529: What to Do When You’re Struggling in Life

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Hal Elrod

Avoiding stress and conflict when we’re struggling is a natural reflex for many of us. Whether it’s in our relationships, businesses, or family, avoiding stress and conflict is a common reaction. Ignoring the things we’re struggling with might help us feel better in the moment, but more often, we limit our progress in countless ways by not tackling our problems directly.

In this episode, I’m sharing the three simple steps in which you can shift your perspective on tough situations. These steps have been transformational to me in helping me beat cancer, rebuild my marriage, and regain control of my finances. By integrating them into your daily life, you’ll not only stop running from your challenges, you’ll start to see them as opportunities for growth and learning. 

The best part? With some practice, you’ll begin to view even your most challenging days as some of your best days ever. Because you chose to push forward, embracing growth over giving in to suffering and pain.



KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Remember: You’re not alone, so stop suffering in silence
  • Why shifting your perspective when times are tough is crucial for personal growth
  • The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph
  • Struggling in life is often unavoidable, but the pain is optional
  • What you don’t schedule, you don’t get done

 

AYG TWEETABLES

 

“The greater the struggle, the greater the opportunity for you to learn, grow, evolve, and come out better and more capable on the other side.”

“Struggle is inevitable, pain is optional.”

 

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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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[INTRODUCTION]

 

Hal Elrod: Hello, friends, welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. And today, we are talking about what to do when you’re struggling in life because all of us, literally all of us, struggle throughout our lives. It is part of life, part of the journey. And today, I’m hoping to help shift your mindset and give you real, practical strategies to be able to move through you the struggle that you’re facing now or that you will face in the future, or maybe the struggles, plural, that you’re facing now. I’m going to give you examples from my life, I’m going to give examples from my friend’s life that actually inspired me to record this episode because I have a couple of friends, in fact, a lot more than a couple, but two friends that came through this last week sharing financial struggles, marital struggles, and I wanted to share what I have done to overcome financial struggles and marital struggles. But really, some ideas, some strategies, some shifts in perspective that are universally applicable no matter what you are facing, that’s challenging in your life right now.

 

Before we dive into the episode and talking about what to do when you are struggling in life, I want to thank our two sponsors and invite you to check out our sponsors that brought you this episode today. The first is Organifi, making the highest quality, organic whole food supplements to help you with any health goal that you have. Literally, you want to improve your health, lose weight, have more energy, enhance your ability to focus or achieve any of your health-related goals, I highly recommend checking out Organifi. Personally, I start my day with Organifi and I use their Focus nootropic to help me think more clearly and concentrate, then I take their Red Juice before my workout to help boost my VO2 output and nitric oxide levels, get a better workout. It increases blood flow and improve cardiorespiratory endurance efficiency, so I can push harder and I can go longer. Then I use their vanilla protein powder, plant-based, vegan organic protein powder after my workout to build muscle mass and repair the micro tears that naturally occur in muscle fibers when you lift weights. If you want to improve your health every morning, head over to Organifi.com/Hal, that is O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I dot-com/Hal, and use the discount code H-A-L, my name, to get 20% off your entire order.

 

And last but not least, CURED Nutrition, if you want to improve your sleep, one of the best solutions I’ve found to do so is combining CBD and CBN oil, and the best product I’ve found that does that is Night Oil by CURED Nutrition, which also comes in capsule form called Night Caps. The CBD has a relaxing effect, while the CBN oil has a sedative effect. So, the combination is a perfect aid to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. When I was going through a period of chronic insomnia, Night Oil and Night Caps were a crucial part of getting my sleep back on track, and I’ve personally given these products to any one of my friends, family, and neighbors who are struggling with sleep and their results have been as effective as my own. So, if you want to improve your sleep, head over to CuredNutrition.com/Hal and use the code H-A-L to get 20% off your entire order.

 

And last but not least, I want to also mention that if you want help with sleep, there is a really meaty 25 or 22-page chapter in the new Miracle Morning Updated and Expanded Edition that has my– it’s called the Miracle Evening, and it’s got my Miracle Evening ritual, 7 steps from about 5 p.m. until about 9 p.m. when I go to bed that helped me to fall asleep, stay asleep, and go to sleep feeling blissful, not stressful. So, you can check that out in the Miracle Morning Updated and Expanded Edition. All right, without further ado, goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community, let’s talk about it. What do we do? What do we do when we are struggling in life? Hope this helps you.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

