A Message of Encouragement During Times of Uncertainty

Video Transcription:

Jim Dodson: And all of this has occurred and evolved so quickly that we're all filled with uncertainty, and uncertainty many times leads to fear. And I wanna reassure you that we're going to make it through this okay, we're gonna come out of the other end. Things will be normal again. We have to deal with this for whatever period of time it's in our lives, but we will come out of this. And we will come out of I think, as good or better than we have been in the past. But, there's some things that we need to think about as we move through these periods of uncertainty.

Unfortunately, when we run into things that are so momentous in our life like this, as humans we tend to gravitate to fear and anxiety. Sort of the natural reaction to so many people, and we see it all around us. People are looking for an anchor. They're looking for an encouraging word, they're looking for hope, they're looking for reassurance that things will be normal again. Particularly young people and particularly people who have been deeply affected by what's going on.

Remember that fear, even though it may be natural in many situations, it's largely irrational. It assumes the worst is going to happen. I can tell you that in my years of life looking back, the things that I have had the most concern about at some point in my life never came to pass. Yet, I'd live through the anxiety and fear of the unknown, the uncertainty of maybe it was going to happen. So, I think that can be a reassurance for all of us. Fear actually makes things worse. Remember during World War II that famous quote from Roosevelt in his "Fireside Chat?" "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Because fear can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we need to move, displace that fear with hope and confidence and a concerted desire that we're gonna make it through this and we're gonna be okay at the end of the day.

If you are a person of faith, remember that fear really denies everything that you understand about your faith that you are to have trust. So I'm gonna urge all of us to take a step back, and you're gonna find when these days are passing by that it's one day you're strong and the next day you might not be so strong. And so it's that battle of controlling our mind, what we're thinking about, what we're doing with our minds at the time we go through each day.

I would tell you that from my perspective, I would urge you to sort of unplug from the news cycle. I wrote about this in something we put out earlier this week. I found when this thing was evolving, the more I watched the news cycle, the more tense I got, the more anxious I got, and it wasn't until I said I'm not watching any more news. It is just done. What I found was the news was one or two facts followed by 55 minutes of speculation about what those facts might mean. I longed for the days when you had a half an hour news show at the end of the day and that's all the news you had. I think immersing ourselves in news keeps this fresh, churning, creates more anxiety, more desire to look at what's going on. If you can cut that off, fight the temptation to watch the news cycle, you will find peace in your heart. You'll find a much closer relationship of peace when you're not constantly agitated by what's going on in the news. I think that we're, certainly we can't put our head in the sand and act like events are not happening all around us because we know they are. But let's deal, and I would urge you to deal with what is, and not what might be. Let's deal with what is. And what is is bad, but let's deal with that and not the constant concern about what may happen next.

You know we've been through a lot, if you've had any years on you, I know that certainly most of the callers on this line certainly have been through World War II, but we've been through Vietnam and some other wars in the past. But just think back to 911. How unsettling that was? The events of that day, our nation came under attack, our largest city had a significant loss. It was an it was the only attack on the homeland that any of us had ever experienced. And it had immense loss of life and had totally disrupted things for a long time. People were flying and they couldn't get home. My son-in-law, my daughter and my son-in-law lived in New York City at the time. He was on a business trip to LA and got stuck in Chicago 'cause they took all the planes out of the air. And he had no idea how he was gonna get back from New York. It took him five days to get there. So it was really a period of uncertainty and anxiety. Were we going to be attacked again? You know those tremendous anxiety. But look back, what is the period of reflection looking back to? Yes, it was bad. But we made it through it. And we were okay, and our lives are okay. And the things we cared about were okay.

Think about what happened in 2008. Mostly for us a financial issue. Again, we were in San Francisco with my daughter and her husband lived there at the time. He was in the investment area, and back then they had the BlackBerrys. And I remember being at their apartment, they had a house and they just moved into an apartment. They just began remodeling of their home. And he's walking in to the apartment at lunchtime and his BlackBerry is going crazy with these numbers are just, the stock market is plunging and all the stock prices are falling and accounts are locking up. He was just like, "looking at the stuff going, going going." And it was like, wow, what's going on? This is really unsettling for him. All everyone's accounts were locked up, we couldn't get to the money, You know how bad that was and how unsettling that was. Was this gonna be as bad as it was in 1929? It turned out not to be. It was bad, but looking back, we made it through.

People today are concern that they've had a loss in their 401 or their stock portfolio. I was listening to Dave Ramsey last night and it really a great podcast that he has. And he said, "you know, unless you sold something, "you didn't suffer a loss. "The market fell 40%, so your stock values fell 40%, "but unless you sold today, "they're worth five times what they were "at the bottom in 2008 when the market went down. "But unless you cashed out and sold, "you never suffered a loss." And it's the same thing today. It's a time when we need to hold on, don't bail, all of these great companies that we deal with, he made this point last night, "do you think Coca Cola and Boeing and all of these wonderful companies, Home Depot, that we deal with every day suddenly lost value? That they suddenly all gonna go out of business? I don't think so. I saw on the article the other day saying that the the major corporate people are buying their own company stock again in unprecedented levels. What does that tell you? They think the stock is coming back. So we're going to be through this okay. What we need to protect as we go through it is our attitude, our concerned, keep ourselves under control.

