Jesse Elder

372: How to Choose Freedom, Joy, and Expansion with Jesse Elder

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"The greatest gift that anybody can give is truly the gift of their presence, the gift of their joy, the gift of their happiness, the gift of their own well-being."

Jesse Elder

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Today’s guest has touched the hearts and minds of millions of people worldwide, helping them to upgrade their lives with his teachings of self-mastery, radical self-acceptance, and inspired action.

I’m referring to my good friend, and one of the most enlightened individuals I’ve ever met, Jesse Elder. 

Jesse is a speaker, mentor, entrepreneur, and all around lover of life. In our unscripted and uncensored conversation today, Jesse and I touch on a variety of topics, including the balance between ambition and happiness, why you don’t have to wait to experience freedom and joy, dealing with negative opinions, preparing for disasters, and much more. 

If you want to better understand how you can expand your life (not out of fear) and experience more freedom and joy, this episode is for you!


  • Why it’s so hard to make a difference in the world if you’re not having fun.
  • Why people who focus their energy on producing amazing free content break Jesse’s heart.
  • The difference between rejection and refusal – and why the responses you get from people often have nothing to do with you personally.
  • How being curious and hungry can bring out curiosity and hunger in others.
  • The value of being prepared for disasters, war, and power outages – and why it’s important to be “aware, but not afraid” and “prepared, but not paranoid.”
  • Why Jesse sees his life as indestructible.


If you enjoyed this post and received value from this episode, please leave a quick comment below and SHARE with your friends. Thank YOU for paying it forward! :^)

COMMENT QUESTION: What is your big takeaway? Write it in the comments below.

View Transcript

Hal Elrod: Jesse Elder, we're here, man. We did it. 


Jesse Elder: Finally. This has been a long time in the making, dude. 


Hal Elrod: Dude, this is like the most delayed podcast ever. Yeah, a long time in the making and. Well, it's funny, what's cool about this is I was thinking about it this morning, I literally last I think I mentioned this to you but on last week's episode, I was doing a solo episode about finding true happiness and I quoted, I butchered a quote that I heard you say once about something that you only feel fear long enough to alchemize the fear. And when I said that, I go, "You know what, speaking of Jesse Elder, he needs to be on the podcast” I said, "Everybody, hang tight.” It wasn't live but as if it were live, “Everybody, hold on,” and I just started texting you while I was recording the podcast and I go, "There you go. I just invited Jesse. Hopefully, he's on soon,” and literally, it's one week later since that episode aired and you're on the very next episode. That's a nice turnaround time, man. Thanks for being responsive. 


Jesse Elder: That's how it works, man. That's how it works. 


Hal Elrod: Yeah. I will say this to you. I know I'm doing all the talking so far but I want the audience to know that Jesse and I got on Zoom literally about 30 seconds before we started recording this, and I was like, "Anything we should prepare?” and we both agreed when you live your life prepared and of service to others, I think that's how you said it, then there's nothing to prepare. So, I'm just looking for a really nice organic conversation today and I did put some thought into like what are some things, what are some topics I want to chat about? What about Jesse that’s interesting? I'll tell you one other thing I want to share with the audience that I shared with you the other day is I often have conversations with God, if you will, like in meditation, in prayer, tapping into higher consciousness, collective wisdom, whatever you want to call it. And I got a message a few weeks ago as I was laying down the bed trying to fall asleep, which is when my higher self won't shut up. Like I have the journal by the bed to write it down and I got the message that, "Hey, you need to spend more time with Jesse,” just to learn from you and your wisdom and the way that you see the world, which we spend a lot of time together so I know that but it's all relative. And so, I'm excited to fulfill that now with you in the midst of other people listening in on our conversation so we can all benefit from your wisdom. So, with that said, man, what are you up to? 


Jesse Elder: Dude, I'm just so appreciative to be here and to see you and to connect with everybody that is part of your family and part of your community. You and I have known each other for probably like six, seven years. 


Hal Elrod: Archangel Academy, I think, is when we met, which was probably 2014 or something. 


Jesse Elder: Yeah. So, it's been a hot minute and just so much respect for the way that you navigate your life. I always saw what you were doing and, of course, read Miracle Morning and then got to know you as an entrepreneur. And then over the last couple of years as we've gotten to become really good friends and spend time together around all sorts of things from economics to politics, to family, to education, to health and creativity and all of this kind of stuff, I'm like, “Dude, this is my brother.” So, I'm just happy to be here, man, live and connecting with all your folks.


Hal Elrod: Yeah, I appreciate that. I think that you said the other day when you texted me that you were looking forward to surfing the vibe with me. What does that mean, Jesse? What does that mean, to surf the vibe with somebody? 


Jesse Elder: Yeah. Let's dive right in. Everything in this universe, as we understand it, is harmonic. It's got a resonance to it down from the subatomic particles that make up the atoms, that make up the molecules, that make up this physical world to other things that are equally real, although nonphysical like thoughts and waves, gamma waves, radio waves, cell signal, Wi-Fi. This is all nonphysical and yet incredibly real. We're having this conversation because we've got these frequencies called Wi-Fi that can connect us, convert that into sight and sound, and vibration. So, everything in this universe operates on a certain frequency, and especially us as human beings. Each one of us is an electromagnet really. We're moving at different waves. And that might sound super woo or super quantum or whatever but every single one of us knows what it feels like when we're in a higher vibe because we just feel more like ourselves. We feel happy with who we are. We feel content and don’t want to be someplace else, nor are we just sort of satisfied to stay where we are. Somebody in high vibe, and you're definitely one of these people, somebody in a high vibe always is sort of oscillating back and forth between appreciation for what is and this eager anticipation of what's coming and that sort of juxtaposition of those two moods, those two energies is the ultimate space of creation. 


When somebody gets a little bit outside of one of those, let's say on one side is this appreciation but they lose the ambition. You know, they lose the eagerness for what's coming and then they sort of settle into this rut. They're just like, “Okay. Well, I'm grateful for all this stuff,” but there's like not this excitement.


Hal Elrod: There’s no creation. 


