487: A New Perspective on Positive Thinking

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Hal Elrod - Positive Thinking

When your alarm buzzes, do you jump up, or groan at the thought of leaving your comfy bed?

In this solo episode, I’ll let you in on the practices that will help you turn your mindset around. From feeling like the world’s against you, to seeing life in a more positive light. This concept may sound simple, but trust me, it’s a game-changer – and it’s something we need to remind ourselves of every day.

It’s about finding something to be thankful for in every single event that unfolds in your life, even those frustrating “Why me?” moments. This shift in thinking was my lifeline while bouncing back from a near-fatal car accident and fighting cancer.

My wish is that you’ll use those same tools to beat adversity, rise to the challenges life tosses your way, and be a beacon of strength and support for those around you.


  • How to shift from judgment to gratitude no matter how hard life gets.
  • Happiness isn’t what you want. It’s wanting what you get.
  • Using negative thoughts to boost your resilience.
  • The ways we unintentionally hurt our children by shielding them from life’s struggles.
  • If personal motivation falls short, find strength in service to others.
  • Why gratitude is key to developing mental toughness.
  • The transformational power of unconditional love.


“A negative attitude will send you down the road to unhappiness. There is no avoiding it. It will absolutely happen. And it doesn’t matter what the problem is. A positive attitude will put you back on the path to inner peace and happiness. Again, there is no avoiding it. It will absolutely happen. And it doesn’t matter what the problem.”

“Only by my commitment to get through this and end up better on the other side can I help other people, those that I love and those that I lead.”



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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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Copyright © 2023 Miracle Morning, LP and International Literary Properties LLC

Hal Elrod: Hello, friends, it’s Hal Elrod, and welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. Today, we’re doing something a little bit different, actually, two things, a little bit different. Number one, I’m going to keep the podcast shorter today. In fact, I’m going to lean into shorter episodes because we’re all busy. I don’t know about you, but I like short.


One of my coaches, one of my first coaches actually, he used to tell me, our coaching sessions were like 30 minutes and he said, some people would resist and go, “Wait, other coaches offer 60-minute coaching sessions. Why are you only 30 minutes, but your pricing is the same?” And he said, “I use a very systematic approach to helping you to solve your problems, achieve what you want,” he said, “and it takes 30 minutes.” He said, “If you went to a mechanic and they said, I can fix your car in 60 minutes and you went to another mechanic equally as qualified, said I could fix your car in 30 minutes, which would you prefer? Same price.” He said, I might as well get it done faster, get it in 30 minutes, right?


So, the idea being that longer isn’t necessarily better and shorter often is better. And of course, neither are an immutable truth. It could be either way. But let’s try focusing on shorter episodes and getting you the results, giving you some knowledge, some action steps to take you where you want to go faster or as fast as possible.


So, today, the second thing that we can do a little different is start a series that I’m calling Back to the Basics. And it’s simply the idea that there are timeless truths that have always been truths, that’s why they’re timeless, and they always will be true. And so, often, in our society, we are conditioned to value new, right? We want the newest model of the iPhone or the new laptop. We want the new car, or we want the new season on Netflix. There’s so much new constantly available to us that we’re always seeking the new. Marketers have trained us to seek new and often disregard timeless or classic, anything, from films to principles, etc.


And of course, it’s not true across the board. There are many people that value timeless principles. Or my mom, for example, she loves old black-and-white movies. If it’s black and white, I have trouble watching it. I prefer color in the movie, but either way, the point being, I really want to invite you to revisit, invite us to revisit some fundamentals, some basics, some principles that have always been true, that are true now, that will always be true, and that it’s often getting back to the fundamentals that will give us a foundation to create a happy, successful life.


And I recently surveyed the Miracle Morning Community, and I asked as far as podcast topics, what’s the number one thing that you want help with that you’d like me to address in the podcast? And I threw out a handful of options, and then I left it open-ended where anyone could add any option they wanted and then anybody could vote on those options. So, it gave people an opportunity to vote on a few that I offered and then also to, as a community, co-create and contribute different ideas and topics they’d want to help or help on, hear from on the podcast.


