In today’s episode I want to share with you a wonderful quote from one of the greatest inventors of the last few hundred years. Thomas Edison lived a life of constant creativity and innovation and his words remind us that most of us live lives never realising so much of the incredible capacity and potential that it within us. Take a moment now and listen to this encouraging message.
Thomas Edison and Learning To Astound Yourself
Jonathan Doyle: Well, hey everybody. Jonathan Doyle with you as always for The Daily Podcast. Welcome aboard. Hope you’re doing well. Hope you’re doing well wherever you are in the world. Isn’t it true that no matter what we’ve come from, that things can get better?
I look back over my own life and some really difficult seasons at times and times of self doubt and times of uncertainty, but just this belief and this experience that with the right mindset, with the right choices, with the discipline of key decisions, things can really improve. And we can have really rich, vibrant lives and not just about stuff and not just about accumulating things, but lives of real richness, of just deep relationships with people, and beautiful experiences, and making significant contribution. Always remember that great quote that, “The goal of life is not to become the richest person in the graveyard.” Because we ain’t taking anything with us. That kind of financial success is a wonderful thing. It’s like icing, right? But if that becomes the main goal for people, man, there are plenty of really unhappy billionaires. True story. I mean, we all ask ourselves, how do they do it? Surely you’d be like, wouldn’t you just be happy all the time? No, because really what makes life rich, really what makes life beautiful is is just a little bit more complex than just the stuff we have.
So I want to talk to you today about a really awesome quote that I shared on Instagram on Friday. It’s from the extraordinary Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors in history. I always find inventors fascinating. Just this ability to, to see what does not yet exist and isn’t that kind of the essence of personal development. It’s the ability to kind of identify and to dream what is not yet in your reality. And then to make choices and decisions that slowly bring it to life. But listen to this quote, I really liked that it kind of jumped out at me. He said this, “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” One more time, “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” I like that word astound to kind of dazzle, sort of blow our own minds if we actually did the things we’re capable of doing.
Let’s talk about capability. My thesis, my kind of belief, my observation watching many people over many years is that the vast majority of people lead lives of the famous writer Henry David Thoreau had this very famous line where he said, “The great mass of people lead lives of quiet desperation.” That the great mass of people have these dreams or these ideas that just slowly die inside them, and they tell themselves this story, “Well that could never happen and I have to be sensible.” And people would laugh at me and they had this… And this stuff just dies.
So there’s this desperation. People want a different life, but they don’t ever get there. Why? Complex. It’s mostly fear. Usually when you dig down deep enough to any barrier to any blockage, you will find some kind of fear. And I have spoken about that on so many podcasts. I’ve got very sensitized to it. I’ve slowly become very sensitized to the power of fear. And very good at kind of picking up as soon as it shows up. And often for me now fear is kind of an indication that I’m probably hitting in the right direction. I’m not frivolous, but I’m kind of aware that when fear shows up, it’s usually an indication of part of me trying to keep myself exactly where I am and fear is that kind of that invitation to push through to the next level.
Listen to Edison again, “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” So all I want to say to you in this message is do you have any idea about what you could actually do in this life? Really? See, I’ve just kind of experienced it on interesting levels. Like with the cycling that I do, the riding, just before the accident, I had a 200k race. And you know what, 100k into a 200k race, you feeling it. 150k into a 250k race, you’re feeling it. That last five or 10 kilometers, you’re feeling it. But it’s incredible what your body can actually do. I’m not saying you need to run out there tomorrow and do a 200k cycling race. I’m just saying there is just vastly more inside you then I think you probably have any idea about.
So what you need to start doing is deliberately choosing the contexts, deliberately choosing the environments, deliberately choosing the situations, the relationships, the people, the challenges that are going to make this stuff up here if you want to. Now you don’t have to and most people just don’t. Most people just do the same thing tomorrow that they did today and that they did last week. They eat the same foods, they talk to the same people, they go to the same things and nothing changes.
Now there is a need for routine. There is a need for predictability. I’ve talked about it before. We need some predictability in life. We need some certainty. We can’t live every single day with absolute disruption. It’s not what I’m saying. But there is so much in you that could come out if you began to ask yourself these kinds of questions. What is your capability?
See, in April this year or next year. So that’s a few months now. It’s only about sort of three or four months. I’m going to be on stage in front of 10,000 people in Baltimore. Now I’m can’t wait because it’s an awesome event. I love the organizers. It’s such a special event. I’m doing the main keynote and I still pinch myself. I’m like, “This is kind of awesome.” Like you walk up there and I work so hard preparing a message that I really want to bless people, encourage them, do a great job. But I stand there and I’m like, I look at my background and my past and where I’ve come from, and it is just the coolest thing to stand there and to just operate at that level and to come out of that gift and to bring it to people.
