One of the positives of my recent accident is that it has allowed me to spend a load of time with some really great people. Last week, on two occasions, I was able to talk to some very wise, older friends who have known me for a very long time. At key moments in those discussions I was able to ask them to speak the truth into my life. In today’s episode I want to talk about how we all need truth speakers at key moments. I also talk about the decision to no longer accept the power of guilt, shame and fear in daily life. It’s a great episode so listen in now.
Refusing To Partner With Toxic Thinking
Well, hey, everybody. Jonathan Doyle, with you as always, for The Daily Podcast. Hope you’re doing well. We’re getting close to Christmas, friends, you’ve been paying attention. I know for most of us that Christmas decorations seem to go up inside shopping malls in August, but there’s no denying it’s just around the corner. So I hope you’re organized, ready, hope you’re not too tired coming into this time of year.
People keep asking me, they’re going, “Oh, are you going away for Christmas, for the holidays?” I’m like, “No.” See, I have to travel so much in my work that the idea of just being home is fantastic, so looking forward to some great time here. Now listen, there’s two things I want to share with you in this message, but first, a really cool quote that I like. Listen to this. It’s by Howard Zinn. Listen carefully. “The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
Okay, I really like this. Two things in it. One is just this constant reminder that the future is nothing other than an infinite succession of the present moment. So I know mindfulness is kind of a big thing right now, but it is worth remembering that really, the future is this series of connected moments in the present. So I think what the danger that many people can sort of experience in life is this idea that one day in the mystical, distant future, everything’s going to come together for you. Now, there’s a paradox here. We’ve got to hold an intention. We have to have a vision of the future, something we’re tracking towards, but we’ve got to be actualizing that, activating it in the absolute present. I find this hard. I think I probably spend a lot more time in the past and the future. I kind of drift between those two poles pretty frequently. So I’m constantly, I mean, I’m encouraged by this quote because it’s a reminder that really what matters is today, who you are today, the choices you make today. So that’s what I’ll be working on. I hope that quote is a good reminder.
The other part of this quote is he’s saying that the decision to live well today, to be decent today, to be kind today, to be patient today, to be self-controlled, is kind of a victory against everything that’s bad around us. Because you can look at the media for two seconds, you see all this darkness in the world. One of the ways to fight back is just to live really well in the present. I know some of you are like, “Well, that’s ridiculous. I mean, we can’t change anything.” Well, I kind of think we can. By living well in the present, we can change a lot about the future, and we can, I guess, stick our two metaphorical middle fingers up in the air towards all the darkness and say, despite all the darkness in the world, I’m going to try and live well today.
All right. I said there was going to be two things I was going to talk to you about. The first thing is just to share with you the journey that I’ve been on since the accident. I’ve had a lot of time at home, a lot of time of recovery, and it’s been great to have so many visitors. I’ve been blessed to have so many amazing people in my life that I’ve had extra time with. I’m not suggesting that you go out and almost kill yourself so that you see more visitors. I’m just saying that’s what happened to me. Last week I caught up with a great friend who was here from overseas, and we had a very long discussion, about three hours, and at one point during this discussion they said to me, “I’ve made a decision to no longer partner with fear, shame, and guilt.” He said, “The minute that fear, shame, or guilt show up,” he says, “I just put this thing down in my head.” He goes, “I will just not go there and get into fear, shame or guilt.”
Now, the only qualification I’ll give is, I always say to people, guilt is actually a useful emotion, because it reminds us that we’ve done something against our internal standards or an objective standard. But I think, so we don’t want to have no guilt, because if we had no guilt, we’d all be sociopaths running around doing whatever we wanted and never feeling bad about it. But I think what my friend was saying was, guilt is when you have this internal critic that makes you feel like you could have done better or you did something wrong, so that’s the context he was talking about. You know when you kind of, maybe if you’re a parent, you have a good day with your kids, but you feel that you could’ve done more? I mean, that’s guilt. So he’s saying that the minute these feelings show up, fear, shame, and guilt, and remember the important difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is, I’ve done something bad. Shame is, I am bad.
