EPISODE 334

The Positivity Model – Learning how to Think about Your Thoughts with Dr. Paul Jenkins

Episode Summary

In this episode, Dr. Paul teaches us how paying attention to some of the obvious things our mind does by default can help us change our reality and reach a positive state of mind. We better understand the root cause of anxiety and depression and learn how to create hope and gratitude — their antidotes. We also discuss the benefits of practicing metacognition, mental hacks for anxiety and depression, and more.

Rob Shallenberger: Welcome back to our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners, so grateful you’re here with us today. This is going to be an awesome podcast and show. The reason I can say that is because I’ve got one of my good friends and psychologist, Dr. Paul Jenkins, on here with us today. And you’re going to love this podcast. This man has so many great insights and so much wisdom to share. And I say that because we call this Becoming Your Best. We purposely didn’t name it “become.” It’s not a destination, per se. We’re all on this journey of life. And the whole idea is how do we continue to improve our state of being every day, and how we show up in our different roles in life. And I met Paul on his podcast to talk about Do What Matters Most – oh, man – it’s maybe almost a year ago. It’s been a while. And we went to lunch together. And since then I followed his YouTube channel, and he puts out this YouTube video, just a snippet every week. And when I’m out walking or running in the mountains, I listen to it. And these are fabulous. And by the time we’re done, I’m going to show you where to go to get that. But what I’m saying is this is going to be a great show because I love his content. I love his perspective and the value that he adds to people’s lives. He’s just really amazing. So, I’m going to let him do a little more of an introduction. I don’t know what more I can give than that other than that he had a life-changing impact in my life with my family. And that’s a pretty high bar to set, and I’m confident that we will achieve that bar today when you hear the things that he has to say and share. So, with that being said, welcome, Paul. And if you don’t mind just giving our listeners just maybe a little more of your background, maybe a little more detail. And then we can jump right into this and some of the content that you talk about. 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Thank you, Rob. What an honor. While I’m listening to that introduction, I’m thinking, “Dude, I am honored to be part of your human treasury.” Because you’re part of mine, for sure. I’ve loved the ideas we’ve exchanged before. And as you were setting up the theme, Becoming Your Best, it is a process, it’s not an event. It’s a journey, it’s not a destination. And what a great journey it is too. So, thank you for the opportunity to spend some time with you here today. I am a professional psychologist. And I share that with some people and they’re telling me anything. They think I’m going to be analyzing them or something. Usually, my response is, “Are you paying me?” When they’re worried that I’m analyzing them. And other people spill the beans about everything, they just want to tell me their whole life story. But what I love about being a psychologist is that I get to illuminate the obvious. You think about that; I get paid to tell people things they already know, which is so awesome. But there are a lot of obvious processes – we’ll talk about some of those today – going on in your mind that are completely unnoticed until they’re called to your attention – obvious but unnoticed. Like your shirt, can you feel it? Well, now you can because I’ve called it to your attention. Or the fact that we’re speaking English, did you notice? Pretty obvious, but you don’t notice it until it’s called to your attention. And most of what’s going on in your brain is in that realm. It’s obvious, you’ll see it immediately as soon as I pointed it out to you, but it’s unnoticed until it’s called to your attention. And this is why it’s so important to do what I call metacognition. I don’t know if you’ve heard that word before, but metacognition just means thinking about thinking. And notice that you can do this. Okay, so we’re going to play in that space just a little bit today. The cool thing about metacognition is that it puts you into a place of choice. And until you see it as a choice, it’s not. Your brain is just going to roll with whatever your programming is. Like speaking English, I mentioned that earlier. You didn’t choose to speak English, you were programmed by people who didn’t give you a choice. And you’ll just roll with your programming until it comes to your attention, and then you’re back into a place of choice. So, anyway, I’m running away with that, but that’s what I do.  

Rob Shallenberger: Let’s talk about that. So, you’re mentioning some really key terms that I’ve heard before because I followed you: metacognition. I love that. You actually shared that with me the first time we went to lunch, “Do you realize that we’re speaking English right now? Do you feel your shirt?” I was like, “Well, I didn’t, but I do now.”  

Dr. Paul Jenkins: It’s obvious. 