Jesse Elder: Yeah. And on the other side, it's very easy. Especially today, it's very easy to get into pure ambition and pure anticipation and more and more and more and more and more and forget the other part, which is just this appreciation for everything that is. And so, when we're around people who are, it's not a judgment, it's just an observation of where we can all go if we're not careful when we’re around somebody who's too much to one end of the spectrum, there's something that's missing. If somebody's really over here on the ambition side, after a while, you're like, "Take a breath, man, like chill out and just like savor kind of how far you've come.” There's that. And on the other side, and lovingly and I used to be one of these people for a long time, but woke and broke, just super happy and lovely, lovely people but then like they want to crash on your couch all the time because they haven't figured out yet how to get traction with value in the world. And so, it's those two spaces that I observe you operate in consistently. I don't think I've ever hung out with you when both of those weren't really, really high. And so, when I say surfing the vibe, that's what I mean. That space between appreciation and ambition, that's my favorite place to be and those are my favorite people in the world who have sort of acknowledged those two poles. 


Hal Elrod: I love that and it goes along, there's something I often will say to folks if I'm training or talking or whatever which is kind of the sweet spot is you have to maintain a complete peace with where you are while simultaneously maintaining a healthy sense of urgency and enthusiasm to move toward where you want to go. And so, you just described, you know, you feel that out. I love that. If you're listening to this right now, really think about that for a second and ask yourself where you are between those two realms, the realm of just being really happy and at peace and grateful with where you are in your life, even if it’s not where you want to be because it's where you are and you can either be miserable where you are or happy where you are and it has almost nothing to do with where you are. You know, you could have everything to where you are if you allow it to. “Well, of course, I’m unhappy. Look at my circumstances,” or, "My circumstances suck but I'm happy anyway,” but either way, the circumstances haven’t changed. So, where are you between that spectrum of being really happy and at peace just enjoying this one life that we've been blessed to live? And then are you waking up every day and regaining that clarity and that traction and that momentum and generating the energy necessary and taking the steps to move in the direction of creating a life that you're so frickin excited to live? It takes no energy, right? You don't have to think about it. So, to me, yeah, both of those, man. Oh, you're surfing right now. If anybody’s watching the video, you’re surfing. That's beautiful, man. 


So, how did you get to this point? In fact, let's do this. Who are you, Jesse? Like, what do you do? Not who are you. I guess, who are you? What do you do right now? If somebody who doesn't know you, I'll give you an intro here at the beginning or I gave you an intro at the beginning but like, what do you do now or what do you do? And then what got you to that point? Because what you just share isn't common. Unfortunately, hopefully, we can make it more and more and more common but most people, like you said, they either are not engaged in either of those realms or they're out of balance and they're working their butt off and they're ambitious but they're not happy. And you see one of the two. 


Jesse Elder: Yeah. I've been super blessed to have, first of all, I had a kick-ass childhood. I mean, I had parents that loved me and stayed out of my way. They basically said, "No, you're here as a stool for your own reason and we're not here to control that.” So, as my relationship with my parents has gotten stronger and grown over the years, I've learned a lot from them about education and about learning and about what is it to be a human. And one thing that they said to me which was kind of shocking when I first heard it, they said, "We figured you just knew better than we did what you needed and so we let you teach us how to parent you.”


Hal Elrod: Were your parents hippies? It sounds a little hippy-ish. 


Jesse Elder: Not necessarily. I mean, we gardened and we're very, very active in the community but my dad's a school teacher. He was a lot of things. He’s a bartender and a farmer and many, many different things but primarily a school teacher. And my mom was a nurse and then still continued nursing for a long time. And there's five of us and we all were homeschooled so hippie, I don't know. 


Hal Elrod: They’re wise and enlightened. That's what I call it.


Jesse Elder: They would probably deny that but I can confirm it.


Hal Elrod: Yeah. Those that are truly wise and enlightened will always deny it, right? 


Jesse Elder: Yeah, exactly. So, with that as sort of a setup, I found very, very quickly that there was nobody other than me that was qualified to tell me what I should do with my life. And so, having never been to school or never taking a test or never sat behind a desk and just getting in the space of what was I interested in. So, when I was a kid, I read for hours and hours a day things that interested me not knowing until years later that my dad or many times my mom were the ones laying the books out on the table and saying, “Jesse, you read whatever you want.” And I remember going, “Oh, I can read anything I want? This is amazing.” It wasn't until 30 years later I'm like, "You guys are damn geniuses.” They’re the ones that selected the titles and then gave me this illusion of choice. And so, I say all of that as a little bit of a setup because I…


Hal Elrod: Nothing politics. Sorry. I'm interrupting. Go ahead. 


Jesse Elder: The illusion of choice. 


Hal Elrod: Yeah. 


Jesse Elder: So, with that as a foundation and then just continuing to live my life in that fashion, what am I fascinated by? What am I interested in and what feels right? And what feels right to me right now knowing that I can change, knowing that it will change. And then sort of turning that over many, many different careers in many different iterations of that singular purpose, I realized that there's just two things and then we'll talk more about the business side and how it became a micro empire or whatever. I realize that to me there are two things that are equally important in life. These are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other. And one is that if I'm not making a difference, that I'm not having fun. I'm not enjoying my life. On the other side, if I'm not enjoying my life, if I'm not having fun, then I'm actually not making a difference as this greatest gift, I believe, the greatest gift that anybody can give is truly the gift of their presence, the gift of their joy, the gift of their happiness, the gift of their own well-being. And that is best experienced as an inside-out phenomenon as a self-generated, self-authorized sort of phenomenon. So, happiness and fulfillment and joy, that's a choice, a series of choices. Sometimes we can choose ourselves out of it and then it doesn't feel like a choice anymore because of the guy in office or the guy that got fired from office or this or that and all these external circumstances that we think are responsible for our happiness. But really, that's just the natural byproduct of choosing away from our core, from our purpose, from our heart, from our soul, from our own mind, our own body. So, having fun and making a difference to me are the same exact thing. 


And so, when I was a kid, I started doing martial arts. I loved it. Got my black belt when I was 15, started teaching. And by the time I was 17, I told my parents, "This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” And they, in typical fashion, they're like, "You can do it. We can’t help you but we believe in you.” And so, I struggled and navigated my way through opening a martial arts school. Along the way, I got into these fantastic evolutionary experiences of these fight club like underground bar fights in San Antonio, Texas. No rules, no time limit, no weight limit, no safety equipment, and it was a baptism in reality because it taught me the difference between theory and results. Anything that sounds good, sounds sweet, sounds nice, looks cool, what's the result? And so, I became largely immune to B.S. If somebody had something that sounded nice, I couldn't even hear what they were saying. I was looking at their results. And if somebody, for example, is telling me how I should teach, my first question is how many students do you have? You know, if they're like, "Oh, I got 36 students,” I'm like, "Man, I got that every single class and I got eight classes a day, six days a week. So, with love and with respect, I do not accept your qualification to give me advice on that particular area. You might be superior to me in other areas. Happy to listen to you on that and not only listen but pay,” because that's something that I realized is if I don't pay, if I don't invest, then I'm not going to pay attention. 


