The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, chapter name The 95% Reality Check

The 95% Reality Check

One of the saddest things in life is to get to the end and look back in regret, knowing that you could

have been, done, and had so much more.


The story of the human race is the story of men and

women selling themselves short.


Every day you and I wake up, we face the same universal challenge: to overcome mediocrity and live to our full potential. It’s the greatest challenge in human history—to rise above our excuses, do what’s right, give our best and create the Level 10 life we truly want—the one with no limits, the one so few people ever get to live.

Most people never even come close. Approximately 95% of our society settles for far less than they want in life, wishing they had more, living with regret and never understanding that they could be, do, and have all that they want.

According to the Social Security Administration, if you take any 100 people at the start of their working careers and follow them for the next 40 years until they reach retirement age, here’s what you’ll find: only 1 will be wealthy; 4 will be financially secure; 5 will continue working, not because they want to but because they have to; 36 will be dead; and 54 will be broke and dependent on friends, family, relatives, and the government to take care of them.

Monetarily speaking, that’s only 5% of us who will be successful in creating a life of freedom, and 95% who will continue to struggle their entire lives.

So the crucial question—the one that we must explore and find the answer to—is this: what can we do now to ensure that we don’t end up struggling, like the 95% majority will?

Rising Above Mediocrity and Joining the Top 5%

The fact that you’re reading this book tells me that you’re ready for the next level in your life—that you’re not okay with settling for less than you can have, be, and do anymore, just because nearly everyone else does.

Here are three simple, yet decisive steps to rise above mediocrity and join the top 5%:

Step #1: Acknowledge the 95% Reality Check

First, we must understand and acknowledge the reality that 95%

of our society will never create and live the life they really want. We must embrace the fact that if we don’t commit to thinking and living differently than most people now, we are setting ourselves up to endure a life of mediocrity, struggle, failure and regret—just like most people. Realize that this will include our own friends, family, and peers if we don’t do something about it now and set an example of what’s possible when we commit to fulfilling our potential.

Being average means to settle for less than you truly want and are capable of, and to struggle for your entire life. Every day, most people settle, and most people struggle on almost every level.

Physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, financially—you name it—most people wake up each day and struggle to create the levels of success, happiness, love fulfillment, health and financial prosperity that they truly desire.

Consider the Following:

Ö Physically—Obesity is an epidemic. Potentially fatal diseases like cancer and heart disease are on the rise. The average person is exhausted, their physical energy levels at an all time low. Most can’t seem to generate enough energy to make it through a single day without consuming a few cups of coffee or a 5-Hour Energy® drink. The success of that product is further evidence of the degree to which people are struggling physically.

Ö Mentally and Emotionally—More prescription drugs are being consumed every day in an attempt to combat disorders like depression, anxiety, and

countless other mental or emotional illnesses. Rarely do you turn on the TV without seeing an ad for some prescription drug. There’s usually some good looking middle-aged couple, flying a kite on the beach with their dog. Then a man with a deep voice starts speaking gently, rattling off symptoms, followed by a list of potential side effects: “Do you ever feel tired, sad, lonely, depressed, overweight, or anything else that you’d be willing to pay money to not feel anymore?

Great, you’re in luck—XYZ drug can help! Warning: may cause side effects such as bloating, constipation, diathermia, dizziness, dry mouth, dandruff, insomnia, narcolepsy, and many other things far worse than what it’s actually supposed to help you with. So, don’t wait

—call the number on your screen today!”  

Ö Relationally—It’s well known that there is an epidemic of divorce in America, with one in two marriages failing. In other words, over half of those deeply in love couples, who stand before their friends and family and commit their lives to each other

— through the good times and the bad, might I remind you—struggle to make it work. After more than 30

years of marriage, two of my favorite people—my mom and dad—recently divorced. I’m very present to the pain of this all too common relational struggle.

Ö Financially—Americans have more personal debt than at any other time in history. Most people aren’t earning nearly as much money as they’d like to be earning. They’re spending too much, not saving

enough, and struggling financially.

