In today’s episode I want to talk with you about having patience with creating change. Remember when you were a kid and you learned to ride a bike? No one got angry at you if it took a few attempts. There were also plenty of wobbles and a few moments of instability before you worked it all out. Creating change in your life is similar. It’s OK if you don’t get it perfect on the first attempt. Listen in as I share some ideas about having patience with creating change
Following The Process and Accepting Instability
Well hey everybody. Jonathan Doyle with you as always for The Daily Podcast. Hope you’re doing well wherever you are in the world. I’ve missed a couple of days of episodes, which is very rare for me, so I’m back on the horse now. It’s all been to do of course with this journey of recovery from my recent accident. I had a whole bunch of tests and scans this week just to see where the the injuries are up to. It is weird seeing photos of yourself with titanium plates appearing in different parts of your body. That’s been interesting. But a lot of great people looking after me at the moment. But wow what a journey. I think one of the hard things for me at the moment is just acceptance. I think I’ve always been somebody that really wants to take on the world and change everything and take control of things and this has really been a journey of not being able to do that.
Particularly, Karen, my wife’s just been phenomenal. But I have found it hard just watching her do everything. Luckily I married this incredible person with such capacity, but gosh, the acceptance part, just coming to terms with slowing down a little bit and resting, it can be frustrating for me. I know that some of you would relate to that, but it is what it is. And accepting the moment and the season that you’re in sometimes a challenge. But there’s always good stuff there, right? There’s always stuff you’re going to learn if you accept what’s actually happening. And we resist a lot, don’t we? I think we deny that certain things are happening in life. We don’t want to see what’s really happening. But I think a lot just sort of shifts for you when you begin to sort of go, “Okay, what’s actually happening here? What is life asking of me?” Isn’t that a good question? “What’s life asking of me at the moment?”
And I often talk about that amazing book from Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, where he talked about that a lot. He talked about how one of the things in life is knowing what life’s asking of us at any given moment, asking what’s actually happening. So maybe that’s resonating for you. Maybe you’re in a particular season where there’s some new challenges for you or a particular thing. So let’s keep that in mind.
You know, Aristotle famously said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” So we don’t want to be too introspective. We don’t want to live every second of the day totally absorbed in our interior world. But you might agree with me that as a culture we’ve probably flown off the other end of that spectrum, haven’t we? Where we’re so distracted and busy that we often don’t do that internal check-in. So I hope that’s useful.
Now I want to thank everybody again for the beautiful support that I received from so many of you, the encouragement, and it means a great deal. I’ve been really touched by it. I look back at this season and that’s been one of the big takeaways is… Just yesterday a friend of mine stopped by during the day at the house and almost every day someone’s been here. Almost every day someone’s kind of just… So I’ve been, I think before the accident most people would’ve looked at me and assumed that I was just so self-contained and maybe even driven that I didn’t need much. But it takes a pretty serious accident sometimes to remind you of the great blessing of friendships and the great blessing of the people in our lives.
Now, a couple of things. People have been asking me, what am I reading? Because as many of you know, I’m a voracious reader. I read so much. I should post it. I’ve got a photo of my current stack of reading. I don’t know if you do that, if you see something, you buy it on Amazon and then this pile begins. I don’t know if you’re a big reader, but I have piles everywhere. I just have this huge stack of stuff I’m trying to work through.
For what it’s worth, recently I’ve been reading a huge amount on, I guess this emerging area we’d call “surveillance capitalism.” By that I mean how social media, the internet, has really been a massive game changer. So there’s an amazing book from one of the professors at Harvard Business School called Shoshana Zuboff. It’s an 800 page book called The Rise of Surveillance Capitalism. And it’s been really interesting to understand how our data and our information is being used in some very interesting ways.
And related to that, it was a book by the guy that co-founded Cambridge Analytica, which you might remember was involved in a huge data breach at Facebook. And reading his story, he was kind of a whistleblower about how data was being used in election processes and all that sort of stuff. So please understand, I do not live in my mother’s basement. I don’t wear a tinfoil hat. I’m not into conspiracy theories, but I’ve just found learning more about this moment in history very interesting. So that’s some of the stuff that I’ve been reading.
I’m also reading Douglas Murray’s, The Madness Of Crowds, which is a book about the emerging craziness of, I guess that victim thing in culture, how people can get fixated with their identity being based in victim status. Look, I guess I’ve spoken about that in podcasts over the years, that once we create a victim narrative for ourselves, we really surrender our power. There’s a real paradox here cause we assume that if we do that, that we are taking power back. But often when we claim that victim status, when we make other people responsible… Now I’m not minimizing historic injustices of course. That’s not my point. I’m just saying that if we as a society began to get very fixated on all these bad people doing things to us, then we surrender what we would call our agency, our own ability to act in the world, to be in the world, to do things.
So we never want to surrender our agency. We always want to realize that we can act, we can choose, we can make different choices tomorrow and we always had that kind of power. So hear me right. I’m not saying there haven’t been injustices. But his book is really academically critiquing this whole moment in history where it’s all about victim groups and that sort of stuff. I find that stuff very interesting.
Yesterday I was reading a book by a lady called Barbara Sher. It was written back in the late ’80s, ’90s. It’s called I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was. And it’s really cool to read it. She writes very well. And it’s just a great book about really identifying in life what’s significant for you and really what you want to be doing. And you know, just classic stuff. I found yesterday reading it a good reminder of the idea that action really matters. That there’s a time to sit around and think but sooner or later action, doing stuff, taking decisions, trying things really matters. So I hope you don’t ever get too stuck in life and just get stuck exactly where you are, that you always realize that the feelings that we are chasing, the life that we’re chasing really comes from taking action at key moments. So we want to get that balance right between reflection and enjoying the moment, but also actually acting at the same time.