And the number one answer, and I think I mentioned this recently a few months ago from another survey that I did, but mental health and happiness was number one. I think it was like 37% of respondents said they would like that you would help with mental health and happiness. And then, I think 22%, it was money, financial stuff. And then there were– I forget the other topics. They’re not in front of me right now, but those were the top two that stood out for members of our community and listeners of the podcast.


So, today, I want to talk about one of the most fundamental getting back to the basics, the most fundamental principles for happiness, health, success, wealth, you name it. And it is simply positive thinking. Now, if that for any reason triggers you, it’s like, oh, positive thinking, that’s a bunch of hooey. I don’t use that often, hooey. But anyway, it’s a bunch of hooey. Positive thinking doesn’t work. Please listen, please tune in because I promise you that there are proven impacts of positive thinking that will bring positive results to your life, if you will.


I first learned about positive thinking when I was 19 years old. Literally, I don’t know if I had heard much about positive thinking as a way of approaching the world, a lens to view your experiences. And it was my mentor, my manager at the time, Jesse Levine, who taught me on my first or second day of training about positive thinking. I think he called it positivity. He was young. I was young, I was 19. He was only 23. And he would say, “that’s so pos.” It was his goofy, like California surfer slang. Pos, dude, everything was pos. Anyway.


But that’s when I learned a positive thinking and I started to learn. He would read quotes from books and passages from books and just share different concepts around this idea of positive thinking. And I remember I went home to my parents and I noticed how negative they were, how they were always complaining and focusing on the negative, whether it was watching news and focusing on the negative things in the world.


And I’m actually going to read a passage from a book that– this book, by the way, is by Neale Donald Walsch. I am rereading it. In fact, if you are watching the video, you can look at the pages. They are all underlined, dog-eared. I’ve got stickers or tabs, you name it. So, I’m rereading this book. It’s called Happier Than God: Turn Ordinary Life into an Extraordinary Experience. It’s a great book. It’s interesting. It came out in 2008 right after the Law of Attraction, when that was really a big topic, like The Secret. And he kind of addresses in there the problems with the documentary, The Secret, and what it missed from his perspective. And that there was truth in it, there was value in it, but that they missed a big part of what they were trying to teach, and then he tries to fill in that gap, if you will.


So, I’m going to read you a little bit of this book and then talk about it and relate it to your life, what’s going on in the world, how we can apply it. So, here we go. Neale Donald Walsch says, staying positive when surrounded by, even when submerged in what others might call “negativity” is easier than you think. The trick is to bring an end to judgment, to judge not by appearances. When you bring an end to judgment, you bring an end to an entire way of living. This is no small thing. This is a life-changing shift in attitude and behavior. This is a miracle. But how does one perform this miracle? That is the question to which everyone wants an answer. Please then pay very close attention to what I’m about to tell you.


Now, the way to move out of judgment is to move into gratitude. This is such an important corollary that it should be plastered all over your house and everywhere in your world or in your bathroom mirror, on your refrigerator door, on your car rearview mirror, above your computer screen. You might even tattoo it on your left wrist or at least engrave it on a bracelet that you wear there.


And then he puts the words centered in italics again, the way to move out of judgment is to move into gratitude. This means remaining grateful for every outcome, every outcome. This is about saying thank you, God, for even those things that you are sure you did not consciously choose and that you are very clear you do not want. Somebody once said, happiness is not getting what you want, it is wanting what you get. That somebody was profoundly right. Gratitude is the miracle cure for every moment of dis-ease. It is the fastest way to dissolve anxiety, to heal disappointment, to replace negativity with positivity. Close your eyes for the smallest moment and say inside your head, thank you, God.


