In a world of reality TV stars and Instagram millionaires it’s understandable we could begin to wonder why we should bother making daily efforts to improve ourselves. In today’s episode I want to share with you a great insight from William James who is seen as the father of modern psychology. He offers a powerful reminder that there is a crucial link between daily effort and future success.
Williams James And Daily Effort
Well, hey there everybody, Jonathan Doyle with you as always for The Daily Podcast. Hope you’re doing well. People always ask me they go, “How do you do it daily? How do you find something to think about”? Well, it my studio, for example, we have vast bookcases of must be literally now thousands of books that I’ve read over the years. I read a lot, I think a lot. I just talked to great people. I’ve never struggled to come up with something and it just seems to be growing, so love doing it daily. Hope I can bring you some value. Hope… I keep saying to people that sometimes it’s just one idea. You can listen to one thing on a podcast and go, “Wow”, and it can take you in a different direction. It’s amazing how life works like that. These little prompts and pushes and inputs that can just really set us in new directions. So, I hope I can bring something of that on your journey with The Daily Podcast .
A quick update on my recovery. Many of you are following my journey since the accident and the surgery. Listen, I really need your prayers because I haven’t even yet recovered use of my index finger. It’s the weirdest thing. I just can’t really move it. I can bend it, but I can’t extend it. It’s a strange thing and it’s quite painful. So, I’m back with a specialist today for more scans and I’m facing more surgery unless it resolves and these things, they’re pretty inexact. We’re hoping that I’ll get back to quasi normal, but I want to talk to you about it because I talk to you guys all the time about mental toughness and motivation and all this stuff. And so, I want to be honest with you, and I find that going through this journey, there’s definitely moments where you’re, “Wow”. You realize that, what if things don’t get back to normal and your brain starts to go down this path of horrible thinking.
And I have to do what I keep teaching you guys, which is I got to catch myself in the moment. Bring myself back to the present, stop catastrophizing, work on the next day. I get today, I don’t get promised tomorrow. I just get today. So today I’m going to try and stay positive. Today I’m going to keep trying to bring good things to people. I’m going to turn up at those appointments and just keep taking the next logical step. These are things I’ve been teaching forever and now it’s like God’s going, “Hey, guess what man? You’re going to have to practice them. You’ve been teaching them, now you get a chance to practice them”. So look, I just want to tell you that we really can do this. That it isn’t easy to keep ourselves in a strong mental framework. It’s not. Gosh, it is not for me. Maybe other people who are just so naturally positive it’s easier, but I find that I have to keep thinking carefully and choosing carefully in what I let my mind get up to.
So listen, keep me in your prayers. I’ll keep you posted on what happens. Now, let’s jump in today’s episode. Yesterday I shared a quote from president Theodore Roosevelt who talked about that his admiration was for people who had endured difficulty and hard times in life. He said he was never impressed by people that had, had it easy. What we call trust fund kids, right? Trust fund kids, parents who are Silicon Valley executives and the kids go to the best schools and never have to work too much. Trust fund kids are… this is what Roosevelt’s kind of talking about. He said, “I admire people that have really had to hustle and had to work”.
I think what he’s talking about is what we call the character ethic or the virtue ethic, which is that really we get this chance as humans to what we do, what we call co-create. We get a chance to partner with, I guess God or the universe, however you conceptualize that at the moment, to make something remarkable of our lives. And that’s really the character question. Character is what we do repeatedly. Character is what we do when no one’s looking. Character actually comes from an old English word sort of back in the sort of 15th century. And the word character sort of means a tattoo or a mark on the soul. So, you know how people tattoo their bodies. Character is like a tattoo on the soul that’s created over time as we gradually shape ourselves. And character’s build by choices.