Hal Elrod: I just got back from Brazilian jiu-jitsu this morning. I took my second class. It was a 6 a.m. class, which, man, that cuts in my Miracle Morning. I’m not sure if I’m going to stick with that time, but anyway, this was my second Brazilian jiu-jitsu class. Actually, third, I did one 10 years ago, but second, at this stage in my life at 44 years old, and the first class that I did a week and a half ago, it beat me up, man. It was a 90-minute “beginner class,” but, man, it beat me up. I had a bunch of injuries and so, I was intending on going like three times last week and I went once, then I let my body heal. And then when I came home from that first class, my wife asked me how it was and if I enjoyed it, and I said, “No, I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was really difficult.” I got beat up and I don’t know what I’m doing, and it’s confusing and I don’t feel competent. I don’t feel capable. And she’s like, “So, you’re not going to go anymore?” I said, “No, I’m going to keep going until it is enjoyable, until I am competent and I am capable.” And that’s going to take a long time and a lot of struggling and a lot of suffering to get there, but it’ll be worth it in the end, right? It’ll be worth it in the end. Even though it’s going to be a struggle, it’ll be worth it in the end.

 

And that’s we’re talking about today in the podcast is what do you do when you’re struggling in life because on the other side of a struggle where you pushed through, you made it through, you kept going, you didn’t give up, usually, you look back with hindsight and you go, “Oh, man, that was tough. But I’m so glad I didn’t give up. I’m so glad I kept going. I’m so glad I pushed through the difficulties, the challenges of wanting to quit.” And whether you are struggling right now, probably not in jiu-jitsu unless, I mean, some of you, maybe you’re taking jiu-jitsu. In fact, I posted on social media that I was doing my first jiu-jitsu class. I got a lot of jiu-jitsu practitioners saying, “Stick with it. It’s hard, but you’re going to love it.” But I’m guessing that’s not an area of life that you’re struggling.

 

In fact, this past week alone, I’ve had two close friends, people who I really care about have told me that they’re really struggling in a couple of areas of life that we can, I would imagine, all of us relate to. I know I did. One is struggling in his marriage, really struggling, like he was in tears yesterday telling me and a couple of friends about it and feeling hopeless. And the other friend, she’s struggling with her finances and told me that her family, they have no money. They’re literally selling possessions to try to pay for their bills. And hearing that is heartbreaking, right? It’s hard to hear someone that you love, that you care about that they’re struggling.

 

And I mentioned the friend who broke down in tears yesterday about his marriage. He shared how hopeless he feels and how sad he is. And the friend that struggling with their finances, it’s difficult, but her family, and she’s married with kids, but they’re being proactive. She’s optimizing her mindset. She told me all the different resources, the audiobooks, and all the things she’s listening to. We’re going to talk about optimizing your mindset today and how important that is when you’re struggling and how to do that. But she’s being proactive. She’s optimizing her mindset every day. She’s hopeful. She’s optimistic. As difficult as that can be in the face of her reality, she’s starting a new business. She’s really being proactive.

 

And then my other friend, also, he’s being proactive. And he shared it with me and a few other friends. We meet every month as part of a dads group and different times, we come and we’re vulnerable and we’re open and we support each other. It’s the Front Row Dads. And we meet every month, and there’s actually four to five of us, depending on the timing. But he was being proactive rather than suffering in silence, which too many of us do. And that’s another thing I’m going to talk about today is asking for help, seeking help, not suffering in silent because that can be very detrimental to our mental and emotional well-being because we feel lonely and we feel isolated and we feel scared and we feel hopeless.

 

But when you talk to other people and you share your struggles and you’re willing to be vulnerable, you tend to get a new perspective, or some advice, maybe from they’ve had experience, oh, I was there. Here’s what I did. In fact, some of what I shared with you today is I was there, I related to both of my friends. I was at points in my life, well, specifically, I had a financial crisis where I didn’t have enough money to pay my bills. And that lasted for, I mean, almost a year. And beyond that, in terms of the effects from my credit, going down the tubes and all of that, but I was going deeper and deeper into debt every day. And I did feel hopeless and afraid. And thoughts of suicide crossed my mind. I didn’t know what to do. So, I have experienced the financial crisis. And I’m sure many of you have or maybe are going through that right now.

 

I’ve also been at points in my marriage where my wife and I were in such a perpetual state of conflict that I did feel hopeless and I couldn’t see how we were ever going to make it work. And I definitely contemplated divorce, even though we agreed that was never an option. There are times where you’re in such a challenged state of mind based on usually challenging circumstances or situations or relationships that you don’t see a way out and you don’t know what to do and you feel hopeless and you feel afraid and you maybe feel like giving up.