By the way, I mentioned this when I talked about my evening routine, that that’s how I end every night. Thank you, God. And I run through the things that I’m grateful for in my life. And I do that to replace the negative thinking that used to plague my mind at night when I fall asleep. I go to sleep thinking about all of my problems and the things that went wrong that day and the things I didn’t get done that day and the things I need to do tomorrow that stressed me out. And I would think about conflicts that I had in my life and I would think about the things I saw on the news or in my social media feed that stressed me out. And I would think about the state of the world and the way I saw people treating each other and, I mean, all this negative thinking.


And maybe you can relate to that, whether you do it before bed or you do it first thing in the morning or you do it throughout the day. But I realized that that negative thinking, which is the opposite of positive thinking, did not serve me, especially not at night when I was going to sleep. Now, I think there is a place for what you would call negative thinking to assess reality and look at the aspects of life that are difficult, painful, challenging, unpleasant. But to do so from a place of peace, from a place of non-reactivity and positive thinking is part of that. It’s not where you ignore the negative, it’s where you embrace the negative, you evaluate the negative from a positive lens.


In gratitude, as Neale Donald Walsch is speaking of right now, gratitude is arguably one of the most impactful fundamental aspects of positive thinking. To me, when I go to gratitude, in fact, I have a quote. Maybe I got that quote from this book because it’s very similar and maybe I read this in 2008 now that I think about it, but I have a quote about replacing judgment with gratitude, trading and complaining for– man, but your main quote, I don’t remember.


But anyway, the point being gratitude is foundational in positive thinking, is being grateful and shifting your judgment. You’re complaining and upgrading those states, those perspectives to a state of gratitude, to a perspective of gratitude. And like Neale said, being grateful for every outcome, even the difficult, even the painful ones. So, Neale says, “Close your eyes for the smallest moment and say inside your head, thank you, God.” Take one good deep breath and say it again. Let’s do that now. Take a deep breath. Thank you for this gift and the treasure that it holds for me. Be assured that it does hold a treasure, even if you are not seeing it right now. Life will prove that to you if you give it a chance.


So, I want you to think about a difficult circumstance in your life, a challenge you’re facing now. And if you’re not facing any challenges right now, congratulations, but maybe a challenge that you faced recently in the recent past. Maybe it was last year or last week. I want you to think about that. And think about what is the gift in that challenge. See, this is an example of you’re not ignoring your challenges, you’re not ignoring the negative. You’re evaluating the “negative,” the difficult, the painful, the challenges. And ask yourself, what is the gift in the challenge that is positive thinking in action? That’s the essence of it. It’s simply looking at the gifts in your challenges, looking at the opportunity that’s found in a crisis, right? When you go through a difficult time in your life, it gives you an opportunity to, as I often say, learn, grow, and become a better version of yourself.


I’m reading another book right now called Value Creation Kid by Scott Donnell. I just literally started it this morning. But the essence of that book is that we, as parents, if you’re a parent, we often try to prevent our kids from having to struggle. It’s very normal, right? You love this person and you hate to see them in pain. You hate to see them struggle. And he talked about what a disservice we are doing for kids by trying to save them or have them avoid enduring struggles because, as you know, it is your struggles that builds your character.


You don’t develop resiliency if you never have to struggle. You don’t expand your capacity to deal with difficult circumstances if you don’t have to deal with difficult circumstances. So, if you’re protected from going through challenges and adversity, then you don’t develop resilience and character and discipline and strength and all of these attributes that serve you to achieve everything that you want in your life.


And if you’ve read Andy Frisella’s book, 75 Hard, or if you follow Andy Frisella on YouTube, a lot of his stuff is it’s pretty intense, his videos, about the state of the world right now and what’s going on and this and that. But Andy Frisella’s entire book, 75 Hard, it’s a 75-day program that is extremely difficult. And the point of it is to build mental toughness. And Andy talks about in the introduction of that book that mental toughness is arguably the single most important characteristic or quality for us to develop because mental toughness is what enables you to push through the difficult aspects of your life, to push through the challenges that you face on your path to achieving extraordinary goals. Think about that.


