Years ago I heard a great story about monkeys being trapped by hunters because the monkeys refused to let go of the bait they had clasped in their fists. In a similar way we can end up stuck in life by a refusal to let go of ideas, behaviour patterns or relationships that are holding us back. In this episode I want to suggest that there are key moments in life where letting go is the necessary choice to allow us to move forward.

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Learning to let go to move forward

Well, hey, everybody, Jonathan Doyle with you once again. Welcome, friends to The Daily Podcast . Thank you for being part of the journey. I was back in hospital yesterday. Many of you know, I’ve had a few adventures recently with a pretty major accident and yesterday, I was a little apprehensive. I had to go back in and have all the sort of surgery stuff taken out, all the stitching and all that sort of stuff. It’s bad enough, I guess, if you’ve got to do it on one arm but I had to do it on both. And it was awesome in the end, because there was this really lovely nurse called Belinda who did a fantastic job and was just great taking care of that for me. It’s interesting to note that I was at the fracture clinic and then when my name was called out, she’s standing at the door and I’m making a big effort just to smile, to be friendly. And I just think… And she mentioned that at the start. She said, “Oh, wow, it was really lovely to meet you”. Very friendly.

And I think those small details can be really important, if you’re going to have to go through something difficult. I think just sometimes how we sort of impact people in the first few moments of meeting them is really significant. So I never forget that. I remember years ago, reading some stuff on behavioral psychology that we tend to form our opinions of new people, really, in a few seconds. It’s really just a few seconds in which we kind of make a whole bunch of assumptions. So I think, what’s that old saying? There’s never a second chance to make a first impression. You want to sort of want to do that stuff up front. So anyway, she was fantastic and I’ve got a whole new bunch of fiberglass stuff to sort of keep my arms straight for a while.

So, that’s where we’re up to there. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes. It’s been amazing to have the support from all over the world. People have been ringing me but I can’t actually hold a phone to my ear. So, if I missed a call from you… Anyway, I really appreciate the love and support. It’s been great.

Listen, today I want to talk to you about something that’s really on my heart to share with you. I want to talk to you about letting go. I want to talk to you about this idea that, often on the journey of life, we adopt very particular identities. And the first thing I want to say is, some of these identities are very appropriate, because some people talk about letting go and moving on from things as if everything in life can just be let go and moved on from. I don’t think that’s true. I think there’s certain identities that are very central to our life over the long term. So this for me with being a husband, being a father, being a friend to particular people, these things are very much sort of central to identity and they don’t need to be changed.

Let’s put that in place first that as I talk to you very briefly about this idea of letting go, I want to put it in a particular context. And to the context of letting go, to be open to, I guess, new development and new opportunities and new experiences in life. So let me frame it for you like this. Many years ago, I heard this great priest give this really cool message about, I think it was in the Philippines. They were talking about these people that would try and catch monkeys. So there were these local hunters that wanted to catch these particular monkeys. And the way they did it was they would put food inside this little jar, but the jar had this hole at the bottom where a monkey could get their hand in. There were these sort of these nuts and stuff inside. And then the minute the monkeys could sense the food, they would clasp their fist around it, but then they couldn’t get their fist out.

So, it was this really weird thing because they had this food and they wanted to get it, but they had to release their hand. They had to let go to be able to get the hand back out. So this was the basis of the trap is that they would… These monkeys that were terrified of humans and would run a mile that they saw somebody would actually just stay there and allow themselves to be captured because they refused to let go. I always found it a really interesting metaphor.

So, what I want to talk to you about is this idea that I think there are aspects of identity, there’s behaviors, there’s relationships, there’s ways of seeing ourselves that we can hold onto, despite all the evidence around us suggesting that it’s time to let go and move on. This could be a career thing. You could be stuck in a job or a career, a relationship, or a behavior pattern. And we don’t let go.

Two points on this. First obvious question is, why don’t we let go? Well, the only answer to that is fear, and it’s very understandable that we survive in the world in a particular way. So the idea that we would sort of stop and change and step into something very unknown and different is very hard for us. It’s a very human thing. But the refusal to let go and to step into that fear is what keeps us trapped in the current level of evolution we are in. That could be professional evolution, financial, relational, spiritual, whatever.

The second thing I want to say about it is that if we don’t do it, if we don’t learn to let go at the right time of the right things, then whatever’s waiting for us, whatever the next thing is, whatever the next level of growth is, we can’t step into it. Because we’re stuck exactly where we are from that basic refusal to let go.

So I don’t know how this sounds to you, whether you’re sitting there going, “Okay, well, this is pretty simple.” It is pretty simple. It’s like everything I talk about here. I don’t really do a lot of episodes on molecular biochemistry and quantum physics. We’re talking about something very central to human experience, letting go. So can I ask you to look into your life at some point today, whether that’s journaling, whether it’s going for a walk.

I’ve been up since 4:00 AM this morning and I just have such a commitment in my own life to silence, to peace, to calm, because it’s often in those moments when I guess your deeper sense begins to speak and you can hear spiritually a lot more easily. But I think as a culture, we’re not giving ourselves much time for this kind of calm, peaceful reflection.

So what are you holding on to? What do you intuitively feel that you should probably be letting go of about now? There’s definitely something on my mind at the moment that I’m really sort of working through and thinking through in this whole area that I’m talking about, letting go. So, I hope this is helpful. Hope you got something there in your life you go, “Yeah, you know what, Jonathan? As you’re speaking, I’m just really prompted about this particular thing,” this particular experience in your life that you’re just thinking, “Yeah, I’ve been thinking for ages I’ve got to move on from that.” So, is it a behavior? Is it a bad habit? Is it a person? Is it a job? Is it just some belief system?

Until you let go of that clenched fist and metaphorically move away and let go and step into the next thing, life can keep us very much where we are. And I don’t think that’s really what this podcast is about. We want to keep growing so that we can love people more, we can grow more, we can contribute more.

All right, that’s it. As always, Instagram, jonathandoyle47, Facebook, The Daily Podcast with Jonathan Doyle, the website, And please make sure you’ve subscribed. As always, would you share this message with a few people? Just grab it and send it out to a few friends.

All right, that’s it for me. Always remember, we always say at this point that the best is ahead, it is not behind. Good days are coming, friends. Do the smart things, do the small steps, and everything’s going to work out in time. God bless you, everybody. My name is Jonathan Doyle. This has been The Daily Podcast , and I’ll have another message for you tomorrow.