It could change anyone’s life if I shared. I have a responsibility to share it. And my dad was raising money, leading fundraisers for the hospital that tried to save my sister’s life. I want you to hear that, everyone. He didn’t blame the hospital because they failed at saving my sister’s life. He raised money to support the work because they tried. So, my mom and dad turned their pain into purpose. And to me, I believe that for all of us, we have a responsibility to overcome our challenges, fulfill our potential in service of those we love and those we lead so that we can help them to do the same.
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. Thank you for that. You know, I feel like I just want to take a moment to be with you and all of that because I don’t want to jump too quick to what you’re doing and how it’s served you so that you can serve others. It’s tempting to do that because I share that belief and belief in my life and all of ours. It’s really the reason I do this podcast is designed in that way. But I see you choked back the tears. I see you pushed through. And I just want to take a second and acknowledge that those are really traumatic, really hard, really full of life experiences that you have just shared. And I think sometimes as you described to some degree, it’s amazingly powerful and probably saved your life more than once to have the gift of being able to see the positive, to being able to have the strength to focus on the future and the go forward and the outcomes you want to create. But I do believe in my own experience, personally, that it’s sometimes referred to as like spiritual bypass where you skip over the pain and the emotion and then it can get stuck and land in the body and have all kinds of others. In your case, you described how it was affecting your relationships.
Hal Elrod: And it may have been what caused my cancer, by the way, like just to echo what you’re saying.
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. Look, I mean, that’s part of it, too, right? That’s part of it too that like maybe you have to learn that you can’t do that. But I just want to acknowledge just because sometimes I think it’s that simple. You know, I think it’s a very fine line. I mean, you can hang out in it too long, too, right? Because the truth is also it’s sort of up to you to decide and I think it’s more of an energetic thing. It’s more of a feeling than it is an intellectual thing that like, I got to feel this and then at a certain point, I do need to move on. I do need to, right? So, anyway, I just wanted to acknowledge it, and I really appreciate you sharing all of that. And I appreciate the emotion as much as the content. Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit because you jumped ahead to a few things that I do want to make sure we talked about. You know, you talked about your cancer and your depression and the financial collapse and these things that happened a little bit further on in life. But I am curious if you could just maybe fill in the gap between that day that your sister passes and I think you started to talk about things in your twenties. I am kind of curious about the period of time in between for you and your family and how your life was shaped there.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Thank you. So, growing up, I always said I was pretty mediocre at everything that I did. You know, we all know those people that are like they’re just excellent, right? They get great grades and they’re great at sports. And it’s like they just like kind of live with the state of excellence. And often it’s maybe their environment, right? Like, their parents were excellent, right, and they passed that down and so on and so forth, or they held them to standards of excellence so the kids rose to that. I never got great grades. I was always like a C student. I never played sports for the school. I never wanted to because of, like, I played soccer and stuff when I was younger. But once you got into like high school and they’re like we practice every week, even on holidays, I’m like, “Dude, thanks, man.” I like casual basketball. I don’t want to give up my Christmas vacation for it, you know?
So, I was never really disciplined. Again, didn’t have discipline for good grades, didn’t have to summer school. I wasn’t very popular. I got picked on and bullied a lot in high school. I mean, I remember the seniors when I was a freshman, typical throwing me in the shower after I got dressed for my next class. I’m going in there soaking wet and got beat up and all the things, really normal stuff, and really insecure. I had some cool what I did that was not excellent but I guess it’s kind of extraordinary, if you will. When I was 15 years old, I was a sophomore in high school, and my best friend at the time, Jake, called me and he said, “Hey, my older brother, Colin,” Colin was a senior at the school, 18. We were 15-year-old sophomores. He said, “Colin was supposed to deejay the junior high school dance this Friday.” It was the junior high that we had just graduated from to go to high school, but he is really sick and he can’t do it.
So, he asked if I wanted to do it and he said, “Maybe you and Hal could do it.” And I was like, “Dude, yeah, that sounds fun.” He’s like, “We’re going to use all his equipment and we can deejay the dance.” And I was like, “Okay.” So, we deejay the school dance. It was like sixth, seventh, eighth graders, or whatever. And we put out a tip cup, right? We didn’t get paid for it. There was no pay. Put out a tip cup. We made like $7 in change, right? So, it’s like minimal. You know, we’re making like $0.50 an hour but we had a blast and we start talking. I’m like, “Dude, how many schools are there?” Our wheels are turning. “How many schools are like within a 30-mile radius, right? There’s like eight different elementary schools. What if we, like, called all the schools? You know, maybe we get our own equipment and this and that.” So, Jake and I start making this plan to start deejaying at other schools. And I think we ended up doing a couple of schools.
