The Richard Nicholls Podcast - Motivate Yourself
Summary: The UK's most popular personal development podcast series. Brought to you by Richard Nicholls. To motivate, inspire and help you to be the best you can be.
Imagine you're invited to a friend’s house for a party and you find yourself chatting to a total stranger. If they were to say to you "So, what do you do?" What's the first thing that pops into your mind? Go on, what do you do? Do you swim? do you play cricket? Do you party? Of course, we all know that what they really mean is "What do you do for a living?" It may well be simply small talk just to get a conversation going but what someone does for a living is the usually the first place people tend to go when learning about someone else. And I think it's worth questioning whether that’s appropriate, because there's more to us than our job.
Many people feel a need to be unique, to be different from everyone else but that shouldn’t be at the expense of our sense of belonging. If we’re missing belongingness in our life then we can often feel as if we’re insignificant, unimportant and may as well crawl under a rock to die. Sure, be different, you’re life is your own, and any self esteem boost you get from your uniqueness can be used to help you recognise that actually, we’re all different, we’re all unique.
Is there something you want to achieve that you know is going to take a while? Maybe something that has many steps, such as getting fitter or writing a dissertation? If so then you need to be aware that doing anything that brings you closer to the end result is better than doing nothing at all. That might seem obvious, but it’s not uncommon for people to be really hard on ourselves for not putting in maximum effort.
Despite their setbacks and failures some people seem to have the ability to brush things off and bounce back almost stronger than before, they seem to have a grit and determination not to let bad experiences affect them. Is this something than can be learned?
If we’ve hurt someone then I think it’s probably healthy to feel bad about it, to wish that we’d behaved differently and to want to make amends. But what isn’t healthy is continually beating yourself up over it or to think of yourself as a bad person because of what happened. Feeling bad because you hurt someone is guilt. But feeling as if you’re a bad person is shame, and they’re a bit different. Guilt you can do something with, you can learn from it. You can apologise, make amends and move on. But shame? There’s not really anywhere to go with that, and I think it’s important that we recognise that good people can do bad things, just like bad people can do good things.
Did you know that if you're physically tired then you will estimate hills as steeper than they actually are? And that a place in the distance is further away? But did you also know that it's not just our physical resources that influence our perception of the world?
There’s an annoying quirk to our psychology that means we can easily be drawn towards the exact thing that we’re trying to avoid, as the old saying goes 'be careful what you look for, because you just might find it.' Because the alternative means that you might have made yourself part of the problem, rather than the solution.
Making decisions can be hard, and not just with the big things in life. Sometimes even things that should be insignificant in the grand scheme of things can paralyse us. So how do we get around it? Todays episode is about just that. Getting a better perspective on these things and even the bigger ones too.
Although I’m not a relationship coach or a couple therapist a lot of clients will come to one to one therapy and discuss their relationships, with many of them saying things such as “I don’t know what a real relationship is supposed to feel like!” I think that in a society that looks at so many things in life as disposable it can be very hard to think of something in your life as permanent, and may even be a bit scary for a lot of people. Which is why so many clients say to me that they feel trapped when they’re in a relationship yet they feel lonely and insignificant when they’re not.
I was asked in an interview recently that if I had to choose one thing, what would I say is the most effective way of boosting happiness? In order to answer it I needed to think about all the concepts and exercises that I wrote about in my book to see if there was a common ingredient or theme. What I found is that pretty much everything I wrote about needed a foundation of appreciation, of gratitude in order for them to be of any help.
Have a think about the following question for a moment. “Please imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. Suppose we say that the top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you, and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time, assuming that the higher the step the better you feel about your life, and the lower the step the worse you feel about it? Which step comes closest to the way you feel?” This question is asked once per year by Gallup, the famous poll company. They ask a thousand people in each of around 150 countries from around the world to work out how happy each country is on average. Gallup don’t just ask this one question though, there are many more. They ask about their relationship status, how many children they have, how many friends they have. They find out how much time people spend driving to work and whether or not they mow their own lawn or get the kid down the road to do it for a fiver. There are many other organisations that undertake similar research and if you take all of the data from all of these different sources and stick them into a computer you can look for correlations, so we can see what influences us for the better and what influences us for the worse. It makes some very interesting reading and some of it genuinely surprising.
When someone says Be a man, what do you think of? Act tough? Don’t cry? Or do you think manning up means to take responsibility for your emotions or accept mistakes and move on? The idea of “Manning Up” seems to mean something different to everyone. YouTube channel Cut created some word association videos once and one of the phrases they asked a group of men to respond to was Be A Man, and it was really quite interesting to see the variances. They edited it together so that the youngest were at the beginning of the video and the eldest at the end, starting with 5 year olds and ended at aged 50. The reason this was so interesting to me is because the younger someone was the more similar their responses were. Most of the under 30’s associated being a man with being tough and strong, especially the youngsters. It wasn’t until they were in their 30’s that they seemed to find their own voice and the closer they got to 50 the more they saw Be A Man as a cliche that shouldn't have any relevance and instead associated manliness with honesty, embracing emotions or trusting themselves and walking their own path. It reminded me of something that Piers Morgan said during mental health awareness week. It was in response to an article that said that 2 thirds of British adults have experienced mental health problems, which is true but that doesn’t mean that 34 million people are suffering with mental illness all at the same time which the headlines often exaggerate it to, so as to get your attention. But the thing is, rather than acknowledge it as click bait and start a sensible discussion, Piers Morgan made the mistake of saying “What utter nonsense, Man Up Britain” and it started a flurry of almost 2000 replies that gave quite an insight into what people think about mental health.
It might sound daft to some people but gloomy weather does have an impact on our mental health. If its grey on the outside we can easily slip into a grey on the inside feeling, which leads to behaviour that might makes things worse, hiding away from everyone and refusing to leave the so called comforts of home. Here are my top 5 tips for combatting the winter blues!
The one thing everyone has in common is that we will all in some way be touched by death, whether it’s thoughts about our own demise, or having to deal with someone else’s. And what’s really important to understand, whether you’re trying to be a supporting friend or you’re a grieving widow, it’s important to understand the rules of grieving, of which there is only one…
Last week I noticed that my Sky TV hard drive box was getting full. There were a lot of satirical news programmes that I hadn’t watched and they were probably out of date. There were documentaries about topics that if I was really that interested in I’d have watched them by now. And it made me question why I’d set them to record in the first place. The conclusion I came to was that it was FOMO