All It Takes Is A Goal

ATG 16: The 3 things that changed my mind about positive thinking

April 26, 2021 Jon Acuff Season 1 Episode 16
All It Takes Is A Goal
ATG 16: The 3 things that changed my mind about positive thinking
Chapters
All It Takes Is A Goal
ATG 16: The 3 things that changed my mind about positive thinking
Apr 26, 2021 Season 1 Episode 16
Jon Acuff

When I say "positive thinking," what words come to mind?

If it's words like "dumb," "fake," or "cheesy," you're in good company. I used to be a total hater too, but not anymore. A few years ago, I started noticing that leaders I really respected believed in positive thinking, and it was hard to argue with the results they were constantly producing in their life. So I began to investigate. In this week’s episode, I’m sharing how my experiments with positive thinking led me to create a New Anthem that changed my life, the lives of thousands of others, and how it can change yours too.

Running Down a Dream by Tim Grahl

Follow Jon on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

Order Soundtracks, Jon's newest book available wherever you find quality books!

Show Notes Transcript

When I say "positive thinking," what words come to mind?

If it's words like "dumb," "fake," or "cheesy," you're in good company. I used to be a total hater too, but not anymore. A few years ago, I started noticing that leaders I really respected believed in positive thinking, and it was hard to argue with the results they were constantly producing in their life. So I began to investigate. In this week’s episode, I’m sharing how my experiments with positive thinking led me to create a New Anthem that changed my life, the lives of thousands of others, and how it can change yours too.

Running Down a Dream by Tim Grahl

Follow Jon on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

Order Soundtracks, Jon's newest book available wherever you find quality books!

Jon Acuff:

