“You can’t do that.”
How often have you heard these 4 soul-crushing words?
“I want to stay until 12 at Anna’s party Mum.”
“You can’t do that.”
“I want to quit my job and just write all day.”
“You can’t do that.”
“I want to ride my skateboard through a horizontal looping.”
“You can’t do that.”
Well, they’re a lie (especially the skateboard part).
Hal Elrod is living proof that these 4 words are just plain wrong. Always.
On December 3rd, 1999 at 11:32 PM, Hal was hit by a car and declared dead, before being resuscitated and brought back after 6 minutes.
He came back.
His doctors thought it was…surprising (they hate to use the word miracle).
Unfortunately, after waking up from the following 6 day-coma, they had bad news: He would never walk again.
Today Hal is a bestselling author, world-renowned speaker and teaches thousands of people.
Oh, and he also runs ultra-marathons. Not marathons. Ultra-marathons.
How do you go from being dead to that?
Well, today you’re going to learn the nuts and bolts of Hal’s incredible comeback. Since my Miracle Morning post continues to be among the most popular ones on this blog, I thought I’d publish an updated version of the initial summary of the book I wrote, back when first learning about it on Blinkist.
I have since read the book and thought if I update my summary with what I learned from the book, it could be an easy “in” for anyone to the Miracle Morning.
You might have tried the Miracle Morning and couldn’t make it work, were overwhelmed by all the information in my 4,000+ word monster of an article, or you just plain didn’t read it yet.
That’s okay 🙂
To give you a bit more of a background about the Miracle Morning, the reasons behind it, and what you can do to prep yourself for it, I wrote this post.
Let’s get to it!
My Miracle Morning summary
You already know the part about the car crash.
After contemplating and lamenting his misery for 5 minutes, Hal said: “Can’t change it”, accepted his new situation and moved on with his life.
This is what he calls the 5 minute rule. He learned it from his mentor at Cutco, where he was a sales representative at the time of the accident.
It might sound odd, but I think this perfectly represents what kind of a guy Hal is. When something doesn’t work, he doesn’t waste a lot of time wallowing, bitching, and complaining.
He drops it and moves on.
Just like that.
Hal returned to his sales job at Cutco soon after his accident and focused on becoming more successful than ever before, finishing within the top 10 of all sales staff 2 years in a row.
The book quotes that studies have shown that if you follow 100 Americans from the beginning of their working life until 40 years later, 1 will have become wealthy, 4 financially stable, 5 have to keep working through retirement, 36 have died and 54 rely on financial help from friends and family.
That means at least 95% of people never live up to their potential.
2 reasons for not living up to your potential can be rear view mirror syndrome and isolating incidences.
Rear view mirror syndrome means you limit yourself, your choices and decisions, by always living in the troubles of the past.
For example you could think: “I’ve screwed up all my former relationships, I’m sure this one won’t work out either.” Of course it won’t, if you go in with this attitude. This is a characteristic trait of pessimists – making negative events permanent.
Isolating incidences means that you treat the events in your life as singular. “It’s no biggie if I skip working out today, I can always go tomorrow.”
But as T. Harv Eker says “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
These little exceptions will become the norm, because with such slacker decisions you affect not only today, but also who you become. Your life is the sum of your habits, actions and its many other parts. It all matters equally.
One thing Hal had been putting off was writing a book about his story, which he had tried himself at in 2002, but quickly given up again.
His sales efforts continued to go well through 2005, he met the love of his life, Ursula, and also started speaking and sharing his experience to inspire others.
However, looking inside the rear view mirror at what was supposed to be his last Cutco conference in February 2005, he realized he had never committed 100% to the company – he too wanted to be one of the top two performers of the company.
He also decided it was finally time to say yes to writing that book and get it out into the world.
Committing 100% to life
A way in which you can start saying yes to life is by stopping to hit the snooze button. It not only makes you tired and groggy because it interrupts you in the wrong parts of your sleep cycle (you go back to deep sleep, which is then interrupted), but you also subconsciously tell yourself that you don’t really want to get up and face the day.
You should wake up excited every day!
His two goals motivated Hal so much that he worked and wrote for 365 days – to see both of his goals fulfilled. He doubled his previous best sales year and his book Taking Life Head On became a #7 Amazon bestseller.
Sadly, his publisher fled the country with 100% of his royalties.
Man, that 5-minute rule really came in handy on several occasions for Hal, huh?
Nevertheless, he was ready to take the next step, so he quit his job at Cutco and started to coach people around life and business.
Hal’s life would have to take one more catastrophic turn though, before finally revealing his most important mission to him.
In 2007, when the US economy collapsed, Hal’s income was cut in half overnight, since his clients couldn’t afford coaching any longer. He couldn’t pay his bills, including his house payment, and found himself $425,000 in debt.
Depressed and hopeless he found himself unable to get out of bed most days, and tried to keep his failure a secret.
Hal’s call to the Miracle Morning
When a friend told him to start running in order to feel better, he desperately took his advice. The run would become a major turning point in Hal’s life.
He realized that in order to become the person he needed to be to be able to solve his problems and become successful again, he had to dedicate time to his personal development each and every single day.
That’s when he started researching, experimenting, and creating his morning routine, in order to feel motivated and ready to tackle things again.