It’s no secret that most people are living life far below their potential. Once we can acknowledge that, it’s crucial that we explore what causes most people to struggle and settle for mediocrity in their lives.

Step #2: Identify the Causes of Mediocrity

Once we’ve acknowledged that 95% of our society is settling for far less than they are capable of, struggling in almost every area, and not experiencing the levels of success, happiness, and freedom that they really want, the next crucial step is to understand why. To prevent it from happening to you, you must know what causes the average person to end up living a life of mediocrity.

If you were to ask the average person in this country—40-50

years old, settling for less than they want, and struggling to be happy, pay their bills, etc.—if you were to ask them if this was their plan, their vision for their life, what do you think they would say? Do you think they envisioned their life being a struggle? Of course not! And that, my friend, is the scary part.

If 95% of our society is not living the life that they want, we must figure out what they did wrong or what they didn’t do right, so that we don’t end up living a life of mediocrity.

We don’t want our lives to be a struggle. I want a life of freedom, where I get to wake up and do what I want, when I want, with whomever I want. I want to get out of bed every day and truly love my life. I want to love my work, and I want to love the people I get to share my life and work with. That’s my definition of success.

That kind of life doesn’t just happen. It must be designed. If you want to live an extraordinary life as defined and designed by you, then you must identify the fundamental causes of mediocrity so you can prevent them from robbing you of the life you want.

The following are what I believe to be the most relevant causes of mediocrity and unfulfilled potential—the ones that have made and will continue to make the biggest impact on your life—and what you can do to defeat them:

Causes of Mediocrity (and Immediate Solutions):

Ö Rearview Mirror Syndrome

One of the most crippling causes of mediocrity in life is a condition I call Rearview Mirror Syndrome  (RMS). Our subconscious minds are equipped with a self-limiting rearview mirror, through which we continuously relive and recreate our past. 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.

As a result, we filter every choice we make—from what time we will wake up in the morning to which goals we will set to what we allow ourselves to consider possible for our lives—through the limitations of our past experiences. We want to create a better life, but sometimes we don’t know how to see it any other way than how it’s always been.

Research shows that on any given day, the average person thinks somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000

thoughts. The problem is that ninety-five percent of our thoughts are the same as the ones we thought the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that. It’s no wonder most people go through life, day after day, month after month, year after year, and never change the quality of their lives.

Like old, worn baggage, we carry stress, fear, and worry from yesterday with us into today. When presented with opportunities, we quickly check our rearview mirror to assess our past capabilities. “No, I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve never achieved at that level. In fact, I’ve failed, time and time again.”

When presented with adversity, we go back to our trusty rearview mirror for guidance on how to respond.

“Yep, just my luck. This crap always happens to me. I’m just going to give up; that’s what I’ve always done when things get too difficult.”

If you are to move beyond your past and transcend your limitations, you must stop living out of your rearview mirror and start imagining a life of limitless possibilities.

Accept the paradigm: my past does not equal my future.

Talk to yourself in a way that inspires confidence that not only is anything possible, but that you are capable and committed to making it so. It’s not even necessary to believe it at first. In fact, you probably won’t believe it. You might find it uncomfortable and that you resist doing it.

That’s okay. Repeat it to yourself anyway, and your subconscious mind will begin to absorb the positive self-affirmations. (More on how to do this in Chapter 6: The Life S.A.V.E.R.S. )

Don’t place unnecessary limitations on what you want

for your life. Think bigger than you’ve allowed yourself to think up until this point. Get clear on what you truly want, condition yourself to the belief that it’s possible by focusing on and affirming it every day, and then consistently move in the direction of your vision until it becomes your reality.

There is nothing to fear, because you cannot fail—only learn, grow, and become better than you’ve ever been before.

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.

Ö Lack of Purpose

If you ask the average person what their life purpose is, you will get a funny look or a response like “Gee, I dunno.”

What if I asked you? What would you say? The average person can’t articulate their life purpose—the compelling

“why” that drives them to wake up every day and do whatever it takes to fulfill their mission in life.

