It’s one of the most basic principles of all personal development. The ability to enhance mental toughness by increasingly developing control over your thinking. Many people go through life assuming that whatever crosses their mind is objective reality. In contrast, other people begin to take control over that they think and what they say to themselves. The difference in outcomes is extraordinary. Don’t miss this episode.
The Crucial Decision To Take Control Of Your Thinking
Well, hey, everybody. Jonathan Doyle with you as always for The Daily Podcast . Hope you’re doing well. Welcome to another episode. I want to share with you a few key ideas. I’ve been traveling this journey of recovery since my accident recently, and as I’ve said, would I want to do it again? Absolutely not. You know when people say that something terrible happens and, “I learned so much from it and I really want to do it again”? Yeah, I’m not that guy, but there’s been so much learning and really the thing that’s coming home to me is this crucial idea around mental toughness.
I think what happens for so many of us is we assume that whatever is flowing through our mind is reality is true. We justify our thinking. We kind of go, “Well this happened or that happened, and therefore this is what I’m thinking.” What I’m experiencing very much in these last few weeks is the incredible ability we actually do have to choose what we think about. I think I lived most of my life kind of just leaving my brain relatively on autopilot.
That’ll sound strange to some of you because I am a pretty disciplined person, but I just kind of think we just do this, don’t we? We just kind of get away thinking that we sort of develop over years and it just locks in, and then life unfolds and we keep applying that same level of thinking to the circumstances that we encounter. Really, what I want to share with you is these ideas of mental toughness, around this idea that you can begin to think differently.
It’s not easy, but it is possible. We’re very much aware that we can work on our physical bodies. We can diet and exercise. We can put like… It used to amaze me that I would do sometimes two to three hours a day of physical training, but very little mental training. I think we all do that. Those of us that exercise, we understand that we need to do 30 minutes or an hour a day of exercise, but to step out of the current of our circumstances in our life and begin to put in practice 30 minutes or an hour a day of mental training is just really strange for us. We don’t sort of… used to doing that, but I want to encourage you because I think we really need to start thinking about our thinking. We really need to start to catch ourselves right in the moment of what we’re thinking about and ask ourselves, “Is this helpful? Do I want to think this?”
Like so many of these ideas in The Daily Podcast , it’s a very simple idea. The movement from accepting whatever is firing through your brain and actually beginning to condition it and control it. You see, right now I’m still in all of this bandaging, I’m still dealing with a lot of pain. Unfortunately, I got a knee injury at the same time, but the other injuries were so bad that they knee injury was kind of hidden. A doctor said to me this is like what he calls a masking injury, like the bigger ones hide the smaller ones until the bigger ones calm down. You suddenly go, “Oh, hang on.”
I’m dealing with a pretty significant knee problem at the moment, which for me is so hard because I’m just such an active person. Right now, getting off a chair is a significant challenge, but I noticed that my natural thinking process, believe it or not, is to kind of go… to get down about it. To get frustrated. To be like, “Well, I can’t run, I can’t walk, I can’t do the things that I’ve always been doing.” What’s beginning to happen for me is to go, “You know what? This is a reality. Right at the moment, this particular injury is a physiological given. What’s not locked in is the way I approached it mentally and what I bring to that.
I’ve begun to use a kind of different thought process, a different level of visualization to go, “If I’m going to put up with this right now, how am I going to show up? What attitude, what belief systems, what behaviors, what language do I want to use in the world to make this situation not just tolerable but how can I leverage it to kind of encourage people to encourage myself?” All of this is just a way of saying that reality is happening. There is objective reality. Stuff happens to us, but what we can control is what we actually think about it, and as we move into that thinking and being, then we can start to get a different experience of life.
This could be for you… this could be about relationships or money or career or work or fitness or some other area of life where you have accepted for so long thought processes and thought patterns that are not helpful for you. Maybe this message is about beginning a new form of mental toughness, to just go, “You know what? I’m not going to think that anymore. I’m not going to say that anymore. I’m not going to believe that anymore. I’m actually going to choose something different. I’m going to believe something different. I’m going to say something different. I’m going to find an empowering meaning right in the midst of whatever difficulty or circumstance I have right now because, honestly, if you’re going through a difficult time, describing it to yourself in really negative ways really isn’t going to help.