Hey everyone, and welcome to the All It Takes Is A Goal podcast. The best place in the entire world, including all of Canada, to learn how to build new thoughts, new actions and new results. I'm your host, Jon Acuff, and today I'm going to teach you why I always thought positive thinking was dumb, but it turns out I was very wrong. But first, today's episode is brought to you by Medi-Share. Have you guys ever had buyer's remorse? You know that feeling of intense regret because the thing you thought you just had to have was only something used once or twice? For me it was the time I bought a really expensive road bike because I thought I was going to get into cycling. I proceeded to hang it on the wall in my garage and feel ashamed for six months. Well, I know some of you are experiencing buyer's remorse right now for something much more frustrating. You know what I'm talking about. It's the healthcare you rushed to get during open enrollment last December. Well, I have some good news for you. You've probably heard me talking about our main sponsor for this podcast, Medi-Share. And these guys have the answer to healthcare buyer's remorse. Check this out, members of Medi-Share save up to 50% or more per month on their health care costs. They say the typical family saves up to $500 per month. And here's the best part, you can become a member at any time. So that means it isn't too late to ditch your buyer's remorse and switch to a more affordable health care that will save you money and help you sleep better at night. If this is your first time you're hearing about Medi-Share, it is the best alternative to health insurance that allows you to share the burden of medical bills, offers access to 900,000 plus health care providers, and has a proven 25 year track record. Plus in addition to saving hundreds per month, as a member of Medi-Share, you will also have access to free telehealth and free telecounseling. You won't find that with any traditional health insurance provider. Guys, it only takes two minutes to see how much you could save. Go investigate that for yourself and your family at Medi-Share.com/Jon. That's Medi-Share.com/Jon. Remember Jon doesn't have an H in it. So it's a M-E-D-I, that's Medi, share, S-H-A-R-E dot com slash J-O-N. I need to start this episode with a confession. I am not a positive person by nature. It might, it might seem like that. I'm excitable after all. I'm high energy. I love to laugh. Actually, just the other day, during an Instagram Live, someone asked me "Are you always so up?" Something people say to Jenny at like dinner parties, is they'll say, "Is he like this at home?" I don't, I don't think that's a compliment necessarily. But that's a good question. Am I always so up? But the truth is I'm way more pessimistic and negative inside than I might seem on the outside. By nature, I'm a pretty melancholy person. I asked my friend Eric the other day, "What music do you listen to when you feel like feeling sad?" And he acted like I was a crazy person. He said, "Why would you ever want to feel sad?" And I was like, "Oh, so then you don't have a playlist that includes George Winston's December? Anything by Blue October and the 12 minute live version of Around Here by Counting Crows at the Sydney Opera House queued up regularly? You don't, you don't have that? Oh yeah, me either. That'd be weird, right? Who does that? Who would do that?" I can be pretty negative. And one of the ways that's impacted me is that I've always thought positive thinking was a bunch of nonsense. Maybe it's because I remember the serenity now episode of Seinfeld. Do you remember that one? Where a minor character, I think was Lloyd Braun, repeats "Serenity now!" over and over instead of dealing with his negative emotions. Do you remember that one? Seinfeld was my favorite show of all time. Were you a Friends or a Seinfeld person? I liked Friends, but I loved Seinfeld. Best episode of the entire series is the Hamptons. Don't argue, you know I'm right. It has everything. Maybe I was against positive thinking because I grew up with Stuart Smalley and Saturday Night Live doing affirmations in the mirror. I'm smart enough. I'm good enough. And doggone it, people like me. Maybe I'm just wired to be skeptical. I don't, I don't know. I just need to confess that that I am not a positive person by nature. And for years, I thought positive thinking, positive affirmations, etc. and whatnot were ridiculous. But then, then I started researching, overthinking. And I kept running into the power of positive thinking. Everywhere I looked, it kept coming up. Three people, in specific, that I really respect all brought it up in completely different ways. And these aren't cheesy, touchy-feely people prone to get swept up in whatever is the latest and greatest motivational movement. Fellow author Tim Grahl mentioned in his book Running Down A Dream that he practiced affirmations for 30 days. Have you read that book, Running Down A Dream? It was my favorite book of 2019. We'll link to it in the show notes. Just a phenomenal book. Love, love, love that book. One of my favorite comedians, Gary Gulman, mentioned that he had a vision board. If you're not familiar with Gary, later today, look up his bit on how they abbreviated the states. It's genius. His most recent special about his comedy and his depression was directed by Judd Apatow for HBO. He's brilliant, and that he had a vision board, it honestly surprised me. And then one of my heroes, Seth Godin, mentioned how much Zig Ziglar his work meant to him. Seth Godin is the author, speaker, thinker that I have most closely mirrored my career after. Zig Ziglar, if you're not familiar with him, was one of the forefathers of the modern motivational movement in this country. I had the chance to have lunch with Zig and his wife Jean a few years ago before he passed away, and he was amazingly kind to me. Seth Godin said, and this is a quote, "The only thing that kept me from quitting and getting a job as a bank teller, were the tapes that Zig did." Zig had a tape set of motivational messages that Seth listened to over and over again. Wow! I mean that's, that's quite an endorsement, right? And so the evidence kept stacking up. And I reached a point where I just couldn't write a book about overthinking, because that's what I just did, I wrote this book called Soundtracks, without exploring the topic of positive thinking. I wanted to do it, believe me, I wanted to not write about positive thinking, but I just couldn't do it. So if right now, you're a skeptic, you're listening to this and you're thinking, "Ugh, positive thinking is so dumb or fake or cheesy." I am a, I'm 100% with you. You are amongst your people. But I had to see if it worked. I had to research it, I had to test it. So I did three things. Number one, I interviewed Tom Ziglar, Zig Ziglar's son. Number two, I