And so, that's the double-edged sword of creating amazing free content and putting all the stuff out there in the world is so easy for people to listen and go, “Wow. Sounds great.” And then they got their dopamine hit for the day but then they don't really take it further. And that just breaks my heart. And so, learning for me the difference between theory and reality and then continually testing as many different things as I could to grow my school, I understood that I was in charge of the success of my school. Nobody else was. And I could cower inside my school and wait for people to discover me or I could be proactive and I could go out into the community and I can go hand out guest passes and say, "Hi. Have you taken martial arts before?” And then that forced me to overcome these illusion fears, absolute false fears of rejection. And nobody can reject. You can only reject yourself. 


Hal Elrod: I can't let you keep going. Expand on that. What do you mean by that? 


Jesse Elder: Yeah. So, it's a big difference between rejection or refusal. You know, if let's say you and I go to eat and we shared many meals together and let's say the waiter or waitress comes up and says, "You know, may I recommend the special?” Well, I'm sure they've got their reasons for recommending it. Maybe they've got too much in the kitchen. They're trying to get rid of it. Maybe it is a really good meal. They want to make the restaurant look good, whatever it is but they're making a suggestion, an invitation, a recommendation. So, if they say, "Hey, we've got the stir-fried vegan wheatgrass patties,” and I'm like, "That sounds awful. I don't think I like one of those. Thank you.” And then they're like, "Okay. No problem.” They don't take it personally. They don't experience it as rejection. I simply refused their offer and now I’m on to saying what I'd like is this and they go, "No problem. Happy to help.” So, when somebody is coming from a place like this server in this example, they're coming truly from a place of service. They've got all the available options and then they say, "May I recommend this?” and you say yes or no doesn't change their life. Can you imagine at some steakhouse and the waiter comes up and he's like, "May I recommend the lamb chops?” and I say, “No, no,” and he goes, “I need a minute, bro,” that's ludicrous to think that.


Hal Elrod: “How could you do that to me?”


Jesse Elder: “Why would you reject my lamb chops?” But the thing is and I realize it's not a super accurate example because this is an object, a food item that he's offering, not something that's near and dear to his heart. So, it does get a little bit, you know, you have to go a little deeper into this but I recognize a long time ago that if I invite somebody to a party, if I invite somebody to get a report that I'd written that can help them with their mindset or if I invite somebody to download a meditation and they say no, cool. That was nothing. It did nothing to me except now I'm one step closer to finding the person that is ready and you and I both have a background in very conscious communication and truly from a place of service, and you and I know the mathematical realities of growing a business. If you offer something and somebody says no, then what they're saying is either, "No, I don't want to grow. I just want to stay comfortable. I want stay right where I am.” Cool. Good luck. I don't have that kind of courage to not change and to go forward in time three years and be the same person. That terrifies me. But if you're brave enough to risk that, more power to you. But I don't take it personally if somebody says no to an invitation. I know the reality and just like you do some will, some won’t. So, what? Someone's waiting. So, who’s the next person? 


I really understood this in the martial arts where if I go and invite ten people to try a free class and eight of them say, "No, I'm not going to do it,” I learned really quickly that had nothing to do with me, although there were things that I could do to improve. I could dress presentably. I could listen and ask more questions instead of just blasting with this offer and I improve. I went from two out of ten to three out of ten, to six out of ten, and consciously grew my school. Well, eventually we had a very successful school and then we had two schools and then three and then eight and it just kept growing. I think the link here, and this may involve those of you that are listening or watching this, everything that you want to accomplish in your life is 100% can involve other people. And so, developing the skills of communication, communicating vision, communicating why it's important that this vision happen, communicating what's in it for somebody else who might help you, that is such a simple skill that if you can just develop that, then there's literally no dream that you can't have but you can't do it on your own, it does involve other people, and you've got to get over this illusion of rejection because we learn that. That's 100% learned. Babies are not born with the fear of rejection. 


Hal Elrod: Yeah. Well, on a personal level, like you're giving the example around business, which many of us can relate to on a personal level, for me, I learned it was actually the biggest takeaway that I got. I did Landmark Forum when I was in my early twenties. My wife was at the time 19. I just met her. We're dating a few months. I'm like, “Hey, I'm going to this event called The Landmark Forum. It's a three-day event. You want to go?” And she's like, "Sure,” so we went. But the biggest takeaway that I got is to never take anything personally because nothing anyone says or does to you is directly about you. Indirectly, it might be. But if someone says you're ugly, most people would go, "Oh, my God, how can you say that to me? How can you say I'm ugly?” It doesn't mean you're ugly. It means that they have an opinion, period, end of story, done, and they're entitled to their opinion. And you can either choose to let it affect you or you can choose not to. And it's easier said than done. But for me, it was in my affirmations after I learned that for, I don't know, years until it became hard wired that like I will never allow another person's opinion or what they say or what they do disrupt my inner harmony. Nothing. And so, if you're listening, imagine getting to a place, that includes your spouse, your spouse is like, “I don't want to have sex with you tonight, sweetie.” You know what, you take your rejection. It’s like, "No, it has nothing to do with you.” It's just the space that they're in, the mental, emotional, physical space they're in has nothing to do with you. And if you can get there, you become almost invincible, if you will, of like other people having any ability to affect your quality of life.


