539: 8 Steps to Take Your Challenges Head On

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Hal Elrod

Do you ever feel like life has gotten too complicated and find yourself longing for simpler times? I know that I do. 

However, wishing and wanting that reality were different doesn’t change anything; it just makes us feel helpless. We must find our inner strength to face life and its challenges head-on so that we can enjoy the life we have while we create the life we want. 

In today’s podcast episode, I’m sharing the 8 steps from my first book, Taking Life Head On: How to Love the Life You Have While You Create the Life of Your Dreams. You’ll learn the steps I applied each day that got me through some of the roughest patches in my life and enabled me to create the life of my dreams so that you can do the same. 

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Effort + commitment = extraordinary achievements
  • To create the life of your dreams, you must love the life you have
  • Everyone’s a work in progress, including you – and that’s perfectly fine
  • People usually get what they expect, not what they wish for
  • Life is only as good or bad as you think it is
  • The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step
  • Action precedes motivation, not the other way around
  • Do the right thing, not the easy thing

 

AYG TWEETABLES

“The most powerful force in the universe that we have access to is our word.”

“There is no someday. Your life is now. Your life is happening right now, at this moment, and will be determined by the actions you take. Who you are becoming is being defined by the decisions you make today about how you are spending your time and living your life.”

“The life of your dreams, the person that you have dreamt of becoming, and everything you've ever wanted is available to you just waiting for you to make the commitment to create it.”

“Love people not because they are perfect or because they always know what you want or how you want to be treated. Love them because they are imperfect, just like you.”

 

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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! :^)

 

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[INTRODUCTION]

 

Hal Elrod: Hello, friends. Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod, and my voice is barely hanging on today. I don’t know why but last night my voice started to go as my wife and I were playing pickleball with a couple of friends and I don’t know why. I wasn’t really yelling yesterday. I don’t know what’s going on. But regardless, today’s episode is about how to love the life you have while you create the life you want or create the life of your dreams.

 

And what came up for me this morning as I was on my bike ride and pondering, what should I share on the podcast today? And I had a few ideas in mind. What came through me was how to love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams. It’s something that it’s the subtitle of my original book. Many of you may have no idea that I published a book in 2006 called Taking Life Head On: How To Love The Life You Have While You Create The Life of Your Dreams. And I started writing that book when I was 21 years old. It took me six years and I published it when I was around 27.

 

And so, I thought, “Oh, I’m going to crack that book open and share some of the wisdom from within.” And that book, by the way, there’s a subtitle to the subtitle which is Taking Life Head On: The Hal Elrod Story. So, it was very much a book about my story of the car accident, the head-on collision with the drunk driver. That’s where the name, Taking Life Head On, came from, the title of the book. And I’ll tell you, when I go back and review that book, honestly, there’s a lot of wisdom in it but the writing is often cringeworthy to me. I was a lot younger, very different level of consciousness.

 

But if you go to Amazon, and I’m not trying to encourage you to buy the book. In fact, I almost say, don’t buy the book. I think it’s more for like high school. Like, the reading level is like high school, college, maybe. Yeah, most of the reviews are from people in their 40s and 50s and 60s. And I’ll read you a few of the headlines. And the reason I’m reading this, by the way, is not for you to go buy that book. It’s just to create a little credibility for today’s episode because I’m going to read to you today the last chapter in the book, Live Every Day Like Your Life Depends on It.

 

And that sums up the eight-step Taking Life Head On formula that I shared in that book. And it gives a lot of foundational wisdom for loving the life you have, creating the life that you want. And some of the headlines for the reviews on Amazon, “A captivating book.” “Great inspirational book.” “Inspiring memoir.” “A fantastic real-life hero story.” “The story and message included is one that will transform your life.” “Life changing.” “Mind-blowing.” “Most valuable information to take action on the life we dream for, accept things, and work to make changes.” “Love it from the first letter.” I’m literally just reading you these in order.

 

So, anyway, the point is the message in the book seems to resonate with a lot of people. And today, I just got the message during my bike ride that this was what I was supposed to share with you today. So, I don’t exactly know why. I’m sure that every word I share will not resonate with you but I hope that you can find one or two or a few ideas that will really be impactful for you in your life because I do believe that those are the two sides of the coin to a life of true fulfillment, right? One side of the coin being learning to love the life that you have.