Then that summer, we both meet a girl named Wendy and we both fall in love with Wendy, and we both have a claim to who should get Wendy. He met her first, but she told me she liked me. So, I’m like, “Dude, I don’t care if you met her first. She says she likes me.” So, Jake and I broke up as friends that summer over a girl. We broke up as friends. I was still excited about this deejay thing, and I at the time was receiving a magazine from Los Angeles called Pro Sound and Stage Lighting. It was a company in Los Angeles that sold equipped DJ equipment, stage lighting, musicians, concerts, any kind of audiovisual. And I’m getting this magazine all the time and then we’re going to visit my aunt this summer or whatever for like a week. And I go, “Dad, that Pro Sound and Stage Lighting is like 20 minutes away from Aunt Belinda. Could we go there?” So, we go there. My dad is the kind of guy that like you can sell him on anything. He loves to shop. He loves to spend money. You know what I mean? And he loves to make his son happy. I think that’s probably actually the biggest one.
And so, we go to the store. I’m like, “Dad.” And at that time, my parents had purchased a grocery store. So, when I was 11, my mom and my dad was the manager at the Oakhurst Market in Oakhurst, a very small mom-and-pop grocery store. His dream was always to own his own business. The people that owned it were retiring and they were going to sell it. And my dad was like, “Can I buy it?” And it was like he goes, he had to convince my mom, figure out how that they were going to get a loan for. At the time, it was like, I think $600,000 for the whole store, which, by the way, had a house in the back. Not in the back. Like, you literally if this was the check stand and I was checking people out, like ringing groceries through, the front door to our living room was six steps away. You went in. It was our living room and kitchen with three bedrooms and one bath above. It was built in 1945.
So, we were living in this grocery store, literally living in the grocery store in the back, one-bedroom house, four people sharing one bathroom or three bedrooms. And so, I’m working at the grocery store as a boxed boy making $4.25 an hour. And I convinced my dad, “Dad, if you’ll buy the deejay equipment and finance it, I’ll make the payments, and then I’ll start figuring out how to like deejay and get paid for it. But until I get paid, I’ll work at the grocery store.” So, my dad charges $1,500 of deejay equipment. We’re talking two 18-inch Cerwin-Vega speakers, a fog machine like a strobe light, a laser light, a mixer, CD players at the time. There was no digital music. It was CD players, right? And so, I get all the equipment and I set it up in my bedroom, my bedroom, which is like 10 x 10 feet. It’s the tiniest bedroom in the market. It’s got 18-inch Cerwin-Vega speakers in it and fog machines, a laser light. It’s the coolest bedroom.
And so, a week or two later, I’m at the grocery store and my dad, he’s ringing people through. I’m bagging the groceries. A woman comes up, she goes, “I’m getting married next month,” and she’s a customer. And my dad goes, “Oh, do you have a DJ yet?” And she goes, “No, we’re trying to find one, but they’re so expensive, we can’t afford any of them.” He goes, “My son’s a DJ.” And I go, “Yeah,” she goes, “You are? Oh.” And she’s asking some questions. And I’m like, “Oh,” I forgot. “Yeah, I’ve done like three school dances.” And she goes, “How much do you charge?” And my dad goes, “$100 for the whole night.” And she’s getting quotes for like a thousand. So, she’s like, “Hired,” right? And it’s four hours.
And again, I’m making $4.25 an hour bagging groceries and stocking shelves and cleaning toilets. Now, I’m going to get $25 an hour for playing music. And I’m like, “Oh,” I’m like, “Dad, you think I’m hugging you. Thank you. It’s amazing.” So, I DJ her wedding. Have the best time ever. Take my $100, which at 15, that’s like, I might as well be a million bucks, right? And then my mind’s turning. I get on our computer, which, by the way, I mean, this is a black and white computer, like you follow, right? We’re talking 1994 or 1995, black and white computer, or even green. The letters were green. Remember that? All the letters and numbers are green and the screen’s kind of orangey.
Brett Kaufman: Right, right, right.
Hal Elrod: But I’m able to get like a black and white graphic of a speaker in it. So, I make fliers that say Hal Elrod, Professional Mobile Disc Jockey. And then listen to this, I got a pager and I was able to get an 800 number for a pager. So, I made those little tabs at the bottom. I put the phone number 1-800, like Hal DJ or something like that, right? And then there were little tabs that I cut that you could rip off. And I printed those out and I put them on every bulletin board all over town. Everywhere.