Rather, the average person takes life one day at a time, and has no higher purpose beyond merely surviving. Most people just focus on getting through the day, taking the path of least resistance, and pursuing short term, short-lived pleasures along the way, while avoiding any pain or discomfort that might cause them to grow.

During the course of my seven-year career in direct sales, despite having broken numerous company sales records, I spent the first six of those seven years fighting the uphill battle of mediocrity, and losing more often than not.

My results were inconsistent, and I consistently accepted far less than my best, until I finally figured out the secret to overcoming mediocrity: live a life of purpose.

After being inducted into the company’s hall of fame, it was time to move on and pursue my dreams of becoming an author, speaker, and coach. However, I had never achieved my full potential with the company. I was about to leave the company with the mediocrity monkey on my back.

It was sure to follow me into my next venture unless I did something about it.

Up until then, I didn’t have a compelling life purpose that got me up in the morning even when I didn’t feel like getting up. I had no purpose that drove me to get on the phone and call prospects, even when I didn’t need more money. I decided in that moment that my life purpose for the next 12 months would be: to become the person I need to be to create the success, freedom, and quality of life that I truly want. I combined this with my other life purpose (yes, you can have more than one), which was to selflessly add value to the lives of others by assembling a team of 16

other sales reps. I led weekly conference coaching calls to support them in reaching their goals, free of charge, for the next 46 consecutive weeks.

Living every day in alignment with my two life purposes—constantly, consciously aligning my thoughts, words and actions with each purpose—not only did I have my best sales year ever (a 94% increase over my previous best), but I also led more reps to surpassing the highest performance level than at any other time in the company’s 50-year history.

To defeat this cause of mediocrity, you need a life purpose, which can be any purpose you want. It can be anything that resonates with and inspires you to wake up every day and live in alignment with your purpose. Now, I totally understand that asking you to come up with your life’s purpose right now may sound a bit overwhelming.

Just remember that you get to make it up, and this first one can be something simple, even small. (e.g. “I’m going to smile more so that I can bring a little more happiness to my life and to those around me.” Or, “I’m going to ask every person I meet what I can do to help them, so that I can add value to more people’s lives.”) It will be your first step towards a bigger life purpose.

Keep in mind that you can change your life purpose at

any time. As you grow and evolve, so will your purpose.

What’s important is that you choose a purpose—any purpose—and start living by it, now. You can even borrow one of the purposes I just shared with you. (Many of my coaching clients have.)

Keep in mind that you’re not supposed to “figure out”

what your purpose is, you get to make it up, create it, decide what you want it to be. In his bestselling book The Rhythm of Life, Matthew Kelly enlightens us to a universal life purpose that I believe we should all live by: to become the best version of ourselves. In other words, focus on growing and being the best you can be, pursuing your dreams and inspiring others to do the same. That’s your purpose.

Schedule some time this week to think about and articulate your life purpose. Write it down where you’ll see it every day. In fact, you’ll have time to do this during your Miracle Morning.

Always remember that when you are committed to a life purpose that is bigger than your problems, your problems become relatively insignificant and you will overcome them with ease.

Ö 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. As T. Harv Eker said in his best-selling book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

Every time you choose to do the easy thing, instead of the right thing, you are shaping your identity, becoming the type of person who does what’s easy, rather than what’s right.

On the other hand, when you do choose to do the right thing and follow through with your commitments— especially when you don’t feel like it—you are developing the extraordinary discipline (which most people never develop) necessary for creating extraordinary results in your life. As my good friend, Peter Voogd, often teaches his clients: “Discipline creates lifestyle.”

For example, when the alarm clock goes off, and we hit the snooze button (the easy thing), most people mistakenly assume that this action is only affecting that moment. The reality is that this type of action is programming our subconscious mind with the instructions that it is okay for us to not follow through with the things we intended to do.

