Books summary

The Miracle Morning – My Takeaways

I received the book during a gift exchange time in my office. I must confess that I discounted the book as one that would have nothing new to teach me beyond what’s common knowledge. And maybe I was right to have assumed what will be entailed in the book will be common knowledge. What I was certainly wrong about is to have discounted it because common knowledge doesn’t mean common application. And even though the benefit of and magic of the morning is common knowledge, I was guilty of not rising from the bed until it was about time to start working.

Before picking up the book to read, I had decided to wake up 2 hours earlier than I needed to start working. I committed 10 minutes to exercise, 1 hour to reading and 45 minutes to writing. It was working so well that one day I looked at my library in search of what to read and I saw this book again to which I then decided to give it a shot.

My impression of picking it up was simple. If I am experiencing this sound awesomeness in just a few days of changing my waking up routine, what more wisdom could be contained in a book written by someone who evidently has been keeping up to the practice for years and has also helped to build such a habit. To my amazement, I read one-third of the book the first time I picked it up and completed the book in under 5 days. The following then is what you might consider as the summary of the book or my takeaways. 

My first highlight from the book

I made my first highlight from the introduction. But before I quote here what that highlight was, let me tell you the story leading up to the highlight.

Hal Elrod recounted in the book how first, he came close to death from a fatal accident. No, he actually died for 6 minutes or so before he was brought back to life. His medical condition wasn’t perfect when he woke up as a result of injuries sustained from the accident. But in the months and years after, he rose above the challenge, resumed work and became a top sales executive breaking long-established records within his organisation.

Then a few years later, in 2008 to be precise, he went from this well-to-do guy who was about to get married to a broke guy who is drowning in debt and depression. His financial situation worsens and his mental health suffers a great deal. Unblamable, he considered suicide but didn’t consider going through with it because of the pain and anguish it would cause his mother and father. 

Like clockwork again, he overcame this life situation just as he did his near-total death experience. How? He believes that everything happens for a reason but it is our responsibility to choose the most empowering reasons for the challenges, events and circumstances of our life.

That sounds so right and demanding of emphasis that I will repeat it just as I had to highlight it in the book itself.

Everything happens for a reason but it is our responsibility to choose the most empowering reasons for the challenges, events and circumstances of our life.

My younger sister and I have this frequent conversation where our mum will give a reason for some circumstances, and she will come to me to check some of those reasons. I often used to tell her nearly the same thing, that our mum is not wrong to have resorted to that explanation. However, it is her responsibility to choose which explanation ensures that she is in control of the circumstances and that the circumstances are in no way out of hand. So it felt so great naturally to see my ideology put in dinner words in this book.

But life can so quickly get overwhelming that we feel out of control, out of touch and permanently stuck. And this is where the Miracle Morning philosophy comes to the rescue.

Comprehensive list of my highlights and a representative summary

1. Blame determines who is at fault for something, responsibility determines who is committed to improving things.

2. Who you are becoming is the single most important determining factor in your quality of life, now and for your future.

3. To make profound changes in your life, you need either inspiration or desperation.

4. I told Jon, ‘I hate running’. Without hesitation, he responded, What do you hate worse, running … or your current life situation? I was desperate. I had nothing to lose. I decided to go for a run.

5. ‘If you want your life to be different, you have to be willing to do something different first!’

6. We mistakenly believe that who we were is who we are, thus limiting our true potential in the present, based on the limitations of our past.

7. Always remember that where you are is a result of who you were, but where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be, from this moment on.

8. Isolating incidents: One of the most prevalent, yet not-so-obvious causes of mediocrity is isolating incidents. We do this when we mistakenly assume that each choice we make, and each individual action we take, is only affecting that particular moment, or circumstance. For example, you may think it’s no big deal to miss a workout, procrastinate on a project, or eat fast food because you’ll get a ‘do-over’ tomorrow. You make the mistake of thinking that skipping that workout only affects that incident, and you’ll make a better choice next time. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We must realize that the real impact and consequence of each of our choices and actions – and even our thoughts – iS monumental because every single thought, choice, and action is determining who we are becoming, which will ultimately determine the quality of our lives.

9. Our levels of success will rarely exceed our level of personal development because success is something we attract by who we become.

10. Remember this truth: now matters more than any other time in your life, because it’s what you are doing today that is determining who you’re becoming, and who you’re becoming will always determine the quality and direction of your life.

11. The reality is that if we don’t change now, our life won’t change. If we don’t get better, our life won’t get better. And if we don’t consistently invest time into our self-improvement, our life will not improve. Yet, most of us wake up every day and stay the same.