I start getting gigs. I’m DJ’ing at bars, which was probably illegal, but we were in a small town. I’m DJ’ing at the bowling alley, I’m DJ’ing weddings, I’m DJ’ing school dances. And I went from $25 an hour to $50 an hour to $75 an hour to $100 an hour. And what that taught me, which shaped the journey, which is what we’re talking about– wait a minute, I love DJ’ing. It is not work. I have so much fun. When I get to DJ, I can’t wait. I don’t love going to bag groceries and clean toilets and stock shelves for $4.25 an hour, but I love DJ’ing.
So, the first thing is, okay, I can find work that I love to do, and so, I’m like, I’m a DJ. This is the rest. At 15, I go, I’m starting to find out how do DJ companies work. I’m finding out, oh, the big DJ companies, they’ve got multiple sound systems and multiple DJs that go out on a Friday and a Saturday night. I’m like, “Okay, that’s my future. I’m going to figure that out.”
And then I went. And so, the first lesson is I can find work that I love. And the second lesson is I’m getting paid $100 an hour to do work that I love, as opposed to $4.25 an hour to do work that, I didn’t hate it, but that’s work. I don’t enjoy it so much, right? And I go, and that shaped my paradigm. It was a new paradigm. I go, that’s my future. I’m only going to do work that I love and that the income is scalable. Nobody else tells me how much I’m worth or what I can earn, I actually can set my own price and I can find industries or professions, where you can be compensated at a much higher level for the work that you’re doing. So, I’m going to love the work, I’m going to get paid well. It’s going to be amazing. I’ll pause there, and then there’s a second phase to that.
Brett Kaufman: Okay. Yes. So good. And you can share the second phase. But I do want to make sure, just in the interest of time, what I’m curious about right now, and maybe the second phase will lead us there, what I’m curious about, those are great lessons, right? And I’ve learned that, too. And most of the time, I think you learned that lesson through being– I mean, in my case, really unhappy doing what I was doing, right? I’m like, I cannot continue to do this. I’ve got to do something that I enjoy. And that continues to change for me, it continues to unfold in interesting ways.
But I guess what I’m kind of curious about and I don’t want to jump ahead too much, but you mentioned some things I do want to make sure you talk about, this depression side, the financial collapse. And I’m curious really, you talked about how you arrived at Miracle Morning. And so, if there’s a piece in between that, let’s cover it. But I am really curious about how you did end up landing on this thing that becomes your thing.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, yeah. It’s right, yeah. And thank you, that’s a great question. And we’re going to kind of skip toward that. So, you fast forward four years later. I’m 19 years old. My first year of college is behind me and I’m DJ’ing on the radio. That was really the second phase of the story was how I got into the radio. But really, I realized that’s not the best use of our time.
But I got into radio when I was 15, like I got a radio show a few months after I started DJ’ing. And so, that led to a new dream, like, “Oh, I want to be a nationally syndicated radio DJ and have a DJ business where I have DJs going out,” right? So, I guess had that entrepreneur mindset. And at 19, I’m on my second radio station, 97.1 FM, moving in the direction of my dream. I’m still DJ’ing school dance or college parties and weddings and all the things. And a buddy of mine, he’s working for Cutco Cutlery. Are you familiar with Cutco?
Brett Kaufman: Sure.
Hal Elrod: So, he’s a sales rep for Cutco. And he says, “Hal, you’d be great at Cutco.” And Cutco is not a network marketing business where you actually get paid to get people underneath you. So, he’s not incentivized to recruit me in that way. He’s literally just like, I love the work that I’m doing at Cutco, like there’s really no ceiling on your income. It’s a commission job. He said, “The personal growth I’m developing is phenomenal.” And I’m like, I don’t even know what that means. What’s personal growth, which ironically would become my life’s work?
But one day, I’m with Teddy and we go into the– I told Teddy, by the way, I’m like, “Teddy, I have zero interest in being in sales. I have my path. I am a radio DJ. I have a DJ business. I’ve got my path. I’m going for it. I don’t want it. I have no interest in being in sales.” I went to the office one day with him, casually. He had to get some supplies and I talked to the manager, Jesse Levine. And Jesse, who’s one of my best friends now, he was in my wedding. So, it leads you to believe this kind of went somewhere.