Rob Shallenberger: Obvious, but we just didn’t notice it because we become so used to it. And that’s really been something that I’ve been paying attention to in my thoughts is, this metacognition that you’re talking about is a big deal in our lives. So, I have a couple of questions, Paul, and I think you can take this down any track that you want because these are real things that a lot of people are facing. As you talk about metacognition, I really want to take this and make it relatable to all of us, because this is something that all of us deal with, to a positive or negative degree, in different parts of our lives. So, right now, if you talk about positivity, that’s a term that’s been floating around a lot. There’s sometimes this positive understanding or connotation attached to it and sometimes a negative one when you think about positivity. So, what exactly is positivity, first of all, from a psychological perspective? 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: And I appreciate that you’re looking at this as a psychological construct, because we hear it too much from motivational speakers or someone on the stage who says, “Just think positive.” Which is so annoying to me. It’s this trite, fluffy thing that we can’t even wrap our heads around. So, to understand what positivity is, I think we first need to see two processes that are going on in our minds. Now, again, these are the obvious but I noticed, you’re going to see them immediately when I call them to your attention, but you don’t notice them up until that point. And these two processes have everything to do with what positivity actually is. And Rob, I’ve shared this with you, I’ve got a model that represents this. I like to put it into a visual model because I’m kind of a visual learner. And I’m guessing that some of you who are listening are probably visual learners, too. So, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered on this. I will give you a copy of the model that we’re talking about here so that you can refer to it. In fact, just go to drpauljenkins.com, and then do a forward-slash BYB. And that, Rob, stands for?  

Rob Shallenberger: Becoming Your Best. And I’ve got to say, it’s a great model, so I’m glad we’re going to go through this. 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: And I want you to have a visual copy of this because what we’re talking about today, when you put it into the visual model, it’ll just come together for you in a way that it doesn’t unless you can see it. So, I know it’s an audio podcast, but I got you covered. I’ll just send you a PDF copy of this, drpauljenkins.com/byb, and we’ll get that in your hands. Now, here’s what you’re going to see when you pull up the model. It starts with what it is. Now, you’ve heard the phrase “It is what it is also.” Also annoying, just depending on who’s saying it. But all it means is the way things are right now. It’s where you are, it’s what you have, it’s who you’re with, it’s the state of the economy, the state of the weather – it is what it is without changing anything. Now, what is our mind doing with whatever it is we’re experienced in our life? There are two processes. So, when you get the visual model, go to the bottom, we’re going to talk about that first one – evaluation. Now, the word “evaluation” means judgment, and you can’t turn it off. I just want you to notice this. Do the metacognition, think about your thinking, and notice that you are constantly judging yourself, your spouse, your kids, the government, the economy. You’re judging your job. You’re judging your coworkers. You judge the people at your church. You judge the people in your community. You’re judging me. It’s cool, I’m judging you. We can’t turn it off. So, just notice this. And that’s one of those “obvious but unnoticed.” So, if you’ll really be honest with yourself, you will see that you’re constantly judging. Even questions like, “How am I doing?” Or “Do I like this?” Those are judgment questions and your brain is constantly doing it – just notice that. Now, judgment or evaluation, the way I label it in the model, implies comparison with some standard. And those of you who are educators, you’ll get this immediately because if you’re to evaluating students, it’s always based on some standard of comparison. It’s kind of funny when I’m doing a live event, Rob, I’ll often ask, “Am I a tall man? What do you think?” 

Rob Shallenberger: Yes. What are you, 6’1 or 6’2 or something like that? 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: I’m 6’2. But then I put up a slide, usually a visual, of me standing next to Mark Eaton. Do you remember, Big Mark?  

Rob Shallenberger: Oh, yeah, Big Mark. Seven foot what? Four or six?  

Dr. Paul Jenkins: 7’4. He used to play center for the Utah Jazz. And just passed away last year, we’ve missed him in our speaker’s association. And what a giant of a man in so many ways. But as I stand next to Mark Eaton, I look like a shrimp, I barely make it to his shoulder. And I’m 6’2. So, am I a tall man or not? Well, just notice that your answer to that depends on who or what you compare me to. And that’s how you come up with your answer. So, notice that your brain is doing this. Now, let’s go back to your brain for a minute. It is what it is. And you’ll see on the visual model that’s right in the middle of a line, a continuum, that has two ends to it. What it is, is all you got. Now, just check that out and see if that feels true to you. I’m not saying it’s all you could have. But by definition, it is what it is, it’s all you got right now. And here’s the second assumption. What it is, is always– And Rob, my editor told me to always avoid the word “always,” and never used the word ever, but I just used it. What it is is always between better and worse. 