 

Because as I talked about when I read this chapter today, this is the only life we have, right? We have one life, and either we love it along the way, or we allow our love for life and ourselves and every moment to be dependent on our ever-changing circumstances. And that’s a recipe for losing control of your personal well-being. So, today we talked about how do you choose to love the life that you have, regardless of when it may be difficult or not. And then the other side of the coin of living a great life is actively creating the life of your dreams.

 

And it’s kind of a cliche phrase. It’s, again, kind of cliche but the life that you want, the life you aspire to live, it’s simply making gradual daily improvements and creating this life that you want. I’m preparing for a Front Row Dads webinar that we’re going to host here. Actually, when you listen to this, we will have hosted it the same day, I believe. But I’m preparing for that. And I was really looking at what are the three keys to being the parent or the dad in this case that your kids deserve?

 

And number one is to lead by example. It’s to eat healthy and exercise and do all of these things, right, to set goals and work towards them and working towards predetermined goals. I mean, you’re listening to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. That is what gives us a sense of direction and a sense of fulfillment. So, today, I’m reading you Chapter 16 in the book, Taking Life Head On, Live Every Day Like Your Life Depends On It.

 

Before we dive into the episode, I want to take just a couple of minutes to thank our two sponsors. Organifi, making the highest quality whole food organic supplements to improve your physical health, energy, vitality, sleep, you name it. If you want a fast, easy way to boost your nutrition and boost your health, head over to Organifi.com/Hal. That is O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I, Organifi.com/Hal and use the discount code ‘HAL’ for 20% off your entire order. And every day I take Organifi supplements. I take their liver reset pills. I take their turmeric pills, capsules. I take their balanced probiotic. I use their Red Juice before my workout. I drink their Protein Powder after my workout. I mean, I’m a huge fan because the company makes the highest quality products. I’ve toured their facilities. I trust their integrity of Organifi. So, I encourage you to do the same and check out Organifi.com/Hal to boost your nutrition, energy, and health.

 

And last but not least, I want to thank our sponsor, CURED Nutrition. CURED Nutrition makes also high-quality whole foods supplements that are based in the miracle cannabis plant, CBD oil CBN oil, microdosing THC oil. If you want to harness the benefits of what I believe are one of the most powerful plants on the planet, the cannabis plant, head over to CUREDNutrition.com/Hal. And if you struggle with sleep, my favorite product of CURED is their Night Caps, also available in Nighttime Oil, and that is CBD and CBN oil in the perfect ratio to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Again, that’s Night Caps or Night Oil at CURED Nutrition.com/Hal.

 

All right without further ado, my friends, let’s talk about living every day like your life depends on it, taking life head on, loving the life you have, and creating the life of your dreams because you, my friend, deserve nothing less. Here we go.

 

[EPISODE]

 

Hal Elrod: “Living every day like your life depends on it. How you spend your days is the greatest measure of who you are becoming” – Mark Lovas. I sold knives like my life depended on it, and ultimately it did. This is the greatest lesson that I have learned, to live every day like your life depends on it because it does. This is the opposite of living every day like it doesn’t really matter. Each day of your life does matter because it is who you are becoming in every moment that determines the life you are creating for yourself. In order to truly love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams, you must do it every day. There are no time-outs in life and there is no pause button. Today is your life. Goals and dreams for the future are vital but only when they are backed by daily actions consistent with making them into a reality. Otherwise, your goals and dreams are nothing more than a fantasy.

 

For the past seven years, nearly one-third of my life from age 19 to 26 selling knives has been what I chose to do, and everything I am today is because of the choices I made every day to be and give my best. It was through unwavering faith and putting forth extraordinary effort each day that allowed me to create the life of my dreams. It wasn’t about the knives, the money, or the Cutco fame. All of these things brought me joy but it was the process that defined me. It was the choices I made every day when I woke up about how I would spend my time. These choices shaped my life and continue to do so.