So the question is, so how do we get from where we are today, I've got notes today 'cause this is where a little bit of a longer talk. Where are we gonna get from where we are today to where we need to be, where we're gonna be. In a year looking back and you have time to reflect on it. It's hard to reflect on it when you're out swimming in the battle right now. I wanna talk a little bit about the power of our beliefs. Belief in my view is one of the most powerful gifts, abilities that we have. It literally changes your life. And that can be negatively or positively. The power of belief, the belief that it will be okay, our lives are going to be okay. Our stocks will recover, people will be rehired, people will keep their homes, all these things, I believe that we'll come out of this thing as a nation, drawn together as a people, unified by common purpose that will pull together for the common good. But we have to check our beliefs because beliefs can work for us, or they can work against us. We have to guard our minds to remain positive.

I came across a wonderful book recently called "Your Thoughts are Killing You." And one of the points the author made in that book was, "when you're really controlled at some time "by negative thinking, anxiety, fear," then she made the point that, "you can control your thoughts." She said, "I will that I will think positively. "I will, I command my mind to remain positive. "I command my thoughts remain positive." It may sound A little corny, but it actually works. You'll find a great deal of peace in it. We have to control our thoughts. And how we control our thoughts is controlling our beliefs, is understanding that we do believe it will get better, that we do believe that things will improve, and that we will turn the corner. And that as a people, this will be made better.

I was listening to something the other day, it is incredible the number of American corporations just like in World War II that have shifted their focus from what they were doing to what the country needs right now. Respirators, masks, all the things that go along with hospital care, medications, hand sanitizers, all these things. How about the incredible creation of vaccines and vaccine development that's going on right now that they're going to turn the vaccine around in an unheard of speed. And that's because of our free enterprise system, the ability for these companies voluntarily to shift their focus from one area to another in response to this national need. It's a great recognition of the power that we have to harness, to attack a common problem.

And I think what I have been focused on these last few years is making sure that my belief is that I believe that in every circumstance, I'm looking for the very best outcome. The best circumstance, the best result, the best introduction, the best outcome, whatever it might be, I believe that's what we're gonna find. I believe that what it's going to happen. You carry on that belief into our current situation so that you don't play into what can be a negative spiral and that's controlling our thoughts controlling our beliefs.

The other thing is this issue of vision. Creating a vision in your heart, in your mind, of your life at the end of this tunnel. A life that is resumed, a life that is restored, a life where circumstances returned to what we knew them to be. And it's having a vision of a positive outcome. I think a lot of us are indoors and we're all indoors and we're all doing things we didn't do 60 days ago. But my wife and I watched a great program on Netflix this week called Self Made. And it was about a woman named Madam T.J. Walker, who was an African American, former slave, born right after the Civil War. And she was the first self made woman in America who became a millionaire. And she was an African American woman. And she made an empire of haircare products. What she had, the clarity of a vision of exactly what she was going to do with her company, and where it was going to take her, and how it would empower women who work for her and the women who used her hair products. And it's an incredible display of vision. Like most people, she wasn't balanced. She had some issues but you want a vision, or or an example of vision, watch that, watch that Netflix, Self Made, it's a great four part series.

You know it's funny, I'm sitting here in the office today, I'm all alone. Our social distancing means everybody is gone. Kati is working from home, Kathy is working from home, my assistant Judy has worked from home for four years, fortunately, that wasn't a big change. So I have the place to myself. It's totally different than it was before, but it's working seamlessly. Everything we need to have done is being done. And every client need has been taken care of, it wasn't what I envisioned we were being, gonna happen to, three weeks ago, but we've adapted and we're doing fine and we're carrying out exactly what we need to do to serve our clients and to accept new clients.

But this goes back really to this power of, this power of belief, this power of vision, You know I wrote about the story some months ago in the newsletter, about a guy who was hit in a cycling crash, and he had a spinal cord injury and was told he'd never ride again, never walk again as a matter of fact. He had a determination and a vision and a belief that he would exactly do all of those things. He challenged his doctor that he would, he would ride or run with him, I can't remember if it was a marathon or bike event, but he defied all the odds because of the power of his conviction, the power of his belief, the power of his vision and he started walking, he began running, he began riding, he was able to do the things he was, and he actually challenged his doctor to an event and they did it together. So, it's just a wonderful example of the power of one's belief and commitment to that belief.

One of the things that we need to look at in the midst of all this is the power the belief of being optimistic. Have you been around negative people? You've been around optimistic people? Where would you rather spend your time? Clearly the optimist. Optimism, the reality is a wonderful thing. Those people who believe, people in the success world, people in the coaching world will tell you, that you tend to bring into your life, what you envision, what you expect. Our lives are largely what we expect them to be. And people with optimism lead a much better life than people who are negative because you tend to attract what you put energy into whether it's negative or positive. There was a wonderful study I cited sometime in one writing in the past about a New York Times article about study in the Journal of Epidemiology, that people when they've positive expectation for treatment of disease had a 40% better outcome than those who didn't, and went across the board with a variety of different diseases. The power of belief, the power of optimism, the power of expecting a better outcome. That's exactly what we need to be doing in our lives right now.