Rob Shallenberger: So, it’s neutral. In every situation, no matter the circumstance always neutral. It could always be better, always could be worse. Is that what you’re saying? 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: That is exactly what I’m saying. Now, when we say “circumstances are neutral,” that ticks people off sometimes because they’re like, “Well, mine aren’t.” We’ll get to that. I’m not saying that circumstances are painless or easy, because they may be very difficult and painful. But in saying that they’re neutral, all I mean is that it could always be better and it could always be worse, no matter what. And I don’t want you to take my word for this, I want you to run it through your own filters and see if this is true. Because if it’s true, then no matter how bad things seem right now, it could always be worse. Is that true? 

Rob Shallenberger: Yeah. I listened to you talk about this for the first time, Paul, when I was on a walk around the reservoir near our home, and I went through several scenarios and I thought, “That’s exactly right. It could always be better. And it could always be worse.” Which is one of the reasons why I think what you’re alluding to is that comparison can be a thief of our joy. 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: It absolutely can because check it out. When you take your “what it is,” whatever it is. I don’t care if it’s a diagnosis, a terminal diagnosis, paralysis, I have two friends who are quadriplegic. Whatever your “what it is” is, a divorce, a bankruptcy – whatever your “what it is” is, it could always be worse always. And when you stretch your mind and take a look at that. You know what? I spent some time with Elizabeth Smart. Do you remember Elizabeth and her story?  

Rob Shallenberger: She was abducted when she was young.  

Dr. Paul Jenkins: 14 years old, she is abducted from her home and then brutally abused for nine months before she was finally rescued. And I’ve done some work with Elizabeth on this issue, and she shared with me that this is what saved her life: the realization that it could always be worse. Because look what happens psychologically when we take what it is, no matter what it is, and we compare it to something better than how do we feel about what we’ve got. It sucks. And what it is seems really bad when we compare it to something better. So, take Elizabeth, for example. As long as she was comparing what was happening to her, to being at home safe with her loving family, then what she had looked awful. And she shared this with me, she said that she kept thinking, “This is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone.” And then it got worse. And she was thinking, again, “Well, this is the worst thing that could ever happen.” And then it got worse. It kept getting worse. I think this was about two days in when the lights went on for Elizabeth and she realized, “Oh, it could always be worse.” Now, check it out, when she takes what she has and compares it to her imagination of what could be worse than this, then she feels better about what she’s got. I’m not saying it was easy or painless, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying it could always be worse. And in perspective, what that did is it gave her hope, it gave her a sense of gratitude for what she had because it’s not as bad as it could be. Now, that seems crazy, based on that extreme of an experience, but it saved her life. So, being positive is not denying the pain or the difficulty; it’s simply choosing a position about how you’re going to evaluate your “what it is.” That’s only half of the equation, we’re going to get to that. 

Rob Shallenberger: This is so powerful. And I hope this is starting to settle into people’s minds what we’re talking about right now. I’ve had the chance to spend months thinking about this. And this is really powerful, actually. And what I’d like you to do is shift to the left and the right side of that equation. And I don’t want to jump the gun here, but just to paint the picture; depression is a result of the past and focusing on that, anxiety is the future. And you talk about an antidote to both of those. And so much of it is rooted in this comparison that we’re talking about. And once we think about the situation being neutral, it can always be better. And that should keep us from avoiding complacency. But on the same hand, this is one of the things I have against social media, is there is this instant comparison going on in our minds as we see these stories.  

Dr. Paul Jenkins: You can’t turn it off.  

Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, like some of these judgments that you’re talking about; we’re continually making judgments. So, if you don’t mind talking about the left and the right-hand side there – the depression, the anxiety, and then the antidote to both of those – that, for me, was so powerful to see the way that you illustrated that. And I know that that could literally impact millions of people as it changes the way that the brain thinks about those. 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: And let’s pause on anxiety for just a minute, because while we’re talking about a valuation, that’s on the bottom part of the model. When we evaluate our “what it is” and we compare it to something better, we feel worse. Believing that our life is bad – now I’m simplifying that thought – but whatever version of that goes through your mind; “This is hard. This is difficult. I’m struggling. This is bad.” That creates depression. Now, I’m talking as a professional psychologist right now with 30 years of clinical experience, that creates depression; when we judge our “what it is” to be bad. And it’s not, it’s neutral. Because if we compare what we’ve got to something worse, we suddenly feel more grateful for what we have. Let me give you another quick example. A lot of people have certain feelings about their bodies. I had a young man on my podcast, named Gabriel Adams. The title of that show: No Arms, No Legs, No Problem. This 21-year-old young man had no arms and no legs. Now, how are you feel about your body right about now? How many limbs do you have? And they all work? What? I was joking with Gabe a little bit about this. I said, “Yeah, I kinda hurt my foot the other day,” and he’s like, “What? You have a foot?” Notice it doesn’t diminish the pain of my hurt foot, but would I rather have a hurt foot or no foot? 

Rob Shallenberger: It’s the perspective, right? 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Yes, that’s the point. So, what we do in evaluation mode matters. Now, I’m going to give you a little brain hack, because the remedy for negative evaluation is gratitude. Now, we’ve known this forever in psychology that gratitude is a powerful concept, but a lot of people don’t do the heavy lifting when it comes to gratitude. Here’s the challenge: 25-5. Five days, that’s what the five stands for. For each of the next five days, make a list of 25 things that you’re grateful for. But here’s what powers it up. I want at least half of your list every day, that’s 13 if you’re doing the math. And don’t repeat anything on tomorrow’s list if it was on today’s, a whole new list tomorrow. At least 13 on your list every day is about the hard stuff. The difficult, painful, frustrating elements of your life, whatever is kicking your trash right now. Find something that you’re grateful for, in, or from that difficult thing. That’s what powers it up. If you go to the gym every day, is your health going to improve?  

Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, you would hope so.  

Dr. Paul Jenkins: You would hope so. But what if you go to the gym every day, and you pick up a pencil from the front desk, and you do five reps with it, and then you do five reps with your left hand, and then you put it back down and leave. 

Rob Shallenberger: You get to know the receptionist better, and that’s about it.  

Dr. Paul Jenkins: People usually, when they do a gratitude list, they’re lifting the pencil, they’re doing the easy stuff. They’re putting down stuff like “My family, and my health, and puppies, and rainbows, and indoor plumbing.” Anybody can be grateful for that stuff, that’s the light lifting. Ask your brain to find something in the difficulty for which you are grateful. Rob, I went through a bankruptcy. I didn’t sign up for that. It’s not something that was on my life plan. But honestly, when I look at that bankruptcy, and I can see the empathy, and the wisdom, and the profound sense of what my relationship is with material things, including money and property, what I’ve learned about stewardship. Wow! I’m profoundly grateful for those things. Am I grateful for the bankruptcy? Well, that’s harder, but I found all of those things inside of it. That’s what I’m asking you to do. 25-5, that’s the brain hack. 

Rob Shallenberger: So, let me see if I can summarize that real quick. On that other side of the equation, the comparison, anytime we’re comparing ourselves with something better or a situation that we perceive as better, we’re not going to feel good about it; hence, depression is what results. So, you’re saying the antidote to that – which I couldn’t agree with you more, based on my experience – is gratitude. So, the invitation that you’ve given us is the 25-5. So, for the next five days, list 25 things that we’re grateful for. And at least 13 of those things are getting into the nitty gritty, the hard, the challenging, where it may not be as easy to find those things as it might be, “Hey, I’m grateful for my help, my marriage, or whatever.” But really getting into the more challenging areas and finding the gratitude in those things. Did I summarize that correctly? 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Yes. Do the heavy lifting. What you’re doing is asking your brain to think about this differently. Because our programming says, “Painful equals bad.” That’s your programming, that’s the default, that’s where your brain wants to go. But in reality, whatever your circumstances are, are neutral, like we talked about earlier. Yes, they may be painful and difficult, but neutral in terms of their value. There are upsides and downsides to everything. So, what we’re asking you to do with this brain hack is to instruct your mind to take this to a direction that is going to serve you better. You’re going to be in charge of your mind, and either you drive your thoughts or your thoughts drive you. 