If you want to achieve extraordinary results, whatever those are, you want to become a millionaire, you want to run a marathon, you have to develop mental toughness. You have to embody mental toughness, right? If you want to be married, if you want to have a successful marriage that endures and be married for the rest of your life and not get a divorce when it gets difficult, you have to develop mental toughness.


And so, this positive attitude is about to develop mental toughness, you can’t judge difficult experiences as bad to be avoided at all costs because if you do, you are not developing mental toughness but mental weakness. You’re saying I’m not strong enough to handle the difficult experiences in my life. I’m not strong enough mentally, so I’m going to avoid them. And when they happen and you can’t avoid them, you break. If you’re not mentally tough, then you break. You break. You give up. And that’s, I mean, people that end their life. And I’m not judging anyone that ends their life.


But consider that, and I know, for me, I’ve been in such dark places that I have thought of ending my life before. And I want you to consider in that moment, is that a moment of mental toughness, mental strength? Or in that moment, am I beyond, are you beyond, are we beyond the mental toughness that we’ve developed? And I feel like, for me, it’s a moment of mental weakness. And thankfully, I was able to dig deep, really deep into the well of mental toughness that I had developed over the years, over the decades, over my lifetime to be able to handle those challenges.


And part of it is going back to what Neale said in the book about thank you for this gift and the treasure that it holds for me. Be assured that it does hold a treasure. Even if you are not seeing it right now, life will prove that to you if you give it a chance. When I was going through the darkest period of my life in 2020, six months of sleep deprivation and hallucinations after three years of chemotherapy, I was in a bad, bad, bad place. Very bad place, very dark place.


What got me through it was one was gratitude and the other was perspective. And the perspective that I took, similar to what I just read from Neale’s book is that it was, oh, maybe like every other experience in my life that was difficult, painful, seemingly unbearable, or insurmountable. Maybe what I’m going through now, and I want you to apply these words to your life right now, maybe what I’m going through now is so that I can overcome this seemingly insurmountable challenge in service of my fellow human beings. Maybe I’m supposed to overcome what I’m dealing with now as difficult and painful and unbearable as it is so that I can learn from it so that I can grow and evolve into a better, more capable version of myself. And then and only then can I help people, my family, my friends, my community, strangers that are themselves enduring similar mental and emotional turmoil and may not have the mental toughness or resiliency or strength or perspective or knowledge or abilities, and maybe they’re on the edge. They’re on the edge of giving up.


But only by me enduring this difficulty in my life now and staying as strong as I possibly can in committing to enduring the challenges that I’m facing now, that you’re facing now, only by my commitment to get through this and end up better on the other side can I help other people, those that I love and those that I lead, which, if you’re like me, hopefully, is every human being on the planet. Every human being on the planet I love, I believe that we’re all part of the human family. I think that it serves us to love each other unconditionally.


And by the way, that doesn’t mean accept other people’s behavior unconditionally, doesn’t mean that I love you unconditionally so that you can do whatever you want and stomp all over me or be horrible or mean or evil. I know and I am saying that because I’m sure that many of your minds went there, like, whoa, whoa, whoa, Hal, what do you mean love everyone unconditionally? There are some people in the world doing some pretty awful things right now. 100%. But do you think hating those people is going to change anything in a positive way? I’d venture to say no.


I don’t know any person that feels hated by someone else and goes, “You know what? Your hate inspires me to be better.” I do know people, though, that have done wrong, but then felt unconditional love from other people and maybe that inspires them to be better. I could almost guarantee that feeling hated is not going to inspire anyone to feel better, but feeling loved is the only thing that would inspire someone to want to be better.


