Facing Life’s Challenges: Embracing Discomfort and Difficulties

Jonathan Doyle International Motivational Speaker, Author, Executive Coach and Mentor

In today’s episode, Jonathan Doyle delves into the notion that life is inherently difficult and emphasizes the importance of facing life’s challenges with relentless determination. He explores how societal norms often steer us towards comfort and consumption, fostering a culture of avoidance. Drawing from personal experiences and observations, Jonathan underscores the necessity of embracing discomfort and facing life’s adversities head-on to achieve uncommon results. Join him on this journey of self-discovery and empowerment as he encourages listeners to awaken to the realities around them and commit to the pursuit of personal growth.

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    Welcome Aboard

    Hello there, my friend. Jonathan Doyle is with you again. Welcome aboard to the Daily Podcast, where I’m going to talk to you about two things. The two things we’re going to be discussing together today, the fact that life is hard and the importance of a relentless commitment to facing what is difficult. One of the great challenges we have in the late stage of consumer capitalism is everything that’s geared around comfort.

    The Structure of the Global Monetary System

    Regular listeners have heard me say this so many times. If you look at the way that all marketing and advertising are positioned, there is no coincidence that we have emerged into the everything generation. So we started with the iPhone, which kind of became emblematic of late-stage consumer-based capitalism that we are living through. The way that the system has to keep running, I guess, if I could be really honest, the system essentially runs on two things. It runs on war, and it runs on consumption.

    This is a random topic. I want to make this relevant. My sort of other hat that I wear is I have a deep formation in it, believe it or not, global macro finance and central banking theory. One of the things that is pretty clear about the structure of our entire global monetary system is that it’s debt-based and it’s consumption-based. Everything has to revolve around consumption. And the other way that the system works is through the perpetuation of war after war, because that stimulates the economy on multiple levels. That’s not what I’m going to talk about.

    What I want to talk about is the nature of the advertising and entertainment culture that we live in is very much geared toward personal consumption. Most of that consumption is going to be appealing to comfort. It’s going to be appealing and satisfying. It wouldn’t necessarily be our base desires, but it would be around food, comfort, being attractive, and owning things that provide status. It becomes possible to cocoon ourselves or to try to cocoon ourselves. The fact that life itself is asking something of us.

    The Reality of Avoidance: Consequences of Escaping Life's Difficulties

    Many people hide from life's challenges behind its curtain of comfort.
    Many people hide from life's challenges behind its curtain of comfort

    Viktor Frankl said that in man’s search for meaning, of course, he wrote that book after his experience living in a concentration camp. Life is questioning us. It’s asking something of us. I think what I’ve observed over quite an extended period of time is the system set up to put us to sleep. The system is currently set up to get us to consume, to not question. It’s interesting to note, for example, that life expectancy in the United States has begun to decline over the last decade. It’s been declining.

    If you go back to the start of the 20th century, infant mortality was still running at about 30%. We come into the 50s, 60s, and 70s and life expectancies have never been longer. But what you find is the declining life expectancy in the US and other developed countries is due to substance addiction. Think of oxycontin, and the epidemic there around the use of prescription medications in places like Russia. One of the biggest killers now is alcohol consumption.

    So what you’re tending to find in both capitalist countries and communist countries is death caused by all sorts of ways of avoiding the reality over consuming. One thing we’ve got to ask ourselves is: Why do people do that? What is it about reality that people need to avoid or desperately want to avoid?

    I think it’s because we’re not addressing one of the elephants in the room, which is that if you live long enough, you will notice that life is not just hard. It’s also beautiful and wonderful and yet, it is hard. It’s challenging and difficult. To make something of yourself requires you to first begin to understand.

    Embracing Responsibility: Navigating Life's Challenges with Awareness

    Father and Child - Let's guide our children to grasp life's realities and embrace responsibility for its ups and downs
    Let's guide our children to grasp life's realities and embrace responsibility for its ups and downs

    Karen and I are raising three teenagers at the moment. And one of the processes on which we’re really focused is helping them by parenting in a way that helps them understand the structure of reality. By which I mean that if you don’t do certain things, life is going to punish you. It’s going to be unpleasant. You’re not going to have the life that you want.

