In today’s episode I want to talk about the need we all have at different times in our life for increasing mental toughness. Rather than simply listening to our internal chatter and assuming that it is an accurate indication of objective truth, we need to get better at guiding our internal thinking through choosing what we say to ourselves. Trust me, it’s not an easy process. If it was then everyone would be doing it but they don’t. It’s an important episode so make sure you have a listen.
Why You Need to Stop Listening to Yourself
Well, hey everybody. Jonathan Doyle with you as always for The Daily Podcast. Hope you’re doing well. I’ve just got back from a one-and-a-half-hour session with an occupational therapist who has been going to work on my hands since the accident. I know I’ve been sharing this journey with you and, just quickly, today was a beatdown session. It was a world of suffering. Really hard. I had to take all the casts off, and then there’s all the surgical scars to get stuck into, and then all the joint manipulation. More pain than I think I’ve probably ever been in. I know I sound good now. I’m back in the studio, I’ve had a coffee and trying to block it out.
I wanted to share a few thoughts with you because this is real. This is me moving from theory into practice and wanting to share with you a little bit of the journey and what I’m learning through it, and how we can leverage these difficult experiences in life. I sound pretty bright right now, but if you’d seen me two or three hours ago, it was an exercise in deep breathing and focus, let me tell you that. I’ve been really trying to avoid too much dependence on pain medication. I think many of you know that that stuff can be a pretty a long tunnel to get out of it if you go too far down it, so today was just confrontation with reality.
But listen, I’m back and I’m out of this cast. They want me out of the casts unless I’m traveling or out of the studio, out of the house, out of the office. It’s the first time in five weeks since the accident that I’ve had my arms exposed, so it’s a pretty vulnerable feeling. I just wanted to talk to you about what I’m learning again, and I’ve shared a few times. Really, the thing that I learned today was really interesting because mostly when people have accidents like this, they they damage one side of their body. They shatter one arm or one wrist. Of course, I managed to do both, so there’s a whole bunch of challenges and complications that come from having the injuries on both sides of your body. Interestingly, what I learned today was, working with a therapist, she’s like, “Basically what’s happened is that when you go through trauma, when you go through real confrontation, difficulty…
Now, we could talk about the physical trauma of this, but we could talk about just the challenges in life that we face or when hard things happen to us, and you’ve been through those too. Basically, she said that your brain kind of just shuts down. It shuts the messaging down. It doesn’t want to hear much about it. The body goes into this very self-protective phase and shuts down. Shuts down, I guess, the messaging that’s running along the neural pathways.
Really, what struck me was just how powerful our brain is. I’m working through the exercises, I’m trying to get sensation back and movement patterns back, but I was really confronted with just how powerful our brain is. On this whole personal development journey, this whole podcast and everything I’ve been doing over the years, there’s a few big things I’ve learned, and I think one of them really is that the mind, your mind, my mind, controls so much of our experience. Even when objective things happen, even when things that we can’t control happen outside us, it’s still our mind that filters what actually happens.
Today was just a very strong reminder for all of us that we want to be very conscious about how we’re using our brains, and in particular time, the kind of dialogue that’s going on. Just on that, I want to talk to you a little bit about the kind of interior dialogue that happens. Especially for me at the moment, going through the injuries, there’s… I think I’ve stayed pretty positive. I guess you’d have to ask the people closest to me. I’ve tried to. Karen, today, she walked into the therapy session at the end, with the hand therapist, and as she opened the door, she just went white, kind of looked at me and went, “Oh.” When we got back, she was kind of like, “How are you doing?” I’m like, “Yeah, I just want to go and sit down for a little while.” But I think, I hope, I’ve been pretty positive and been encouraging through the process.
Let me share this with you. One of the things I’m doing in this season of recovery is, every day, I go out on my pool deck, and we’re lucky here that we’ve just starting head towards summer. We’ve got a beautiful pool deck, I stand there in the sun, get all the casts off and the bandaging off, and I start to go to work on the hands. What I do is great audio books. How many times have I said I’m always trying to feed my mind and feed my brain with really good content? I always want to encourage you to do that. We don’t want to be passive, we don’t want to just get served up whatever our brains are doing, we want to keep putting positive inputs in there.
So I’m listening to this audio book at the moment called Life is Magic. It’s by an interesting guy called John Dorenbos. Some of you may have heard of him. He played 14 seasons in the NFL, in American football, and, as well as that, he became a magician, believe it or not. When he was a little kid, he really got into magic and he kept interested in it his whole life, and then he went on the TV show America’s Got Talent and did really well. So not only was he a premier athlete, he was also a magician and doing really well with that. But that’s just part of the story.
A couple of other really interesting parts are when he was 12 years of age, he had a pretty happy family life, one of three kids, parents… didn’t seem to be much conflict in the house. Then one day he comes home and his father has horrifically murdered his mother, at 12. He’s confronted with this and he had to look at the autopsy photos of his own mother at the age of 12. All this crazy stuff. I’m working through his book and it’s just great, and one of the things that’s so powerful is he has this line where he says that, he goes, “I never listen to myself, I always talk to myself.” Let me share that with you again. He said, “I never listen to myself, I always to myself.”