Rob Shallenberger: Well said. So, let me ask you this, Paul. On the other side of the equation, talk to that side of it.  

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Okay, let’s go creation mode because you’ll see in the model, there are two processes we’re talking about: Evaluation, that’s the one we just talked about, that’s judgment, and then creation. And you’re using the same mind to do both of these processes. In creation mode, we’re talking about “what is to be,” and that doesn’t exist yet, we haven’t created it yet. So, all we can do at this point, because it is what it is, all we can do is imagine what is to be. That’s important because our imagination then drives our creation efforts and energy. And you look around yourself in your room, everything that you see – I’ve got this dry erase marker on my desk, this didn’t just poof into existence, somebody thunk it up, somebody imagined this. See, imagination is the first step of creation. Actually, discontent is but we won’t get into that right now. You have to imagine it for it to exist. Now, how are you doing next week? You don’t know. You’ve got something to do with it, please don’t forget that, but you don’t know. So, all you can do is imagine, or predict, or expect that what’s coming is even worse than what you’ve already got. How do you feel?  

Rob Shallenberger: Not good, anxious, down. 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: This is anxiety. I told you we’re putting anxiety on pause for a minute, here we are. This is anxiety. From a professional psychologist, this is how we define it. When you imagine that what’s coming is worse than what you’ve already got, that creates anxiety, fear, apprehension. 

Rob Shallenberger: Can I just make a comment here, Paul?  

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Yeah. 

Rob Shallenberger: And I’m sure you’re going to get into this. Isn’t it interesting that when our minds go forward to the future, unless we’re very conscious and intentional about it, the default almost seems to be to the negative? “Well, what if this happens? Well, what if that happens?” It’s like, how many rabbit holes can you go down? 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Yeah, there’s a reason for that, Rob. And it’s gravity. How often do you get up in the morning and think, “Oh, I wonder if gravity is on today.” It tends to be. If you park your car on a hill and take off the brake, which direction does it go? You never hear of someone falling up. Is this true of your workout plan; if you ignore it, do tend to get stronger or weaker? If you ignore your diet, if you ignore your marriage; look, default is down. And that is true in psychology as well. Why? Because gravity is a thing. Just connect with that for a minute. This is true psychologically. If we do not make an intentional effort to take this in a positive direction, it will go down, I promise. Elevation requires effort. Light requires power. You cut the power, it gets darker. The default is down. And that is true in every element of our life. Just like I said, don’t take my word for this, I want you to just run it through your filters and see if that’s true. And that’s why. So, is it going to take effort to be positive? Yes, big surprise, because elevation requires effort. So, don’t be surprised when it takes power.  

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Now let’s go to that second process, the creation mode. We’ve already talked about when you anticipate or expect or imagine, because you don’t know that what’s coming is worse, you feel anxiety. Let’s go to the other side of that. What happens when you imagine or expect or anticipate or predict that what’s coming for you is even better than what you’ve already got? How do you feel?  

Rob Shallenberger: Awesome.  

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Yeah, this is hope. So, where gratitude is the antidote to depression, hope is the antidote to anxiety. And you can choose it and create it on purpose. So, here’s your brain hack for creation. What if I gave you an assignment to go out there and somehow, in the next five minutes, make your life worse? You’re grinning, Rob, you’re like “Why would I ever do that?” You wouldn’t – on purpose, I mean. But notice how quickly your mind can come up with half a dozen ways to pull that off. Just notice that. This is good news, because if you can make a mess – and we know you can – that’s great news because you can make. Now, let’s choose what we’re going to make. Yeah, you can make a mess. What else might you be able to make? So, here’s the brain hack. And I use a droid from Star Wars to remember this. Do you remember BB-8? Little round droid.  

Rob Shallenberger: Yeah. 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Okay, BB-8, how sure are you that eight o’clock is coming?  

