The Power of Positive Perspective: Finding Meaning in Adversity

Jonathan Doyle International Motivational Speaker

Welcome to the Daily Podcast with Jonathan Doyle! In today’s episode, we delve into the profound ability we possess as humans to find meaning and positivity even in the face of adversity. Jonathan shares his recent experience of overcoming a major accident and reflects on the power of choice in shaping our response to life’s challenges, drawing inspiration from Victor Frankl’s timeless wisdom. Join us as we explore the transformative potential of finding gratitude and positive meaning amidst difficult circumstances.

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    Welcome Aboard

    Hey everybody, Jonathan Doyle with you once again. Welcome aboard to the Daily Podcast. I am pleased that you are here today. You and I, my friend, we’re going to talk about the ability, this remarkable human capacity that we do possess to find good, to find meaning, to find something valuable in even the most challenging and difficult situations that we all face. I’ve been off-air for a little while. Those of you that follow me on Instagram and in other places, you understand that I had a major accident seven days ago. Yes, I’m back in the studio. Yes, I did manage to walk up a mountain today. You can see that on Instagram. If you’re on Instagram, If you go to @jdoylespeaks, you can see my adventures.

    Reflecting on Resilience and Finding Meaning

    Resilience in adversity: Find meaning in life's challenges

    A week ago, literally seven days from the time I’m here in the studio, I had another bike crash, and there was an irony in this one, in that it was dark, it was cold, and it was raining a little bit. There were about 40 of us on the ride and a whole bunch of people crashed behind me. There’s a particular corner that we go through. It’s got a long history of claiming more than a few cycles.

    I actually went down this hill being super careful. I got through the corner, no problem at all. And then I heard that terrible sound behind me of a whole bunch of people crashing. So I stopped and turned around. When I went back, there were some pretty serious injuries. They were nothing life-threatening; people were pretty hurt. A few bikes were written off. So my car was parked at a nearby cafe and I said, Hey, look, I’ll go and get my car, and I’ll come back and give a couple of people a lift home. You can chuck your bikes in my truck, I’ll get you home.

    I rode off and as I’m riding, literally less than three or four minutes later, I hit a big patch of gravel in the dark. I hit the road pretty hard, and I managed to fracture 12 ribs. Somebody said to me the other day that I didn’t even know we had that many, but yeah. I broke 12 ribs and I shattered my shoulder and fractured my collarbone. So they had to open me up and put a whole bunch of metal plates in the shoulder and eight screws. And so it’s been an interesting few days. Normally, you just break your shoulder or your collarbone, they’re painful enough, but doing the ribs means you can’t really lie down. You can’t stand up. Sitting is a problem, and breathing is a problem.

    It’s been a huge week, but I’m on the mend, and that’s really what I wanted to talk to you about today. I have discovered that even in these really unpleasant, extremely painful and inconvenient experiences. If you decide to, there’s always a lot you can focus on that’s positive. Now tomorrow. I actually want to talk a little bit more about gratitude, specifically. So if you’re like me and you think gratitude is one of those platitudes that turns up on a coffee mug, I agree with you. But I want to talk about that in more detail tomorrow.

    Victor Frankl's Philosophy: Choosing our Response

    Embrace the freedom to choose our path, our response to adversity defines us

    What I wanted to talk to you about today is that I want it to help you with this sort of disposition that when you face difficulties, setbacks, and hardships, I think about what life does and what it offers a choice of response. And this always goes back to Victor Frankl‘s famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning. He talked about what he always called the last of the great human freedoms.

    I’ve said this so many times on the show. You know what he said in that book: as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps, he said that the Nazis could take everything from you. They could literally take everything: your status, your wealth, your influence, and your clothing. You know your dignity; they could take everything, but he said the only thing they could never take. Was what we called the last of the human freedoms, which was the ability to choose one’s response. The ability to actually just choose how you will respond to circumstances. Because it is freedom, and it’s something that can’t truly be taken from ascend.

    My experience last week was not in the league of what he went through, but it was a pretty nasty experience, especially after I had the x-ray. The young lady, who they call sonographers and radiologists, said to me, Do you want to see it? And I said, Oh, sure. She hesitated. And I said, Why are you hesitating? She goes, Oh, a lot of times people don’t like to see these things. I said no, no, show me. And she showed me. I was no doctor, but I’ll tell you what, I could tell from the x-ray that some things were in places they shouldn’t be. It’s a real setback, and then there’s all the other stuff that went with it. And over that sort of 24 hours of surgery.