12. What I found was that whether I got nine, eight, seven, six, five, or even just four hours of sleep, as long as I consciously decided, before bed, that I was getting the perfect amount of sleep – that the hours were going to energize my body to feel wonderful in the morning – I consistently woke feeling better than I ever had before. However, don’t take my word for it. I encourage you to experiment with this yourself.

13. “Start every morning off with a personal success ritual. That is the most important key to success.”

14. Whatever it is that you write, putting words on the page is a form of therapy that doesn’t cost a dime.

15. Gap Focus: Is it hurting or helping you?

  • In the opening pages of this chapter, we talked about using the Life S.A.VE.R.S. to close your ‘potential gap’. Human beings are conditioned to have what I call gap focus. We tend to focus on the gaps between where we are in life and where we want to be, between what we’ve accomplished and what we could have or want to accomplish, and the gap between who we are and our idealistic vision of the person we believe we should be.
  • The problem with this is that constant ‘gap focus’ can be detrimental to our confidence and self-image, causing us to feel like we don’t have enough, haven’t accomplished enough, and that we’re simply not good enough, or at least, not as good as we should be.
  • High achievers are typically the worst at this, constantly overlooking or minimizing their accomplishments, beating themselves up over every mistake and imperfection, and never feeling like anything they do is quite good enough.
  • The irony is that ‘gap focus’ is a big part of the reason that high achievers are high achievers. Their insatiable desire to close the gap is what fuels their pursuit of excellence and constantly drives them to achieve. ‘Gap focus’ can be healthy and productive if it comes from a positive, proactive, I’m committed to and excited about fulfilling my potential perspective without any lettings of lack. Unfortunately, it rarely does. The average person, even the average high achiever, tends to focus negatively on their gaps.

16. Everything is difficult before it’s easy. Every new experience is uncomfortable before it’s comfortable.

17. The purpose of The Miracle Morning is more about waking up with a purpose – combining the benefits of early rising and personal development – and isn’t so much concerned with which activities you do, as long as the activities you choose are proactive and help you improve your inner world (yourself) and your outer world (your life).

18. Remember, your life situation will improve after – but only after – you develop yourself into the person you need to be to improve it.

The less than 500 words summary 

With all the highlights you have about the book, now is the time to share the main premise of the book and how the author suggests we accomplish the main premise. 

When you wake up and the first set of activities that you do when you wake determines a lot about the quality of your day, and then months and then years. Hence, if you can be more purposeful about your morning, by deliberately doing things that will improve your physical, mental and spiritual health, inevitably, the quality of your life will change from one day at a time until you look back and realise your life has indeed totally changed for the better. How can you be more purposeful about your mornings? 

Wake up earlier than you would normally do. And when you do, apply the S.A.V.E.R.S. strategy to transform your life.

  1. Silence. Start every morning with a period of purposeful Silence of at least 5 minutes. Activities to choose from and practice during the period of Silence:
  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Reflection
  • Deep Breathing
  • Gratitude

Don’t stay in bed for this, and preferably leave your bedroom altogether.

  1. Affirmations. Use affirmations to start programming yourself to be confident and successful in everything you do. With enough repetition, your subconscious mind will begin to believe what you tell it, act upon it, and eventually manifest it in your reality. 
  1. Visualisation. Visualisation is the process of imagining exactly what you want to achieve or attain, and then mentally rehearsing what you’ll need to do to achieve or attain it. Directly after reading your affirmations—where you took the time to articulate and focus on your goals and who you need to be to take your life to the next level—is the prime time to visualise yourself living in alignment with your affirmations. Start with just five minutes of visualisation.
  1. Exercise. Morning exercise should be a staple in your daily rituals. When you exercise for even a few minutes every morning it significantly boosts your energy, enhances your health, improves self-confidence and emotional well-being, and enables you to think better and concentrate longer.
  1. Reading. Reading is one of the most immediate methods for acquiring the knowledge, ideas, and strategies you need to achieve Level 10 success in any area of your life. The key is to learn from the experts—those who have already done what you want to do. The fastest way to achieve everything you want is to model successful people who have already achieved it. Commit to read a minimum of 10 pages per day.
  1. Scribing. Scribing=Writing. Writing enables you to document your insights, ideas, breakthroughs, realisations, successes, and lessons learned, as well as any areas of opportunity, personal growth, or improvement.

If you commit to doing all this including adopting a personal development plan that gets executed in the early morning, your life is guaranteed to take a new turn. Cheers to realising your maximum potential. 

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