Rob Shallenberger: Well, it’s happened as far back as we can remember so I’m pretty confident. 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: So, probably eight o’clock is coming. How sure are you that you’ll be around for eight o’clock? 

Rob Shallenberger: About 99.9%. 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Almost as. Now, you’ve got a really good track record, you’ve made it to every eight o’clock so far your whole life, and there are two every day. So, probably you’re going to be around for eight. Now, I think there are only two options. I’ve eliminated the third because I don’t think it’s possible for things to be exactly the same at eight o’clock as they are right now. At the very least, you’re going to be a little older. You might be more tired, more hungry, I don’t know. It depends on what you did just before eight. But things can’t be the same. So, by your own evaluation. Remember, that’s the first process we talked about. By your own evaluation, which you can’t turn off, things have to be either better or worse, by your own judgment. We already know you could make things worse. Please don’t do this. BB-8 stands for Better By Eight. What can you do? Pick a small thing or big thing. I don’t care, it’s your creation project. What can your mind come up with when you invite it right now to ask, “What could I do to make things better by eight in one of my key relationships, in my finances, in my health?” You pick your area, you’re the creator. But pick something. What can I do to make things better by eight? What came to mind for you, Rob, when I threw that out there? 

Rob Shallenberger: Oh, I love it. I was just thinking of what we’re going to do this afternoon, this evening, go on a little river, kayaking with my wife, spend some time with her, a run later in the evening. But I think what I love about what you just said, Paul, is that the mind is in creation mode. 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Yes. Hey, you can’t turn it off, any more than you can’t turn off judgment, evaluation, or gravity. It’s going to happen. Your brain has to anticipate and imagine what is coming. And when we anticipate or imagine that what’s coming is worse, we feel anxiety. How do you feel when you anticipate Better By Eight? 

Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, you feel hope.  

Dr. Paul Jenkins: You feel hope. Do you feel it? Rob notice this, you’re not pretending, you really feel it. This is such good news because you can create hope on-demand, on purpose. And hope is the number one preventative factor for suicide. And we’re losing far too many people to something that doesn’t have to take their life. 

Rob Shallenberger: It’s so interesting you say that, Paul. I was a fighter pilot for 11 years in the Air Force. And early on in my career, I studied a lot about prison camps in previous wars. And as long as a prisoner had hope, they can endure almost anything. But once they lost that hope, they were dead so quick. It’s amazing, the power of hope. Even if it’s a small amount of hope, it’s amazing the power of hope. And I just think what you’re doing with this idea creation concept, BB-8, is we’re creating hope, we’re creating possibilities on the good side. And I think we need to work towards what could be on that side. 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Rob, if you’ll do this, the BB-8 exercise, Better By Eight, you just come up with something, practice it. If you’ll do this for the same five days, you get to have 10 upgrades in that time period, or more, because you can do more than just Better By Eight. But making that an intentional thought process, shifts your mind. Again, you drive your thoughts or your thoughts will drive you, and default is down.  

Rob Shallenberger: Paul, can I ask you a question real quick?  

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Yeah, absolutely. 

Rob Shallenberger: I have a friend who I hope is going to listen to this podcast. I can see, in his mind right now, because he’s really suffered from anxiety and it’s become a bigger and bigger deal in his life. And I can almost see his response to this a little bit. He’d say, ”Yeah, but what if that “what it is” too strong?” And it’s funny I’m using the words “what if.” But the thing is, I can see where his train of thinking is going to be going here. 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: First of all, watch out for ‘yeah, but’s because they proliferate, they multiply very quickly. “Yeah, but this.” “Yeah, but that.” Watch out for the ‘yeah, but’s and the “what if” question. Now, here’s what I’ve learned about anxiety as a professional psychologist. It originates in the subconscious mind. And without getting into all of the psychological details about it, the subconscious loves to ask questions. And its favorite question is “what if?” Now, the question isn’t the problem, it’s the answer. And if you don’t give your mind a conscious, intentional answer, it will go to default, and default is down. So, your subconscious mind, when it asks the “what if” question, the thing that generates the anxiety is the answer, and the answer is, “You can’t handle that. That wouldn’t be terrible, horrible, awful, no good, very bad.” This is what your subconscious is doing. It’s not even true. You can’t handle it? Look, you have handled absolutely everything so far your entire life. Why would that change? So, it’s the answer we’ve got to pay attention to. And the answer has to do with what I’ve just shared with you today. And as your mind is imagining, “What is to be?” You’ve got to create something. And if you imagine better things to come, guess what happens to the anxiety? Now, your subconscious is still going to take a crack at it, “But what if?” And if it happens, and you can tell your friend this, or maybe you’re listening today, thank you for listening, dear friend. Maybe we just need to practice a new answer. And whenever your brain hands you “What if this?” Your answer becomes, “I can handle that.” Just connect with how that feels if you really believed it. If you really believed you could handle anything – which you’ve got a really good track record for, by the way – how would you feel? This is simple, Rob. Simple and easy aren’t the same thing, because we’re up against our programming, whatever it is that we’ve practiced thinking is what’s going to come default to us. So, we get the practice it. Elevation requires effort.  