And please let me explain this. I am not different to you. Now my life has taken a different path and different experiences, that’s sure. But the capability that’s in me is in you. It’ll just manifest in a different way. So the obvious question is, well, how did I get there? Well, I think I just kind of, you start with a basic talent and then you start to work on it. And you keep saying yes and you work and you hustle and you keep trying to just be good at something. And then you have an attitude where you want to bless people and you want to live life. And things just tend to happen. And I’ve had tons of setbacks and tons of difficulty and lots of suffering and unhappiness on the way too. But the capability, the capacity is just still amazes me what’s inside us.
So I hope this is helpful for you. I hope you can hear in my voice this desire that I’m planning an idea in your mind that you will look at your life today and go, “You know what? I’m really not testing myself anywhere.” And there’s this beautiful message, and Lisa, if you hear this, props to you. This wonderful young lady who kind of heard me talking about this kind of stuff and had never really done much of this sort of stuff. And then she went and did a 10k race for the first time. She sent me the photos, and it was just the coolest thing to see.
Now that 10k was always in her. It didn’t just magically appear the morning she stood on the start line. It was always there, but she made decisions to do a bit of training, to register for the event. And then all of a sudden she finishes it and she’s smiling from ear to ear because why is she smiling? Because this phenomenal capability that she wasn’t sure was there, suddenly turned up and all she did was cooperate. All she did was make some choices.
So my prayer for you is that you’ll just start to… Gosh, imagine a world where all of us started to do this. Not chasing money or fame, but all of us started to go, “I wonder what I could do?”
Friends, when I recover from this accident, when I’m finally… They reckon maybe three to six months till I’m back to being able to do what I was doing before. People have said to me, “You’re going to slow down. Have you learned that maybe you need to slow?” No. I’ve learned the exact opposite. As soon as my body is back to capability, I’m going to get loose. I’m going to start doing ridiculous things. I have this kind of new goal. I’d like to run the Boston marathon at 80 because I saw huge numbers of very sick old people in that hospital. And I’m thinking, I do not want to end up like that. And people might, you might email me and say, “Jonathan, this is horrible what you’re about to say.” But if I dropped dead of a coronary halfway through the Boston marathon, I’m okay with that. I really am. Because I just would much rather go out living out of that capability and living big and enjoying life than just, I don’t know, man. I just don’t want to spend much of my life living in repetition and mediocrity, and I want the same for you. I’ve got to stop because this is going long, and I just hope you’re getting it.
So here’s the question. What are you going to do this week, and what are you going to do this week? Maybe you’re going to jump on a website and do a half marathon or a marathon, or you’re going to start a sport or get a coach or a trainer, or join a gym, or register for more study. Go back to this college or university and start a master’s degree. Maybe you’re going to ask someone on a date. Don’t do that if you’re married. It’s really not going to work. But maybe your marriage is not working very well. Maybe you’re just going to go, “You know what? I’m not accepting mediocrity in my marriage.”
Maybe you’re going to go, “Hey, you know what, we’re going to have for dinner this week. We’re going away for a weekend. We’re going to put some time into our relationship.” Maybe you’ve got one of your kids who’s just not… The relationship’s not good. So maybe you’re just going to do some work there and you go, “I’m not going to have an average relationship with my kids. I’m going to have an awesome one.”
I’m in the studio now. It’s the weekend, but I’m taking two of my girls out to a movie today. We’re going to have lunch together. I’m going to invest in that because I want a great relationship with my girls. So what is it for you as I speak to you today? What’s moving in your heart? What idea, what dream have you buried that needs to be revived? Last time, hear it again. Thomas Edison, “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”
So here’s my message. Get out there and astound yourself because you ain’t going to astound yourself watching Netflix. You ain’t going to astound yourself by eating that extra pizza. You’re not going to astound yourself by doing exactly the same thing tomorrow that you did today. I’m getting excited today.
Get your phone out. Open Instagram, do a search, jonathandoyle47. I want you come follow me. Send me a DM. Say, “Jonathan, do an episode for me on this topic.” Facebook, The Daily Podcast with Jonathan Doyle. The website, jonathandoyle.co . Make sure you’ve subscribed wherever you’re hearing this right now. Spotify, Google podcasts, Apple Podcast. Hit subscribe and this is what I want you to do. Take this episode, send it to someone, send it to someone right now that needs to hear it and say, “Listen to this guy. He gets excited, but listen to him because…” And then maybe you send it to someone and you and that person do something together. Maybe you’d do it and go, “Hey, why don’t we ride a motorbike across India?” I don’t know. Whatever. But just get it out there to people. Start living. Go and stay on yourself. God bless you. My name’s Jonathan Doyle. This has been The Daily Podcast.