Hal Elrod was dead for six minutes. The car he was driving crashed head-on into a truck. His girlfriend, sitting next to him, was unscratched. The roof of the car sliced open his head, causing brain damage.
Bones in his face, his arm, all over his body were broken and he was in a coma for six days (during which time his girlfriend broke up with him). When he woke from his coma the doctors told him he might never walk again.
You are the alchemist of your life. The universe, perfect for 14 billion years, has given you everything you need to thrive. And yet, we often want to forcibly change the universe to fit our own selfish needs. What idiots!
I’m sure Hal did not want to hit that truck. Did not want to be told he might not walk again. Did not want to go through years of therapy and misfortune as a result of this single event.
This is where alchemy comes in. We’re all given this chance at some point in our lives. We’re all given the tools to turn misfortune into gold.
Fifteen years later Hal is a father, runs a successful business, and is a best-selling author of the book The Miracle Morning.
Why I love to podcast is because I can just call Hal up and say “Can I talk to you about this book?” So I did on “Ask Altucher” a few weeks ago. What a great scam podcasting is!
The universe is a contradiction. It is infinitely open and yet we can’t escape it. It is 99.9999% empty and yet is filled with everything. Atoms bounce around totally randomly and yet are defined by the most precise equations. Einstein said “God doesn’t roll dice” and yet every moment is unpredictable.
We’ll never understand the contradiction and we shouldn’t try. Trying has led to myths, to misconceptions, to wars, to anguish. Hal didn’t fight what the universe had dealt him. He turned the fear and the pain and crushed it down into a diamond.
The diamond he now calls his “miracle morning” routine that he put together bit by bit to save his life. And now he uses that same routine to save the lives of thousands of others.
I like his routine because it fits perfectly into what I call “The daily practice” of choosing yourself: striving to improve every day 1 percent across physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
After I spoke to Hal I put together this infographic describing his method.
Different parts of our brain are activated when we read facts as opposed to when we read poetry. Because facts we try to remember… and poetry we try to unravel a mystery of words mixed with art.
We’re so ignorant and lonely and overwhelmed by this vastness, this story that tells everything but reveals nothing. And yet we’re all in it together.
What if every moment we turned the facts of our lives into poetry? To give up trying to assign meaning and turn all of our periods into question marks?
Doing these daily practices, or miracle morning routines, is how we begin to unravel that mystery. Maybe this one thing is the only thing I really believe in. The rest…I’m wide-eyed and just born and want to learn.
My grandfather used to say to me when I was little, “if the universe had an end, what’s on the other side?” He’d keep repeating it, because we both were trying to figure it out. My brain hurt trying to think about it, because there’s no answer. But it begs for one.
I’ve never died like Hal. Maybe it’s irrational but I’m kind of jealous that he did. People who die have a story for the rest of their lives. This morning I’m going to get ready to die. And this morning that’s how I’m going to live.
Listen to my podcast with Hal Elrod here.