My recent journey of injury and recovery is teaching me a vast amount about mental toughness, self-talk and positivity. These ideas are no longer platitudes or fluffy concepts. They are the real deal. In today’s podcast I am going to give you some big insights into what I am learning and how we can all create new levels of success with a greater focus on what we allow to dominate our thinking.

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The Power of Self-Talk To Create Ongoing Success

Well, hey everybody. Jonathan Doyle with you, as always for The Daily Podcast. Hope you’re doing well. Welcome aboard. I’ve been up since 3:00 AM. I don’t know what happened, but had a big day yesterday with the recovery, for people that aren’t aware. I know many of you are, but I had a very bad accident recently. Managed to shatter up both my arms really badly, so I was back with a specialist yesterday and it’s quite a journey. They were doing a bunch of physical rehab stuff and I’d love to tell you that it was a pleasant and enjoyable experience. That was not the case. If you follow me on Instagram, jonathandoyle47 on Instagram, there’s a photo yesterday that Karen took. She was there with me and there’s this smile, and people are like, “Oh, why are you still smiling?” You’re going, “Trust me, people that had everything to do with the drugs and very little to do with genuine joy.”

It’s been such a journey and the Karen’s support’s been amazing. She’s been with me every step of the way. So I’m back in there Thursday to start working on the other hand. But today’s message really comes out of this journey. I’m just learning so much from it. I’ve shared a few podcasts about the whole thing. What I want to talk to you about today is something I think is going to be really useful for you because it’s going to come out of something very genuine for me. This journey that I’m on at the moment with a serious injury is extraordinary. I know people, I’ve had worse ones. Mine’s pretty bad, but I’m not saying that it’s the worst injury ever. It’s not, but it’s significant and really challenging me to grow through it and people are like … a lot of great comments and feedback on social media that I’m staying really positive and I am, like vast majority of the time.

But I’m very aware that the thinking process when we’re faced with adversity is really crucial. I want to talk to you a little bit about that, because with my right hand at the moment, my index finger isn’t really functioning. So, it’s the weirdest thing when you’re trying to tell your brain to do something and your body’s not able to do it, and yesterday it got to me. It was quite confronting because when you go through surgery and trauma and all that sort of stuff, you’re on a process. You’re okay, now you get through the first terrible day of the trauma. You get through the surgery, you’re in the hospital, and you have all these markers, and then you get to a point where I’m at now, which is like realizing that it’s pretty serious and that it’s going to need a lot of work.

And then I don’t know about you, but it makes you, what happens is the thinking can start to go all over the place. You start to catastrophize, or at least I can. And here’s me, the motivational guide and the podcast telling you the truth, telling you that I’m fallible and I’m like anybody. And then, when you’re faced with a really difficult season, a lot of pain, a lot of adversity that none of us spend our time always on the sunny side of the street. So, this message today is really about the truth of how we need to direct our thinking, because if we don’t direct our thinking, our thinking is going to direct us and believe it or not, and as I’ve said before, humans have a natural bias towards pessimism. As a species, we’ve evolved to be relatively pessimistic and suspicious.

Why? Because if you did that, you tended to survive longer. Trust me, optimists and risk-takers on the evolutionary journey, yes, they created new and awesome things and they moved the species forward, but they usually ended up dead. So, being pessimistic, being cautious, assuming the worst often allowed us to live longer. So, we have this kind of natural bias that we have to work against simply because most of the challenges that we once face don’t exist anymore. So, we have to be very conscious about choosing positivity. So, I posted this quote yesterday. I’ve been reading. I finished recently, a book by a guy called Ant Middleton, Anthony Middleton, who is a former Special Forces guy, now very well known TV celebrity, particularly in England. But I just read his book about his journey climbing Mount Everest and it was a really great read and there’s this quite … it really stuck out to me.

It’s this: how we think defines how we act, and how we act defines the events of our life. One more time. How we think defines how we act, and how we act defines the events of our lives. So join that simple dot. How we think, that the kind of thoughts going through our head, what we value, what we believe, are going to shape our actions, right? Obviously, because we’re going to eventually act in congruence with what we think about a lot of the time. So if we think health and fitness is a good thing and we think about it a lot, we’re likely to probably be doing stuff in that space. If we think eating well is an important thing and we think about it a lot, we’re probably going to perform in that space. If we think positive thoughts and positive things about the people in our lives and our relationships, then we’re probably going to act in a particular way.