 

So, I will say that in both of those instances, my financial crisis and of course, I haven’t only had one financial crisis. I mean, that was the worst one. But there have been times where I was on the edge of, hey, if we don’t figure out our income, we’re heading in the wrong direction. We’re spending more money than we’re making. I’ve been in that situation as a business owner many times where it’s very stressful and it’s very scary when you’re depleting your savings to pay the bills and you’re not making enough money to pay the bills. And so, you’re going backwards. I’ve spent years in that situation where I spent more money than I made. But again, I’m referencing the 2008 financial crash where I wasn’t even able to live off savings because I had none. I was just living on credit cards, going into debt. So, that was the best or the closest situation that I could relate to my friend.

 

But anyway, in both instances, when my marriage has been at its rock bottom, when my finances have been at their rock bottom, I’ve been able to turn those things around, achieving financial security, co-creating an extraordinarily happy and harmonious relationship with my wife, Ursula. And so, I’m just going to share with you today what’s worked for me, what continues to work for me whenever I’m struggling in areas of my life. The last few years, I’ve talked really openly with y’all about my biggest struggle has been the aftereffects of enduring over 700 hours of highly toxic chemotherapy and the damage that it did to my brain. And that is an ongoing struggle that I feel like sometimes, I take a step forward and two steps back and maybe take two steps forward. I recently did stem cells in my brain. That was the first time in probably three years that I felt like, oh, my gosh, there’s hope. Like, these stem cells, I think they’re working. And that’s been a few weeks. So, I’m still feeling pretty, pretty good.

 

But let’s dive in to what you can do right now, and really, these aren’t just like right now, acute solutions. These are some first principles, some things that you can do ongoing whenever you’re struggling and also even preventative, to prevent yourself from struggling. So, number one, and by the way, these aren’t rocket science. Don’t be looking for like, oh, my gosh, that’s revolutionary. Look for like, oh yeah, that’s a fundamental that I really need to be present to, I really need to be more intentional about doing that on a daily basis, right? That’s I don’t want you to go, oh, my gosh, I’ve never heard this before. It’s like, I want you to hear something that maybe you’ve heard it before or you’re going to hear it in a new way or you’re going to hear it at a time when you really need it. If you’re struggling in life, I would imagine you need it.

 

And one thing that happens when we struggle is when our emotional well-being is subpar, our cognitive abilities are also impaired. I’ll say that again. When our emotional well-being is subpar, our cognitive abilities are also impaired. You do not make your best decisions when you are stressed out. And I’m not really qualified. I’ve read a lot, but I do not qualify this. The biological process of what’s actually happening in your brain that the cortisol levels being spiked, how that prevent– there’s other chemical reactions within your brain, where actually, there’s like a reason why it’s not just, well, I feel bad, so I can’t think clear. It’s like, no, there’s actual chemical processes in your brain that are happening that prevent you from having clarity of thought and clarity of mind.

 

So, number one, the number one thing to do when you are struggling in life and also, to prevent struggle is to optimize your mindset, optimize your mindset every day. And if the word optimize doesn’t resonate with you, use a word like nurture your mindset or manage your mindset. And the reason I’m harping on that is, I think I’ve said this before, language is so important. Different words have different impacts for each of us, right? If one of your parents or a mentor in your life uses the word optimize over and over in a positive connotation and you just resonate with that word, great.

 

So like, I love the word optimize. I try to optimize every area of my life, right? My wife can’t stand that word. For her, the meaning is very different. The way it lands is different for her. She’s like, she always tells me, “Stop trying to optimize everything. Just relax and go with the flow.” So, I guess it’s my wife’s voice in my head that’s like, “Hal, people might not want to optimize their mindset. They might want to nurture it. They might want to manage it.” So, whatever word works for you, but the point is taking care of your mindset is arguably, your number one priority every moment of every– I won’t say every moment, but let me say every day. Every single day, I would argue that your number one priority is to optimize your mindset. Think about that for a second. Because I just said earlier, right, a minute ago, that when your emotional state, your mindset, your thoughts and emotions are impaired, are subpar, well, your cognitive abilities are also impaired, so you cannot think clearly. And you don’t need the data for you to know this. You know this experientially, right? When you’re stressed and you’re overwhelmed, it’s really challenging to see the sunshine through the clouds. All you can see is the clouds, right? That’s where that feeling of hopelessness comes from.