But Jesse says, Jesse basically explains the position in a way, the opportunity that I never thought of. He’s like, “You set your own hours. There’s no ceiling on your income. If you want to make a little money, you work a little. If you want to earn great income, you literally can work–” and he’s telling me, “There are people in our company that are your age, that are in college, that are earning $50,000 a year plus,” like $50,000 a year. Even at the radio station, I’m earning like, $6,000 or $12,000 maybe this year, right? Like nothing. So, I’m like, “Okay, I’ll do both.” I’m like, “I’ll try this out and I’ll keep my radio job.”
So, my first weekend with Cutco, by the way, I was new on the radio, so I was DJ’ing midnight to 6 a.m. Friday and midnight to 6 a.m. Saturday to Sunday morning. It’s the grunt shift if you’re new, right? I’m only like three weeks into the radio job. I start the Cutco job. So, I go to training from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and then I have to drive an hour and a half to my DJ job to DJ from midnight to 6 a.m. Then I have to be in training at 9 a.m. and then to 6 p.m. and then eat and then drive. So, the first few weekends, I literally didn’t sleep. And at 19, you think you’re unstoppable, you think you can do whatever.
My first week with Cutco, I earned $3,000 in commissions. It would have taken me months to earn that at the radio job, and I actually loved it. I was having so much fun because I believed in the product. I would go to somebody’s house, and with the same enthusiasm talking to you about it, I’d be like, “Guy, have you seen these knives? They’re amazing. Check this out. Try this out.”
So, in my first 10 days, I broke the all-time company record, where I had sold the most in 50 years, the most anyone in the western half of the country had ever sold. And that’s out of like 500,000 sales reps. And I want to circle back to what I said earlier, which is like, I was mediocre my whole life, right? Really, I was. I mean, yes, I DJ, but DJ’ing wasn’t a lot of discipline. One day, I spent 30 minutes putting up fliers. A couple of times a month, I showed up and played music, like I didn’t have daily consistent discipline, right? So, that escaped me.
And in my training, I thought, I want to break this record. And I told my manager that and he said, “It’s going to require more discipline and consistency than you ever had in your life. You’re going to have to eat, sleep, and breathe Cutco for the next 10 days.” I’m like, “I’ve never done that before.” He’s like, “If you’re willing to be accountable, check in with me every morning. Check in with me every night. Follow my instruction. I believe you can do it, Hal, but you have to be more accountable than you’ve ever been in your life.” And I was like, really insecure, really nervous, but I admired Jesse, and I didn’t want to let him down. So, I’m like, “Okay, I’ll do it.”
And if it wasn’t for his support, belief, accountability, like my first day, I had to average $1,500 in sales. The record was $15,000. I had averaged $1,500 a day every day. My first day, I went oh for three. I sold zero and I chose the people on my first day that I thought of, everyone I knew were the most likely to buy from me. It was my grandparents, it was their neighbor, and it was a family friend and they bought nothing. And I wanted to give up. I kept going, and 10 days later, on my very last appointment, on the 10th day, I had my biggest order and I broke the all-time record.
And the lesson from that is that every single one of us, no matter what our past has been like, no matter whatever we’ve lacked up until this point in our life, even up until this morning, if you lacked discipline, self-belief, hard work, consistency, you name it, the moment that you decide I’m committed to do everything in my power to achieve a result, to establish a habit, to make an improvement in your life, to start your Miracle Morning, which we’re going to transition into, that every single one of us is just as worthy, deserving, and capable of everything we want in our lives as any other person and all that we’re missing is the commitment to do whatever it takes to achieve that thing. I’ll say that again. Every single one of us is just as worthy, deserving, and capable of achieving every or overcoming everything we want in our life. All that’s required is an unwavering commitment to do whatever it takes.
Brett Kaufman: Well, let me ask you this. Thank you for saying that. I agree with you. And in my experience, it’s much easier to see that after you’ve done it. And Dan Sullivan talks about the four C’s, like, once you get the courage and then you start to build some capabilities and you have the confidence, but it starts with the commitment, right? And that commitment is pretty hard. And actually, even though you’ve done it once, you find yourself there again.
I hear you say mediocre, but I think to do what you did with the DJ is not mediocre, right? I mean, just right out of the gate, like you made a commitment, you know it, right? And you started to build some confidence, then you can raise your prices. You got some capabilities. And then there you are again with the knives. And this keeps happening.
