Taking Action: How Choices Define Our Lives More Than Abilities

Jonathan Doyle International Motivational Speaker

Join Jonathan Doyle on the latest episode of the Daily Podcast as he shares insights on the power of action and choice, inspired by JK Rowling’s resilience. Despite facing challenges like a recent accident, Jonathan emphasizes the importance of staying active and making deliberate decisions, even when it’s tough. Discover how your choices shape your life, regardless of your abilities, and learn to overcome distractions to pursue your goals.

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    Welcome Aboard

    Hello there, my friend, Jonathan Doyle, is with you once again. Welcome aboard to the Daily Podcast. I’m feeling good, I’ve been up early, I’ve been in the studio. I’m going to go and try and punch out a 10K walk. Since the accident, I actually ran. I tried to run yesterday but with 12 broken ribs, I discovered that there are certain laws in the cosmos that cannot be transgressed. And one of those laws is trying to run on 12 broken ribs, but I can walk. So I’m going to head out of the studio, get myself organized, and go and do that.

    I just want to encourage you, as always, to be active. There is a spectrum, I’ve said it so many times. If you don’t see yourself as a big exercise person, then just try to increase what you’re already doing. You walk to the letterbox, walk up and walk back. I would do it twice. If you’re running 20K, run 30, like it’s relative, but just the importance of keeping active is so central.

    Inspiration from JK Rowling: Overcoming Adversity

    J.K. Rowling's story inspires resilience in facing challenges
    J.K. Rowling's story inspires resilience in facing challenges

    I want to share with you a great insight from J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series of course. She’s been attracting a great deal of attention over the last few years and demonstrating impressive courage. I must say that it just seems to have way more backbone than almost the entirety of our political class on tough issues. She’s been quite a courageous person, and I was on a fishing trip recently just before the accident. I was on a run, listening, there was some material that she put out years ago. She gave one of those opening addresses at a university. And it’s really very good. If you can ever find that somewhere, you can probably find it on YouTube just by typing J.K. Rowling’s opening address, but she does a great job. She talks a lot about the challenges and difficulties that she faced.

    If you know a little bit of a story, she ended up living in a car at one point; she was a victim of domestic violence. She was a single mother raising a daughter. And she was told that the academic studies that she was doing were a complete disaster and that she shouldn’t do them. Of course, what she studied, she backed herself. What she studied had a huge influence, of course, on her writing.

    The Power of Action: Moving Beyond Feelings

    Taking action propels us forward, revealing our true selves through our choices, not just our abilities
    Taking action propels us forward, revealing our true selves through our choices, not just our abilities

    I came across a quote of hers this morning, which is tied into my being in the studio from 4:00 AM this morning. I woke up at 2:00 AM and just had a lot on my mind and realized that lying there, thinking about it, wasn’t going to do anything. What would help was action and regular listeners know how frequently I talk about this. I can talk about it because I’ve been very bad at it for many years. It’s the tension that we have between thinking, ruminating, worrying, and literally just taking action in the world. Let me give you this quote, She says,

    "It is our choices... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

    Action Over Inaction: Moving Beyond Potential

    I want to remind you today that there is a unique power in action. Action seems to do things for us more than thinking. Obviously there is a huge place, of course, for thinking, for planning, for considering the different things that make up our lives. Planning it is how we want the future to look, but sooner or later, what is most important is action.

    As I have said to you, my friends, so many times. One of the keys to breaking through in life is realizing the relationship between your feelings and your actions. Which is simply to say that there are difficult things that we need to do that we will almost never feel like doing them. This is what Rowling is saying. She goes, what really matters is what you actually do, not so much what you feel and not even what your abilities are—your potential. We’ve all got this immense latent potential.

    I remember years ago hearing that the average Australian male has enough energy stored as body fat to run back-to-back marathons. And of course, most Australian males will never run a marathon. That’s fine, no one has to. But it’s interesting that the capacity is there. But obviously, the desire or the reason isn’t. So we’ve all got this latent ability, most of us have the capacity to do all sorts of things. But what determines whether or not we do them is the literal choices that we make and the actions that we take.

    Breaking the Habit of Waiting for Motivation

    Wait less, act more: push through challenges with determination, despite inner resistance.
    Wait less, act more: push through challenges with determination, despite inner resistance

    I think this is the trap that most of us fall into, is that we take action when we feel like taking action. Instead of acting because we just decide that we’re going to do it, and we don’t wait for the feelings to happen first. This is one of the great secret ingredients of a remarkable life: getting yourself to do something when you literally don’t want to do it.