 

And so, to optimize your mindset, like, how do you do that? Okay, great, Hal, I should optimize mindset every day. I get it. Why is that important? Well, because I need to have an optimal mindset, a clear mind, a peaceful mind, a non-reactive mind, a non-stressed, not a stressed and overwhelmed mind because when we’re stressed and overwhelmed, we’re not making our best decisions. We don’t have clarity of thought. Okay, got it. Well, how do you do that? How do you optimize your mindset every day?

 

Number one, and I’m going to give you a handful or a few different ideas here, a few different strategies, but the first is shift your perspective. Shift your perspective. And if you want to maybe elaborate on that, it would be to shift to an empowering perspective. Shift to an empowering perspective, right? A disempowering perspective is life sucks, it’s hopeless. There’s no chance. I can’t turn it around. The negative self-talk, that’s a disempowering perspective. But an empowering perspective would be I am capable of anything that I put my mind to. Other people have been where I am and they’ve overcome it, and that is proof that I can overcome what I’m going through as well. These are all examples of empowering perspectives.

 

Another one is this is temporary, right? This moment in time, this moment in my life is temporary. Think about it. You’ve been through struggles in your life before. You’ve likely felt helpless before, and yet, you made it through. And you’ll make it through this too, right? That’s an empowering perspective to remember that struggle is part of the process. Struggle is part of life. And if you want to go even further to create an empowering perspective around struggle, it would be that struggle is a gift, that the greater the struggle, the greater the opportunity for you to learn, grow, evolve, and come out better and more capable on the other side.

 

See, total shift in perspective. If you’re looking at your struggles in life as you’re labeling them as bad or terrible or unbearable or unfair, that’s a disempowering perspective. And now, the struggle is controlling you. The struggle has control over you. The challenge, the difficulty that you’re facing is in control because you’ve given it the power. This struggle is bad. It’s terrible. It’s unbearable. It’s overwhelming. It’s too much. I can’t handle it. And so, now, you’ve given away your power versus this struggle is temporary, this struggle is part of life. It is inevitable.

 

And I brought up some quotes on struggle. I have a whole screen of them in front of me. Here’s a great one from Swami Sivananda. Swami Sivananda said, “The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph. Self-realization demands very great struggle.” When I used to talk about my car accident, 20 years old, hit on by a drunk driver, broke 11 bones, told I would never walk again, spent a week in a coma, six weeks in hospital or seven weeks, and I used to always say this, and I meant it. I didn’t say this for show. It was my own belief was my car accident was the greatest thing that at that point in my life, before I had kids, I was 20 years old, before I was married, but I was adamant that my car accident is the best thing that ever happened to me. It is the best. And people go, “What are you talking about, dude? That sounds horrible.” I go, “It was horrible.” Just like jiu-jitsu this morning was horrible. I weigh 150 pounds, right? I’m not a big guy, especially after the chemo, it took off a lot of my weight.

 

But anyway, 150 pounds, I was rolling with this guy. Most of the guys in class, and it’s all men, there are some new guys. But they always tell you go with an experienced guy. And the reason is, you say, “Hey, I’m brand new.” And then they actually go, “Hey, let me show you the technique. You’re doing it wrong. Let me give you some coaching.” So, this morning, I had a 250-pound guy. He outweighed me by 100 pounds. And I think he was kind of an egomaniac. I don’t know for sure, but just I got the impression (a) I feel like when I approach him, like, “Hey, I’m brand new, can I go with you?” It’s like, it was kind of like an eye roll going, “Oh, my God, I don’t want to roll with this.” I got this new guy and he put all his weight on me. I felt like he was trying to prove how much better than me he was when like, yeah, dude, it’s my second day.

 

Anyway, what was the point of me saying all that? Well, something about the point of struggle, right? It was unbearable today. The struggle, the challenge was there. But the point is, if I commit to the struggle and I embrace the struggle, right? That’s an empowering perspective rather than reject the struggle, resist the struggle, and try to avoid the struggle, which, by the way, we all do that, I do that. I avoid struggle at all costs. Now, in jiu-jitsu, I guess, not in that situation, but for the most part in life, I don’t want to struggle financially. I do everything that I can to not have to struggle financially again. I don’t want to struggle my marriage, but I also know that’s part of marriage, right? I used to be, I’m the eternal optimist. I had this utopian vision of marriage where there’s no conflict and no struggle. And my wife would be like, “That’s not how marriage works.”