 

Looking back, I see that at first, I didn’t realize my own potential. It was my mentor, Jesse, and other mentors in Vector that saw the potential within me. It was in borrowing confidence from them that I took my first steps toward my desired future. It was in the decision I made on the second day of training to attempt breaking the fast start record, something I had no idea how to do, that my destiny began to take shape.

 

Once I was committed, the how, H-O-W, revealed itself. And it was during those instrumental first days of selling Cutco through my taking action in spite of my fears and failures, that I proved to myself that I could create anything I wanted as long as I was willing to commit to the effort. My earlier decision to take Cutco head-on made it possible for me to take the rest of my life head-on as well. Who I became was the man that when faced with the greatest challenge of my life, would have the strength, positive attitude, and emotional fortitude to take adversity head on.

 

Had it not been for my experience selling Cutco, I honestly don’t know who I would have been at the time I was hit by the drunk driver. I cannot promise you that I would have been able to handle such physical, mental, and emotional challenges. Upon awakening from my coma after the car accident, for a brief moment, I questioned myself. I questioned whether or not I could ever really succeed again. I questioned about the validity of my accomplishments. Then I remembered everything that Jesse had taught me and the example set by my parents. I drew strength from Jesse, from my parents, and my own experiences.

 

So, let’s talk about you. What do you do? What do you spend your valuable time, energy, and attention on? Is it your career? Your family? School? Are you giving your best in each moment? Are you playing from your heart and creating an extraordinary life for yourself and those around you? I hope so. If you are living anything less than your best, I have to ask you why. What could you possibly be waiting for? Whatever it is that you spend your time doing, do it like your life depends on it because it does. This is your life right now, and what you do today is the greatest measure of what your tomorrow will bring. You are choosing in every moment.

 

Do not wait another minute to love the life you have for this is the only life that you have, and there is no time more advantageous than now for you to take immediate action and begin to create the life of your dreams. It is also time to take full responsibility for your life. By making excuses and blaming other people or circumstances outside of your control, you render yourself powerless to make changes. The moment you take full responsibility for everything in your life, it’s the moment you unleash the power to create anything in your life.

 

I could have easily chosen to feel sorry for myself, blamed other people, and ended up broke physically, mentally, and financially broke. I could have chosen to blame the accident for my circumstances and my limitations. I could have proclaimed that it wasn’t my fault, that my life was the way it was, because it wasn’t my fault that I was hit by a drunk driver. Yes, this could have been the life I chose, the life of a victim. So, why didn’t I? I will tell you why. Because no victim loves the life they have. Victims feel sorry for the life they have. That is the essence of victimhood.

 

And victims do not create the life of their dreams. Victims wallow in the excuses as to why they cannot. What kind of life would that have been? It was only by taking full responsibility for everything in my life that I claimed my power to create anything in my life that I wanted. I chose to accept my life exactly as it was, decide what I wanted to improve, and take consistent action toward my vision for the future. This didn’t happen overnight. It took time. It took patience. In fact, it’s a never-ending process. And as I sit here writing this to you now, I continue to love the life I have.

 

And with each letter that I type on this keyboard, I am creating the life of my dreams, all because I take 100% responsibility for everything in my life. My life. And it is you who must take responsibility for your life. What follows is the Taking Life Head On formula that I have used to love the life I have, while I create the life of my dreams, and it can empower you to do the same. The Taking Life Head On formula, step one, love unconditionally. To love and create, this is the essence of life. In order to create the life of your dreams, you must first love the life you have. The life you are living now is the same life you’ll be living in the future.

 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Sure, the circumstances that you’re going to create for yourself will undoubtedly be different and hopefully better than they are now but it will still be your life, and it will only be as good or as bad as you choose to see it, just like it is now. As we’ve seen with so many celebrities who think that they’ll be happy once they get all the fame and fortune that they want, but then those same celebrities end up turning to drugs, alcohol, or some other vice because they were never happy to begin with. They were chasing happiness in a future goal, but the happiness was never inside of them.

 

If you aren’t happy with what you have now, then getting what you think you want isn’t going to make you any happier. You must first love the life that you have today unconditionally, and then you can begin to implement the rest of the taking life in on formula as a way to create the life of your dreams. I’m talking about loving every aspect of your life this way without conditions, beginning with yourself. Love your imperfect self, flaws and all. You are exactly where and who you’re supposed to be at this very moment. Love your past, including your mistakes, because it is by making mistakes that we learn the lessons and establish our values that help us to improve ourselves and our lives to move forward.

