If there’s one book that gets recommended the most in my business circles, it has to be The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I’m told it helps you get up an hour or more earlier so you can get more done.
When I think of getting MORE done, I am not sure what I’m going to be in for. I have a fairly full schedule in general and I already get up pretty early. The notion that the Miracle Morning is going to make more out of this seemed kinda sketchy. Plenty of converts out there and they’re folks I respect so I figured I’d give it a try.
Fluffy Little Clouds
I’ve talked before about some of these personal development and self-help books in the past and how they’ve got a lot of fluff. The Miracle Morning has a fair amount of fluff. Ok but what am I calling fluff?
I consider fluff to be content in the book that is more about selling the book than supporting the concepts. Usually it’s heady, emotional stuff that is supposed to pull you into the author’s story. The concept is to appeal to your heart, your experiences, your motivations (which might all be things we commonly share as humans). Then attempt to compel you to invest yourself in the book (and in most cases, the monetized services linked in the back of the book).
Far be it for me to begrudge someone to make a living, but when it feels like these tactics go too far, I tend to label it fluffy.
On the scale of fluffy, I would say this one is pretty low. I read a 300 page book that was practically half fluff. The author even said as much (not using my vernacular of course). “Start at part 2 if you want to get to the system”, “done” I say. Page 150 is where I start.
Making a Case
Hal makes a great case early on for the benefits of the program and hits the night owls complaints right up front. Of course, getting up earlier sounds just horrible. We’re already grumpy and not very activated that early so how in the world will this do us any good?
I’d say he does an admirable job and I appreciate the angle he takes on it. Everyone can understand his point of view since it makes good sense. If you are going to make time for change, it has to come from somewhere. It’s easier to add it on to the beginning of the day than shoehorn it in anywhere else.
Here Comes the Woo Woo
I know a lot of people who would consider terms like meditation, affirmations, and visualization all pretty much new age crazytalk. To them I say, welcome to the 21st century! Seriously though, the power of the information age which has been at work over the last 40 years or so has revealed some pretty crazy stuff. Things we once considered “spiritual”, “metaphysical”, or even “magic” before are getting some basis in science and we enjoy the benefits.
Hal also does a good job here helping you understand why these things work and the benefit of spending time in some new concepts might just save you a lot of money on the pharmacist and the counselor!
One of the challenges in reading this (and re-reading this for my review) was the way Hal hops around in the book. On the one hand I’ll give credit for finding creative ways to create reviews of concepts. Introducing them a couple times in different sections of the book helps cement them in your mind.
On the other hand when it comes to going back and finding some concept you wanted to brush up on, you might have to hunt around a little bit since it could be in two or more places.
Hal takes a lot of what he’s shared in the book from personal experience. He became his own test subject in order to find ways to take himself on the most effective personal development journey he could. From testing different activities for his Miracle Morning, the best foods to eat for focus and energy, to taking himself through a rather rigorous test of how much sleep he needs at night.
This is where the controversy comes in. Hal contends that the right amount of sleep is more about what you convince yourself you need rather than what might be generally accepted.
It’s widely agreed that about 8 hours is the right amount of sleep for the body and mind, but Hal found that he does just fine with 5 hours after deciding the night before that it was the perfect amount of sleep for him.
I’ve shared that among some of my friends in different medical communities and the response was unsurprisingly inconsistent. While there’s certainly no question that someone could get by on 5 hours of sleep, there’s a lot that goes into that. We’ve had a lot of study on sleep and even today we don’t know as much about it as we ought to, especially for something we might spend a full third of our lives doing.
Lastly, the systems in our body which benefit from sleep are not within the conscious realm of control, or even arguably, detection. Making the claim that my conscious mind can correctly determine the amount of sleep these biological systems need seems to be nonsensical at best, and dangerous at worst.
To Hal’s credit, he emphasizes that you test yourself and determine what amount of sleep you need. This seems the smart advice, and advice I would agree with.
Putting it all Together
For the last year or so I have doing a Miracle Morning of my own. It’s largely based off Hal’s book and there’s no question in my mind that it’s proven beneficial to me in just about every way.
I focused on creating a morning with the basics; reading, meditation, affirmation, exercise, journaling and visualization. I can tell you there’s a big difference between the day I have after my Miracle Morning and one where I skip it. There’s something about having accomplishments before I even get my morning shower that set a good tone for the day.
Not to mention the fact I’ve read more books in the last year than I have the last 20 years combined.
After reading other personal development books, my morning changes in terms of what tasks I set up for myself. The basic Miracle Morning is still there and continues to serve as a great springboard for everything else.
The straightforward perspective, actionable steps, and common sense approach make it hard to deny that the Miracle Morning is anything but a personal development library must-have.