I am a far less self-absorbed human than I used to be. I still am to an extent, that’s for sure, but I am better. Do you know how I know that I am better? Simple, I am able to laugh at myself now, much more than I used to. When we are self-absorbed, we take everything personally and are way too serious. It is stressful and exhausting, and it will stop us from experiencing the joy that life has to offer. This week, I want to encourage you to laugh at yourself and make it a mission in life to find humour in everything that you can.
I am going to say something right now that is coming from my heart yet may sound harsh. I am saying it because, it was me and I wish someone would have said it to me many years ago. Are you ready? Here it goes: when you are insecure, you are high maintenance! There, I said it, now to justify it. When I was insecure, needing attention and validation, I thought I was humble and low maintenance, but I was the opposite. I was always needing someone else to help me feel good or better about myself, because I didn’t feel it inside. When something undesirable happened, I would search for sympathy, grasp for pity, and be offended by anyone who laughed at me. It was horrible because I never got what I wanted.
When you are hoping for others to react the way you want, you will regularly be disappointed and frustrated, because others will only do what they want to do, not what you want them to do. When you the person trying to console the insecure person, you will realise, very quickly, that no consolation can help, because what they want is nothing that you can provide. Things started to change for me when I was able to find humour in my situation. I am not sure why it helped, but it was the key to reducing stress, for everyone concerned.
I have told the story many times about my classy 1977 purple Holden Gemini, but for the sake of this blog, I will tell it again. I was about 20 years old, and at the time was in the middle of my professional football career. I woke up early one Sunday morning to get to a recovery training session. We had played the day before, and partied well into the wee hours, so I am sure you can imagine the state I was in. Let’s just say, I was not at my peak. The alarm went off, I rolled out of bed feeling very sore from the game and very seedy from the post-game. I got my training gear and headed out to my limousine, to drive to training. On reflection, I probably should not have been driving, however, it was the 80’s… say no more!
I got to my car to find that the driver side door was unlocked, which was strange as I always locked it. I was in no state to analyse or worry about it, so I got in the car, put my keys in the ignition, put on my seatbelt and went to grab the steering wheel. My hands grabbed air. I looked. I rubbed my eyes. I looked again. There was no steering wheel! Someone broke into my car and stole my steering wheel. I couldn’t understand it, and I was in no logical state to comprehend what had happened. I was distraught! Clearly, I could not drive the car anywhere, unless of course it was a straight road! So, I went in, woke up my dad and asked if he could drive me to training. He agreed.
I was really upset. Certainly, more upset than I should have been, that’s for sure. At that stage of my insecure and self-absorbed life, however, all I wanted was sympathy. I incorrectly assumed I would get it from a group of footballers. I walked into the change rooms, where 30-40 men were getting ready to train, with a distraught look on my face. They looked at me, and said, What’s wrong Jobbas, is everything okay? They genuinely thought something bad must have happened. So, I told them, fully expecting sympathy. Instead, within a few seconds, the whole group of men were rolling on the floor in hysterical laughter.
I was so offended, and I kept telling them it wasn’t funny. Each time I did, the laughter and jokes grew louder and longer. I moped around for a while, I sucked my thumb for a few days, I had my little pity party and then I thought, do you know what, that is funny! I have been laughing about that story and at myself ever since.
Do you want to be happier? Do you want to be healthier? Do you want better relationships with yourself and others? Do you want to find joy in every area of life? Do you want to live a long and purposeful life of success and prosperity? I am sure you answered yes to all of those questions. The answer is simple, find humour. In my podcast with Craig Harper this week called Time to laugh, we discuss this is detail, and laugh a lot. What you look for, you will find. So, start looking for and you will start finding humour.
My goal this week is to make sure you are fully aware of the preciousness, fragility and temporariness of your life. Are you living like there is no tomorrow? Are you making the most of every opportunity that comes your way? Are you treating the important people in your life the way they would want to be treated? Are you acting every day on the things that make your heart sing? Are you able to lay your head on the pillow each night with no regret? If you answered no to any or all of these questions, please read this blog carefully, with an intent to take immediate action.