 

And years ago, I had a counselor. The counselor was like, “Yeah, Hal, that’s not how marriage works. Marriage, there will be conflict.” I was trying to avoid it. So, when conflict happened, this is actually a really great analogy for what we’re talking about right now in this example I’m giving to embrace the struggle. I, like most of us, avoided struggle in my marriage, and when it would happen, I would get so upset and go, “I just want harmony. Why do you have to be angry? Or why do you have to be upset? Why can’t we just have harmony?” And I would get angry that she was angry, right? And round and round, we went.

 

But the point was, I had labeled struggle in a marriage as totally taboo, totally unacceptable. It is unacceptable to be in an unharmonious marriage, to struggle. And because my perspective on conflict and struggle in a marriage was that it is bad, it is terrible, it is to be avoided at all cost, it is unacceptable, that perspective caused me a ton of pain. Because they say struggle is unavoidable, but pain is optional. If you have a disempowering perspective about your struggle, that’s what creates the pain. It’s not actually the struggle that you’re enduring in your life right now. I want you to hear these words, really embrace that. It’s not the struggle in your life right now that you’re enduring. And please have that in mind. I’m sure it’s probably something every day you’re dealing with. We all are struggling with something.

 

What are your biggest struggles right now? Is it marriage? Is it finances? And often, it’s both because what’s the number one cause of divorce? I’ve read that it is financial challenges, right? That creates conflict in marriage. So, very often, your struggles start to compound. I know for, in 2008, when I had the financial challenge, then it created all sorts of conflict in my– at that time. I was engaged, I believe, or not even engaged, I think we’re boyfriend and girlfriend, and then it created issues in my health because I couldn’t afford the gym membership and I started buying cheap food. So, it’s like my financial struggle turned into a relational struggle with my significant other, with Ursula, turned into a health struggle. I wasn’t exercising, right? So, a lot of times, your struggle will cascade into other areas.

 

And here’s the thing. If you have a disempowering perspective, if you don’t follow the other tools that I’m going to share with you today, you’re more likely for your struggle to be amplified because, again, struggle is inevitable, pain is optional. Mental pain, emotional pain is optional. And so, starting with that empowering perspective, shift your perspective right now and embrace the struggle because the struggle, it is arguably your greatest opportunity and your greatest asset for your self-realization, your self-actualization, becoming the best version of yourself. And if you’re not in struggle right now in your life, if you’re not– I should’ve said this in the beginning, but if you’re not struggling, if, like, life’s perfect, more struggles are coming, right? Like, no one goes through life without any struggle.

 

And the greater the struggle, again, typically, what did Swami Sivananda said? The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph, the better you feel at the end of it, but we’ve got to go through it. Like, a marathon, people run marathons. Why do they run marathons? It’s a struggle. It’s painful. It’s difficult. You feel like giving up over and over and over and over again. But I always say, like, when I run my marathon, I go, “It was the worst day of my life.” And that’s why it was the best day of my life because I didn’t give up on mile 8 when I wanted to, or 9 or 10 or 11, right? If you run a marathon, then once you get to those higher miles, you’re just like, “Oh, I can’t do this.” And you’re fighting with your inner disempowering perspective, right? The more empowering perspective you have, that’s when you can push through the struggle and it doesn’t cause you nearly as much pain.

 

One other thing to optimize your mindset, I want to give you a few other strategies, right? So, first is perspective. The other is you’ve got to be clear on what’s out of your control and accept it unconditionally. And I won’t go in-depth on this because this is my bread and butter. This is the topic I talked about all the time. In fact, in the new Miracle Morning Updated and Expanded Edition, that final chapter of the Miracle Life, I teach the ABCs of the Miracle Life, and the A is accept life exactly as it is. And it doesn’t mean you’re happy with every circumstance, but it’s far more powerful than that. You can be at peace with life exactly as it is.

 

When I came out of my coma, I couldn’t change it. I was in a car accident, so it was clear on that, but I could choose to be at peace with what I couldn’t change. And then from there, go further than just being at peace with it, which is kind of emotionally neutral. And I actually go, “I want to actually be genuinely grateful and happy while I endure the most difficult time in my life. It was a decision I made in the hospital as I was recovering from my car accident, that as I go through, and I want you to really consider this because I’m inviting you, this is taking your perspective on struggle to the next level versus to embrace and go, okay, I’m going to learn, I’m going to grow, I’m going to evolve. You can do that begrudgingly, right?