Jesse Elder: So good. So, good. And in addition to that, the response that we get from someone is, you know, I agree, it has very, very, very little to do with us and yet we have a massive amount of influence over how people do respond to us. And that goes back to vibe. It goes back to the energy that you're in. You and I, we'll go someplace or we'll be at a social event and everybody there is high vibe. Everybody there is in this amazing energy. I mean, I'll speak personally. There's plenty of times that I've gone somewhere and I was like, “Eh.” I was just feeling kind of mellow. You know, I wasn't super like social. I wasn't feeling it. But then you get there and all of a sudden the energy is so big and the energy is good and then the conversations are flowing. Next you know, your vibe changes. And so, we all have that in us to change our own vibe. And it really comes down to when two people connect personally, professionally, it doesn't matter, when two people enter each other's space, whichever person is stronger in their vibration will ultimately influence the other person. So, if you're just kind of unconsciously going along, life's pretty good, you're feeling all right, and then somebody enters your space and they are committed to a low vibe, they're angry about the world, they're scared, they're pissed off, if they got more momentum in that vibe than I do, then pretty soon I'm going to be like, "Oh, why are you going to be so negative?” And then I'm being critical of them for being critical and I’m being negative towards them for being negative and I'm right in that frequency with them because I got influenced into that. 


And it works the other way as well. If you or me or somebody listening is intentional about, "This is the vibe that I want to be in. This is how I'm going to be today and all day long, no matter where I go, no matter who I'm with, no matter what I'm doing, I'm going to look for things that please me. I'm going to look for things that I appreciate. I'm going to look for things that I respect. I'm going to look for things that I admire. I'm going to look for things that fire me up. I'm going to look for things that feel good.” And if that's my focus, then somebody can show up and be a total mother trucker and they can be in their vibe and you can just be like, "Wow, man. You're so passionate,” and like not have any friction. It's like Velcro. You got a hook and a loop to stick. But if you've got like this spiritual Teflon and somebody’s coming at you like, “Graah,” and you’re just like flip, slides off, and you're like, "Nice claws, man,” like doesn't even affect you, eventually, they will either get more pissed off because they're not getting what they need or think they need and they'll go away or they'll shift and it's like waking up from a bad dream and they'll forget to be pissed off. They’ll forget to be angry. They’ll forget to be rageful. All of a sudden they’re like, “Whoa, man, I just had a moment there that lasted eight years but, man, it's nice to be out.” And that's the power that we all have to truly create changing the world. 


Hal Elrod: I love everything you just said and I think it's even beyond the power we have. I would say it's the responsibility that we have. And that's a very subjective statement because I could argue you don't have a responsibility to do anything you don't want to do. You do whatever you want, right? But I think that for most people, most of us are honest, we want to be happy individually. We want people around us to be happy. And so, if that is, you mentioned results, if the result that you want is you want to be happy and people around them to be happy, you've got to go first. You've got to go first. In your marriage, you've got to go first. In your job, you've got to go first. And then your spirit, you've got to go first meaning you can't wait for the outer world to change for you to be like, "Oh, now I'm going to be happy. Now I'm good.” No. You go first and I think that with anything. So, what you're talking about is fundamental and everybody listening like that's why I want to be around you more, Jesse, because this isn't lip service. Like, I know you. This is who you are at a fundamental level. In fact, you and I have a really maybe well, actually, we can go into this a little bit but we've had some pretty intense conversations about the state of the world right now and the future of the world. And a lot of the stuff that's out of our control, it can be pretty scary, right? Yeah. I mean, it's kind of unprecedented. 


What I love is you came over to our houses many months ago and you give like a two-hour history lesson to my wife, Ursula, and I about how we got to this point in the world. And you talked about like you started out when cavemen and women with sticks and stones and like the evolution of how violence came in and all of these things now kingdoms were built and America was built and how kingdoms fall and all this. You gave us this reality check and a history lesson. And Ursula and I were both kind of like, "Oh, man, this is intense.” But yet like your spirit, I told a lot of our friends, just mutual friends, and people that just your spirit was like and it's going to be great. This is a fascinating time in history and there are going to be those of us that plug into the Matrix or stay plugged in and that fall with the masses or those of us that go, "Look, I'm a sovereign being. No one is going to control me and tell me what to do. I am free.” And we're going to join with other beings who consider themselves free and we're going to thrive no matter what happens on the outside. And so, what I love about it is like you're so well-read and you have so much knowledge, understanding of the world more than most people, myself included I'd say but yet everything you just said in terms of you being just in control of the one thing we can control, which is your inner being, how you show up every day, how you interpret things, yeah, man. So, I don’t know where I was going with that but that is just being around you that rubs off. And so, I'm hoping for everybody listening that a little bit of Jesse Elder is rubbing off on them. 


Jesse Elder: I appreciate that, man. It is, in a way, is very self-serving because that's how I want to connect with people. And like when I came over and had dinner and we had such a good time, you have a freaking amazing family and hanging out with you and the kids and Ursula and like you, you brought that out. It's like your curiosity and hunger and attention and presence literally just brought that out without you guys being there. Obviously, I'm just not going to be sitting by myself just talking to the wall. It is a harmony and the fuel, the most important energy on the planet is attention. Attention is the currency of information. And so, wherever attention goes, gets transformed. So, the attention of a listener, the attention of a person who's receiving what it is that we have to say is an incredibly energizing force. And so, really is this beautiful symbiosis. 


Hal Elrod: Self-creation, right? 


Jesse Elder: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And so, I've been studying this stuff like the way the world is evolving and looking at it from probably less political, more macro-political. Politics is pretty new. It's only a couple of hundred years old in the form we know it but power structures as we see them today have been around for about 15,000 years. And so, I've been studying this for almost 25 years. So, when all this stuff started happening in 2020, I was like, "Oh, this is what it's going to look like. Okay, cool.” So, it wasn't a shock. None of it was a shock to me, although it is interesting how some of the details played out and are playing out. But I have nothing but excitement and confidence and certainty for the direction that my world is going to take because that's the only world that I can control and there are 8.6 billion perspectives on this planet. And one of the biggest, I won’t say mistakes, I think it's just like a deficiency. One of the biggest deficiencies in people's psychology and their mindset that I observe is like the John Mayer song, just waiting on the world to change. They want the world to be the way that they want so that they feel safe, happy, peaceful, successful, secure. And as long as the world, the world, which is really just their perception whatever they're looking at, if it doesn't match the way that they want it to be, now they have an excuse to be angry, scared, panicked, freaked out, upset, whatever. And the reality is if they hadn't seen that news story, if they hadn't watched that television show, they hadn't seen that documentary, they wouldn't be all up in a rage. 