 

Love your family because it is the only one you will ever have. Even love your enemies, which I realize could be part of your family because they too are part of the grand scheme of your life. And there is a purpose for them being a part of you. Love others despite their faults and shortcomings. Love people not because they are perfect or because they always know what you want or how you want to be treated. Love them because they are imperfect just like you. Love them because they only want to do their best just like you. Love them because they want the same things that you want, simply to be happy and to do what they believe to be right. Love them unconditionally, because that is how each of us deserves to be loved. Love what you fear because the only way to overcome fear is through love. Love it all. Love your life unconditionally, deeply, fully, without hesitation, or judgment.

 

Step two. Expect the best. Accept the rest. Deciding on your expectations, what you will choose to expect each day that you wake up, as well as being willing to accept when they are not met, is vital in order to keep moving forward. In life, people usually get what they expect, not what they wish for. This is true in all areas of life in regards to performance at every level. I don’t know too many successful people who wished for success and it showed up on their doorstep. But I know many who expected to be successful and then everything they did, their daily actions were consistent with their expectations and inevitably they became successful.

 

The people that you see living extraordinary lives, maybe even lives that you envy, are no different than you or me. They just choose to wake up each day and expect the best from themselves and from life, expecting that everything will work out for the best. And maintaining an optimistic outlook is a strategy, which usually results in just that, things working out for the best. Not always, but more often than if you expect that things will go badly. So, why not expect the best?

 

This is a strategy for creating a better life. Nobody has everything work out for the best and nobody has everything work out for the worst. But your expectations play a vital role in how things work out overall, so expect the best. “But, Hal, what do I do when I expect everything to work out and it doesn’t?” As we discussed in Chapter 9, acceptance is the answer. There are a few things we should consider. A few things. First, it’s a given that there are some things we can control or change, and some things we cannot.

 

Now ask yourself this question, how smart is it to focus your energy on something you can’t do anything about, something you can’t control, and something you can’t change? The answer is not very. If you cannot change a circumstance, whether past or present, then accepting it is the only real choice you have. And doing so allows you to be at peace because it is your wishing and wanting circumstances that are beyond your control to be different than they are that causes all of your emotional pain. Acceptance is your key to finding peace within yourself and creating a space for emotional well-being and true happiness.

 

Only once we stop resisting our reality and accepting our circumstances as they are do we regain control of our lives. Remember, to use these three magical words anytime you find yourself upset over something you can’t change and those words are, “Can’t change it.” The next time you find yourself resisting your reality, as you say these words to yourself, let the breath flow from your lungs and with it all of your negative energy. In fact, I invite you to do that now. There’s something in your life that’s out of your control. Something from your past. Can’t change it.

 

The only logical choice that we have is to accept it and be at peace, and then focus all of our energy on what we can change to improve our lives now. If you can’t change a circumstance, then there is no sense in feeling bad about it. The only logical choice is to accept things as they are, to be happy for the sake of being happy, and then decide if you want to make changes. If you do want to change your present situation or future outcomes, then take the necessary actions immediately. Of course, as you take these new actions toward your desired outcome, expect the best.

 

Step three, have an attitude of gratitude. When you live with an attitude of gratitude, nothing is ever wrong. You are choosing to see what you have to be grateful for each moment of every day. Life is as good or as bad as you think it is, and it is all a matter of perspective. Do you see the glass as half empty or half full? Are you an eternal optimist like me? And you see the glass as always being 100% full, half filled with abundance, and the other half filled with opportunity? Oh my gosh, that’s so crazy.

 

Why is it that the same tragedy can befall two different people, and one sees it as the worst thing that could ever happen, while the other is grateful for the lesson made available by the experience? Who would you rather be? And whose choice is it whether or not to seek gratitude in every moment? It is yours because there’s always something to be grateful for when you choose to find it. When I wake each day, I spend a few minutes in silence, thinking of what I’m grateful for in my life. Before I go to bed at night, I do the same thing, reflecting on what I have to be grateful for that day.