(More on that in the next chapter: Why Did You Wake Up This Morning? )

We must stop isolating incidents and start seeing the bigger picture. Realize that everything that we do affects who we’re becoming, which is determining the life that we will ultimately create and live. When you see the big picture you start to take the alarm clock more seriously. When the buzzer goes off in the morning and you’re tempted to snooze, you start thinking, Wait—this is not who I want to become—someone who doesn’t even have enough discipline to get out of bed in the morning. I’m getting up now, because I am committed to __________ (waking up early, hitting my goals, creating the life of my dreams, etc.)


Always remember that who you’re becoming is far more important than what you’re doing, and yet it is what you’re doing that is determining who you’re becoming.

Ö Lack of Accountability

The link between success and accountability is irrefutable. Virtually all highly successful people—from CEOs to professional athletes to the President of the United States—embrace a high degree of accountability. It gives them the leverage they need to take action and create results, even when they don’t feel like it. Without it, we’d have a lot more pro-athletes skipping practice, and CEOs spending their days playing Words With Friends TM on their iPhones. I’m sure some are already doing that (I’m guilty of it occasionally), but we’d have a lot more.

Accountability is the act of being responsible to someone else for some action or result. Very little happens in this world, or in your life, without some form of accountability. Virtually every positive result you and I produced from birth to age eighteen was thanks to the accountability provided for us by the adults in our lives (parents, teachers, bosses, etc.) Vegetables got eaten, homework was completed, teeth were brushed, we bathed and got to bed at a reasonable hour. If it weren’t for the accountability provided for us by our parents and teachers, we would have been uneducated, malnourished, sleep-deprived, dirty little kids! Nice way to reframe it, right?

Accountability has brought order to our lives and allowed us to progress, improve and achieve results we wouldn’t have otherwise.Here’s the problem:accountability was never something you and I asked for, but rather something that we endured as children, teens, and young adults. As it was forced upon us by adults, most of us unconsciously grew to resist and resent accountability altogether. Then, when we turned 18, we embraced every ounce of freedom we could get our hands on, continuing to avoid accountability like it was the plague, perpetuating a downward spiral into mediocrity, developing detrimental mindsets and habits such as laziness, deflecting responsibility, and taking short cuts—hardly a recipe for success.

Now that we are all grown up and striving to achieve worthy levels of success and fulfillment, we must take responsibility for initiating our own systems for accountability (or move back in with our parents). Your accountability system could be a professional coach, mentor, even a good friend or family member. The reality is that, statistically, 95% of the people that read any book don’t implement what they learn, because no one is holding them accountable to do so. There is a way to change that.

[Highly Recommended] Get an Accountability


Have you ever had a day where you intended to exercise or go to the gym, but didn’t go because you didn’t feel like it? Sure, we all have. What about when you know someone is counting on you to meet them at the gym, or on the running trail—aren’t you much more likely to follow through when you have someone else holding you accountable? I strongly recommend teaming up with an Accountability Partner while you read this book. This can be a friend, co-worker or family member that you simply s h a r e The Miracle Morning with by sending them to so they can get a Miracle Morning

“Crash Course” (2 free chapters of this book, as well as The Miracle Morning  video and audio programs—all for free.) That way, you have someone who is also committed to taking his or her life to the next level, and the two of you can support, encourage, and hold each other accountable.

You can even post an invitation on your Facebook wall, or to the highly supportive members of The Miracle M orni ng  Community   a t

You might post something like: “I’m looking for someone who wants to improve their life to be my Accountability Partner for The Miracle Morning 30-day LifeTransformation Challenge. Check out  and let me know if you’re interested.”  Keep in mind that anyone who responds to this is the type of person you want to have in your circle of influence!

I’d urge you to make a commitment now to call, text, or email a friend today, inviting them to join you on your Miracle Morning journey, read the book with you, and be your Accountability Partner for The Miracle Morning 30-Day Life Transformation Challenge in Chapter 10. Or, visit The Miracle Morning Community at to connect with fellow Miracle Makers and find your ideal Accountability Partner.


Ö Mediocre Circle of Influence

Research has shown that we virtually become like the average of the five people we spend the most time with.