    Discovering Meaning Amidst Adversity

    From brokenness blooms resilience

    What I took away was an awareness of the setbacks, the suffering, the difficulty of the trial, and the pain that I went through. It revealed to me a lot of things, but one of the things that did reveal was just how many great people there were in my life. From all around the world, I was sitting in the hospital bed. I was sharing texts with a friend in Seattle, friends all over Australia, and people in London. And you suddenly realize that there’s this awesome network of people that I don’t get to speak to every day, but who I care about obviously care deeply for me, and people whose place in my life I really value.

    I really sat with that for a while, I thought I would not want to choose these kinds of experiences regularly to be reminded of what’s important. But I will allow this experience to do that for me to undertake that task of reminding me what truly does matter and what’s valuable and important in life.

    The essence of this short message today is to offer you the insight that whenever you face something unpleasant, that’s a setback. Because I’m the kind of guy who, as many of you know, trains a lot, I keep really fit. I like to be really active. That’s taken away from me. And the invitation is to collapse into despair, happiness, blame, or bitterness. I just look at it and go, I was trying to help, I was actually trying to help people. And life kind of knocked me sideways in the act of helping people.

    Finding Meaning Amidst Pain: Lessons Learned

    Jonathan Doyle was accompanied by his wife, Karen, during his hospital stay following an accident

    I’ve been joking with heaps of people that the moral of the story is, whatever you do, never help people. She’ll be safe. I just feel that it’s important to remind us all that there are many things that happen in our lives that we don’t want to happen to us. Gosh, it’s such a reminder of the real paradox that we face in life is between power being powerful and being powerless. There’s a lot we can do. But it only takes a couple of seconds on a bike to realize that we’re not that much in control.

    When things don’t go quite the way we want, let’s develop the discipline to find a positive and worthwhile meaning in our difficulties and suffering. Because I came away from this going, Gosh, there are so many good people in my life. There are so many good people.

    Last night, I eventually fell asleep, in a lot of pain. Those of you who have had these kinds of injuries. It’s the hunt, the great hunt is the hunt to find a position in which you can stay stationary for any period of time. And Karen sat with me for ages, and she just had a really beautiful presence last night. I fell asleep, really grateful for that. I said we’d talk a bit more about gratitude tomorrow but I just thought in the midst of this experience, I’m more aware than I may otherwise have been of the love that surrounds me and of the things that genuinely matter.I think the things that really matter are the people in our lives.

    "In moments of darkness we are offered a choice. Curse our fate or fight to find the light. We always have a choice."

    Embracing Resilience: A Call to Action

    Rise above. Embrace resilience and discover strength in adversity

    So, my friend, in summary, whatever you’re facing at the moment, every single one of you listening, there’s going to be at least one area of your life where things are not exactly as you want them to be. That’s just the process of being human. But can I invite you today to look into whatever that circumstance is and find some positive meaning in it. I would love for you to let me know if I’m wrong. But I don’t think there’s an exception to this category. And I think that no matter what we face, if we decide to, we can find something in it. That we can appreciate, be thankful for. They can make us slightly better as people.

    I’ve learned a lot in this; I’ve learned about people who I thought would be really supportive. A couple of people, particularly those who weren’t, and people who I hadn’t heard of for ages, were incredibly supportive. I’ve learned a lot, and even that did not make me bitter. What it did was make me go, How am I performing when people are injured or sick? What’s my track record? There’s a lot of times you go through something and it’s dramatic for a few days, and then people move on with their lives. I get that because everyone’s going to flat out.

    But it challenged me. It made me think, I really switch on when people are sick or I want to switch on when people are going through something difficult. So there’s just layers of meaning and things to consider that can come out of these difficulties that we face. So your situation will be different from mine. I’m hoping it’s not as dramatic. But let’s take that message. When things are dark, when they are difficult, we either collapse into despair or we find a better meaning. We find something in it to make us better. It’s a choice. We have this incredible freedom.

    Conclusion: Looking Ahead to Gratitude

    All right. My friends. That’s it for today. Tomorrow, we’re going to really want to talk about gratitude. I have a few good stories for you. We’re going to talk about that. It’s a really important discussion. Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast, and I’m on Instagram at @jdoylespeaks. Everything else is on the website at You can see all the videos. You can book me to speak. The consultancy work that I do is there, but I’d love for you to subscribe to the podcast. Please share this with people if it’s a blessing to you. My name’s Jonathan Doyle. This has been the Daily Podcast, 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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