Now, maybe it gets a little easier when you recognize it and you’re willing to just dive in. But I think, my question to you and you can take this wherever you want if it’s Miracle Morning, if it’s some of the other major events in your life, you choose. But my question to you really is, for people listening, and this is again why I do this podcast, much like you, I hope it’s people are getting something out of it, right? It is of service to people.
I think sometimes you hear these things, you hear somebody say, “You can do it.” But doing it, like taking that step to start to build a new habit, it’s just so hard for people. And so, my question to you really is how did you as you start to think about those big events in your life, whether that start Miracle Morning or come back or move through the Depression, how did you actually take that step to do it?
Hal Elrod: Yeah, yeah. No, it’s a great question. And it’s really an important or great transition into the Miracle Morning, and that is my life’s work. The Miracle Morning, for those that don’t know, it started as my morning ritual. And we’ll get into it. But it became a self-published book. And now it’s millions of people around the world do the Miracle Morning every day. And it’s a daily practice made up of the six most timeless proven personal development rituals or practices of all time.
And to answer your question, because we’ll get to that, but to answer your question, so you fast forward, and you mentioned that, obviously, doing the DJ’ing was kind of extraordinary, but I still never had discipline or consistency. I still slept in as long as I possibly could. I was not a morning person, right? So, it’s extraordinary in certain ways for sure. And also, my self-concept for sure was I didn’t see myself as disciplined.
So, when the Cutco thing happened that was really leaning into that mentor. And if it wasn’t for him, I was very blessed, having me call him every day, check in every day. Now, what if you don’t have the mentor, right? What if you don’t have the– okay, so let’s get into that. So, in 2008, and everybody think back to 2008, and I know most people listening to this, probably everybody listening to this was there, the economy starts to crash. What became the Great Recession, one of the worst recessions in over a decade, began being born. I did not watch the news at all, like zero. It wasn’t even, I never watched the news before in my life. I wasn’t paying attention to anything that was going on in the economy.
And I had some friends that were like, “Hey, dude, aren’t you worried about the economy?” I said, I remember, literally, I think I said, “I create my own economy. I’m not going to give in to what somebody–” whatever, right? And I always say there’s a fine line between optimism and delusion. And I cross it very often. And that was one of those times. I’m like, “I’m not worried about the economy. I’m going to do what I’m going to do and I’m not going to participate.”
Yeah, well, now, when your clients that are paying you money, they’re affected by the economy, and now they’re not making as much money, well, it trickles down. So, in a matter of, I was coaching primarily, I had finished with Cutco, I was coaching at that time. I’m 20– I think 26 at the time. I had just bought my first house. So, I’m like, okay, that’s a big dream come true, right? I’m with my future wife, at the time, we’re dating. And I lose over half of my clients in a matter of months.
So, I went from being optimistic, hopeful, building this coaching business, everything’s going great to now, wait, this person cancels, this person cancels. I lost over half of my clients. Therefore, I lost over half of my income. I couldn’t pay my mortgage anymore. So, I literally stopped paying my mortgage on a house that I had just bought a year ago. I can’t pay my bills. So, I go from being a Dave Ramsey student who pays his credit card off every month, six months later, I’ve got $52,000 on my credit card, mostly just groceries and utilities and just bills, right?
I canceled my gym membership as soon as I started losing my income because I couldn’t afford. I cancel everything I could. So, I literally am not exercising at all. Zero. I’m doing zero exercise. And I started developing depression. It wasn’t the level of depression that I had after chemotherapy where I had post-traumatic stress disorder. That was a different level. I wasn’t suicidal, although it did cross my mind. I was so hopeless. Like, I’m losing money every day. I just felt like I was in quicksand. I’m losing money every day. I’m going further in debt every day. My house is going to be taken away from me here in the next, I don’t know, month, two months, right? I don’t know where I’m going to live. I’ve got a wife who is, and I don’t know if she was pregnant, or a fiancée that was pregnant, I don’t know if she was pregnant then yet, not pregnant yet, anyway, But we’re planning on having a baby. And my life literally went from like, everything’s great to like, it’s falling apart.
And so, I end up one day, a single quote changes my life. And before I share that, let me just say this last piece. I was at a place in my life, and I’d imagine most people can relate to this, either you’re there now or you’ve been there, or you’re afraid you’re going to be there, but where– and Brett, I’m curious if you’ve been here before where you’re so depressed that crawling into bed at night is like the only safe haven you have, where you feel like kind of this illusion of escaping my problems. I don’t have to face it. It was where I almost didn’t want to fall asleep too fast because it was the only place that I felt safe. And I knew that as soon as I fell asleep, I was going to wake up to the sh*tty life that I had created for myself or that had happened to me, or however you want to look at it, right? The fear, the depression, the stress, the financial issues, the bills that I couldn’t pay on and on and on.