 

I strive to maintain my attitude of gratitude at all times, which keeps me grounded, humble, and at peace with all things. Like I told my friend, Katie, in response to her letter, “In life, we all have two pages to look at, one page that lists all of our faults, insecurities, failures, and weaknesses while the other page lists all of our strengths, attributes, talents, friends, family, accomplishments, possessions, possibilities, and everything else that we have to be grateful for. Which page you spend most of your time focusing on is your choice just as gratitude is a choice. Life in itself is a blessing. Choose to be grateful for all that you have.”

 

Step four, dream big. In order to create the life of your dreams, you must have a clear vision of what the life of your dreams looks like. Know this: Anything you can dream, you can achieve. And there is no such thing as a dream that is too big. When you were a child, what did you dream of doing, having, being, becoming? When you were grown up, what has stopped you from living the life you dreamt of when you were younger? I’ll tell you the answer to that. You. The only thing that has stood in your way is you. The good news is we can get out of our way at any time that we choose.

 

Most people talk themselves out of the life of their dreams, afraid that they might fail. But you are not most people. You are extraordinary. You are a dreamer. You are capable of creating the life of your dreams. I believe that you and I are kindred spirits. We want more out of our lives and more out of ourselves, and we are ready to take action. Do this exercise now. Take out a piece of paper and a pen. Seriously. Before you continue reading or listening to this, grab a piece of paper and a pen. Come on. This part is fun.

 

Okay. Now, at the top of the page, write down, “THE LIFE OF MY DREAMS,” in all capital letters. Before going on to step five, set down this book or pause this audio and write down a list of your dreams, everything that you want to have, do, become, and give to others. Be specific and just have fun with this exercise. Use it to create a vision for what your life can become and don’t put any limitations on your dreams. Once you have the life of your dreams written down on paper, make copies and hang it on your bedroom wall, bathroom mirror, put it up in the office, etcetera. Look at it every day.

 

Take a few minutes each day to vividly visualize yourself driving that car, having the person in your dream sitting next to you, pulling into the driveway of your dream home. Do you see it? Close your eyes if you have to, and feel what it feel like when you are living the life of your dreams. I want to pause and I want to insert something. I should do this more often but let’s do it now. That shows you where my level of consciousness was when I wrote this way back when, right, when I was 26, to vividly visualize yourself driving the car and having the person of your dreams sitting next to you and pulling into the driveway of your dream home. Right?

 

Nothing wrong with those things. But here’s how I look at the life of my dreams now. The life of my dreams is an internal perspective, right? It’s how do I see the life I’m currently living from a perspective of gratitude and blessings and in other words like in every area of life in our marriage, we can either look at everything wrong. It goes back to that example I gave a minute or two ago about how in life there are two pages to focus on. One page, there’s everything bad that you don’t like about your life, and most people focus way too much of their energy and attention on that page. And then life sucks, right? If you focus on that page, life sucks.

 

Versus on the other page, when you focus on all that you’ll be grateful for, all the things in your life that are blessings, then you feel good about life, and you can apply the two pages concept to every person in your life, to every aspect of your life, your health, your family, your spouse, your financial situation, your work, etcetera. Another way of framing the two pages concept is based on Ben Hardy’s book, Ben Hardy and Dan Sullivan wrote The Gap and The Gain. The gap is focused on the page that lists everything you have between where currently your life exists and where you wish it was, or where you wish you were, or what you wish you had.

 

And the gain is when you look at all that you do have, everything you’ve gained in your life, right? You can look at your financial situation as, “I wish I had more money.” or. “I have some money,” right? Some people don’t have any money. And you can apply that to every area of your life. You know, “Oh, my spouse. We don’t get along. We’re really struggling.” Some people would give anything just to have a person in their life to share their life with. And I know that what I’m saying isn’t perfect across the board.

 

I mean, we’re all in our own unique circumstances, and I don’t want to discount if you’re going through a very difficult aspect of life financially or relationally or mentally and emotionally. I’ve certainly gone through my really difficult aspects of life. However, it was that perspective of gratitude where I was grateful, even in the midst of the most difficult times in life. And you have that choice. So, anyway, I just wanted to insert a little bit of a perspective now based on what I wrote, what, 20 years ago.