practiced positive affirmations for 30 days. And number three, I wrote what I call a new anthem, and I tested it with 1000s of people. So as far as my interview with Tom Ziegler goes, you can read all about that in chapter seven of my new book Soundtracks. Remember, a soundtrack is my phrase for a repetitive thought. Everyone has soundtracks that they are listening to all day. Just know that in my mind, that interview is worth the price of the entire book. Tom is brilliant. I could have written a whole book on just that conversation. Step two. The second thing I did was I practice positive affirmations for 30 days. What does that mean? It means for 30 days in a row in the morning, and at night, I would read out loud Zig Ziglar's list of positive affirmations is that the silliest thing you've ever heard? Of course it is. I printed out Zig's affirmations and I put them by the sink in our guest bathroom to read first thing in the morning and then right before I went to bed. Now I chose that location because before even started, my wife, Jenny said, "Um, I don't want you doing that in the bathroom we share." Despite the scientific evidence that priming yourself with positive soundtracks is a real thing, Jenny didn't think that she could make out with me after hearing me recite the affirmations in the mirror while she brushed her teeth. Fair enough. Noted. But the crazy thing is, it worked. I noticed the difference in my thoughts, my actions, and ultimately my results throughout the day. That practicing the affirmations had an impact. I was so surprised by this, that I decided to write my own set of affirmations. Zig's is awesome. But I'm, I'm a writer. We like to write our own stuff. So that's what I did. I crafted a set of 10 different statements. I called it "The New Anthem", because that's what it felt like to me. It felt like I'd collected a set of new soundtracks, into a new anthem. Something I could shout out loud. Then I tested it with 1000s of people. That's just another example, by the way, of where you guys are so awesome. When I come up with some new possibly ridiculous idea, you guys are game. If I say, "Hey, you want to try this thing called The New Anthem?" you're up for it. That's amazing. We took 10,000 people through the ideas and then ended up with 1431 people who gave us real data, or data, whichever way you roll, on what worked and what didn't work. For 30 days, the people in this research study, read the new anthem in front of the mirror in the morning, and at night. The results were crazy. You can see the specific stats in the book, but here's a sneak peek at the summary. People who repeated the new anthem reduce their overthinking and their self doubt. They increased their satisfaction and their productivity. And they spent more days working on their goal than people who didn't read The New Anthem. Let me hit you with that again, because it's a little bit bonkers to me. Repeating the new anthem helps people one, decrease overthinking, number two, decrease self doubt, number three, increase satisfaction, number four, increase productivity. I was thrilled with those results, and I thought it might be fun to share three of the soundtracks from the new anthem with you today. The goal of my book is to teach you how to do three things. Number one, retire your broken soundtracks. Number two, replace them with new soundtracks. And number three, repeat the new ones so often, that they become as automatic as the old ones. Today's episode falls firmly into the Replace category. We're going to replace some old soundtracks with some new ones today. And I think you should use these three new soundtracks. Soundtrack number one in The New Anthem is this, "Today is brand new and tomorrow is too." Let me say that again, because sometimes I speed past these soundtracks when I'm talking too fast. I get so excited on my podcast that I talk very fast. Soundtrack number one, in The New Anthem is this, "Today is brand new and tomorrow is too." The only thing you control, even less than the future, is the past. Broken soundtracks love throwing your personal history in your face. It's a brilliant strategy, because in most situations, you can't do anything about your past. Now granted, sometimes you can apologize or you can make amends. But if you're struggling to appear confident in job interviews, because you got fired in spectacular fashion seven years ago, how is replaying that failure in your head every time you apply for a new job helpful? Learn from the past, but don't live there. Let me say that again. Learn from the past, but don't live there. The past is an amazing education, but it's a terrible destination. If you've got a few "yesterday" soundtracks you'd like to replace, remember that today is brand new and tomorrow is too. So let's do a little bit of homework. Homework from a podcast? Ugh, ah, it's too much. Well, here's what I want you to do. All I want you to do is write down on a scale of one to 10. With one being "You know what, I don't believe that, I don't believe that today is brand new." And 10 being "I believe that, I 100%. believe that." Write down where you are. When you hear the soundtrack today's brand new and tomorrow is too, what do you think? You want, want some bonus points? Write down the first soundtrack that you hear inside, when you hear me say that one. Maybe there's this voice that pops up real loud and says "That's not true. You've made too many mistakes. Your past is too messy. You're too old. You missed your shot. Today isn't brand new." Write that down, you might have just found a broken soundtrack that needs to be replaced. Okay, soundtrack number two in The New Anthem, "I've got a gift worth giving." That's it. "I've got a gift worth giving." "Who are you to do that?" is another broken soundtrack that people tend to hear. I've met too many people who waited too long to share a gift they had with the world because they didn't feel worthy. Don't do that. Don't wait, don't sleep on your book. You know, the one I'm talking about, right? That book, you've been writing the one that's stuck in your laptop. I'm talking about that book. Stop filing that business plan away for one more year. You know how you wanted to do something in January and now it's April, you're like "no", or now it's May or now it's summer, now it's whenever? And you're like, "No, I don't, I don't have time for that. I'll do it next year." Quit thinking that adventures are for other people. Say it before you believe it. And then do the work until you make it true. Say it before you believe it. And then do the work until you make it true. Let's break that sentence down because there's a lot of action hidden in it. Say it. What's the "it"? I've got a gift worth giving. Say that! When do you say it? Before you believe it's true. Don't wait. And then, do the work! Write the pages, run the miles, make the