Now, I do think it's important to stay informed but all of the shifts, personally, shifts that I've made in the last year have been purely 100% upgrades, that the things that I get to do now that I didn't see a year or two years ago are now so joyful and so fun and so fulfilling. And they happen to have the byproduct of creating safety, security, success for me and for those that I'm serving and those that I'm connecting with. But it's not a have to. It's an absolute get to. And so, I know what my principles are. I know my moral code. I know what my values are. And so, that just makes it very easy to make decisions. And then as a byproduct of that confidence and that certainty, the next steps of the plan always reveal themselves. So, when the snowpocalypse hit here in Texas about two weeks ago, I had so many texts from friends. They’re like, “I bet you're just having the time of your life,” because they knew that I had generators and tons of food and water and a vehicle that can handle the snow and all that. And I was like, "Yeah. I actually am having the time of my life because I'm in a place that I get to help those who weren't prepared and that feels really good.” And so, to go and deliver a generator to a friend who is actually quadriplegic, he doesn't generate heat. So, you can put 12 blankets on him and it doesn't do anything. So, we took a generator to plug in an electric blanket, a little heater, and that felt great. It felt awesome to be able to do that. 


Now, that being said, there are friends of mine who were teasing me, teasing me for stockpiling food. They’re like, "What do you think, the world's going to end?” I’m like, "No. But it seems like a good idea.” I've spent more than that on a few nights out in Vegas. It's not about the money. It just feels better to have food. Those people who are teasing me or texting me like the third or fourth night into blackouts all over Austin, they’re like, "Hey, man, how's your food stores holding up?” I’m like, “They're amazing. Do you need some?” “Uh, that’d be great.” “I got you.” So, I brought him some food and gave him a shopping list like here's what you should buy yourself next time. So, there's always this harmony. 


Hal Elrod: Yeah. That is something that I want to talk about is being prepared or what is known as prepping. It hit me a few months ago. Really, I started paying attention to this about a year ago when COVID hit and I started to notice, “Okay. Wow. Store shelves are empty, huh? That's something I wasn't anticipating.” And then interestingly enough, the snowpocalypse that recently happened, store shelves were empty again, different cause, same result, same outcome. And so, one thing I heard recently is they go, "Look, being prepared is just smart.” You don't plan on dying but you do have life insurance just in case. You don't plan on getting sick but you have health insurance just in case. You don't plan on crashing your car. You don't plan on not being able to get through to the grocery store but just in case. And of course, I mean, I think water goes even above that in terms of the hierarchy of you can only live a day or two without water. So, talk about that first. Actually, let's talk about being prepared because I think that I haven't broached this topic with my audience and today is the perfect day to do it. I think honestly when I actually step back, it's fear of being judged as a lunatic or as a prepper or something like there's a stigma. You know, prepper equals crazy person but we've got tons of food and tons of water and we just ordered a generator and we've got a solar generator. We've got all the things just like you. I think you probably influence that a bit when you were here six months ago for dinner. 


But anyway, talk about just the idea of if somebody is listening right now, let's kind of take it from this angle. If somebody is listening and they haven't given a thought to preparation in with the way we're talking about, they're like, "Dude, life's always been fine. I've always been able to go to the grocery store. My lights have always turned on. The water's always come out of the faucet. What are you talking about? Why would I ever have to think otherwise?” And we've seen and there's a lot of people going on in the world right now that we won't even get into that is putting these things that we view as normal that we've come to expect at a real risk. Our food supply chain or a lot of these things. So, I’ll tee up with that. So, if someone's listening, they've never prepared. Let's just make a case like, "Hey, here's why you might want to prepare and here's where I would start.”


Jesse Elder: It’s so good, Hal, and this is one of my favorite topics right now partly because I'm new-ish to it strategically and tactically but intellectually and emotionally, this is something that I've always felt. But I think there's one more layer that may be useful for somebody, especially like if you’re listening to this and you're like, "Wait a minute, I'm here for the sunshine and rainbows and love and light and now these guys are talking about the end of the world. Aaah.” No. It's not the end of the world at all. In fact, even the word apocalypse comes from Greek, apokálypsis. It means the unveiling. It means something new, not the ending. It means the beginning. So, with all that being said, the biggest thing that I got to navigate for myself in my own emotions and in my own psychology is I live a life that is based on expansion, based on joy, based on love, based on fun, based on connection and all of those things. And so, even the thought and this is even going back a year ago, even the thought of buying more food than I was going to eat this week felt so fear-based and it was so constrictive and it felt so defensive, and I was like, "Whoa, this is not me, man. This is not me.” I mean, I'm the dude that flew one-way tickets around the world for a year just to explore and adventure and didn’t know where I was going to be in a day and didn't know where I was going to sleep, didn’t know what I was going to eat but it was always there. 


And so, to swing that pendulum the other way and start looking at canned food and should I get a gun and all that, I was like, “Whoa, man, this is not my vibe at all.” And so, what I’ve learned to do in that sort of situation is to get right with the decision so that any decision I make is coming from my core value system, which always has been, always will be expansion, joy, freedom, love. That's how I choose to live. So, in order for me to make a choice, it has to fall into those categories, has to be because of those reasons. So, I really sat down and started to look at just what it meant to me to be free, to be I'll use the word sovereign, to be a self-authorized individual. And those are things that I've always prized my whole life. And I thought, “Okay. Well, I wouldn't sit at the restaurant and expect the waiter or waitress to shovel food into my mouth and feed me. Like, no, I can feed myself.” But then I thought, “Okay. Well, what if I just take that act of choice? Don't feed me. I can feed myself.” And what if I took that and just expanded that just a little bit? You know, probably most people have had this experience of earning your own money rather than having your parents take care of you or getting an allowance when you're a kid and all of a sudden now you've got a paper route or you're selling knives or you're teaching martial arts and you're making your own money and how good that feels. 


Well, most of us reach the point where we're like, “Okay. I’m making enough money. All right. I've arrived,” although for most people there's never enough and that's a whole other topic. But I thought, “Okay. What if I just kept expanding that sense of confidence, really? What if I was so confident not only that I can pick up the fork and shovel the food in my mouth, not only that I can make the money to buy the food but what if I was the one who was growing the food? What if I was the one that was building community with other people who are also doing that? What would that be like? And so, it wasn't from a fear place. It was from a place of, "Wow. This is cool. I've never done this before but it just makes sense.” And as I began to research and study, I realized that this idea of outsourcing our survival is a very new concept. Outsourcing our security is an incredibly new concept. Paying whether through taxes or other things, paying for someone else to protect us, feed us, take care of us is a very new human experience. Humans have been on the planet for a long time but it's incredibly new that we get to do this and there are obvious advantages. It's nice that you could just go to the store, get food, and not have to grow it, cook it, think about it, whatever. But I began to realize this is something I wanted to experience from a pure upgrade perspective. What would it feel like if I knew exactly where my food is coming from, if I knew exactly who was growing the food? And it starts with that idea. 