As an author, speaker, mentor, blogger, and podcaster I am always looking for content. You may have heard me mention before that I believe, there is nothing bad that happens, it’s just content! When you are open to it, content comes from the most unusual and seemingly meaningless places. As was the content for this blog. I was in the bathroom the other day, and about to brush my teeth. I got my brush, squeezed the toothpaste out of the tube and was placing it on my brush. Just as I was about to finish, I accidentally flicked the brush up and some toothpaste also flicked up and landed in my eye. I don’t know if you have every had toothpaste in your eye before, but if you have you will know, as I discovered, it’s not meant to be in your eye! Ouch! It stung! After rinsing it from my eye, I was left with a red and raw eyeball which was very aggravated for quite some time afterwards. It left me knowing something more assuredly than ever, and that is: toothpaste is definitely not eyepaste!
I hear you asking: what possible content could I get from that dumb little story? As I was in the shower, shortly after the toothpaste-in-the-eye trauma, I started thinking, and this blog is what resulted. Somethings are just not meant to be. Toothpaste is not meant to go in your eye. Soap is not meant to be eaten. Petrol is not to be drunk. I think we can all agree with these blindingly obvious statements. What may not be so obvious, and what may be significantly affecting you and your life, is what you are choosing to do, that may not be right for you. Let me ask you a question: when your alarm goes off in the morning, are you excited about a new day, or do you feel anxious, stressed and just want to stay in bed? If you answered the latter, do you know what that is? Toothpaste in your eye?
You wouldn’t force yourself to put up with toothpaste in your eye, so why force yourself to put up with a job, career or vocation that is not right for you? As simple as it is to rinse the toothpaste from your eye, it is as simple to decide to do something that fuels your passion and purpose. In the first sentence of the blog I declared I want to make sure you are fully aware of the preciousness, fragility and temporariness of your life. Life is short, so please, for your sake and the sake of the people you care about, chase your purpose and do what inspires you.
Where else in your life are you putting up with toothpaste in your eye? Are you putting up with lack of energy and justifying it? Are you suffering through financial scarcity and resigning yourself to it as your norm? Are you putting up with a strained relationship and taking no responsibility to act and make it better? Are you talking yourself out of the things you really want to do and the person you truly want to become, because you don’t feel worthy? All of these are akin to just putting up with toothpaste in your eye. You wouldn’t do that, so please stop putting up with things that are leading you down the path of regret and lack.
Toothpaste is absolutely not eyepaste, and you are not meant to live a life that you do not love. That is a fact. In my podcast this week with Meryem Arpaci, called Highest vision of you, we discuss how to live this passionate and purposeful life. From today on, I want you to imagine toothpaste in your eye every time you force yourself to put up with something that is not giving or leading you to joy, health and prosperity. Have the courage to make the changes you need to make to ensure your health, career, relationships, finances, and lifestyle are moving towards exactly what you want. Life is short my friend, and every day is a precious gift, to be maximised and enjoyed. Right now, as you finish reading this blog, rinse the toothpaste out of your eye, look clearly at the way you want to live, and get to work immediately. Just always remember: toothpaste is not eyepaste!
I celebrated my 57th birthday on Monday just gone. I am in lockdown, and, on the day, I was unable to see any of my family or friends. As I woke up in the morning, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I was happy it was my birthday, on the other, what could I do? What could have been a normal day in lockdown actually became the most memorable birthday I have ever had and may ever have. The highlight was saying no the chicken.
Bear with me, I will get to the chicken. As I woke up on my birthday, I thought about the day and what I would do. I couldn’t do any of the normal birthday things, so I just asked the question, what will I do today? It was interesting that the overwhelming feeling I had was gratitude. I was overwhelmingly grateful for my life, my family, my friends and for the gift that is my existence on this planet. It was in that moment I decided to give myself a gift on my birthday. That gift was to give to others. The important thing about this day of giving I was planning, was that it was to give freely with no agenda or need to get anything in return.
Now, I do believe wholeheartedly in the law of reciprocity that states what you give you will receive. I didn’t give wanting to receive, but I did know that by giving, I open myself up to receive. The first thing I did that morning was donate money to my friend Pablo Miller’s GoFundMe campaign, as he was raising money to help young people with genetic disease. He talks about this in my podcast, Another Day, another 5K. He has run every day for over 500 days and is using it as a way to raise this money as his five-year-old daughter has a genetic disease.