You see, he actually says that often… You know how when you’re in the car and sometimes you’ll be in traffic and you might talk to yourself? Or if you’re in the car and somebody cuts you off, you’ll talk out loud? He says he just does this all the time. He’s just always talking to himself. He says sometimes people look at him like he’s a little bit cray cray because he’s just talking out loud. But I love the premise here. Here’s a guy who has suffered a great deal, so you think what his mind could serve up to him, the trauma, the sadness, the grief. Then, in the book, as well, he ended up having massive heart surgery, almost died. Think of what his mind could serve up.
I’m traveling a little bit of that journey right now. Today, the therapist said to me, she goes, “Look, you’re going to have to prepare yourself for a new normal,” and I’m, “So, what do you mean?” She said, “Well… ” I did the accident on the 25th of October. She said, “Jonathan,” she said, “you’re not really going to be going back to the 24th of October.” She said, “You’ve got a bunch of titanium in your body now and a whole bunch of stuff.” She said, “You’re going to have to prepare yourself for a new normal,” and that’s a significant challenge for me just to face that.
But I like what John Dorenbos says. He’s like, “I don’t listen to myself, I talk to myself.” I want to remind us all that this dialogue that often runs through our head, if you came from an awesome family, if you came from an incredible background where you had a great psychology and everything was just awesome, then often your brain’s on your side. But for many of us, it’s not, and especially if we go through difficulty. I spent 10 years talking to 40,000 teenagers a year, and the number of young people that are like, “I’m ugly, I’m stupid, I’m this, I’m that.” Our brain just serves that stuff up, so you’ve got to get good at being switched on to this interior dialogue and starting to manage it and direct it.
That’s where I’m at at the moment. That’s what I want to share with you. We want to be focused on this internal dialogue. We want to be really focused on what we’re allowing to be spoken in our interior silence. I think the other thing that’s really helping me, and I’ve mentioned this a lot in the last few weeks, is really coming into the present moment. It’s the trendiest thing, it is the soy latte of personal development at the moment, it’s the new black, but I am coming to realize that our sadness often lives in the past. I regret… I look at this accident and I think, “Well, what have I hadn’t? What if I’d done this, and what if that?” and how different my life would be right now if it hadn’t happened. I’m like, “Well, I can’t control that. It has happened and I’ve got to find a way to be alive and be present in the moment with it.”
The future, for many of us… that’s why we have this anxiety epidemic, isn’t it, because we’re so worried that what if: “what if I can’t get that job? What if I never meet somebody? What if I never get the promotion? What if no one ever, ever… ” Fill in the blank for yourself. Our anxiety is driven by future focus, and our depression’s often driven by either regret and sadness of the past or a sense of overwhelm with the future, that we just feel that nothing’s going to work out so why bother trying?
That’s the beauty of this time right now, this internal moment. I’ve, again, been struck by that because when I had the accident, the line between surviving and death was actually pretty small. So I am struck with that reality that you’ve got to be grateful for the moment because you never know how many you’re going to get, and be in the one that you’ve got, which is… if you’re listening to me today, go home, put some time in your family. If you’re listening to me today, take that risk. You’re listening to me right now, ask that person out or start that business or join that gym because you don’t know how long you got, and while you’re here you want to be really enjoying the moment, contributing in the moment, and blessing people in the moment.
All right. So, summary. We don’t listen to ourselves, we talk to ourselves. So I’m like, “Jonathan, next day, let’s press on. Let’s keep going. We’re going to be okay. This is going to get better,” and you’ve got to lie to yourself sometimes. Some people go, “Well, what if it’s not true. How can you just tell yourself that stuff?” and I go, “Because you just do.” What’s the alternative. What’s your alternative, sit around and go, “Everything’s terrible”? Like, “My brain is just going to tell me everything I’ve lost.” No, we’re going to get into that space, we’re going to start to be conscious of it, we’re going to speak into it.
All right. Do me a favor. If you’ve got questions, if there’s topics related to what I’m talking about that you’re interested in, something I can help you with, do me a favor, email me, jonathandoyle.co, or hit me on Instagram,jonathandoyle47. Just go to Instagram, jonathandoyle47, send me a DM. Facebook, you can find me, of course, at The Daily Podcast with Jonathan Doyle. Send me something on messenger. Say, “Hey. Jonathan, I’m stuck here.” I won’t reveal your identity if you don’t want me to, but I love answering these questions where people get stuck. So would you do that? Have a think after listening to this. Where are you stuck, what could you use some help with, and I’m going to do an episode just on that. People always say, “How do you get an episode every day?” and I go, “Well, most of the time I’ve got stuff going on that I want to share with people, but if I don’t, often listeners just send me some great stuff.” So have a think about that.
All right. Do me a favor, always make sure you’re subscribed. It’s so cool. I check in and see the stats each day and it’s just growing as always. I love that. I love sharing this with people, so please just jump on your podcast app and just hit subscribe. Then, as always, just share this with someone. Who do you know that’s struggling that could do a little bit of encouragement? Send them an episode like this one today.
All right, friends. God bless you. Whether we get to meet or not, I’m praying that good things that coming your way. That growth, contribution, significance, meaning, love and purpose are going to characterize the next phases of your journey because the best is ahead, it’s not behind. Better things are going to happen.