Rob Shallenberger: I love that, Paul. So, as we get ready to wrap up here, I’d really like this podcast go on. Most of our listeners know that our typical podcast is 30 minutes, but I felt that this is so valuable that I’ve let this go on because I didn’t want to stop it. This is too important for a lot of people to really fully hear this out and think about it, and how it applies to not only our lives individually, also the people around us, who we love, who we surround ourselves with, who are important to us. So, Paul, as we get ready to wrap up two things, and I’ll give you a second to think about this while I share number two: Number one, any final tips for our listeners? And while you think about that, I would encourage everyone, if you haven’t done already, to go to the site, drpauljenkins.com/byb, and get that template that he’s talking about, and really go through it again, and maybe listen to this podcast a second time, if necessary, having that in front of you. Because again, this is just too important. I’ve really thought about this and pondered on this over the course of months, which is why I wanted to bring Paul on this podcast. And he has had a big impact in my life and in others who I’d shared this with. So, I would, again, encourage you to go get that template if you haven’t already. And with that being said, Paul, any final tips or thoughts for our listeners before we wrap up? 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Sometimes when I share this model with people, I get the response, “Okay, so I guess I just really need to think differently.” And my response to that is, “Or not.” And that kind of takes people off sometimes. They’re like, “Well, I want to think different.” Well, that’s different. I’ll get behind that all day long. I am not here to tell you how to think. I don’t have that kind of authority, promise. I just want you to see that you are thinking, that thinking matters. So, my final tip would be I would invite you to turn on your metacognition, think about your thinking, and that is going to change the game. You said this is so important. Rob, this is potentially life-saving, and it is certainly life-enhancing, because negativity steals our joy and we can reclaim it by choice. We’re free to choose that, and that’s the good news. So, turn on the metacognition, I just invite you to do that. Notice what your thinking looks like. And if you want to change it, awesome, I’ll get behind you all day long on that. 

Rob Shallenberger: I love it. Well, thank you so much, Paul, for being here. So appreciate you, the good that you’re bringing to the world, the light that you’re bringing to the world. And I know on behalf of our listeners, I would say thank you on behalf of all of them as well. 

Dr. Paul Jenkins: Thank you, Rob. It’s been a pleasure and honor to be with you, everybody, go live on purpose. Let’s become your best. 

Rob Shallenberger: So, as we wrap up today’s podcast, I invite you to think about who you could share this with. To Paul’s point that life-enhancing, lifesaving, the bottom line is it will have an impact when we think about our own thinking, for 100% of us. So, I invite you to consider and think about who could you share this with and send this to that would benefit from listening to it. I’m going to share it with my wife and with my children and some of our family and friends because this is just too important to keep to ourselves. So, number one, I appreciate you tuning in today, and I hope that you’ve found the value in this and that you’ll get that template from Paul’s site. And then secondly, that you’ll consider sharing this because it’s just that important, especially considering the chaos that we have surrounding us in the world. So, thank you so much. We wish you a wonderful day and a great rest of your week. 

Rob Shallenberger

Rob Shallenberger

CEO, Becoming Your Best

Leading authority on leadership and execution, F-16 Fighter Pilot, and father

Dr. Paul Jenkins

Dr. Paul Jenkins

Owner at Live on Purpose

Psychologist, Live on Purpose Podcast Host, Live on Purpose YouTube Channel Host

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