Then out into the world I went. I gave half a dozen healthy energy drinks to a group of tradies on a worksite around the corner from my home. I gave a healthy energy drink and a copy of my book, The Wellness Puzzle to a bus driver as he stopped at a bus stop. I went to my local café and paid for a lady’s milk, and a gentleman’s coffee. I went to the local shopping centre with a pile of my books, and I gave away about ten copies to a variety of wonderful people. One of those people, after I gave her and her daughter a copy, bought another copy for twenty dollars. I took that twenty dollar note and gave it to the owner of another local café and asked him to put it on the till for the next few customers.
After a couple of hours, I felt amazing, and as I said, it was a birthday I will never forget. The giving was way more for me than it was for the people I gave small tokens to. I am excited about the ripple effect of this giving. The lady I bought the milk for, said she would do the same thing on her birthday. One of the ladies I gave a book to put a beautiful post on Instagram. Then, there was the lady who insisted I take the chicken.
I gave her two books, one for her and one for her teenage daughter. She was all in a fluster, because she was determined to pay for the books, or at least give me something in return. I graciously declined all her offers and just encouraged her to pay-it-forward. As she was about to turn and walk away, she made one last attempt. She had just come out of the supermarket with some shopping, and she said, I have just bought this cooked chicken, would you please take it, and I will go back and get another? So uncomfortable was she with just receiving, she had to keep trying to give me something. Again, I declined, but I know that moment impacted her life. I have blurred her face in the picture you can see as I don’t have permission to post it publicly.
Here’s the end of the story, because as always, my desire is to inspire you into positive action. Kindness, giving and making a positive difference in the life of others will have an effect that you and I can really never comprehend, or will never really know. But what you do need to know is that, when giving without an agenda, you will receive. I woke up the next day and got into my normal routine. Part of that regime is to track my finances. I log my income and expenses each day. I opened my bank account, looked at the balance, then I stopped and looked again. Something was different. Something had happened that I was not expecting. A large sum of money had been deposited into my account. When you give, you will receive.
I want to encourage you to make this week a week of giving, knowing that your giving will start a ripple effect of positivity that will flow back to you. It is my hope this week that, as a result of your kindness, someone will insist that you take the chicken.
As humans, one of the most amazing God given gifts we have that sets us apart from other living things is emotion. It is actually a super-power, yet I am not sure we really understand or use it. I didn’t for a long time. We judge emotion. We hide emotion. We ignore emotion. We run from emotion. We blame emotion. We criticise emotion. However, do you understand, accept, and use emotion to help you move forward in life? If you have the courage to spend time in it, trust me, the answer lies in your emotion.
If you haven’t listened to this week’s podcast, Healing through feeling, with Matthew Caruana, I want to encourage you to do so. He is the most powerful and inspiring example of what I am talking about in this blog. He spent much of his early life holding in, stuffing down and ignoring his emotions. He felt worthless, insecure, and depressed to the point, at age 16, he attempted to take his own life. Thankfully, he failed, even though he became a paraplegic. At his lowest point in the hospital, still feeling the same way about himself as before attempting suicide, he now had to deal with significant physical trauma.
Finally, with nowhere to run, no drugs to take, no gym at which to build his biceps and no other way of masking his emotions, he was forced to face them. He did, and whilst painful and confronting it put him on the path to find passion and purpose in his life. He is now having a powerful and positive impact on the lives of many people. If you want to know more about Matt, and his incredible story, you will need to listen to the podcast. Just make sure you have a box of tissues nearby!
I have been plagued by anxiety my whole life. I have been confused by it. I have been affected by it. I have reacted to it. I have put up with it. I have ignored it. I have resigned myself to it. Then, I finally decided to explore it and question it. You see, for much of my life, I sabotaged myself in many areas of life, including sporting pursuits, career & business aspirations, and love interests. I didn’t make the connection between my anxiety and these ‘failures’ until I stopped to assess. I got to the moment when I said, enough is enough. I sat with my anxiety, and I really let it surround me, and then I asked a key question. I asked, why am I feeling this and what thoughts am I focusing on?