It's also, if you pay attention to what people are doing today, we're going through an unprecedented period where people, we have a lot more time on our hands, we're home. How are we filling that time? People are connecting with other people. They're connecting with family, they're connecting with friends. We're not doing it face to face necessarily. We're connecting, we're sort of looking at what is important and looking at our lives and trying to sort out what's the most important thing. And I think these are the good things that will come out of what we're going through is this reconnection, this refocus, and perhaps a reprioritizing of our lives into things that are most important to us. Things like gentleness and kindness and consideration and empathy. It's a great time to go through and remind yourself, remind each of ourselves about what we are truly grateful for. Today, it's every breath every sunrise or sunset, every bird, every child, all these things that we sometimes go by so quickly and we fail to realize the absolute miracle of life, and the frailty of how strong our lives actually are and how quickly things can change and how much gratitude we have or should have for the little and large things in our life that make them so special, and that we sometimes take for granted. The ability in the cycling world to have a desire and the ability to get on a bicycle and ride 20 miles, 30 miles, 100 miles, it's a wonderful gift, and having the desire to do it, it's an amazing gift. So be thankful for the human spirit and for the things that make our lives so unique, so special and so much to be enjoyed even when we're locked down and unable to do the things we have enjoyed doing in the past.

So I think we're really called I think during this period of time to do what we can, with what we have, with where we are. That's with your children, your family, your friends. I think it's a great time to find someone to help. You recognize immediately, not how grateful you are to be able to help and how grateful they are as well. You know I have, my wife and I have some rental property and we had a tenant who's lived with us for about 10 years in our house. And we were talking yesterday about an issue and I could tell that she was anxious. I couldn't just tell him why she was anxious. And I just took a minute to reassure her just like I'm reassuring you today and what a difference it made to her? I mean, she emailed me later in the evening and thanked me again for taking the time and how powerful it was for her to just hear the words and how much it meant to her.

But, I was riding this morning and there's was a guy on my ride, I take a particular ride during the week. Every time I'm go by him, he gives me a big smile and a thumbs up. I see him every morning about the same place, he gives me this big thumbs up. You know what that does for me? It's an encouragement to me, 'cause I'm mentioning it to you. I got two guys that are on either side of a ride that I do, and they both, one guy's out on a beach, one guy's backyard near a golf course, and they both do that as we ride as I ride by and I just think, that's a simple act. I remember it, I think about it, puts a smile on my face, it makes me feel good. How simple that is for him to do? And how meaningful it is for me to experience it and mention it to you?

Think about the people in your life right now who need encouragement. Mom is trying to homeschool, people who have lost their job, people who are trying to work at home people, who are worried about where they can get groceries or where their rent is gonna come from, people who are dealing with illness and sickness. In our practice, not only are people dealing with the uncertainty of what's going on around them, but they're all injured. That creates its own level of anxiety and uncertainty. So your world, our worlds are surrounded by people who need and would benefit from our encouragement. I enjoyed listening to Joel Osteen a couple of, every now and then, and Joel has some amazing stories. And couple of the ones that I remember particularly, are stories he's told about the power of an encouraging word. And I remember one story he told about a small child who had a very difficult time in school. But one day, a teacher told him something very encouraging. It was the one thing he needed that day. He had another one about someone who wrote this person and encouraging note. That child came back and told this teacher like years later in the person with the notes, the same thing as that, that note, that comment, that encouragement you gave me that day, changed the trajectory of my life. And each of those situations is a simple thing. My wife was a special ed teacher for 10 years. And she's told the same thing all over and over again that, the power of encouraging someone when they need it the most. 'Cause all of her kids had issues. They were all different than other children. They needed encouragement. They needed someone to believe that they could have a life that they would be, the life that they wanted to live. And that encouragement changed their life. It changed the direction of their lives.

So I think that I would like for us, for the people in the cycling world, for those of you listening to this broadcast today, I want to encourage you first off, and I hope that what I've said is a help to you and encourage you as you go through these uncertain days and weeks, but that we become encouragers of others, that we look out around the world, around us and find that person today that we can say hello to, we can give a thumbs up to, that we can encourage in some way. If you're a, if you're a person who has to tip somebody and you have the ability to do it, double the tip, triple the tip, give them a good word at the same time. Find somebody who you know is going through a difficult time, listen to the tone of someone's voice, they're everywhere, the world is crying out for help, they're crying out for certainty, they're crying out for someone to let them know that it's going to be okay because many of them are immersed in this downward spiral of the news and anxiety and they can't pull out. Let's be the ones to pull them out by these simple acts of encouragement to thoughtfully encourage someone that things are going to be okay.

So I hope you've enjoyed this message, I hope you found benefit from it. If you did, I'd love to hear from you. I'm Jim Dodson, the Florida bike guy. I'll talk to you again soon, bye.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.