Men, This Way
Death Brings Gifts w/ Hal Elrod (104)
Have you ever been confronted with death? Either yours or someone else’s?
What gifts has that confrontation brought you? (it has brought you gifts, right?)
Are you daily committed to making every day your best day? If not, why not?
In this episode, my esteemed guest, Hal Elrod, author of “The Miracle Morning,” and I delve into these questions and more to unearth profound insights that can significantly impact your life.
While this episode doesn’t revolve around Hal’s Miracle Morning practice, let me briefly summarize it. The Miracle Morning combines six practices, from journaling to meditation, into a morning routine that can be completed in as little as six minutes or extended as long as you wish. I once dedicated an entire hour to it, and the results were transformative, leaving me feeling euphoric. However, our discussion today takes a different path.
There are numerous ways to learn about The Miracle Morning, as it has become a global phenomenon. Multiple books have sold millions of copies, there’s a documentary on Amazon Prime, a thriving online community with millions participating worldwide, and more. Today, I have the privilege of conversing with its creator, Hal Elrod, to explore other facets of his remarkable life journey.
Before we dive in, I must share a secret to how I consistently bring exceptional and inspiring guests like Hal to this podcast. My commitment to regularly surround myself with and engage in conversations with inspiring individuals has been a game-changer in my life. Many of my guests, including Hal, are a result of these personal connections.
About a year ago, I met John Vroman, the founder of Front Row Dads, who has become a dear friend residing just 15 minutes away. During our time together, I mentioned an essay I wrote eight years ago titled “Choose Her Every Day or Leave Her.” To my surprise, John informed me that one of his closest friends, Hal Elrod, had read that article and credited it with saving his marriage. I was deeply honoured by this revelation.
Being a fan of Hal’s work and knowing that my words had a meaningful impact on him strengthened our connection. There’s something profoundly gratifying about knowing that your vulnerable words have touched someone in a profound way, forging a deeper bond.
I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to converse with Hal on “Men This Way” today. Let me reiterate that our focus today isn’t on “The Miracle Morning” but on another crucial topic that all men must confront to live fulfilling lives, foster strong relationships, and achieve their deepest aspirations.
(14:31) Bryan delves into Hal’s life, recounting his near-death encounters and significant life events. From the loss of his baby sister to the harrowing incident of being struck by a drunken truck driver, surviving a coma, overcoming leg paralysis, and ultimately conquering cancer, these experiences have profoundly shaped him.
Throughout these trials, Hal’s unwavering focus on the bright side of life has become his most treasured superpower, a guiding force for the remainder of his days. His ability to detach from circumstances beyond his control and find peace in the present moment has emerged as a cornerstone of his outlook on life. “Not being attached to things that you can’t change, being at peace with life exactly as it is,” defines his resilient perspective.
(19:43) Hal’s profound perspective on life and death is one of complete acceptance and inner peace, deeply influenced by his studies in enlightenment and Greek philosophy. He openly shares his outlook on death, viewing it with a sense of serenity. To Hal, death is not to be feared, for it is an inevitable part of life.
He likens life to a coin, with one side representing birth and the other, death. Both facets are inescapable, and he questions why only death tends to evoke fear, while no one dreads the act of being born. When Hal faced the daunting diagnosis of cancer, he confronted it with a readiness to embrace death, a
s he had long made peace with its inevitability.
His legacy had already been etched through his book, ‘The Miracle Morning,’ and he believed it might be his time to gracefully exit this world. Yet, what held him back was the profound love he had for his family and loved ones. Hal vulnerably shares the ordeal he endured during his chemotherapy treatment, describing it as his personal journey through a hellish experience on Earth.
(25:37) Bryan and Hal engage in a conversation about how death, in addition to being a confrontation, can also bring valuable gifts and insights that shape our lives.
They touch upon the concept of boyhood to manhood rituals, highlighting the aspect of confrontation within these transitional experiences.
Hal expresses his belief in living life to its fullest potential. He references the book ‘The Rhythm of Life’ by Matthew Kelly, which profoundly influenced him to embrace this perspective. For Hal, being the best version of oneself is paramount, and he emphasizes the idea that the greatest gift we can offer to our loved ones and those we lead is to fulfill our own potential, enabling them to do the same. Living life to its fullest, continuously striving for personal growth, and constantly seeking to elevate oneself are key themes in their discussion.