You see, for many people certain emotions stem from unconscious thoughts that have been brewing for many years. It’s easy to understand where the anger comes from when some insults us. It’s not so easy to identify the source of chronic anxiety we have just put up with for decades. After some deep reflection, I found the source of my anxiety. It had come from the incorrect belief that I was not enough. A belief I had harboured since childhood and one which had affected everything I did in my life to that point. Once I had an understanding and awareness of that belief, I was able to begin the journey of changing the thought process, changing my focus and, all of a sudden, things started changing in my life.
If I say I am grateful for my anxiety, would that surprise you? If I declare I am appreciative of fear, anger, sadness, resentment, and shame, does that make any sense at all? Knowing what I now know, all emotion holds within it the answers to joy, health and prosperity. We just need to pay attention, go inside and find those powerful answers. As I have said, many times, all emotion is good. Why do I say that? Simply because, emotion is your body’s way of giving you life-changing information. Your only job is to listen, pay attention and take the necessary action.
When you sit with anger, you will understand the perspective you have about a person or situation, and you will be able to decide if that is a healthy perspective or not, and change it if required. When you spend time with your fear, you will possibly realise that what you are afraid of is not that scary at all. You may then be ready to take the action you have been putting off for so long. When you allow yourself to experience anxiety, you will probably find, like I did, you have some very incorrect belief about yourself and your potential, and then be a position to change. Even when you feel joy, gratitude, and empowerment, it’s a good idea to really be there and feel them, so you know how to spend more time experiencing these incredibly healthy emotions.
My greatest plea is that you face, and don’t ignore your emotions. My hope is that you will embrace, not judge the things you feel. It is my desire that you will feel grateful every time you experience anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, resentment, and shame, because within them lies answers to questions you have previously been unable to answer. Make no mistake, within each and every emotion you experience lies information, insights and answers. You just need to have the courage to go in there and look.
This is a question I want to encourage you to get good at asking. There are plenty of opportunities right now to ask it over and over again. Right from the start of this blog, and as you are reading, I want you to reflect on the one thing that is causing you the greatest angst. By the time you get to the end, I hope you can answer the question, So, what is good about this? And, come up with lots of amazing answers.
As I was talking to Jamie Ryder in this week’s podcast called, See the solution, I was amazed about what he said as he discussed going bankrupt. He said he sat and reflected and came up with over one hundred reasons to be grateful for what seemed to be a devastating event. Over one hundred! Yes, you read that correctly. Sometimes I have trouble coming up with even one or two reasons to be grateful for some small challenge in my life. It was so inspiring to hear his story, and I encourage you to listen to the podcast.
Have you ever noticed, when you ask yourself a question, you answer it? I know that sounds incredibly obvious, but it’s actually very profound. It means that if you ask yourself the right questions, you will get the answers you want, and vice versa. If you have ever asked, what’s wrong with me? You will answer it and probably not like the answers. Even worse, as you answer that question you are affirming what you don’t like about yourself and increasing the chances that nothing will change. So, the questions you ask yourself are critically important. Instead of asking, what’s wrong with me? What about if you asked, what’s great about me? Or, what can I learn from this? Can you see what will happen if you ask the right question? It will unlock answers, ideas and solutions that will inform, create, and determine the amazing life that is available to you.
I am disturbed and agitated by the number of people who are suffering and struggling at the moment. I wish I could wave a magic wand and take away people’s pain and suffering, but I can’t. All I can do is encourage people to ask themselves the most powerful question I believe they can ask themselves when an undesirable situation arises. That is simply, what is good about this? I mean, if Jamie Ryder can find over one hundred reasons to be grateful for bankruptcy, then I am sure you and I can find some good things about any situation or circumstance. If you ask yourself the question, you will answer it.
Over the last month or so, I have missed out on a couple of amazing opportunities for corporate speaking jobs that I would have loved to have got. When they happened, my initial response was self-anger, disappointment and frustration. Then I asked myself, so, what is good about this? Incredibly, as soon as I asked myself, I also answered myself. I said to myself, this is good because I am learning better ways to approach companies, and how to talk to them. This is good because it opens up the space for even better things to come into. This is good because I am getting better every day. This is good because I have more time to write my next book and record my next podcast. And so on.
Right now, I want to encourage you to complete whichever of the following sentences are appropriate for you. What’s good about COVID is… What’s good about being in lockdown is… What’s good about my health challenge is… What’s good about losing my job or income is… What’s good about this conflict is… What’s good about this particular challenge is… What’s good about the bad weather is… What is good about my fear and insecurity is… Got the idea?