And next thing you know, I've got this property, which I didn't set out to do. It just very beautifully materialized. The money showed up, the perfect property showed up, and I just kept telling the story of the vision. This is what I see. This is what I see. This is what I see. Based on expansion, it wasn't based on, “Oh sh*t, the world's going to end.” It was based on growth and, "Wouldn't it be cool if…?” And that has attracted so many people to this project and we're building like this food army now. People who have always been there have been farmers and growing but they're kind of struggling now. I'm like, "Hey, I've got this land. Why don't you bring your skills in and you can grow on 30 times the land you're used to growing on and let's just split whatever grows. You know, it's my land. It's your labor. Why don't we just split it?” And people are fighting for that opportunity now. I don’t mean fighting but there's a lot of people that want to do that. I'm a year away probably from having enough food to feed 100, maybe 150 people and like the best quality food, like fruits and nuts and vegetables and meat and dairy. 


Hal Elrod: All organic.


Jesse Elder: Yeah. All organic, zero pesticides and you know exactly where it came from. So, to me, this is not a defensive move and it's not offensive. I am not under threat from anybody. There's not a being on the planet that can threaten, harass, or coerce me because I don't play that game. Nobody in power to threaten me at all. And neither do I feel the need to attack or defend or threaten anybody else. They can do their life. I'm going to do mine. And that's really no different than how it's kind of always been. 


Hal Elrod: Yeah. I was going to say that earlier that if I looked up the word sovereign in the dictionary, I feel like I would see Jesse Elder, there he is. There, the definition of sovereignty.


Jesse Elder: One of my friends actually made this for me. She does leather stamping. 


Hal Elrod: Oh, that's great. For those of you that aren't watching the video, it says, "Sovereign individual.” Is it leather you said? 


Jesse Elder: Yeah. 


Hal Elrod: It's like a leather coin and it's got Jessie's picture carved into it. That's incredible, dude. Hey, could she make me a sovereign? I want a sovereign individual coin. 


Jesse Elder: She may be able to do this. 


Hal Elrod: That would be great. All right. Okay. So, I love what you did that you almost always do, which is you laid a really important psychological foundation for this idea of preparing. And I think that's really important that you're not doing it out of fear and I'll talk to my mom and dad that, "Hey, mom, dad, do you have enough food to handle at least a few months if something happens, whether it's a weather disaster or war or who knows what, anything, power outages like wildfire?” My mom or my dad's in California, and my sister, they have wildfires. They have power. There's all sorts of crazy stuff. Why wouldn’t you be prepared, right? In Texas, we could never plan for the snowpocalypse but, again, better to be prepared. There was something that a mentor taught me a long time ago, which is simply it's better to have it whatever it is, have it, and not need it than to need it and not have it. And that, to me, is the simplest justification for be prepared. Okay. So, if someone's listening and they're like, “Okay. I’m tracking you guys.” It doesn't sound so crazy. It sounds just kind of common sense and just like responsible to be kind of prepared. Getting to logistics, right, like the list like where do people start and obviously starting with, you know, if you don't have a bunch of extra money to throw it, you know, if you throw a few thousand bucks, where would you start? 


Jesse Elder: Yeah. And I love what would you share there about your mentor saying better to have it and not need it. And, in my experience, this has been very true. I want to add one more piece to that that I found useful and that is if the having of the thing, whatever it is, whether it's insurance or canned food or whatever, or a gun, if somebody wants to do that, whatever the thing is that you have that you hope you never need, as long as the having of that is joyful, not energy drain. Because if it's out of someone's value system, for example, to get a gun, and then they realize, "Oh, maybe I should get a gun,” and then they get one. And now every time they think about it, they're like, “Uh-uh,” when they shouldn't have one. They absolutely should not have one. So, it really comes down to alignment. And every item that's in your home, everything that you have, even if it is for just-in-case scenarios should feel good when you think about it. It should feel like, "Ah, yeah, that feels good.” So, that's the only other thing I wanted to add on to there. Yeah. 


Hal Elrod: And I want to add on to what you added on, which is we had this conversation. I'm part of a mastermind called Front Row Dads and it's my favorite group that I'm a part of. Our friend, Jon Vroman, right? You know Jon, obviously. So, we were at a very small six-person kind of retreat where we Airbnb’d a house a few months ago and this was one of the discussion topics. We spent a couple of hours talking about being prepared for your family and half the guys were like, "What? Huh? Well, I don’t need to be prepared.” And the other half were like, one of the guys is like, “Dude, I've got 150 gallons of water in my garage. I've got three years of food. I’ve got two generators,” and I was kind of in the middle which was great because I thought I was going to be the one that they were like, “What? You have all this stuff. You're crazy.” And then luckily the other guy had way more. He got like 32 guns. So, he was ultra-prepared. But here's the point is that when Jon Vroman set up the conversation, which he is a very eloquent communicator but he set the conversation. He said a couple of paradigms for us to operate from and two mantras that really stood out. Number one was aware but not afraid and I thought about earlier when you said where your attention goes, right, that becomes your reality. We create our own reality based on our attention. The world is as it is. One person can be super stressed about it, the other could be feeling great about it, and the only thing different is what they're focusing on in the world. 


Like you said, you're always looking for what's exciting, what's great, where the opportunity is. Where's the love? Where's the joy? Where's the kindness? Where's the service? And whatever you focus on becomes your reality. So, be aware but not afraid. Be aware of what's going on. Unless you find value in fearing it which actually reminds me, I do want to ask you about alchemizing fear and what you mean by that. So, let's circle back to that. But be aware but not afraid. And then, Jon, threw another one in which is prepared, not paranoid. 


Jesse Elder: I love that. 