And so, that’s where I was at in my life, where I would sleep as long as I could, wake up at the last minute. A friend of mine, Jon Berghoff, gave me advice. He told me to listen to a Jim Roan audio. I finally confessed to Jon how bad my circumstances had gotten. I hadn’t told anybody, except my fiancée, Ursula. I finally tell John, and John says, “Hal, listen to a Jim Rohn audio.” This audio changed my life at one point, what he said. I go, “Ah, it’s not going to change– I need to make money. Is this going to teach me how to make money?” He said, “No, it’ll teach you how to think differently and how to change yourself so you can change your life.” Like, this is stupid, but fine, I’m desperate, whatever.
Jim Rohn says, “Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development.” And I stop and I rewind that audio and I listen to it again and it lands for me, “Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development.” Brett, I believe this is the disconnect for 95% of our society, if not more. If you’re measuring your success and fulfillment in any area of your life, your health, your finances, your relationship, your happiness, you name it, on a scale of 1 to 10, let me ask you, 10 being the best, healthiest, happiest, most financially secure you could be and 1 being the worst, what level does everyone want?
Brett Kaufman: 10.
Hal Elrod: 10. Right. I’ve never met anyone that’s like, “Well, I don’t want to be too happy. I’ll do like a 7. I don’t want too much money.” No. I believe there’s an innate drive and desire within each of us to achieve level 10 for our self in terms of our potential and in terms of the outcomes and circumstance that we create in our lives. We want to be as happy, healthy, wealthy, successful as we can possibly be. It’s innate.
However, Jim Rohn explained that your level of success, the level 10 that you want in your life, will not exceed your level of personal development in terms of your knowledge, your beliefs, your self-confidence, your skills, your habits, etc. And I assessed, I want level 10 success, but my level of personal development is like at a 2 or a 3. Like, mentally, emotionally, physically, I’m at a low point. Like, I am not dedicating time each day to my personal development.
So, the epiphany was, I’m going to go home and find out what the world’s most successful people do for their daily personal development. I’m going to model them. I’m going to do what they do. And theoretically, if I do the most effective personal development each day, that should enable me to become a level 3, 4, 5, just get better and better and better, become a better version of myself to become the level 10 version that I need to be to create and sustain the level 10 success that I want.
I went home, I Googled best practices of personal development. I was looking for one, but Brett, I had a list of six. It was meditation, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and journaling. And I went, “Well, which of these is the best?” And I’m looking at articles and I can’t, there’s none that are better. It just depends on which one you invest your energy in. And the epiphany of the light bulb moment from there was, wait a minute, instead of one of these, what if I did all of them? What if I woke up 30 minutes earlier tomorrow or an hour earlier and I did the six most timeless proven personal development practices that the world’s most successful people have sworn by for centuries? I thought that would be the ultimate morning ritual.
I woke up the next morning, even though I wasn’t a morning person. I didn’t feel depressed when I woke up, I felt hopeful, I felt excited. I went through all six of the practices. I wasn’t very good at them. I didn’t know how to meditate. The affirmations I found online felt goofy. But even after an hour of poorly executed practices, I realized this is the one thing that can change everything. If I start every day like this with this much energy, clarity, motivation in a peak mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual state, it’s only a matter of time before I become the person that I need to be to transform my life.
And the last thing I’ll say, Brett, is it happened so fast. In less than two months during the Great Recession, the economy got worse. I more than doubled my income in two months. I went from being in the worst shape of my life physically to committing to run a 52-mile ultramarathon. And my depression didn’t take two months to go away. It faded on the first day, gradually faded more and more every day because the hopelessness that I experienced for six months every day as my Miracle morning got better, I got better. And the possibilities I saw from my life, the results I created got better. And I saw my wife in the hall one day, two months later, and I said, “Sweetheart, I signed on two more coaching clients today.” We’ve doubled our income in two months, it feels like a miracle. It’s all because of this morning routine.