How did you go? Did you do it, or just skim over it and tell yourself you will do it later, or that you don’t need to do it at all? If you did it, and I hope you did, do you feel better about whatever the challenge is? When you get good at asking this question about any and every challenge in life, you will become a happier and more fulfilled person. You will realise that success is not an outcome, but a wonderful adventure though the messiness of life. With persistence, you will get to the point when you believe in your heart that everything that happens is for you to become better. All you have to do, every time some kind of adversity strikes, is ask, so, what is good about this?
Don’t you just get sick of, and annoyed by all the positive thinkers sometimes? There are times I even annoy myself! I am that irritating guy who is always ‘Mr Positive.’ When challenges happen, and they are coming at us thick and fast at the moment, we don’t always want a solution, a lesson or a positive perspective, do we? Sometimes we just want to have a tantrum! So, this week, if this sounds good to you, I want to encourage you to schedule a tantrum, and enjoy it!
There is a real danger of trying to be positive all the time, especially if deep down you are angry, fearful, anxious, or frustrated. All over social media there are positive messages. Podcasts are full of ideas of hope, resilience, and positive mindset strategies. Self-help books are everywhere and there many ‘motivational’ speakers sharing inspiring stories. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am one of them, but sometimes we don’t need motivation or solutions, we need to release pent-up emotions. There is an increasing pressure, at the moment, to ‘look at the bright side of life.’ The reality is, we feel overwhelmed, anxious, scared, upset and unsure, and just want to scream, swear, and sob!
Last year right at the very beginning of the pandemic, we had no idea would last so long, I had a tantrum to end all tantrums. It was March or April 2020; I can’t remember exactly. I was confident, optimistic, and excited about my year and the great things that were planned. I had about four or five school talks booked and another four or five corporate talks in the diary. I had even just been booked to be the keynote speaker at a conference on the Sunshine Coast and was planning to spend time with some friends up there after the conference. Things were great and I was excited that my wave of wellness was expanding.
Then, COVID hit, and we went into lockdown. One after the other every single one of my speaking gigs were cancelled. This represented many thousands of dollars, a significant percentage of my annual income was gone, in a heartbeat. I was numb, and my whilst natural tendency was and is to find a solution and a silver lining, at that time, I thought f#@k it! I am going to have a full-blown and almighty tantrum. I was living alone, soon after my marriage had ended, with my fluffy four-legged girl, and I slid down the wall, dissolved into tears and I sobbed hard. I screamed, I kicked, and I complained as my dog, Joia, just sat there watching with a perplexed look on her face.
After a period of dummy-spitting and laying in foetal position on the floor, I finally got up, with a surprisingly clear head, and thought, okay, what do I do know? From that moment, I got into action. I transitioned my talks online, I picked up the phone and got more speaking gigs, I started my podcast, I found a publisher for my soon-to-be-released ‘TEARS of Joy’ book, and was back feeling empowered, excited and in-control again. I don’t think I would have been so pro-active had I not allowed myself to have that wonderfully liberating and wall-shaking tantrum.
What are you holding in right now? What is it you need to let out? What is your frustration, fear, anger and/or anxiety? It’s okay to feel it, you are a human being going through a very challenging, maybe even traumatic time in history. Is it time to schedule a tantrum? So, what do I mean? I mean, book in a time and let it out. It maybe now, it maybe later today or during the week. It may even be a regular time that you allow yourself to feel the emotions that, as a human, you are meant to experience. Schedule it, find your location, release the most passionate tantrum you can, and then, get over it.
You are far better to have the tantrum and get it out of your system than hold onto it because you think you need to be Mr or Ms Positive. Release it and you will feel free and clear. Then you will be much more able to find the answers, take control and move forward in your life. Keep it scheduled, keep it short and let it go! Holding emotion in, can lead to some devastating outcomes, including very dark thoughts, and maybe even actions. In my podcast, Pure perpetual positivity, I speak with Jackie Simmons about the amazing work she is doing to stop teen suicide.
This week, let it out! Stop pretending to have it altogether if you don’t. The answers and solutions are definitely there, but you may have to clear the mess before you will see them. There is nothing more cleansing than a fabulous tantrum, so schedule yours today.