cold calls. For how long? Until you make it true. Until you make it true. Now you might be thinking, "Well, is that like, fake it till you make it?" And it's not. I actually asked Tom Ziegler that exact question, because we're having this interview. I said, "Tom, do you teach fake it till you make it?" He said, "No, we don't. We don't teach that. Because your brain won't believe that." You never fix a broken soundtrack with a new lie. And here's what he said. He said, "Let's say you're trying to lose weight, and you tell yourself some positive affirmation like 'I'm in the best shape of my life.' If you're not, your brain knows you're not and it creates cognitive dissonance. Your brain goes, 'Whoa, that's a lie. That's a lie. We don't believe that.' And it's not helpful." He said, instead, tell the truth in advance. He recommended a phrase that his friend talks about a lot, which is "I'm getting fitter and fitter every day, in every way." I'm getting fitter and fitter every day, in every way. That's telling the truth in advance. I can say I'm becoming a better writer every day. That's a four word statement that's telling the truth in advance. That's saying it before you believe it, and then doing the work until you make it true. Say it before you believe it, and then do the work until you make it true. Anytime you dare to change your life. You're going to wonder if you really have a gift worth giving. You might as well plan for that doubt because it's going to come up and when it does, you know what to say. Okay, a little bit more homework. What? Again? You're killing me. What is this like AP? Maybe that's right, maybe this podcast is AP. Like it's an AP class where you just getting extra credit. Same as the first statement, write down on a scale of one to 10. With one being "I don't believe that for a second Jon Acuff. You might be hilarious and so tall but I do not believe your words, sir." That's one. Number 10 is like "I buy into it. I believe it." Where are you? When you hear me say I've got a gift worth giving, what do you think? Write that down. Okay, third soundtrack. "The only person standing in my way is me. And I quit doing that yesterday." The only person standing in my way is me. And I quit doing that yesterday." When I first started paying attention to what my broken soundtracks are saying, I noticed something surprising. No one else was saying those terrible things to me. I was 100% of the people who are actively saying, "you don't have what it takes to do that. Remember that mistake you made 11 years ago?" Even people who didn't like me, or were occasionally difficult, weren't consistently trying to stand in my way. That's something my wife Jenny challenged me on once. She said, "Stop saying you have haters, Jon. There aren't people actively thinking about how much they hate you all day. You bumped into a handful of grumpy people who said something mean to you online once. And you call them haters, because it makes you feel more important." Dang, Jenny. You call people haters, because it makes you feel more important? Ooo. But she's right. My defeat, like my personal defeat, was not their mission. Because get this, this is going to blow your mind, those people are busy living their own lives. The nerve, right? So I added the phrase "I quit doing that yesterday" on the end of that soundtrack, because I wanted to constantly draw a line in the sand that said, "Nope, that's over. I quit doing that yesterday." Third bit of homework same as the first two statements. Write down, scale of one to 10 with one being "This is the craziest thing, Jon. I don't believe it." And 10 being "I'm all in. I'm all in." What do you think? What do you hear, when I say "the only person standing in my way is me and I quit doing that yesterday?" You know what I might write down for me, like when I think about standing in my own way? I might write down "I tend to wait until the last minute to do something important, so that I can blame the lack of time as the reason I didn't do a good job instead of my own inadequacy." Oh, I think I just stepped on my own toes. Maybe I need to leave myself more time to get my work done, instead of running so close to the deadline. I'm using the deadline as an excuse because I'm afraid to do the work. Now there are seven other soundtracks in The New Anthem. But if I covered them all today, it would be a three hour episode and babies need shoes. I think you should buy as many copies of my book Soundtracks as you can. Because it's going to change your thoughts, which change your actions, which change your results and ultimately your life. Now I want to be honest, you'll probably feel silly, when you first start believing new things about yourself. You will. You're gonna feel silly. You're gonna feel a little cheesy, maybe even a little dumb. That's okay. That's just because the old things you think about yourself are so familiar. All those broken soundtracks, some of them, you've listened to them for years. You've told yourself for years that "Who am I to write a book? Smarter people wrote this book. Who am I to start a business? Other people start businesses. I don't get to do that." You've listened to some thoughts for years, and they're familiar. But here's what I'd say, just because they're familiar, doesn't mean they're true. Remember, there's three soundtracks I want you to think about. Number one, "Today is brand new and tomorrow is too. What would you do differently if you really believe that today is brand new and and tomorrow is too? Second one, "I've got a gift worth giving." I've got a gift worth giving. You do. I have a shelf of books that people sent me after they read my book Finish and then wrote their book. I get to sit on the front lines, on the front seat, of life change and watch you guys give the gifts you have and it's amazing. You've got a gift worth giving. The third one, "The only perso standing in my way is me and I quit doing that yesterday." Thos are the three things I want yo to remember. Thank you so muc for listening to today' episode. Please make sure yo follow the podcast and give me quick review. The reviews you'v been writing are so encouragin to read, and they're one of th easiest, most important ways yo can help a brand new podcas like mine. So please, take 0 seconds and leave a revi w today. I'll see you next wee . And remember, all it takes is a goa This episode of the podcast was brought to you by Medi-Share. Text JON, J-O-N to 474747 for more information. Huge thank you to Medi-Share for sponsoring it. J-O-N to 474747.

Producer:

Thanks for listening. To learn more about the All It Takes Is A Goal podcast and to get access to today's show notes, transcript, and exclusive content from Jon Acuff, visit Acuff.me/podcast. Thanks again for joining us. Be sure to tune in next week for another episode of the All It Takes Is A Goal podcast.