    We are constantly working with the kids on that short-term piece to help them think about the long-term piece and do difficult things. To be thoughtful and to be aware of their own role in their own life responsibility. I am really working hard on that at the moment with them. I want them to understand that to make something of your life and to experience the things that you would like to experience and to contribute the things that you want to contribute.

    Overcoming Obstacles: The Necessity of Facing Difficulties

    Butterfly Cocoon -Those who consistently confront difficult challenges are destined for transformation and growth.
    Those who consistently confront difficult challenges are destined for transformation and growth

    We have to start from the premise that life is not going to roll over and let you tickle its tummy. Life is not going to just hand it over. It’s difficult. Tragedy happens. Setback happens. When setbacks happen, you either collapse into bitterness and resentment or you go into avoidance and collapse around that sort of stuff.

    Let’s begin to remind ourselves that life is difficult. Life has its challenges, and there is only so much avoidance we can do before life gets really difficult for us. If we keep digging our head in the sand. We start there, remind ourselves today that if you feel that life is hard, there’s a reason for that: it’s hard. So the next piece that comes with this is that we have to realize that if you want an uncommon life, you’re going to have to consistently face difficult and challenging things that are specific to you. This ties into that consumption avoidance piece that it’s very easy to not consistently face the things that are difficult for us. It’s very easy to avoid it.

    Beyond Comfort: Breaking Free from the Culture of Ease

    Break free from the confines of your comfort zone to discover genuine fulfillment
    Break free from the confines of your comfort zone to discover genuine fulfillment

    I can’t remember what it was called, but there’s a new platform that kind of pulls all of the TV apps into one. I’m sure some of you all know what it’s called. I just vagued it out. It’s basically instead of the inconvenience of having to work through several different apps, like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Amazon Video, Apple TV Plus, we’ve collated everything in one place so that your binge-watching can be made even easier.

    Everything is geared toward this comfort piece. So we don’t often have to face those things that are painful, difficult, and challenging. I think, as much as I don’t like it, I think that’s where the magic tends to be. It’s the other thing about everything you want to do that’s outside your comfort zone.

    I shared it last week when I ran to the pinnacle of Mount Wellington. Some of you have done that, and it’s an extraordinary mountain to run. It’s just incredible how imposing it is. But I get to that place where I come out of the forest line and I’m into the granite cliffs, and it’s something I don’t like about heights; I really had this battle with myself about it. Can I do this? Do I want to do this?

    As I said last week, the magic is pushing through the thing that’s difficult. I had another experience where I wanted to have to do something for several hours that was not my preference. And it was difficult.

    Conclusion: Embracing Challenges for Growth

    Embrace discomfort as you rise to the challenge, paving the way for personal triumph
    Embrace discomfort as you rise to the challenge, paving the way for personal triumph

    So friends, the summary of today’s message is that I want to remind you of that, to get what you want, to experience the things that you want to experience. It’s about discomfort in the initial phases. It’s about wrestling with the serpent of our lives, it’s about doing the things we don’t want to do and being very alert to the culture that we live in that wants to do the exact opposite.

    All I can say to anyone still listening is that if you want uncommon results, you’ve got to focus on common things at this moment in history. Because nothing will encourage you of its own to go out and make something spectacular out of your life. You’re going to have to really wake up and look at the realities around you and do the things that are difficult. That’s all I have to say. There’s all I can really offer. And I’m on the journey with you.

    For now, please make sure you’ve subscribed. Everything’s on the website. jonathandoyle.co. And you can find me on Instagram at @jdoylespeaks one word at jdoylespeaks. This has been the Daily Podcast. You and I are going to talk again tomorrow.

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    Jonathan Doyle


    I’m on a mission to liberate the potential of the incredible people that make up your organisation, school, or business.

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