 

All right. Step five. Take your first step. Once you have a clear vision of what you want in your life whether you call it your life, your dreams, or whatever you want to call it, you have decided to expect the best and are willing to accept the rest. Now, it is time to take your first step toward creating the life of your dreams. This takes a little bit of discipline. You’ve heard it said that the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. It just so happens that the first step is the hardest one to take.

 

From my first Cutco phone call to the first step I took out of my wheelchair, neither of them were easy, but once I took the first step, I was naturally motivated to take the second and the third, and so on. If you can be disciplined to take your first step and then see how you feel, as opposed to getting overwhelmed by the next 50 steps and never even taking the first one, you’ll be ready to begin your journey. I learned a very valuable lesson when I was reading John Maxwell’s book, Failing Forward, and that is to act your way into feeling.

 

Most people do it backwards, hoping they feel their way into action. They want motivation to come swoop them up and cause them to feel like doing something but the reality is that life rarely works that way. I cannot recall an occasion where I was being lazy on the couch, focusing on what was negative in my life, watching television when all of a sudden a wave of motivation overtook me and I felt inspired to take action towards my goals. No. It’s always quite the opposite. Only through my discipline to take action by making that first phone call or taking whatever first step toward a goal that I needed to take, only then did I feel like continuing and making more calls and taking more steps.

 

It was once I took action that the feeling to keep going came along to my aid. I’m sure you can probably relate, possibly in the realm of exercise. Can you remember a time when you were lying in bed, sleeping in on a Saturday morning when out of nowhere, you sprung to your feet with an overwhelming passion to go for a run? Yeah, I doubt it. It was only when you have the discipline to lace up your running shoes or grab your gym clothes and get into your car with the intention of driving to the gym. Once you take that first action, that first baby step, the motivation that you need will come alongside and get you the rest of the way there.

 

If you sit around waiting to feel like it before you take action, you’re going to be sitting around for the rest of your life. Think of it this way, the toughest part of getting into shape is either lacing up your running shoes or getting into the car with your gym bag to head for the gym. You need only have the discipline to take that first step, and once you take it, the feelings that you need will come alongside to assist you in completing the journey. When you become a master of taking the first step toward the life of your dreams, you can have, do, and be anything you want. So, visualize what you want in your life. And let me ask you, what is your first step or your next step toward the life of your dreams? And when will you take it? How about today?

 

Step six, this is a good one, be accountable to your word. This I am convinced of. The most powerful force in the universe that we have access to is our word. When we value our word and live with total integrity, meaning we do what we say we are going to do when we say we are going to do it, with no exceptions, we become unstoppable. What would your life be like if you actually did everything you said you were going to do precisely when you said you were going to do it? Then anything you wanted in your life, you could have just by speaking it into existence.

 

Sadly, most people do not value their word. They may think that they do, but their actions say otherwise. Consider this, how often do people you know say that they’re going to do something and then they don’t do it? How often do you say you’re going to do something and then not do it? Are you ever late to work or school or when meeting other people? Do you ever cancel plans because you don’t feel like it anymore? Have you ever not fulfilled on a commitment because you didn’t feel like it? Of course, you have. We all have. But this does not have to be the way we live our lives.

 

Unfortunately, finding people who live their lives with total integrity is very rare. It is more likely you’ll meet a millionaire than meet someone who does everything they say they’re going to do precisely when they say they’re going to do it. Imagine what your life would be like if you valued your word like it was worth not a million, but $1 billion. Would you be on time if you knew you’re showing up on time would earn you $1 billion? If $1 billion were at stake, then when you told someone that you were going to do something, would it not be as good as done? So, then why do you not value your word in the same way?

 

Your entire world transforms when you value your word at the highest level. All of your relationships, the way people view you change when you value your word. People respect you. They know they can count on you to follow through. But more importantly, you know that you can count on yourself to follow through. So, stop treating your word like garbage and start valuing your word like it’s worth $1 billion. Begin today to do what you say you’re going to do, beginning with that first baby step when you say you’re going to do it, being accountable to your word, living with integrity, and then you will be joining a group far more elite than the millionaires and billionaires.

