EPISODE 169: “Podside Chat – Nothing Has Any Meaning Except The Meaning You Give It”
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As you read that headline, Nothing Has Any Meaning Except The Meaning I Give It, what does that mean to you?
I know that’s a simple question but it’s a powerful realization when we come to understand that everything in our life has meaning, and we are the ones who have given meaning to it.
Life’s ups and downs, we give meanings. Life’s blessings, we give meaning. Divorce and marriage we give meaning. Sex life, no sex life, adultery, loyal partners, we give it all meaning. Having a job, not having a job. Having money, not having money, we give it meaning.
The biggest mistake that most of us make is that we make the meaning about our own worth and value and we devalue ourselves when we compare ourselves against what others have and do not have, we give that meaning…and usually it’s negative meaning.
Look at all the things you worry about in life, what does it mean that you worry and what meaning are you giving to the things that you worry about?
It’s pretty simple and also conversely complex but your life is a big bundle of meanings and it’s you who places the meanings on your life. Do you place positive or negative meanings? Do your meanings build you or destroy you? Do your meanings keep you healthy or destroy your health.
We talk about…
As I just said, it was hard to categorize this interview but I promise, you’ll find some valuable takeaways.
As well, her story and sharing will apply to both men and women and I think some women will find it especially powerful.
You are the creator of your life because you create based upon the meanings you hold.
You're listening to the Transform your Life from the Inside Out podcast. Now, this episode is about meaning. And what I want to share with you in this episode, and I want to, you know dig into is that you're always making something, mean something, meaning whatever happens in your life, whatever that something is, you're making it mean something. And the reality is you go through your life as a meaning making machine. And many times we make meetings that don't serve us. So if you'd like to explore the fact that you're a meaning making machine, and everything in your life you give meaning to then keep listening.
Hi, I'm Jim Fortin, and you're about to start Transforming Your Life from the Inside Out with his podcast. I'm widely considered the leader in subconscious transformation. And I've coached super achievers all around the world for over 25 years. Here, you're going to find no rah rah motivation, and no hype. Because this podcast is a combination of Brain Science, Transformational Psychology, and ancient wisdom all rolled into one to take your life to levels, you've never thought possible. If you're wanting a lot more in life, to feel better, to heal, to have peace of mind, to feel powerful and alive, and to bring more abundance and prosperity into your life, then this podcast is for you. Because you're going to start learning how to master your mind and evolve your consciousness. And when you do that, anything you want, then becomes possible for you. I'm glad you're here.
We Create Meaning and Meaning Creates Power
Okay, so you're a meaning making machine. What does that mean? Well, plain and simple. It means that I mean, what does it mean to you that I say you're a meaning making machine? Basically, you're looking to make meaning of everything in your life. You know, wherever you're in this, this world is could probably apply. What does it mean that Donald Trump didn't get reelected, and then notice that you're putting meanings on now? Well, the election was stolen, and this and that, and the blue states or the red states becoming more blue states, or it means great things that he wasn't reelected, or it means that the election was stolen, or it means bad things that he wasn't reelected, or whatever. But what I want to point out, is that you individually, and it can mean nothing to you. And that means something. But the fact is, is that I point something out, and you make meaning of it.
And the big point of this episode is looking at it, we'll dig into it, but but looking at all the things that happen in your life, and the meanings that you give to those things, and even to the meaning that you have about your own life. And what that means. I know it sounds crazy, right? But the brain, our brain, our brain needs organization and its structure. And the reason why is because it needs to know how to structure thought, which is a survival mechanism. I mean, we have to know how to, you know, many years ago hunt and gather food. And this day and age, I mean, the brain has to structure Well, how do you go to the store to get groceries or cook your groceries or whatever. But that's one of the things that the brain does is it structures our reality? And the brain is always looking for meaning and that it's an energy saving mechanism? Meaning anytime we see something the brain wants to put meaning on it, so it knows how to categorize it. Do we categorize it as something we run from? Do we categorize it as something that we would be attracted to? You know, how does the brain categorize the meaning? So the brain automatically makes meaning and even research I read on this, where, for example, you look at the Rorschach test, which is the inkblots, the brain is making meaning of these ink blots, and people are seeing different things.
Or I read some research about people or brain injuries. And the reality was is one part of the brain was injured and they couldn't visualize or imagine the Certain Way, the brain would automatically try to fill in the empty blanks where the imagination wasn't that I can't explain the whole thing here. But the brain was trying to make meaning out of something that it could make meaning out of. So what I want to point out and then we'll, we'll move on. Everything in your life has a meaning, but it has the meaning that you make of that meaning. Right now. I'm sitting in my home office. And I literally, as you know, you might have heard me say before I get it, this house all the way back to the studs. And it was a year long renovation. And right now a big thing going on in the world. And I'm not sure when you're going to be listening to this. But as you can't get things because if COVID is what everyone says, Oh, COVID production lines, and, you know, this is not being produced. And that's, you know, COVID happens here, and then it slows that down. And then it slows this down.
Here in the US were coming air quote coming out of, you know, the lock downs. And there are very few states, I think any more than even have locked down lock downs. And then some parts of the world or, from what I hear, like Canada and Australia are in big time locked down. But it means something, it means something to people in those particular, you know, economies and nationalities and environments and everything else. But back to where I started the story, I'm sitting in my office right now. And the rugs for my office, Home Office, my home office are not going to be here for several months. And what does that mean? And then I'm told, well, you know, they're coming from they were all at the, you know, hand woven in our machine woven are well, not by mechanical machine, but by hand machine in the fall. So okay, so what does that mean? That I don't have them yet? And what does it mean, for example, took me four months to get other furniture in here. What does it mean? That my couches will not be here for till like October or something?