And I don’t know about you, but you just turn on T.V. and we’re at a moment in history where people have become incredibly successful by doing nothing. You think of the reality T.V. journey. You think of people who become famous for either being offensive, or shocking, or, I don’t want to be critical here, but look at some of the celebrity chefs. I mean, there’s celebrity chefs in the world who have become famous really by doing nothing other than using foul language all the time and insulting people. And we all know who we’re talking about. I watch… often with my daughter, we sit down and watch the Netflix show, Chef’s table, which we love. And you see a lot of these amazing men and women chefs around the world who are just creating phenomenal art and brilliance through hard work. They’re not doing it through foul language.
And so, you get what I’m saying? This moment in history, there’s a lot of people that have become so successful by being reality T.V. stars or Instagram influences. And so, we can look at that and think, “Well, what’s the point? Why bother”? Because we’re human and we’re meant to live this way and to struggle and strive and do better each day and fail and then try again and say sorry and apologize and grow. So on that theme, I want to give you one more quote today, which is from William James, who’s referred to as the Father of Modern Psychology. William James, incredibly influential psychologist in the U.S., died in 1910. But listen carefully to this. He says, “We forget that every good that is worth possessing must be paid for in strokes of daily effort by neglecting the necessary labor, by sparing ourselves the little daily tax, we are positively digging the graves of our higher possibilities”.
Do you hear that? He’s basically saying that if we don’t do the daily tasks, if we don’t do the daily effort, if we don’t try a little harder, if we don’t try and focus on where we need to grow, he says we are digging the graves of our higher possibilities. I mean, how do you want to live, right? What do you want to experience in this life? What do you want to contribute? You want to get to the end of your life going, “You know what, I’m used up. I’m exhausted. I’m like a wrung out sponge”. I don’t mean that negatively. I mean, you’ve just given it all and you’ve experienced everything that you could do and you’ve blessed people. But he’s telling us that this doesn’t happen in some magical kingdom someday. It happens today. It happens in what we do today in how we think today. What we eat today and how we exercise today. In how we prioritize time with the people we love today.
It’s whether we get into gossip and cynicism today or we get into encouragement today. That doesn’t happen in some magical faraway kingdom. And we can’t blame our past because yeah, if you want to believe that the past is shaping everything, well okay, but you still only get today. So, I don’t know about you friends, but I want higher possibilities. I want to experience more. I want to bless more, I want to enjoy life more and be a benefit to people. And to do that, it’s what we do every day. I’ve been up since quarter to four. I got up about 3:45 this morning and did an online call and then here I am now in the studio doing this because it’s every day. It’s just every day because I would just want to keep helping and bless some people.
So, I’m going to stop now because you know what I do, I keep going. So, do this for me. Come follow me, Instagram, jonathandoyle47 because I post these kinds of quotes, five to six times a day on Instagram. And yeah, that’s daily effort. I get up every day, create the content, schedule it, because I want people in queues and cafes and on the bus, rather than staring at reality influences, I’d rather them read and great quotes like this from William James. So come and follow me, Instagram, jonathandoyle47. What else? Facebook, The Daily Podcast with Jonathan Doyle. Just type that in, website jonathandoyle.co . And the big thing, subscribe. If you haven’t done it yet, get your phone wherever you’re hearing this right now. Go to Spotify.
I got this great message yesterday. Somebody hit me up on Twitter. They said, “Hey, I was randomly searching Spotify and I found your podcast”, and they said, “I’ve just listened to about every episode”. I’m, “Wow, that’s a lot of episodes”, so make sure you’ve subscribed and as always, would you just share this with someone? Grab this, share it out, get it to people. Let me finish with this quote one more time, “We forget that every good that is worth possessing must be paid for in strokes of daily effort. By neglecting the necessary labor, by sparing ourselves, the little daily tax, we are positively digging the graves of our higher possibilities”. I’m not going to dig that grave. I hope you’re not. What do we say? The best is ahead. Good things can happen. Yep. I’m in surgery, casts, and stitches, and pain, and dysfunctional index fingers, but I’m still believing that better things are coming. That my life is going to get better and whatever happens. And I believe in the same for you. My name is Jonathan Doyle. This has been The Daily Podcast and I’m going to have another message for you tomorrow.