So it was such a powerful moment. It really stayed with me that as soon as fear shows up, it’s got to be like, “You know what? I’m not getting into that narrative.” It this mental discipline, “I’m not getting into that narrative.” When guilt shows up, guilt will always sound like your internal critic. Guilt will be, “Well, you should’ve done this, or you should’ve done that.” As soon as you hear should, I say to people, “You’ve got to be careful. You don’t want to should all over yourself,” okay. We don’t do shoulds. “I should have done this, I should’ve done that.” The internal critical will beat you up. Some of you are listening, going, “So we should never critique ourselves?” No, we should, but the critic that we want is the one that’s like a wise, compassionate friend that’s encouraging us to a better standard, not the one that goes, “You’re terrible. You’re the worst parent. You’re the worst son, daughter. You’re the worst employee. You’re ugly. You’re stupid.” Whatever those voices say, we don’t want that.
I just like this idea that whenever fear, guilt, and shame show up, you have got to have this mental discipline. It’s really that simple. We want to be all fancy, but really it’s just that in the moment, I’m not going there with that thing. All right, so I hope that’s useful. Now, the second thing I want to talk to you about is, I caught up with another great friend this week, a wise older man who I really love dearly. We’re talking for a long time, and we’re getting deep, and we’re talking about a particular area of my growth and development in life and business, and I turned to this friend of mine, I said, “Mark,” I said, “Look, tell me the truth,” I said, “You have permission. Tell me exactly what you see here.”
This may sound to you like not a big deal, but what I want you to understand is, it was in that moment that I gave somebody I admire and respect the ability to speak directly without a filter into my life. Now, you don’t want to go around doing this with everybody, but what I want to say to you is you’ve got to have a few people in your life that you can semi-regularly say, “Hey, tell me the truth. Speak into this area.” It could be health, could be relationships, could be work, finance, whatever. But you’ve got to have one or two people you admire or respect who can just speak directly into your life. So who are they for you? Catch up with them. Just make a … Today, get your phone out, send them a text, say, “Hey, can we have a coffee?” Because I want you to take action. If you don’t take action, nothing changes. You’ve got to start taking action on these things.
But I have just found … and then I actually did it again a few days later with another friend who was visiting as well. In a different area of life, I said, “Hey, tell me what you see. What do you think?” You’ve got to ask people because often, as a culture, we’re very reluctant to do this for each other. So you have to ask. Don’t assume that people automatically do it, because the kind of people that want to do it automatically are often not the kind of people you want to do it with, you know what I mean? People that are just like in your face, “Hey, let me tell you what I think about this. Let me tell you what to think about what you did here.” You don’t want that. You kind of want reluctant people who love you enough not to crash your space, but when you ask them, they’re able to speak truth into your life. This is how we grow. This is actually how we grow, by having the wisdom and the goodness of these sorts of people speaking into our lives.
All right, friends, that’s it. That’s a solid message. We’ve talked about living in the present. We’ve talked about not partnering with shame, fear, and guilt, and we’ve talked about having the right people speaking truth into your life. I hope that’s useful. All right, as always, come and find me on Instagram, jonathandoyle47. Please get your phone out right now if you’re not following. I’m posting heaps on Instagram at the moment, I’d love you to come and do that, Facebook, The Daily Podcast with Jonathan Doyle. Email me direct, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to book me to speak at a conference or an event, you can do that. The website, jonathandoyle.co. Please make sure you’ve subscribed to this podcast. Please, wherever you’re listening to it, Spotify, Apple podcast, Google podcast, hit subscribe. The podcast is still growing. It’s really exciting to see it happening, so please make sure you’ve done that, and as always, would you just share this with a few people? God bless you, friends. Hope you’re doing okay. What do we say at this point? Same thing all the time. The best is where? It’s in your past. No, it’s not. The best is ahead. It is not behind. My name is Jonathan Doyle. This has been The Daily Podcast, and I’m going to have another message for you tomorrow.