Hal Elrod: Right? Be aware, not afraid. Prepared, not paranoid. And what he said is he said, you know, when I first learning about the reasons I might need to be prepared and seeing empty store shelves and this and that, I immediately was in fear state. “Oh, my God. I got to horde. I got to prepare.” And he said, “But what was interesting is I don't prepare so I can lay awake at night thinking about it. I prepare so that I don't have to lay awake at night thinking about it.” And it's so true. I realized that. When I realized, "Oh, I should have some food,” well, there was little stress until the food arrived. I'm like, "Oh, there's nothing to stress about.” I recognized the potential aspects that needed to prepare for and I prepared for it and now I sleep well. I'm at peace. So, yeah. So, let's get into some of the items. I know that you talked when we talked about your property, you just bought it I think like six months ago when you came over and you kind of said, “I'm going through the hierarchy of human needs. I'm starting with water and then food and then electricity and that kind of thing.” And we can go back and forth on this because I've been doing it, too but what do you see? What are like really practical things for people to do now, to purchase now to prepare?


Jesse Elder: Yeah. The biggest from my experience and I've coached a few people to go through the same sort of thing, it’s not about the supplies at all. Supplies are sort of a byproduct. It's much more about understanding your own motives and your own reasons. For me, because basing my life on expansion and freedom and joy and love and fun, all of this had to tie into that because I'm not going to sacrifice my values just to get some canned food or something. So, I started to look at how does this expansion of my life, which includes being resilient and antifragile and ready for anything, how does that fit in? And I started to realize when I started growing my own food, it became the ultimate upgrade of my entire life. It became the most incredible metaphor lesson I've learned so much about the world, the universe, so many things that I believed that are now really experiential. And I've become even more chill, even faster and manifesting and creating all because of gardening and it doesn't cost anything. I'll show you an example here. I went to Whole Foods, bought some groceries, bought a sweet potato. This is a month ago. Put the sweet potato in a vase. And so, this sweet potato is now growing. These are called slips and it'll produce probably seven or eight slips in another maybe month or two, maybe six weeks. These slips will be long enough to cut. And then you wrap them in paper towels and you just kind of dry them out and then you plant them. And then each one of those slips is going to grow and produce like 30 potatoes, 30 sweet potatoes. So, this is like an $0.87 potato. 


Hal Elrod: To produce 30 times 7. It’s like 200 potatoes. 


Jesse Elder: Yeah. Well, each slip, yeah exactly. So, the reason I'm sharing is not to convince people to eat sweet potatoes or buy potatoes but if… 


Hal Elrod: Although there are a lot of health benefits to sweet potatoes.  


Jesse Elder: But the idea is start with something that you can get experience in and that you find value that you find joy in because I would never have been able to look forward from a year ago and guess that I'd be where I am today. But I just knew that if I take the best next step, if there's all these steps available, what's the best next step that's in line with my values that feels right, that feels like expansion, feels fun, feels cool which, by the way, sometimes it feels fun to be gritty and to be prepared and be resilient. If I'm training martial arts, it's not always fun when you're tired and you're hitting the pads but it's so fulfilling, so rewarding. It's like you want to get in there, you want to do it, and you want an opponent who's going to be tough back to you because otherwise, you can’t experience how good you are. And so, what if you lose and you learn? So, I classify that as fun. At all accounts it’s fun. So, if somebody's listening to this and they're like, “Okay. I'm intrigued. I'm interested in expanding my life, not out of fear but to experience more freedom,” then I would say just look at Maslow's hierarchy. You know, those that aren’t familiar, these basic needs that we have and at the very foundation is safety, security, which includes food, shelter, all of that, and just look at how could you upgrade those areas. 


If you go to, I mean, I shop at Whole Foods here but you can go anywhere and buy like a pound bag of beans that costs you like a dollar and, you know what, just every time you’re shopping just go and stack up a few of those and just ask yourself, how does it feel to know that you've got enough food in your cupboard, in your kitchen that you can share if things go sideways? And if it scares somebody to think about things going sideways, I would suggest that that's a product of modern conditioning. We've been so conditioned to believe that other people are going to take care of us, and I don't mean this harshly but most people have the equivalent sovereignty of a house plant. You know, unless somebody comes to feed and water them, they're just going to wilt and kind of wither away. And I don't think that that's what we're designed for. I don't think that that's how we're designed as human beings. But most people are so easily entertained and sort of manipulated emotionally and they could get all riled up about something that has nothing to do with their actual life, and they forgot what it was like to be fully human, to be fully capable. We’re on a digital device right now but these digits, this is the digital life. Are you using your hands? Are you using your mind? Are you creating things? And that's how we're born. We're born as creators, we're put into this world, I believe, so that we can interact and interface with this fabulous world, which is just like a buffet of all of these different experiences, and that we can choose the experiences that we want to have. You don't go to the buffet and go, "Oh, my God, who put the tilapia there? I’m going to call the manager.” Just don't put the tilapia on your plate.


In life, it’s exactly the same way. If there's something that you don't like, ignore it. I’ve been practicing strategic ignorance my entire life and I don't give anything my attention that I don't want. And as I ignore it, it goes out of my life and something big and beautiful and more power shows up. That's why my life is indestructible. That's why I'm not ever able to be threatened or coerced. As I've learned more about how powerful we actually are, this is a little sidebar, but that includes stuff like the law. The law, which most of us don't question because we're taught all these things about who has power and doesn't, and here's the laws and all that, the reality is you can't commit a crime unless there's a victim. If there's an injured party, then it's a crime and you should make it right. You know, if you hit somebody's car, you should fix it. If you hurt somebody, you should help them heal or make it right. But if you don't injure somebody, there is not a crime. So, speeding is not a crime. You haven't injured anybody. And I'm not going to get into the litany of things that are non-crimes but even if I end up in front of a magistrate because I was growing too much food and didn't have a permit, and they were like, “Jesse Elder.” Well, I will say, "Hi, your honor, that is the matter that I'm here for but I never gave consent for that name to be used for commerce in the corporate state of Texas. I assume there's a valid cause of action, a bonded claim, and that everybody here is sworn in.” 


The moment I say those words, it's checkmate because they now have to prove to me that there's an injured party and they can't prove it. So, they're like, "Sorry.” Meow. And they run. So, it's all of these understandings about who and what we are as truly sovereign beings that this growing food or making friends with people that are growing food, you don't have to grow food but you’re an asset to the community, like what are you good at? Are you great at storytelling? Are you great at working with kids in education? Are you great at swinging a hammer? Are you great at coding? What are you good at? And how can you connect with people that have something you can use so that we can get out of this conditioning that other people are responsible for us, including even money? Money is very useful but it's a monopoly piece. Real value exists between human beings. So, that was a little bit of tangent there. I don't even know if I answered the question. 