And I was never a morning person before. Now, I love it. She said, “It’s your miracle morning.” I said, “I like that, Miracle Morning.” I taught it to my coaching clients. They resisted, saying they weren’t morning people. Two weeks later, they said, “Oh, my gosh, Hal, the Miracle Morning worked for me, too. I’m having the best results. My business is growing, my career, everything’s improving.” And that’s when I said if it worked for my clients, they weren’t morning people, I wasn’t a morning person, I have a responsibility to share this with as many people as I possibly can. And now, the Miracle Morning movie, the app, and the books are all out there. And I’m so grateful that you had me on because sharing this practice is what my life is dedicated to.
Brett Kaufman: It’s wonderful. It’s a great story. And I have one more question just to wrap up with.
Hal Elrod: Sure.
Brett Kaufman: Because I’ve been thinking about this throughout the conversation and you land on the Miracle Morning. And yet, you spoke of future depressions, and makes sense, right? I mean, to go through all the trauma and the PTSD and the worries about leaving your kids and dying and the chemo and the treatments and the car accidents, I mean, yeah, of course. And what I guess I’m curious about, the word miracle by itself, to me, that speaks to a higher power. And what I have found in my own belief system, and this isn’t a religion thing, it’s more of a spiritual thing, I use the word God, but whatever you want to call it, universe.
Hal Elrod: So far you and I are on the exact same page, so keep going.
Brett Kaufman: Okay. So, what I guess I’m noticing and what I believe is that it’s all perfect for what it is and what it’s not and that it is sort of in a divine design that has you receiving even things like your wife saying it’s your miracle morning, right? The debt, the loss of the clients, the tragedy, I mean, and that’s where it gets tricky because it’s like, oh, man, really? Like tragic things, like nobody should have that right. How could there be a God that does that, right? But I just see this creation that’s happened that feels sort of a part of a higher power design. And yet, I also believe we have to be in action. You catch the Miracle Morning and you create something with it. You hear the quote and you’re like, I’m going to do something about it. It’s not just like all happening without the action. So, I want to just pause there and just let you sort of put a bow on this. It sounds like we see this the same way.
Hal Elrod: Totally. Yeah, I do, I believe in God. I was raised Catholic. I now would consider myself much more spiritual, where to me, religion is– there’s roughly 3,000 religions, and so, therefore, it’s 3,000 versions of trying to explain what you call God and what some people call the universe and what’s right, you know what I’m talking about? So, I think there’s a lot of value in religion, community and having some sort of explanation and understanding and path to God. But to me, it’s just all different ways of trying to explain the unexplainable, if you will.
And so, for me, I’ve studied all the religions and really trying to understand where the commonalities are, common themes. For me, my own experience and my own connection in that quiet time where you do feel like you’re connecting, there is something here, there is a source. I am getting downloads, I am getting messages, right? Those are coming from God, the universe, collective intelligence, whatever you want to call it.
But for me, I do believe that we are one. I do believe that we are. I love what Wayne Dyer said, “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey, we are spiritual beings on a human journey.” I absolutely believe that. I talk to God every day. I believe that we are in co-creation with God. I don’t believe that we’re supposed to sit here, pray for something, and sit back with our arms folded and wait for someone else to deliver it, right? I don’t think that’s how it works.
I think it’s, oh, wow, you pray for something, right? And maybe you get, I don’t know, assistance, or I do believe there’s some universal thing where I’ve actually done some really deep meditative work, where I’ve actually tried to be in communion with God, and I’ve received the message that, Hal, I’ve put you through everything that you’ve gone through from losing your sister, the parents you were born with, the car accident, the Cutco, the mentor, Teddy bringing you to the interview, like, that entire journey, there’s divinity woven through the entire thing. And I put you through these horrific experiences, like the car accident and cancer, specifically.
But if you notice, he says, I always had the right people and the resources that you needed to go to the brink of death, but you had everything you needed, and even the lessons that you learned before the accident that you were able to apply to the accident. So, mentally, emotionally, logistically, the people, everything that you needed so that you could maximize your learning from the experience, you could get through it. And then, I planted that seed in your heart that you would go share it with other people.
The last thing I’ll say on that, Brett, is after I had cancer, my agent reached out and said, “Hey, is there any other book other than Miracle Morning that you want?” They actually said, “Penguin Random House reached out and they want to do a book with you. Do you have anything other than Miracle Morning that you want to do?” And I said, “I’ve always wanted to write a book called The Miracle Equation.” I said, “I created this thing called The Miracle Equation when I was 20 years old, and it was to break sales records.” It was when I was in Cutco and I was trying to break the records. I go, “But then I used it through everything I’ve ever done in my life.” And when I was diagnosed with cancer, the day that I was diagnosed and given the grim odds, I went, “I’m going to use The Miracle Equation to beat cancer.” It’s worked for me, every time in my life up until now, this is the greatest test. But if it works for this, I know it works. And I talked to other people, it worked for them.