Honestly, in your life, when do you get most of your best ideas? It’s when you’re in a good physiological state. It’s why people say it’s often in the shower or somewhere where we kind of relax and we feel good and then, bang, we get this amazing idea. When we’re sitting around in life going, “Well, this is terrible and this is terrible”, we don’t get that insight and breakthrough. I want to be a voice of encouragement today that we need to think differently. We need to persevere during difficult times. Somebody yesterday on Instagram… I posted one of my favorite sayings, which is just this, “Just keep going.” So much of the time in life, we just need to press on and keep walking the path and keep showing up and keep doing stuff even though we don’t feel like it. Someone said to me on Instagram, they said, “That’s your motto.”
It kind of is. It was like once I got out of surgery, I was like, “You know what? I’m going to go for a walk around the ward. Now, I’m going to do two laps. Now, I’m going to do three laps. Now, I’m going to do five laps, because in that hospital, friends, I saw people suffering enormously and we never know when that sort of stuff could happen to us. Every single day is a unique gift. Now, that is such a platitude. We hear that all the time. We’re always hearing like, “You’ve got to live every day to the full”, and we’re not doing it.
Most of us are just not doing it, but it’s an experience of being in that hospital where I looked around and go, “Holy smoke. One day the music stops. One day, something can happen where you’re not going to get a chance to live fully. That could happen tomorrow or whenever, but we’ve got to be really living each day fully. It’s a conscious decision to just keep going. It’s a conscious decision to show up and to make the best out of every single day, regardless of the circumstance. That is a superior mindset. It’s a mindset that far too few people have.
Friends, if we want a difference experience of life, then we assume that we’ll change our outward circumstances and then things will be different, but I think I’ve really come to believe on the journey of life that we do have a lot of power to create our external circumstances by the quality of what’s going on internally. Really, that’s driven by the thought process. You go way back to some of the first books in the personal development movement, look at Napoleon Hill’s famous Think and Grow Rich, and that was one of the very first major texts in personal development. Really, it was this idea of beginning to think about consciously what you want to experience in life.
All the great men and women in history, for better or worse, even people who have done horrendous things, had a clear mental picture about what that was going to be. Please, from now on, stop accepting that whatever is flowing through your brain in any given moment is helpful or truthful or reality. You’ve got to start to take some control over what you’re actually thinking and saying to yourself.
I’m going to be doing that and I’ve got a really powerful chance to do that at the moment because the outward circumstances are pretty difficult for a very active person like me. These are a little frustrating. It’s a wonderful chance for me to actually put in practice what I’m saying to you right now, which is, “What do I want to think? What do I want to say to myself? What do I want my experience to be? How do I want to impact other people in the midst of this season?”
Get active, stop being passive, and stop letting this stuff go through your head and dictate to you the quality of your life. You need to step in there yourself and start to. You just catch yourself in the moment, right in the moment. You find yourself drifting down your normal thought pattern and you go, “Whoa, been there before. Going to stop. Going to think something different, going to say something different, going to do something different.” IT’s that, it’s literally that moment to moment, second to second, hour after hour, day after day. It’s like it’s how you get fit. You don’t go into a gym once and do one session and go, “Well, I’m glad that’s done. I’m now fit and strong for the rest of my life.” People who train train every day, just constantly just doing the work.
All right, that’s it. Just keep going. Persevere, press on, build your external circumstances through the quality of your internal circumstances. You’re not a victim. You’re not a victim on the journey, you’re just not. You’re actually in control of what you want to experience to a large degree. Sure, there are external things we can’t control, but I think most of us are going through life vastly underestimating the level of internal control we really do have.
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If you want to reach out to me personally, send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, .C-O. You can book me to speak, you can out more about what I do. It’s all there, but, hey, be encouraged. If you’ve listened to this podcast today, stop settling. Be encouraged. Good things can happen. The best is ahead. It is not behind. My name is Jonathan Doyle, this has been The Daily Podcast , my friend. God bless you and I am going to have another message for you tomorrow.