Terry Crews’ HALT Framework
For those of you who don’t know who Terry Crews is, shame on you. I’m kidding – please continue reading! Terry is awesome, in a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson kind of way, but not as awesome as him (sorry Terry, Dwayne is hustling really hard and deserves the credit). For quick context, Terry Crews is an American actor and former American football player. You may know him from the ridiculous yet memorable Old Spice commercials in which his muscles dance, or you may know him as the huge muscular African-American dude singing Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” in the Hollywood film White Chicks. He is a beloved comic and fitness inspiration, but today I’d like to share a pearl of wisdom from the guy that is less publicized, but incredibly valuable in reinforcing discipline in your life.
HALT! Can you imagine Terry saying that? I know – I can too. He’s perfect for shouting aggressive commands like that. HALT is actually a framework he introduced in one of his YouTube videos when sharing how he practices discipline. It stands for: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. These are the four signs you should be aware of that could make or break your discipline, which then helps you achieve your goal or stop you from doing so, whatever your goal may be.
I’ll quickly illustrate with an example. This weekend, I’m in Koh Samui, Thailand, and I set my eyes on getting my PADI open water diving certificate. I’m not a “natural”, as they say. After 2 days of drinking seawater, struggling with frustration in the water as I mess up several skill tests, and getting cuts and burns, I did ultimately end up getting my PADI. We started early on the day of the open water test, heading to the boat at 6:45 am (rise and shine!), so there was no time for breakfast. At about 1:30 pm, I haven’t had calories for about 18 hours, and I was struggling really hard on this one skill test. No matter how hard I tried to complete the action, it wouldn’t budge. Simultaneously, I was hungry, tired from lack of sleep, and angry (that’s 3 of the 4 conditions in HALT). While overcoming the saltiness and dryness in my throat and kicking furiously to stay afloat (my BCD vest was off for this particular skill test), a cloud magically popped up above my head, and Terry Crews looked down at me, telling me (with a thunderous echo): “Jeff, remember HALT? You got this. Don’t fret. You’re only hungry, angry, and tired. But don’t let that stop you from completing this skill. Ultimately, the reward is a certification that will allow you to dive around the world and see another world under the sea. Mind. Over. Matter.” Poof! Terry Crews disappears with the cloud. Okay, I may have used a bit of a hyperbole, but you get the point.
Without having been cognizant of HALT, I may have let this one skill test frustrate me to no end, or worse yet, ruin the rest of my day. But that’s just me. Some people are just fine taking on challenges without needing a mental framework to stay level-headed. If you’re like me though, HALT is a super valuable asset to add to your “self-improvement toolkit”, and it’s an easy acronym to remember and explain to others.