Who you spend your time with may be the single most determining factor in the person you become and in your quality of life. If you are surrounded with lazy, weak-minded, excuse-making people, you’ll inevitably become like them. Spend time with positive, successful achievers and inevitably their attitudes and successful habits will reflect on you. You’ll become more and more like them.

This is true in every area—success, health, happiness weight, income. If all of your friends are generally happy and optimistic people, then you are going to naturally become more happy and optimistic just by being around them. If all of your friends are successful and earn over $100,000 a year—even if you enter their circle earning far less—you will automatically be pulled up by their level of thinking and influenced by the habits they’ve established to be successful.

On the contrary, if most of the people you associate with are constantly complaining and focused on the negative side of life, the odds are you will be too. If your friends are not striving to improve their lives, or if they’re struggling financially, then they’re not going to challenge or inspire you to do any better.

Unfortunately, there will be a lot of people who are trying to get ahead in life but keep getting pulled down by the people around them. This can be especially difficult when those people are your family. You must be strong and make sure you spend less time with people who don’t encourage and challenge you to become the best you can be.

Seek out people who believe in you, admire you, and can help you get where you want to go in life. You must actively seek out such people to improve your circle of influence—they rarely just show up by chance. Here are some ways that you can do that:

§ You can join an online community such as, where you can connect with like-minded people in your area who have similar interests. You can join an existing Meetup group, or start your own.

§ If you are a business owner or a professional who markets any products or services, you can join a business networking and referral marketing group, the largest of which is BNI ( I was a member of BNI for many years. It helped me grow my

business and I always recommend it to others.

§ If you are a student—high school, junior, high, or elementary school student—I highly recommend that you look into joining Boys & Girls Clubs of America by finding one of their 4,000 local Clubs at It is one of the best organizations for young people to set yourself on the road to success. Their mission is: To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens , and former Club members include Denzel Washington, Adam Sandler, Jennifer Lopez, and Shaquille O’Neal. Those aren’t bad footsteps to follow if you want to be successful.

§ As I’ve mentioned, we have an exceptionally positive, supportive, and highly proactive community you can join at  There you can connect and network with all types of people—from executives and entrepreneurs to students and stay-at-home moms.

It is often said that “misery loves company”, but so d o e s mediocrity. Don’t let the fears, insecurities, and limiting beliefs of others limit what’s possible for you. One of the most important commitments you will ever make is to proactively and continuously improve your circle of influence. Always seek people who will add value to your life and bring out the best in you. And of course, be that person for others.

This is another reason that it’s so valuable for you to commit to inviting a friend, co-worker or family member to be your Accountability Partner and do the Miracle Morning with you. You’ll be adding value to that person’s life by helping them increase their level of personal development, which in turn will make them a better influence on you.

Ö Lack of Personal Development

Jim Rohn has been one of my greatest mentors and has taught me many life-changing philosophies. In my opinion, none was greater than the idea that our levels of success will rarely exceed our level of personal development, because success is something we attract by who we become. In other words, your level of success—in every area of your life—will rarely exceed, and usually parallel your level of personal development (i.e. your knowledge, skills, beliefs, habits, etc.)

We touched on this earlier, but let’s check in again. If you and I are measuring our levels of success in any area of our lives (health, finances, relationships, etc.) on a scale of one to ten—we both want “Level 10” success, agreed?

Okay, good.

Now, the problem is that most of us aren’t investing time each day into developing ourselves into the “Level 10”

people that we need to be that are capable of attracting, creating, living, and sustaining the levels of success that we say we want. As a result, we struggle to attain the levels of health, happiness, energy, love, personal and professional success that we truly desire.

During The Miracle Morning 30-Day Life Transformation Challenge (in Chapter 10) you’ll be given access to The Miracle Morning 30-Day Life Transformation Challenge “Fast-Start Kit” where you’ll be guided through the enlightening and surprisingly fun process of assessing your levels of success in each area. Then, after you’ve gained a heightened level of clarity and self-awareness, you’ll be able to clarify your “Level 10” vision for each area of your life, and then establish your “Next Level” goals for each area, so that you can immediately begin making significant progress towards your Level 10 vision.