So, that’s what I mean when I say loving all people unconditionally, loving all people unconditionally. I’m all over the place on a few different tangents, but I hope this is valuable. And I do feel when I go on a tangent like this, I feel like I’m channeling this. This is what needs to come through me right now because I didn’t plan on saying any of what I’ve said for the last, I don’t know, five, six, seven, eight minutes.


All right. I want to read another passage from the book and I’m just continuing, back to gratitude, which is the foundation or a foundation or a fundamental aspect of positive thinking. Gratitude, I also have said, is the highest form of happiness. All right, Neale Donald Walsch goes on to say, when gratitude replaces judgment– and by the way, I love this. I want you to really get quiet within yourself and I want you to hear these words and I want you to receive and feel these words. When gratitude replaces judgment, peace spreads throughout your body, gentleness embraces your soul, wisdom fills your mind. Let gratitude replace judgment and your whole experience of life will take a turn for the better in five seconds. Yes, in 5 seconds.


This is because attitude is everything. Attitude puts the course correction in life when you have stepped off of the path. Attitude is like the map of the mind. It is the global positioning system of the brain. And again, tune in. And by the way, when I read this this morning, it reminded me that I’ve actually had a negative attitude more so than I should, more so is than healthy. That’s why I’m sharing this with you because I needed to hear this. And I know I’m not the only one. Here you go.


A negative attitude will send you down the road to unhappiness. There is no avoiding it. It will absolutely happen. And it doesn’t matter what the problem. A positive attitude will put you back on the path to inner peace and happiness. Again, there is no avoiding it. It will absolutely happen. And it doesn’t matter what the problem.


I want to read that paragraph again because it’s so simple, it’s so fundamental, but we’re getting back to the basics because it is so true and it is so useful. I’ll say it again. According to Neale Donald Walsch, a negative attitude will send you down the road to unhappiness. There is no avoiding it. It will absolutely happen and it doesn’t matter what the problem. A positive attitude will put you back on the path to inner peace and happiness. Again, there is no avoiding it. It will absolutely happen. And it doesn’t matter what the problem.


Yet, how can one move into gratitude? Many of you might be wondering this. Yet, how can one move into gratitude when the circumstances or conditions presenting themselves are utterly miserable, desolate, or even life-threatening by knowing that every moment in life is an unparalleled opportunity for you to inwardly declare, express, and experience the divinity that lies within you?


I want to unpack that, and then we’ll wrap up. So, when I was in my car accident and you probably heard this before, so this may be a reminder and I’ll keep it short, but when I was in my car accident, I was grateful. I thanked God for the experience and I said, “I don’t know why this is happening to me, but I have faith that there is a greater purpose in this, that I am supposed to overcome this, to become a better version of myself and then help other people.” That was my mindset.


I told my dad in the hospital, “Dad, you know how I always told you I want to be a motivational speaker ever since I started working for Cutco and giving speeches at conferences.” And he said, “Yes.” I said, “Well, maybe that’s why this car accident happened. Before this car accident, Dad, I never had anything major to talk about. I had a pretty normal life. I was bullied as a kid, but who wasn’t? Just normal stuff. You and Mom were wonderful parents. I had a regular childhood. Nothing to really speak on that was extraordinary, that was worth listening to.” I said, “Dad, maybe that’s why this happened. Maybe I’m supposed to endure this car accident and get through this in the most positive, proactive way I possibly can, and then share my story and what I learned to help other people.” I promise you, that is a 100% true story. I don’t know that it’s word for word. I am paraphrasing, of course, it was 23 years ago that I had that conversation with my dad.