(34:54) The misconception lies in the pursuit of desires, as true happiness cannot be found in the chase alone. Those dissatisfied with their current lives often find that their pursuit of a different life doesn’t lead to happiness. A poignant example of this can be observed in celebrities and other accomplished individuals who turn to destructive vices like drugs, alcohol, or risky behaviours, and tragically, some even take their own lives. All of this stems from the erroneous belief that their pursuits would bring them fulfilment.
Hal underscores the importance of living in the present moment, emphasising that the sheer act of being alive is a source of happiness. Each day, in its own right, is a gift because it means you are alive.
Hal then shares a deeply personal and painful experience from his life, recounting the gruelling ordeal of undergoing chemotherapy. During this trying time, he endured an excruciating 11-day, around-the-clock migraine. Remarkably, even in the midst of such suffering, he maintained a sense of gratitude for everything in his life.
(44:01) One of the key teachings Hal imparts is the art of accepting life as it unfolds, encapsulated in two essential strategies. The first is the “five-minute rule,” a lesson he had already learned before his life-altering accident, which he applied upon waking from a coma. This rule, originally gleaned from his sales training, revolves around a simple principle: when confronted with adversity, whether it’s receiving bad news, failing to meet a goal, facing financial difficulties, or even dealing with the loss of a loved one, the response remains the same. In the sales context, it might be a customer cancelling an order or missing a weekly goal.
The five-minute rule involves setting a timer for a brief five-minute window. During this time, individuals are encouraged to freely vent their frustrations—complain, moan, or let out their emotions in any way they need. When the timer concludes, the second part of this strategy comes into play. Taking a deep breath, they utter three simple but profound words: “Can’t change it.” This mantra serves as a stark acknowledgment that they cannot alter the past five minutes or the events that transpired. At
this point, they face a choice: to dwell in misery and lay blame on the recent past or to embrace acceptance, making peace with what transpired. The logical choice, Hal suggests, is to accept it and then direct the entirety of one’s energy toward what they can change.
Initially, Hal’s partner found these concepts intriguing. However, as their relationship progressed and she encountered challenging days at work or other setbacks, she initially responded with scepticism to Hal’s attempts to introduce her to the “Can’t change it” philosophy, dismissing it as motivational jargon. Over time, though, she warmed to the idea and now not only embraces it but also imparts these valuable principles to children, extending the wisdom to the younger generation.
(48:00) Hal reflects on his journey as a dedicated workaholic, a trait he carried from the very beginning. However, it was his battle with cancer that served as a profound wake-up call, prompting him to reevaluate his priorities. He came to a vital realization: the significance of family in his life.
This transformative experience taught him the crucial importance of striking a balance between one’s professional and personal life. While work is undeniably significant, family should always come first. It’s not a matter of neglecting one for the other but rather recognizing that both dimensions demand attention.
Hal emphasizes that dedicating quality time to your family holds equal weight to your work commitments, and vice versa. He underscores a fundamental truth: your children’s lasting memories of you won’t be defined by the number of mortgages you paid or the businesses you established. Instead, they will cherish the moments you were there for them, the engagement, and the love you shared.
(56:58) Hal sheds light on modern-day relationships, highlighting the tendency for both partners to inadvertently mirror each other’s energies. For instance, if your wife or girlfriend is having a tough day, feeling irritable or frustrated, and you respond by adopting the same negative energy, it can harm the relationship and erode the bond you share.
Rather than seeking to match your partner’s negativity, Hal advocates for a more compassionate approach. When your significant other is facing a challenging day, take the opportunity to uplift and support them. Instead of attempting to change your partner, recognize that the only person you can truly change is yourself.
By dedicating effort to personal growth and becoming a better partner, you can foster an unbreakable bond between you and your spouse or girlfriend.
(01:03:42) Bryan engages Hal in a series of quick-fire questions centered around various emotions. He inquires about what triggers anger, sadness, feelings of joy, embarrassment, and more.
CONNECT WITH HAL ELROD
Hal Elrod’s Book – “The Miracle Morning’
Website – halelrod.com
Instagram – @hal_elrod
Facebook Community – ‘The Miracle Morning community’
CONNECT WITH BRYAN
Instagram – @bryanreevesinsight
Youtube – @bryanreevesofficial
Facebook – @Bryanreevesofficial
Tiktok – @bryanreevesinsight