Well, I use The Miracle Equation and I’ll quickly share what it is. And I beat cancer. And it felt like divinity because in my mind, I’m like, I want to share The Miracle Equation with the world. And then my agent, a week later, calls or emails and says, “Hey, do you have a book idea?” I’m like, oh, my gosh. I literally attracted this into my life. And I said, “I want to write a book called The Miracle Equation.” And I said, “It’s kind of woo-woo. I don’t know if a publisher is going to go for it.” They did.
Here’s The Miracle Equation. It’s very simple. But if you study the world’s most successful people, however you define success, from the world’s greatest athletes or philanthropists or CEO, anyone that accomplishes a miracle, which I simply define as a tangible, measurable result that is so far beyond what the average person believes is possible that it feels like a miracle. That’s how I define a miracle in this context.
Here’s how you achieve miracles in your life. Two decisions. Very simple. Unwavering faith is decision number one. And the second decision is extraordinary effort, meaning you decide what you want in your life. I want to beat cancer. I want to sell a million copies of my book. I want to save my marriage, whatever the result you want in your life is. And you apply, you establish and maintain unwavering faith that that outcome is a possibility. And you do it in writing, it has to be in writing or you’ll forget. And it looks like this, I’m committed to _____, no matter what, there’s no other option. For me, I’m committed to beating cancer and living to be 100-plus years old alongside Ursula and the kids, no matter what, there is no other option.
Whenever I felt fear that I was going to die, Brett, I put out those affirmations. They were printed on my bedside table, they were on my phone, they were everywhere. I’m committed to beating cancer, no matter what, there is no other option. And then I listed all the reasons why, for my wife, for my mom, for my dad, and I had reasons why. For my mom, because she doesn’t deserve to lose another child. For my dad, because he gave up everything to save me. For my kids, because they need their dad’s love and guidance for the rest of their life. And that’s how you logistically, realistically maintain unwavering faith, is you affirm what you’re committed to, no matter what, there’s no other option.
And the second decision is extraordinary effort. You make a commitment in writing that you will do whatever it takes, no matter what, until you get there. And that’s how I took my first step when the doctor said I would never walk again. It’s how I sold millions of books for the Miracle Morning. It’s how I beat cancer. Everything I’ve done in my life, that’s the equation. And I believe God is there helping me along the way.
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. Amen. Man, it’s great. I love it. I love your energy. It’s infectious. Your messaging, the lessons, your life, your experience, all of it, I love it, man. It’s so great. I don’t know that I’ve ever just sat back and listened during a podcast as much as I did, but I’m just in all of you and just a beautiful, beautiful story. And it just speaks to everything that I believe, which is really that we are here to experience this life and to use it and to use it to serve other people because we are one, because we have this shared human experience that we’re unique but the same. And you are just an amazing example of all of that.
And I know we got to run. We’ll wrap up now, but I look forward to having some more conversations with you, collaborating. There’s a lot of thoughts running through my mind about how to spend more time with Hal, so we’ll do that for sure. But just thank you again for taking the time and sharing your story today.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I appreciate it. And part of the reason you’ve never listened so much on a podcast is because I’m probably more long-winded than any of your guests, right?
Brett Kaufman: No, no, no. It’s all great.
Hal Elrod: Whenever a podcast ends, it’s one of two things. It’s either I had so many more questions to ask you, but I took forever to answer them or well, that was the easiest podcast. I just sat back and you talk. I don’t know any other way to do it.
Brett Kaufman: Well, it’s both, but it’s not because you’re long-winded, it’s because it’s just enjoyable to hear your stories, so. But anyway…
Hal Elrod: Well, Brett, I appreciate your heart, man. Like, it just comes through the way. I appreciate the way that you acknowledged after I shared the story of my sister passing away, like it shows that you’re really present and you’re really connected. And that’s rare. So, I really, really appreciate it.
And the fact that you have a podcast with those unique gifts and talents, keep doing what you’re doing. Thank you for doing what you’re doing because I’m sure it’s making an impact for a lot of people. And it made an impact even for me, just being able to share what I got to share today. Thanks to the space you created and the questions that you asked.
Brett Kaufman: Yeah, thank you. Thank you. All right, that’s a wrap. Thanks, Hal.