 

And then it’s to accept that I can’t change these aspects of my life. And by the way, there are very few things you can’t change moving forward. Although let’s say you lost a limb, well, you can’t change that you lost a limb. Now, maybe you can get a prosthetic limb, right? If you got a divorce, you can’t change that you got a divorce. Maybe you can go back and remarry that person. But my point is, really, it’s important to be distinct about the difference, differentiate between what you can and you cannot change. And the easiest way to the starting place for what you cannot change is anything that’s ever happened. That’s really black and white unless you’re Marty McFly with a Delorean, right? You can’t go back in time and change what’s already happened.

 

But think about what we’re upset over more often than not. Usually, when we’re upset, it’s often over something that already happened, just happened. Someone does or says something, you get in the car accident, you learn bad news. You see something on on the news that you’re watching, right? And you are now upset over something that you cannot change. You cannot go back in time. Whether it’s five minutes, five months, or five decades ago, you cannot change it.

 

And so, we can either resist reality and wish the unchangeable aspects of our past and present and future. We could wish they were different. You can get angry at the person in the White House or your spouse or whatever, but you can’t change what other people did. And you can choose to either dwell on it, resist it, wish it were different, or accept it and be at peace with it. And when you realize that, yeah, the only logical choice that I have is to accept the unchangeable aspects of life past, present, and future, and consciously choose to be at peace with them. And in the Miracle Morning book, in that chapter on the Miracle Life, I teach how to do that and we’ve talked about it on the podcast. I share the 5-minute rule, can’t change it, etc., etc.

 

And last thing I want to reference on optimizing your mindset, I want to reference the work of my friend Dr. Benjamin Hardy. He’s been on a podcast, I think, twice before. And he wrote a book called The Gap and the Gain. It’s based on a strategy, a principle taught by his mentor, Dan Sullivan. And by the way, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, The Gap and the Gain. It’s really good. And I’ll share with you the premise right now. And I encourage you to read the book, buy the book. I’m rereading it right now for the second time.

 

And The Gap and the Gain is essentially that, most of us, human nature is to live in the gap. And the gap, by the way, it’s basically you’re looking at the negative side of things, but specifically, the gap is where you’re measuring your progress against an ideal or you’re measuring anything in your life against an ideal. So, for example, if your spouse says something or someone else in your life says something and it really upsets you and you go, well, I can’t believe. They should have apologized or they should have, they should have, they should have. How often do we– that person should have done things differently. Well, yeah, but they didn’t. You’re measuring what they did. You’re measuring reality against the gap between an ideal that you have in your mind.

 

How much conflict in marriages and relationships would be eliminated if we stopped measuring what someone else did or said against an ideal? Possibly an unreachable ideal or maybe an unknowable ideal, where we assume they should have known that because I know that because that’s how I was raised. What was wrong with them? It’s like, well, they didn’t know that, and so, measuring the gap or the gap between where you are in your life right now and where you thought you’d be at this age or at this stage in your life. So, when you’re in the gap, you’re always measuring yourself against an ideal, and therefore, you always are unhappy about whatever you’re measuring. You’re not where you could be, where you should be. The other person isn’t measuring up to your expectations on and on and on.

 

The gain, however, is where you measure where you are based on where you were. So, it’s always measuring progress. You’re always measuring progress, how far you’ve come, what you have accomplished. And so, what I’ve been doing each night before bed, this is a new practice for me since rereading the book is, I write down my gains for the day. And you can do this at night or you can do it in the morning and during your miracle morning, write down your gains from the day before. But this has been transformative, y’all, because when the day ends, we often are stressed out, again, because human nature is to go in the gap. It’s to live in the gap. Most people that we know live in the gap.

 

And the more of an achiever you are, and Ben really breaks this down in the book, but the more of an achiever you are, the more you’re measuring against an ideal because what you have in your mind are these ideals of everything you’re working to achieve and you’re looking at other people and what they’re achieving. So, you’re constantly in the gap measuring yourself and your progress, your income, your whatever, or your marriage against the ideals that you have in your mind, right? How often that you look at another person, you go, man, their life looks perfect? They’ve got it all figured out. Their marriage is so great. They get a– and then you’re comparing yours against that ideal and you don’t feel good. And so, you constantly go through life feeling inadequate, unfulfilled, unsatisfied, unsuccessful, insecure because we’re living in the gap.

 

So, every night, I now write down my gains for the day. And sometimes, they’re gains on– oh, I should have had my journal. I don’t have it, but I can run through. Yesterday, I woke up at 4 a.m. yesterday, did my Miracle Morning. That was my first gain. And then, oh, I don’t remember, my memory is terrible. I played with my son yesterday. I took his friend and him on a go-kart ride. My wife and I snuggled in the morning. She texted me, said, “You want to come snuggle?” I was like, “Oh, heck yeah.”