If we’re thinking suspicious and negative and critical thoughts about the people in our lives, we’re probably going to act in that way. And then, the actions that we take sooner or later determine the very experience we have of life itself. I mean, how can that not be the case, right? Because our life really is the collection of our actions, our conversations, our choices, all these different things. But where do they come from? Well, the vast bulk of it’s coming from how we actually think. So, I tended to live most of my life, allowing the thoughts running through my brain to have the weight of reason, to have the belief in my head that if I was thinking it, it must be true. I mean, regular listeners have heard me talk about this a lot, but what are they not? And can we actually choose what we think?

And if you look at famous books like such as The Biology of Belief, you know that we can actually begin to affect our health and well-being, our mental health and well-being by the content, the deliberate content of our thinking. Now, let me be really clear with you. This is spectacularly difficult for many of us, because the critique of personal development and positive thinking is just that. It’s like, “Oh really?” You just … it’s fluffy. It’s like, you just got to think positive. You going to say everything’s great when it’s not. So I get that. I get that criticism. What I’m talking about is something much more disciplined and really hard. It’s work. You don’t get fit by going for a run once. You get fit by exercising daily. So I’m having to learn more and more about mental fitness, particularly in this challenging season by choosing the content of my thoughts.

So you got to be on this all the time. You really got to catch yourself consistently thinking in the act of thinking, and ask yourself about the quality of those thoughts. So from here, I’ve got to choose today to be really positive in the thought processes. I really do. I got to work at it because if I don’t, it’s going to slide. And my experience of depression over the years, and then, if you’ve struggled with that, too, you know depression for me was always a case of usually what I call a seed thought. I’d have a thought went into my mind, a particular thought, and then, that thought would be like a weed, and it would grow, and then I’d be thinking about it more. And then, this whole thing would start. I used to call it the off-ramp.

You take the off-ramp, this whole sort of process of thinking just coalesces around that first negative thought. And before you know it, you’re feeling terrible and you’re feeling really down. And so, I think that what we need to do is catch ourselves in the act of these very first thoughts. Listen to Ant Middleton one more time. How we think defines how we act and how we act defines the events of our life. So say a prayer for me, because today I’ve got rehab stuff happening. I’m still in a lot of pain and I’m going to have to choose how I think. I’m going to have to be really hard on it. So, shoot me a message, check in with me on the journey, but I hope this is useful for you. You might be struggling with something now, but I’m just saying to you, don’t accept what your brain is serving up.

Get proactive about what’s going to happen. Get proactive about the dialogue that’s running through your mind. Get proactive about the kind of things you’re thinking about. You have to do this. You can’t just let this thing run on autopilot. Our brains are not always out to help us. All right. That’s it. We’re going to get good at this, right? I’m going to get good at this today. I’m going to get to work on it harder than I have been, because I’m not out of the woods yet. I’ve got a fair bit of work ahead of me in this space as I recover, but I hope that you can hear in my voice the authenticity that I’m with you. I’m with you on the journey. We’ve got to do this together. All right, friends. That’s it. Grab your phone.

Instagram, jonathandoyle47, come and say hi. Send me a DM. Just let me know how you’re doing. Let me know if you’ve got a topic you want me to cover. Everything else: Facebook, The Daily Podcast with Jonathan Doyle, and the website, The best is ahead, right? The best is not behind us. Things are not going to get worse, so I’m believing today that no matter what I’ve just been through, that I’m going to have better days. I’m going to get back on the bike. I’m going to be doing the stuff that I always planned on doing. I’m going to be speaking to crowds. I’m going to be doing this stuff. I’m going to be writing the books. I’m going to keep going from here, because the best is ahead, it is not behind. God bless you everybody. My name is Jonathan Doyle. This has been The Daily Podcast. This is an episode about monitoring our thinking, directing our thinking in a more proactive, positive way. And I’m going to have another message for you tomorrow.