Hal Elrod: I don't remember. You probably did, and then some. That’s how you roll. And so, anybody listening, I'm going to give you a couple of items that you might consider. So, first and foremost, again, a human being, like here in Texas, we have the snowpocalypse. Everybody's water pipes are frozen and people die of thirst. People like I don't know how many, it was in the tens of thousands or countless people did not have water. And so, having bottled water stored is a great idea. But to have a source where you can actually continue, you know, if you ran out of your bottled water, then what do you do? I personally recommend it's called a Berkey water filter. B-E-R-K-E-Y. What did you say?


Jesse Elder: I’ve got one as well. 


Hal Elrod: Got a Berkey? Yeah. I've got a Berkey. Jon Vroman got a Berkey. So, yeah, B-E-R-K-E-Y. I think it’s or just google Berkey water filter. But it's one of the best filters in the world to where allegedly, I haven't tried this yet, but allegedly you can put pool water in it and it will filter out 99.9% of all the chlorine fluoride and you can literally drink pool water. Again, I have not tried that yet. That'll be only in an emergency situation but it's good to know that that that's an option. So, check out the Berkey water filter. And I want to say this too, Jesse, that actually just happened where Jon Vroman, a friend of his, was not prepared at all for any kind of disaster. And so, that friend had to come or asked and Jon invited him to stay at his house during the snowstorm in Texas because otherwise, he had no access to water. And so, because Jon had the Berkey water filter, they were able to not only provide water for their family but, as you said, help their fellow man and then help someone else. And then even beyond that, our friend is a hardcore prepper, he’s got these big 50-gallon water tanks that he stored in his garage with these water preservation drops. So, he's got like months of water for his family. And then the only other thing I would tell you in terms of food is I just have a bunch of organic beans and organic rice and that's all you get. It's not that expensive. You can get to the grocery store, go to, buy ten-pound bags, whatever you want, but organic beans and organic rice will provide enough calories to sustain you, I don't know, indefinitely, I mean, for a long time. 


And then the other piece to consider is power I think is the third one. And of course, I mean, medical supplies. You can go on and on and on but I think the most important you want to start with, right, is water and food. That's the most important. And if you got a month or two or three of water and food, then you can figure out, “All right. I got some other issues I got to figure out.” Let's call around. Let's see who else can help with these other options. But after listening, that's where I would start. Anything else, Jesse, that you would add to that as a starting place?


Jesse Elder: I think that's a great list and it's a great place for people to start. And if you are listening to this and watching this and if you're inspired to just test this for yourself, you can always give the food away. You can always give it to a food bank. You can always say, “Okay. That was cool. I did that experiment. It wasn't for me,” get rid of it. But if you're doing it, if you're going to do this experiment and you're doing this stuff, then just notice how it feels to be getting really back to your roots as a human being, to become truly self-reliant and not expecting and hoping that somebody else is going to take care of you. The confidence that you get from that, the way that it makes you look at your life, the way that it makes you look yourself in the mirror, knowing that not even if something happens that you're prepared but just knowing that you're prepared, knowing that you're a competent human being who is not reliant on another person, then you can approach every relationship from such a different place of appreciation and love. It's like when I was training in martial arts, yeah, in the beginning, I was training because what if I get beat up? You know, what if somebody jumps me and I trained out of fear and after a while as my skills increased and I realized and as I feel pretty confident even when I see the situation got heated and I was a bouncer for a while, even when somebody is yelling at you or they're drunk or they're threatening you, you're so confident in your abilities that you can actually see the humanity of it. You can be more loving and more kind, not wrapped up in the fear. It's far easier to be peaceful when you're powerful, and somebody who's not powerful and pretends to be peaceful is actually fearful. 


Hal Elrod: That's a powerful paradigm. I hope everybody caught that, and I love that example of when you were a bouncer and somebody is in your face yelling because you are confident and competent in your skills, in your preparation. You can actually just be calm and at peace and see the humanity in them. That really resonated with me, man. 


Jesse Elder: And eventually, you don't train to avoid a fight. You train because it feels good to train. You train because it feels good to expand your body. You train because it feels amazing to learn and it feels incredible to find your limits and go past that. That's why you train and your health, you get energized and you’re focused and you're confident you're connecting with your teammates. That's why you train. The byproduct of training is you can kick ass if you need to but that's not why you're training. And I feel the exact same way about this whole prepper thing. It feels good to learn and grow and to meet people and to connect. The byproduct is the world can go to hell and me and my friends are going to be fine and we'll be the ones to rebuild it. 


Hal Elrod: Yeah. And the next level of that, as you mentioned, but already you're ahead of me on but my wife and I right now we're doing all the legwork to be able to have chickens and to have an aquaponics garden which will have fish as well and to grow our own food and have a greenhouse. We're doing all the legwork right now, all the research, and yeah, I'm excited. I'm excited to, you know, I mean, you think about one of the most primal things for survival, producing food but yet we don't know how to do it. Like you said, we're relying on other people. Well, what those supply chains are like, you know, when you think about it, it just makes so much sense to, yeah, what a beautiful thing to be able to plant a seed, watch it grow, harvest it, and then have it nourish my body and my kid’s body. And so, to your point, not doing it out of fear, doing out of love and excitement and expansion and freedom and so I love surfing the vibe with you. I love the paradigms that you live from, Jesse, and how you so freely give up yourself in service of others so that that expansion can expand beyond you. And truly, you know, my mission is to elevate the consciousness of humanity and you do that just in how you live every day. So, thank you, man. 


Jesse Elder: I totally, totally appreciate you, man. 




Hal Elrod: Well, I think this is our first conversation of hopefully many more. I think like a Joe Rogan who's got his returning guests and I think that this needs to be like a quarterly thing. Every few months come back on and we'll just keep going deeper. 


Jesse Elder: I would love that. Awesome. 


Hal Elrod: Awesome. I love you, brother. And, goal achievers, thank you for tuning in to the podcast today. I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did and let me know. You can go to I think it's Episode 371, 372, one of those, and leave a comment if you think we need to have Jesse back on a lot more often. So, I love you all. Thank you for listening and I will talk to you all next week. Take care, everybody.


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