Hal says goal of a good morning routine is to increase your “Wake up motivation level”. It means over the course of doing the routine, on a scale of 1 to 10 you move up, where 10 is being super excited to start the day, and 1 means wanting to stay in bed at all costs.
Finally getting up early
Naturally, your motivation level is very high if you get up early – at least for most people. Of course no one likes to wake up early, but most people love having woken up early, once they’re out of bed.
Note: I think this is due to the rest of the world being asleep, whereas you’re up and doing things.
You can start by telling yourself that you’ll have a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed in the morning, regardless of when you go to bed.
Don’t ruin your day if you had a bad night’s sleep by saying: “This is way too little, I can’t function this way, the day’s ruined.”
Tell yourself that you’ll feel good and make the most of the day instead, you’ll survive the day just fine!
To get up in the first place, place your alarm at the other end of your room, if you need to use one.
Once you are out of bed, immediately go to the bathroom and brush your teeth.
This is the first step to feeling fresh. Then have a glass of water right afterwards.
After that, you can start the 6-step Miracle Morning, which Hal has been talking about and sharing since 2008, the year he got married.
Here are the 6 steps.
Practice purposeful silence in the form of meditation – sit cross-legged and upright where you’re comfortable (on the couch, on the floor, on your bed, wherever).
Focus all your attention on your breath, breathe deeply and slowly. Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth.
Don’t breath into your chest, but your stomach instead. Then set a rhythm for your breathing. 3 seconds in, 3 seconds out.
Do this for 10 minutes.
If you find meditation doesn’t work for you, maybe pray, think about things you are grateful for, or find other ways to relax.
For example, I personally prefer to listen to Eminem’s Lose Yourself, which turns my mind off and on at the same time, since I’m completely focused on the lyrics and nothing else. This is up to you and can change over time, of course.
Positive self-talk is powerful. Use it by writing down a vision of your life.
- What do you want it to look like in every area?
- Why do you want these changes?
- And what are you committed to doing to get there?
Write all of this on a small note and read it out loud to yourself every morning.
Visualization and mental rehearsal can help you make sure your day goes as planned. Visualize yourself doing each task, for example chopping the onions for lunch, writing a letter or making a phone call.
Affirmation and visualization together will change your perspective on your daily routine.
You know exercise is important, but like most of us you probably often push it to the side, because it’s late in the day already or you can’t find the time.
Take some time right in the morning to cure this problem, get some blood flowing and some air into your lungs!
Hal does 20 minutes of yoga, following a video, but you can just as simply do 5 minutes of exercise where you do 3 different exercises, one set each.
Reading and writing helps your personal growth.
Note: This is something I am committing to 100% this year, by reading each morning and publishing a post on Four Minute Books.
Try reading 10 pages each morning. Imagine doing this for one year. You’d have read 3650 pages, or roughly 18 books!
With only 10 pages!
That is a huge change, fueled by a small commitment.
Feel free to re-read, highlight and circle information to get your brain up and running.
Take a few minutes to write down your thoughts, feelings and insights. You will always learn something.
Hal split a page into two sections: Lessons Learned and New Commitments.
This helped him focus on what he had already achieved and where he needed to improve, leaving him much more grateful for where he was at on each given day.
SAVERS – an acronym to remember the 6 steps by
S stands for Silence
A stands for Affirmations
V stands for Visualizations
E stands for Exercise
R stands for Reading
S stands for Scribing (because SAVERW just didn’t cut it for Hal :))
Customize – the 6 Minute Miracle Morning
You can take an hour and divide it up however you like.
For example you could spend 30 minutes exercising, and then only 5 minutes on the other 5 things.
If you’re pressed for time you can even do the entire routine in 6 minutes!
Do a 1-minute meditation, recite your affirmations, picture your day for 1 minute, do 1 set of an exercise like pushups or jumping jacks, read one page in a book and write down 3 things you are grateful for.
You can also do this wherever you are, since you don’t need a lot of equipment or gear with you. You can just take a pen, a piece of paper and a book and are good to go!
They key point is to have a dedicated time for self-improvement each day.
Miracle Morning Challenge
At the end of the book, Hal suggests going on a 30 day Miracle Morning Challenge.
Seek an accountability partner (a coach, maybe?) to help you make the Miracle Morning stick.
When you have a workout buddy who you go to the gym with, you’re much more likely to follow through. So get a friend and commit to each other that you’ll do 30 days of the Miracle Morning and see how it works out for you.
You’ll notice 3 phases, says Hal: the first 10 days it’s hard and you have to fight each day not to give up.
The second 10 days it will start to feel more normal.
The last 10 days your Miracle Morning will already become enjoyable, and you will look forward to it each day.
So go find a partner to do this challenge with and start getting excited about tomorrow!
Before wrapping this up I thought I’d share a great infographic by James altucher that wraps up the Miracle Morning in one image.
I hope my Miracle Morning summary gave you a good idea of where it came from, what kind of person Hal is, and what it’s all about: living up to your full potential in life.
If you liked it and want to give the Miracle Morning a try, you can take these 2 steps next:
- Get the book
- Read my in-depth guide that takes you through all steps and gives you tools and ideas to implement them all.
May the Miracle Morning help you make 2016 your best year ever!