The most extraordinary life you can imagine is available to you no matter what’s happened in your past; just waiting for you to develop yourself into the person you need to be to be able to easily attract, create, and live that life.

The Miracle Morning will enable you to become that Level 10 person you need to be to easily and consistently, attract, create, and sustain Level 10 success that you want in every—yes, every—area of your life.

Always remember that when we fail to make time for personal development, we are forced to make time for pain and struggle. The Miracle Morning will give you that time for extraordinary personal development.

Ö Lack of Urgency

Arguably the single most significant cause of

mediocrity and unfulfilled potential, which prevents 95% of our society from creating and living the life they truly want, is that most people have no sense of urgency to improve themselves so they can improve their lives. Human nature is to live with a “someday” mindset and think life will work itself out. How’s that working out for everybody?

This someday mindset is perpetual, and it leads to a life of procrastination, unfulfilled potential and regret. You wake up one day and wonder what the heck happened; how did your life end up like this? How did you end up like this?

One of the saddest things in life is to live with regret, knowing that you could have, be, and do so much more.

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.

If you don’t make the commitment today to start becoming the person you need to be to create the extraordinary life you really want, what makes you think tomorrow—or next week, or next month, or next year—are going to be any different? They won’t. And that’s why you must draw your line in the sand.

Step #3: Draw Your Line In the Sand

You’ve acknowledged and embraced the reality that 95% of society is struggling—and that if we don’t commit to thinking and living differently than most people, we will end up struggling, like most people. You’ve identified the causes of mediocrity you absolutely need to remain aware of and avoid. The 3rd step is to draw your line in the sand.  Make a decision as to what you are going to start doing differently from this day forward.

Not tomorrow, not next week, or next month. You’ve got to make a decision today that you’re ready to make the necessary changes to guarantee that you will be able to create the life you really want. To take your personal and professional success to the level they’ve never been before, you have to be willing to commit at a level you’ve never been committed before. Are you ready to make that commitment?

Your entire life changes the day that you decide you will no longer accept mediocrity for yourself. When you realize that today is the most important day of your life. When you decide that now matters more than any other time because it is who you are becoming each day based on the decisions that you are making and the actions that you are taking that is determining who you are going to be for the rest of your life.

The possibility of mediocrity exists for everyone, because being mediocre simply means choosing—whether consciously or unconsciously—to be the same as you’ve always been. Mediocrity has nothing to do with how you compare to other people; it’s simply a result of not making the commitment to continuously learn, grow, and improve yourself. Whereas being extraordinary—which leads to extraordinary levels of success—is a result of choosing to learn, grow, and be just a little bit better each day than you’ve been in the past.

We’ve all experienced the pain of regret—as a result of thinking and talking ourselves into being, doing, and having less than we are capable of. Mediocre days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months.

Months inevitably turn into years, and if we don’t change who we are now, our self-created fate will be a life of mediocrity and unfulfilled potential, accepting less from ourselves, and for our lives, than we truly want… and deserve.

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.

I think you want more for your life. I know I do. If you’re being completely honest with yourself, you truly want to live an extraordinary life. That doesn’t necessarily mean being rich or famous. Everyone’s dream is different. What it does mean is living your definition of an extraordinary life. A life where you get to call the shots, and live life on your terms, with the freedom to do, be, and have everything you’ve ever wanted for your life. No excuses. No regrets. Just an incredible, meaningful, and exciting life!

As stated so truthfully by bestselling author, Robin Sharma:

“One of the saddest things in life is to get to the end and look back in regret, knowing that you could have been, done, and had so much more.”  While this is the self-imposed fate of the masses, it absolutely does not have to be yours. Today you can draw your line in the sand.

You can decide that mediocrity is no longer acceptable for you. You can claim your greatness. You can choose to become the person you need to be to create the extraordinary life that you truly want. Your life can be filled with an abundance of energy, love, health, happiness, success, financial prosperity, and everything else that you’ve ever imagined having, doing, or being. The Miracle Morning can give you that life.

But first, an important question.