 

Step seven, surround yourself with empowering people. Consider this, we become like the people we spend our time with. We quickly pick up on their behaviors, habits, both good and bad. Language, don’t you talk like your friends? Style, ambitions, or lack thereof in just about any other characteristic you can think of? If you wanted to be lazy and live a mediocre life, spending time with other lazy people who are living a mediocre life would probably do the trick. If you wanted to be a drug addict, you probably wouldn’t have to hang out with other drug addicts long before you’d eventually pick up the habit.

 

But if you want to be successful, happy, inspired, living a life filled with love and abundance, then actively seek out and surround yourself with people who are committed to the same things is one of the easiest and best ways to set yourself up for success. And by the way, if you don’t have those people in your immediate circle of influence, go find books by people like that. And that brings their mindset and the way they think and the way they approach life into your consciousness.

 

Are the people you spend time with adding value to your life, helping you to become a better version of yourself, create the life of your dreams, love the life you have, or are they not adding as much as you’d like? Are they making it easier to be the best you can? Or do they squash your dreams and tell you to be “realistic?” And maybe the most important question, is the direction that they are headed in their life the same direction that you want to go?

 

Because if you choose to continue sharing your valuable time with them, then where they end up is probably the same neighborhood you’ll be living in. How does that look to you? Am I saying that if your friends aren’t on a path toward success, then you should abandon them? And if your family is an unhappy bunch, then you should just disown them? Of course not. I’m still close with many of my friends from high school and love my family unconditionally, regardless of how happy or healthy or successful they are.

 

What I am suggesting is that you commit to surround yourself with empowering people, people who are committed to loving the life they have, creating the life of their dreams, as well as encouraging, supporting, and helping you do the same. Jesse was that person for me initially, almost from the moment I met him, and ultimately just about everyone in the Cutco company added value to my life in this way. They were all striving to be better and help others do the same.

 

By making the choice to be in that positive environment and surrounding myself with so many empowering people, my success, happiness, and growth were practically inevitable. And they can be that for you too. We can’t choose the family we were born into, but we can choose our friends. We can’t always choose where we go to school or where we work, but we can choose which people we associate with in these environments. Choosing to surround yourself with empowering people who are committed to supporting you to love and create the life that you want will enhance your life more than just about anything else that you can do.

 

Last but not least, step eight, create consistent progress. This is the secret. It is the key to creating the life of your dreams. Once you have a clear vision of what you want, simply create consistent progress toward your vision every day until it is real. Some days you may work hard at it, making leaps and bounds. Other days you might only take one small baby step forward. But do this and there is no other option for you to consistently create the life of your dreams. There’s no possibility for failure so long as you create consistent progress. Eventually, success is inevitable and the only failure would be in giving up.

 

Do the right thing. Not the easy thing. This is a motto to live by that will keep you heading in the direction of your dreams. We are choosing in every moment, so always choose to do the right thing, create consistent progress versus doing the wrong thing, which is anything that doesn’t move you closer to your goals and dreams. Pretty simple. Begin today to create consistent progress towards the life of your dreams. And each day that goes by, not only will you be moving closer, but doing so will become progressively easier with every day that passes.

 

You’ll replace old habits such as laziness and procrastination and self-doubt. With your new and empowering habit of creating progress, soon enough, this habit will take on a life of its own, and then you will be someone who creates consistent progress towards your dreams. It won’t take any thought or much effort on your part at that point. You’ll just do it out of habit, like brushing your teeth. Your friends, family, and peers will know you as this person and there will be no turning back. You’ll be on a mission. I know because this is who I have become, a creator of consistent progress towards my dreams. There is nothing I love more than to create progress.

 

Former pleasures such as watching television, playing video games, staying up late, sleeping in, and partying are now few and far between. I just don’t enjoy them like I used to, and they don’t fulfill me because they are not consistent with what I truly want in my life. Why would I sleep in when I can be changing the world? Why would I choose to play video games when I can be reading a book and gaining the knowledge that will help me to be the person I aspire to be? Why would I watch actors on television, actors who are living the life of their dreams, when I can be empowering one of my friends to create the life of their dreams?