Right now. I’ve got a couple more things for you today. Hasn’t this been an interesting episode? Just kind of wandering around literature and rehab and all the different things happening in my life at the moment. A couple of things on my heart to share with you. One is just going through the journey I’m on at the moment. Realizing this desire to create change in my life is… I had this sense of, you know when you’re a younger kid and you’re learning to ride a bike? And you know, I mean I’ve done that with all three of my kids. I have really clear memories of our backyard here and holding the back seat. You know, the training wheels come off and you hold that back seat. And you run with them as they peddle. And you’re holding them so you’re keeping that balance part for them. But then eventually you go three or four fingers, and then one finger and eventually you let that one finger off and they’re off.
But what happens of course is these periods of instability while they’re learning, right? They kind of wobble. They fall over, they crash. And I had a strong sense that I’d like to remind all of us as you listen today, that if you are trying to create change in your life, it’s so much like that bike riding metaphor. And what do I mean by that? Well, it’s this, that nobody sort of goes, “You know what? I’m going to make a big change in my life. I’m going to go and totally changed my body, change my relationships, change my career.” And it’s not like we just jump on that bike for the first time and ride it dead-straight, perfectly, as though nothing had ever happened before. That’s not how it works. It’s that we go through these periods of instability and little setbacks and we wobble and fall off, but sooner or later if we stick at the process we find that we master the skill. And hear me again, if we stick with the process, we master the skill.
So, in my life and in yours at the moment, there’s going to be areas where we’re trying to create change. It could be diet and exercise, finance, relationships, career, whatever it is, spirituality, whatever it is, two things. Be patient with yourself. As you step, fall backwards and get it wrong, that’s okay. It’s that bike metaphor that you need to have the patience to understand that it’s going to work out if you stick to the process. What’s the process? For me, it’s always been about the clarity of knowing what you’re trying to change and then executing on a daily basis around that stuff. So it’s executing on the process and it’s also patience.
I want to share with you a really beautiful quote that I came across many years ago. Some of you may have heard it. It’s by the beautiful poet and writer, Rainer Maria. Real key. Listen to this. He says, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” I love that part. Listen to that last part: “live some distant day into the answer.” Living your way into the answer.
You know that just reminds me, for me it ties into that bike metaphor, that as we have patience with what we’re trying to do and the questions and all the uncertainty, but we keep turning the pedals, then sooner or later we find that we’ve lived our way into the answer. And this can take a really long time.
So, and trust me, I’m living this stuff right now. I think for me, my area of bike riding at the moment, the work that I’m doing is very much around surrendering to the present moment, which I know is a very trendy thing at the moment. This whole idea of mindfulness and being in the moment, man, it’s like for me in this area of growth and personal development and everywhere you turn you’re hearing about it. But that’s really what’s happening for me at the moment, is the ability to go when you’re badly injured, to you want to be four months away. You want to be back to where you were. You either want to be back in the past or in some perfected future. And what I’m being asked to do in my particular journey right now is to be patient with the process, keep turning the pedals and staying in the moment. And I find it really hard, really hard.
Now you’re going to have something similar. There’s going to be an area that you’re trying to change in your life at the moment, and you’re probably going to be finding it really difficult, and you get frustrated. But isn’t it amazing how kids do it with joy? I mean, I don’t know what your experience has been either as a child or if you’ve got kids. I mean, when kids are learning to ride a bike, they might fall off and hurt themselves, but they don’t get angry, they don’t slam the bike down and go, “This is stupid. I’m never doing this again.” Kids approach this with a kind of joy. And what else do we know about kids is that when they get it, there is a moment when they get it and they just light up and the joy comes because of the process. Would kids have the same joy if they just jumped on the bike instantly, first time, no training wheels and just absolutely nailed it? Well, possibly. But don’t you agree with me that the joy comes from the patience and the process and just doing the work?
All right, that’s a longer episode. What have I said today? Well, we’ve talked about what I’m reading. We’ve talked about this journey that we’re on, that we have to be patient with the process. We have to have this weird paradox where we want to be in the future, but we have to stay in the present at the same time. So friends, I just pray that you’re having patience with your process, that you’re finding some joy in it. And the worst thing you can do is slam that bike down and walk off. You just got to keep turning the pedals.
So I believe this, I think that this is the beauty of life isn’t it, is that we have this invitation to grow if we want to. I think one of the great sadnesses of life is that so many people just get so stuck and they get into addictions or patterns and they just can’t get out and life just takes on the same thing every day. How beautiful it is that we can grow and change and develop?
Okay, I’m going to finish there. Come and find me, Instagram, jonathandoyle47. Please come and find me there if you’re not doing it. I like Instagram. I just keep trying to put really good stuff on there every day. So jonathandoyle47. Facebook, we’re at The Daily Podcast with Jonathan Doyle. And you find me on the website at jonathandoyle.co.
Okay, that’s it for me today. It’s more rehab. It’s more being patient in the moment, which is my journey. And listen, praying for you. I hope you’re doing okay. Be encouraged that if you’re listening to a podcast like this, then you’re already in a good spot. You might not feel like it and you might be saying, “Well, you don’t John, I’ve got all these problems.” Yeah, but you’re listening to this, which means at least you’re looking for solutions.
So God bless you. The best is ahead. It is not behind.
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