 

So, I broke my Miracle Morning to go cuddle with my wife. I picked up my daughter from school. What else? I mean, there’s a bunch more stuff. Oh, I met with three of my Front Row Dads’ band yesterday, four of my closest friends, actually, yesterday. Every month, we meet once a month. It’s the Front Row Dads’ band, and we talk about being the best dads we can be. We talk about marriage. We talk about life and how we’re doing as human beings, and we just love and support each other. It’s a phenomenal, phenomenal group.

 

So, I wrote all my gains at the end of the night, and the beauty of it is every night now that I’ve been doing that, and this is only my first week doing this, so it’s like a new practice. But every night, I journal a page of my gains for the day, and sometimes, they’re big picture gains, like the first day, I wrote down big picture. I’m married to a woman who I love and she loves me, and we are both committed to growing together and evolving our marriage, right? Like, that was number one.

 

Number two, I have two amazing, healthy children who love me and who I love and who I am trying to be the best dad I can be for them. But I’m telling you, I’m in the gain all the time. As a dad, I’m in the gain all the time. As a dad, it’s like, oh man, I could be a better dad. I should be a better daddy. I should have spent more time this week with my kids. Why didn’t– or read something in a book that says, oh, when my kids were eight years old, I started this practice with them. And we did this every week, and it created this tradition. And now, I’m in the gap. I’m going, oh, I should have done that. I wish I would have known that when my kids were eight years old, right. I’m in the gap, but the gain isn’t. It’s just simply a matter of shifting your perspective and it optimizes your mindset. You’re writing down, and by the way, that could be a gratitude list. Your gains list could be a gratitude list. You call it whatever you want. These are the things I’m grateful for.

 

What I like about gains is these are like the positive things that happened in my life today. And by the way, there’s been a gain where it’s like, my wife and I, we had a major disagreement today, like major conflict, but we both learned, grew from it. And we apologized, we took ownership. We made it through the struggle. And now, we’re better on the other side, right? So, sometimes, the struggle is the gain. The struggle is the gain very often. All right?

 

All right, so that’s number one. Optimize your mindset every day. In the Miracle Morning, I mean, that to me, that is what the Miracle Morning does. It optimizes your mindset through silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing or journaling. All six of those practices help to optimize your mindset.

 

Number two, so number one thing to do when you are struggling in life is every day. And I spent more time on that than I will on these last two because optimizing your mindset, again, I believe that is arguably the most important thing you can do every single day because if you have an optimal mindset and you are at peace with the things you can’t change, you’re embracing the struggle as you’re going through it, you’re doing it from a place of a growth mindset where you’re trying to learn, you’re trying to grow, so on and so forth, then the struggle is not going to own you. You’re going to own the struggle because you are taking ownership of how you think, what you focus on, how you feel, and you’re optimizing your mindset so that, again, you’re at peace, you’re optimistic, you’re proactive, so on and so forth.

 

The number two thing is to seek help. The number two thing to do when you are struggling in life is to seek help. I’ll tell you. My friend the other day that shared about his marriage, there was a few of us there. There were a few friends, and he was sharing it with all of us, and we all asked a lot of questions and shared some different perspectives and different advice. But by the end of it– we were together for a couple of hours, and by the end of it, he said, “I don’t feel hopeless anymore.” He had a list. He had taken notes on different things that people had said, and he said, “I don’t feel hopeless anymore. I feel hopeful, I feel optimistic,” right? What happened during that time, during those two hours is by him seeking help, being vulnerable, not suffering in silence, and in sharing how difficult things were, and none of us knew that he had gotten to that point where was that that difficult. And I’m not going to go into any detail or too much detail, but once he was vulnerable, he asked for help. He was vulnerable with his struggles. Within two hours, it completely shifted his mindset because we helped shift his perspective.

 

So, one way to shift your perspective, these are all kind of related, but is to seek help. When you seek help, that shifts your perspective and because you’re getting other people’s perspective. I mean, so often, I’m struggling in an area, even just how I view an expense in my life, and then I’ll share with my wife and she’ll share a different perspective. And I go, “Thank you. I feel so much better. I feel infinitely better.”

 

Another way to seek help, by the way, is not just to ask for it, but it’s to actively learn in that area, actively learn in the area that you are struggling in. And you’re five seconds in a Google search away from learning in an area. In fact, this morning, before I went to jiu-jitsu, today, was a no-gi class. I don’t know if you know what that means, but the gi, it’s like a robe, kind of like a heavy-duty robe that you wear. And Brazilian jiu-jitsu started with a gi. So, you’re using the other person’s robe to hold them down, and you’re each using the robe. It’s almost like a tool or a weapon in the combat.