 

I’m not saying that sleeping in, playing video games, or watching television are wrong. I’m simply relating that these activities do not help me to create consistent progress towards the life that I have dreamt of. Don’t just think about creating progress towards your dreams. Take action and don’t merely try to create progress. Just do it. Trying to do something is about as effective as thinking about doing it. It doesn’t move you any closer to your goals and dreams. When someone says, “I’ll try,” it means the same thing as, “I’ll think about it.” “I’ll try to be on time,” means, “I’ll think about being on time,” which really means nothing. So, this final step requires that you take real action towards your goals and dreams and requires that you do it consistently every day.

 

In conclusion, live every day like your life depends on it because it does. Why not make today the best day of your life? Why not make every day the best day of your life? Shouldn’t today be better than yesterday and tomorrow even better than today? Most people live their lives with a someday mindset and mentality, and as a result, they don’t live an extraordinary life. When you have a mindset that there’s always tomorrow, you’re not living fully today. You may be letting yourself off the hook today because you think, “Well, there’s always someday to work hard and do the right thing.”

 

I’m sure you give yourself many valid reasons, also known as excuses, as to why you’re not creating the life you’ve always wanted. I know I’ve done it. I mean, you’re probably really busy with work, school, family, your relationship, and you may think it’s unimportant to take your life head-on now because you can always do it tomorrow or next week or next year. Right? Wrong. What makes us think that we will live any differently tomorrow than we are living today? Start living life to the fullest today and then you will create an exciting tomorrow. There is no someday. Your life is now. Your life is happening right now, at this moment, and will be determined by the actions you take. Who you are becoming is being defined by the decisions you make today about how you are spending your time and living your life.

 

All right, you’ve made it this far, and I congratulate you on your decision to take your first step toward creating the life of your dreams by reading this book and I commit, I guess, listen to this podcast and I commend you for your discipline and finishing it to the end. However, this is only the beginning for you and me. Here we are with unwavering faith that each day will get better, that we will get better. And each day we fight that same fight, the fight to be whole, to be a better person, to do what we know is right, that fight, the human fight. And I’ll be the first to tell you, it’s not going to be easy. And it’s not supposed to be easy.

 

In fact, there would be no reward in the experience of being human if it were easy but it is worth it. Living every day like your life depends on it is worth it. Loving the life you have while you create the life of your dreams is worth it. I promise you this. Your best story is yet to come. The life of your dreams, the person that you have dreamt of becoming, and everything you’ve ever wanted is available to you just waiting for you to make the commitment to create it. Love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams. Don’t wait and start today to take your life head-on.

 

[CLOSING]

 

Hal Elrod: All right, goal achievers. That was Chapter 16 from the book Taking Life Head On. And if you’ve ever gone back and read your own work, it’s often cringe-worthy. You’re like, “Oh, I can’t believe I said that. Oh, that was so cheesy. Oh, man, I’ve evolved beyond that. That’s rough.” But I didn’t want to edit too much of this. I wanted to read to you as it was written because there is value, right, to look at the simplicity, in looking back. And for me at least, like I read this and I go, “Oh wow.” I go, “Yeah, some of it’s a little cheesy or cliché,” but there’s so much truth to it. There’s still so much wisdom.

 

And most of the wisdom, some of it was gleaned from my experience, but much of it was from all the books I had read and the Tony Robbins event that I had gone to and the Jim Rohn audios I listened to and so on and so forth. So, I hope this is valuable for you. Those eight steps, real quick just to review them for you, are step one, love unconditionally. Step two, expect the best, accept the rest. Step three, have an attitude of gratitude. Step four, dream big. Step five, take your first step. Step six, be accountable to your word. Step seven, surround yourself with empowering people. And step eight, create consistent progress.

 

And I will say when I review my life, especially up until that point when I was about I think 24, 25 when I wrote that, those were the eight steps that I literally looked back and reflected in. How have I created the life that I’ve wanted and loved this life that I’ve had, even though it’s been really challenging at times? And that was the formula. So, I hope it’s been helpful for you. I love you so much and we’ll talk to you next week.


[END]

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