    So on Instagram the other day, I posted a short video. Where we live here, there’s this mountain behind us. And it was super steep and long, and I went up there with these 12 broken ribs that I have and this broken shoulder. I can walk, I can’t walk as fast as I could before the accident. I’m healing fast, but I just said, Look, I was up this mountain; it was raining, it was windy, it was freezing. And I just went, I’m up this mountain in the freezing wind and rain, and I don’t feel like it. This is what it looks like when you literally don’t feel like doing something. But when it’s done, when you get back and it’s accomplished, you did the right thing, and there’s a good result there.

    Discipline Over Distraction: Making Conscious Choices

    Choosing discipline over distraction means prioritizing mindful actions, as our choices define us

    So one more time from J.K. Rowling, it’s our choices that show who we truly are far more than our abilities. What I want to move you towards is this mental discipline of looking at your actions and choices and getting yourself to do the things that you don’t feel like doing because it doesn’t matter how much you could do. It doesn’t matter what you might be capable of, what matters is what you actually execute on.

    Significance of Decision Points

    So as you go throughout this day and as you’re listening to this, there are going to be so many decision points in your life. So many decision points, so many things that, as your day unfolds, there’s going to be an infinite number of small choices and decisions that you’re going to make. It’s in those moments of choice at those decision points, that we’re really shaping our lives.

    I think of the distraction and procrastination that can happen for so many of us now with social media, with the endless scrolling and news websites, etc. And there’s just so much there to distract us all the time. One of the things I’ve been doing is really imposing discipline and structure over distraction.

    Dispel the Myth of a Mystical Future

    Karen and I’ve got a huge project rolling out in our other business. It’s really a lot of work and just the ability to get up, to lock in, to get the work done. You can’t have distractions. I have to make choices all the time about how I’m executing. So it’s real stuff, friends. I think the risk is that most of us think that life’s going to work out at some mystical point in the future. The only way life shapes is the way you want it to shape. It’s because you’re making good choices at the moment.

    Faith and Freewill: Inviting Guidance

    Faith and freewill blend, each step welcoming divine guidance, even amidst uncertainty.
    Faith and freewill blend, each step welcoming divine guidance, even amidst uncertainty

    For me as a Christian, it’s very much about inviting God into that space, to shape my thinking, allow myself to be prompted to do things. So, I feel like I’m trying to cooperate with that. But I’ve always been given freewill. So I’ve always had the choice to act or not act.

    I’m going to finish up there. I can tell you the truth. It’s now 5:48 a.m. I’ve been awake since 2:00 a.m. I am going to head out and do a 10K walk. Normally I’m obviously running or cycling, but since the accident, I can’t do that at the moment. It’s cold. I don’t know. Let me tell you, I’ll just pull up the actual temperature here as I’m sitting in the studio, and according to, let’s have a look at the actual temperature here, where I am, it is, as it is minus point two degrees Celsius. So for my American friends, I don’t know what that is in Fahrenheit, but it’s below zero. It’s really cold. I can put my headphones on. I’m listening to a book by Joseph Ratzinger on some pretty intense abstract philosophy. I’m going to take my caramel and I am going to go pump out 10 K, and I don’t feel like it.

    Craving and Choosing

    Balancing immediate cravings with long-term health goals shapes our future selves

    You know what I’d like right now? I would like bacon. If I could be really honest with you, what I would love right now would be a huge plate of bacon and waffles. I discovered recently that you can add bacon to waffles with syrup, it’s just pretty much the pinnacle of Western civilization.

    I want to share with you right now that I don’t want to do a 10K walk, and I’m really hungry, I’d like bacon. But I’m going to make a choice to do what I don’t want to do. And the outcome of that is that I’m going to be healthier, I’m going to be fitter, I’m going to learn a bunch of stuff on the walk. And I’m going to make sure that I eat and get great nutrition a little bit later down the road today.

    So that’s what it looks like in real time. Yours will be different, but nonetheless, it’s the choices that are shaping us. So your abilities and your potential are important, but they’re not that important if they never get out because you didn’t make the choices.

    Conclusion and Call to Action

    Please make sure you’ve subscribed. You can find everything on the website: jonathandoyle.co. And you can find me on Instagram: @jdoylespeaks, come and say hi on Instagram if you’re there. I hope you have a great day, evening, and night, wherever you are in the world. This has been the Daily Podcast my friends. My name is Jonathan Doyle and 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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