But it’s funny, I literally can picture myself in the hospital bed with my dad sitting next to me on a chair. I can remember that conversation. I can’t remember word for word, but it happened. And here’s the point. That was not me ignoring that I was in a car accident, that was not me ignoring the “negative” aspect of what had happened to me. It was me, it was positive thinking in action. It was saying, man, this is the most difficult thing I’ve ever experienced in my life, but instead of going down a path of negative thinking and telling myself, this is horrible, I’m a victim, I don’t deserve this, this isn’t fair, my life is ruined, I am scarred for life, I may never walk again, tell me how that would have served me. Tell me how your negative thinking serves you when you go, this is terrible, it’s unfair, I don’t deserve it, I’m a victim. Tell me how that serves you. Tell me how that serves humanity, how it serves your family, your loved ones. Tell me how that negative thinking helps you become a better version of yourself to achieve more in your life, to experience happiness. Like Neale Donald Walsch said, negative thinking takes you down the inevitable path to unhappiness. It happens every time, absolutely, no matter what the problem.


So, I maintain a positive attitude and mindset and perspective in the midst of the most difficult time in my life. And I was only 20 years old when I was going through this. And thank God, I applied that at 20 because it set the foundation or it helped to embody this idea of, wow, positive thinking really works. It enables you to get through the most difficult time in your life in the best way possible. When you look for the opportunity in the crisis, when you look for the lesson in the challenge, when you look for the advantage in your adversity, doesn’t mean that you don’t have the challenge, the difficulty, the adversity, the crisis, but it means that you are actively looking for, seeking and extracting value from your experience, whatever that experience is.


So, how are we going to continue? How are we going to remember this? What I’m talking about right now, how will we remember this? When I was reading Neale Donald Walsch’s book, I asked myself, how am I going to remember this? And so, what did I do? I did what I always do, and I put it in the form of an affirmation. I literally wrote word for word. I wrote this down, my text, add to affirmations based on the concepts taught in Happier than God. I am the Creator and I added my own stuff. And then I wrote word for word, a quote, which is a lot of what I read to you today. That is in my affirmations.


If you would like to do the same, you can access the transcript for today’s episode. Today’s episode is 487, and so, you can access it at MiracleMorning.com/487, MiracleMorning.com/487. Look, learning something doesn’t matter unless you live what you learn and it’s easy to learn something. It’s easy to listen to a podcast that’s very passive. You can hit play, you can do other stuff, you can be distracted, you can be driving, you can be running, whatever. That’s learning something. But if you don’t live what you learn, you almost might as well not have even learned it. All it did is give you a quick hit of dopamine and you felt better while you listen to this. I want you to change your life continuously for the better.


So, I’m inviting you. I am challenging you to go and download or just open up. I think you just read the transcript at MiracleMorning.com/487. Underneath the audio of this episode is the transcript and you can copy and paste the lines from today’s episode that resonate with you, whether they’re things I said from my own, wherever it came from, or whether it’s the passages from the book that I read to you. Either way, take what resonated and copy and paste it into an affirmation. Call it whatever you want. Post my positive thinking, affirmation, or Happier than God. I wouldn’t call it Happier than God unless you read the book. I just got my positive thinking, affirmation, or whatever you want to call it.


But the point is, live what you learn. It’s worth the extra 10 minutes or 30 minutes. Think about this. If you could embed what I talked about today into your way of being to where you started thinking, like impeccably, positively about everything that you faced in your life, you’d be happier, you’d be healthier, you’d be more pleasant to be around, and you’d move through your challenges in a way that allowed you to not only develop your abilities and your capacity and your resiliency and your character so that you could help other people do the same.


So, if not for yourself, do this for those you love and those you lead. Go find the transcript. And again, there’s nothing in it for me. Just so you know, there’s no hidden agenda to find the transcript because I embedded a secret in there or something like. Not at all. I’m just wanting you, and if you want, you can just rewind the episode and just write down the pieces that you want to embed in your consciousness, that you want to not just learn, but live.


All right. That’s Episode 1 of Back to the Basics on the Achieve Your Goals podcast, The Power of Positive Thinking, which I think is a book title by Norman Vincent Peale or somebody. Anyway, goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community, I love you. I appreciate you. I hope you got value from today’s episode and I can’t wait to talk to you next week. Take care.

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