 

And then no-gi is where you’re just in regular clothes. So, it kind of mimics more of maybe like a street fight or something like that, so you can protect yourself. Where was I going with that? Oh, so this morning, I was like, should I be learning no-gi or gi, right? And I just went on YouTube and I searched no-gi versus gi, and first video that popped up was like, “Are you new to jiu-jitsu? You’re wondering if you should learn no-gi or gi. Jiu-jitsu, right, here it is.” The point is, you’re one YouTube search away or one Google search away from getting a new perspective through new knowledge, new information, or straightforward. Literally, someone saying, hey, here’s a different way to look at this thing. Here’s a perspective. That is invaluable.

 

And I go back to 2008 when the US economy crashed and I crashed with it, and I was desperate and hopeless. After six months, I ordered a book by Michael Port called Book Yourself Solid because it was for people with service-based businesses, and it was strategies on how to get more clients than you can handle. And I had lost over half of my clients. So, I want you to really hear how simple, but yet, life-changing and effective this is. So, I ordered a book to improve in that area, and within two months, applying what I learned in that book, I doubled my income because I doubled the amount of clients that I got, right?

 

So, what happens is when we feel hopeless, we often forget a lot of these fundamentals. We often forget to go seek new perspectives and to seek help and just to read articles or watch videos that will immediately shift our perspective, improve our mindset. So, number two, seek help, actively learn in the area that you’re struggling, YouTube, Google, books, and then ask for actual help from human beings, people that you know, people that love you, people that trust you, right? Whether that’s a friend or family member or it’s a therapist, if you have a therapist, but obviously, seeking help is crucial and often we don’t do that. Too many of us suffer in silence.

 

In fact, you think about– well, I don’t want to go there. All right. Number three, do one thing every day to improve your situation. And this is it. I mean, I’m wanting to keep this as simple as possible for you. Do one thing every day to improve your situation. And actually, I’m going to add to that. Schedule time. Schedule time to do one thing every day to improve your situation. That’s it. That’s what I did in 2008. I had an hour scheduled to implement what I learned in that book. Every day, I had one hour in the morning from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. to review my notes, my underlines and notes from the book, Book Yourself Solid, and then to implement one thing every day. And it was like a snowball. I got more and more momentum, more and more confidence. And of course, change is often slow. At first, it’s slow, but it’s like a snowball, and then it gains momentum, and then you start to have major breakthroughs and turn your life around.

 

And in terms of what to do when you’re struggling in life, so reviewing those three. Number one, optimize your mindset, and that starts by shifting your perspective to embrace the struggle to realize, like Swami Sivananda said, “The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph. Self-realization demands very great struggle.” Also, remind yourself that struggle is temporary and you’ve been here before. You faced difficult situations, you felt hopeless, and yet, you made it through. You became a better version of yourself through the process and you look back with hindsight, possibly with gratitude for your struggle. And if you didn’t, I’d encourage you to do that now. Take that perspective one.

 

And then number two is to seek help, learn the area, and actually, ask people for their advice, right? Share your perspective, bounce ideas off. And by the way, sometimes, just by talking through your issues out loud to someone you feel safe with, you will gain new perspectives and insights without them even saying anything, without them giving you any advice. You’ll gain new perspectives and insight, and then you might even come up with a solution on your own through just talking it out.

 

And then number three, you got to be proactive. Schedule time to do one thing every day to improve your situation. Take action, create momentum by doing something. Like I said, it will snowball. It might be slow at first. It might be difficult because your mindset is still not optimal and you’re working on making your mindset better. You’re working on getting help from other people, or reading books or articles or YouTube videos to learn. And then as you do all of that, you’re going to– and you have time every day in your schedule because if you don’t schedule time to improve the situation, it’s not going to improve itself, right? That might be worth writing down. If you’re not sold on that you got to schedule time every day to improve your situation, if you don’t schedule time every day to improve your situation, it is not going to improve itself.

 

All right, let’s wrap today up. I love you. I really do love you. And I really hope that you are going to take this to heart. And maybe not all of it, maybe you only needed one of the tips that I gave today, but just take this. Do something to improve your situation because, again, you deserve it. You’re capable of it. This is temporary. And every struggle makes you stronger. So, I love you, and I’ll talk to you all next week. Take care.


[END]

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