And then I you know, I go to Well, I have a lot of sound reverberation in this room, because it's my office is 1,000 square feet at home and tile floor and glass and everything. So what is the reverberation mean? Does it mean my sound quality is not as good? And these are all things that I go through very mildly in my mind. I even tested my microphone today. And what does it mean? Some people listening might not even notice some that you know, that our audio files might notice. And the reality is, is that everyone makes their own meaning of things. Look at your own life. And let's say that I gave you $100,000 What does that mean? What does it mean? If you saw me give someone $100,000? And you didn't get $100,000? What does that mean? What does it mean that you feel really good today? What does it mean that you feel really bad today? What does it mean to you that in the United States, which is where I live that today is Memorial Day.
Let's say you live in New Zealand, it might not mean anything. Or it might mean that Oh, the US markets are closed and I you know I buy dollars, or I buy US stocks or whatever. So it means I can't trade today. Or it might mean nothing at all. What I want you to look at and just absorb right now. Every thing in your life. Now remind you reminding you it's brain based, but your brain gives meaning to every thing. And what most of us do many times is we catastrophize and we give something a bad meaning an unproductive me, meaning. Many times what we do is well, and I see this a lot and I've done it I don't do it anymore. But I've done it in my past is we make something mean something about our value, our own value. It just popped in my mind. I don't know why this example popped into my mind.
But as a kid, don't judge. I used to go to livestock shows, I grew up on a ranch and on a farm. And I competed with things that I did in at a national level. And I remember this one kid and a lot of us that were kind of working the upper echelons of what we were doing. We kind of knew each other from different parts of the country. And we didn't have internet back then in the 80's and all that. So when we come together at livestock shows we'd see each other maybe two, three times a year. And there was this one kid that was kind of he was in the echelon of level that we were working at from Nebraska. But he was never very friendly. And I remember talking to someone and I said, Yeah, that kid Brent. He's not a very nice kid. And somebody said, Oh, you mean Brent's so and so and I said, Yeah. And they said no, a lot of people think that he's unfriendly, but he's that painfully shy.
So notice what I was doing. I was putting meaning on it that Oh, he must not be a nice kid. When somebody else who knew him said no, it doesn't mean that at all. It means that he's painfully shy and it's realy hard for him to talk to people. And in that moment, I changed my meaning of, because my meaning was just immature thinking, Oh, he's a kid who looks down on other kids, which was, you know, from my past and all the meetings that I gave things to, oh, okay, he must be a nice guy. But it's hard for him to talk to people. And my meaning went from judgment of the kid, to compassion for the kid. Why? Because my meaning changed, when I gathered more information. And really what I want you to do, you know, in this episode, seriously, like I just alluded to look, and let's slow down here, look at things that happen in your life, and look at the meaning that you give to things.
But while you're doing that, I want to back up here, something that I just said a couple of minutes ago, is many times people will, they'll make something mean something. But what they'll do is, they'll make that meaning about their their own value, meaning I must not be part of the group, or I must not be this, I must not be that. And we're making meaning. But we're making the meaning mean something about our value as a human being. Now consider that. And look at that for a moment, I want you to think about when you don't feel good enough, when you feel like you just you don't hit the mark, when you're below someone else when you're behind someone else. And then what I want you to look at is the dogs just started barking upstairs, and I did take a little break. So what does that mean? It means to me that I stopped because I want to, you know, deliver some amount of professionalism.
But what I was talking about these things that you think about yourself, and the things that are not positive, what does it mean? And what meaning are you putting on your value, and the meaning. And I see it over and over and over again, the meaning that a lot of people put on their value is I'm not good enough. Ponder that. So think about when you don't feel good enough. And guys, I'm, you know, you've heard me say before, for those of you, those of you that have listened any amount of time, and as I've said before, also, if you're kind of new here, go back to the beginning, seriously, go back to the beginning and start from there. But when you have this thought, I'm not good enough. What does it mean? You know, when I look at my own life, there are things that I'm good at, there are things that I'm really good at things that I have evidence, and I have, you know, I have observation, I have feedback. You know, for example, when it comes to coaching and my Transformational Programs, I'm not really good at it. From what I hear from people that have been to every program, you know, out there, I'm one of the best there is that you know, at it, and what does it mean, to me what that means some people would get arrogant about that. What it simply means to me is that I'm living my dharma.
I mean, this is why I'm on the planet. And that evidence tells me that I'm doing what I need to be doing with my life. But go back here, as I was saying, you know, I grew up poor. And I remember when I went to college, I went to a private school and a good school, a lot of my friends were rich, my roommate for two years drove a brand new Mercedes Benz that he got for Christmas, as a college kid. And in some way, I felt inferior to a lot of these people, because I didn't have that. I mean, I drove an old beat up pickup truck, I didn't have what they had, they had and they were really good people, they were friends. And I look back, and I'm like, you know, it didn't mean you know, mean anything, that they had more money than me, or more opportunity than me. Not, none of that meant anything. I mean, when I look at where I am in life, now, I'm ahead of a lot of these people, even financially, pretty much more than most, you know, most of them that I still know.
But I made value of meaning about myself relative to other people. And the truth is us is excuse me, you cannot value what you do, or who you are based upon anyone or anything else on the planet. You can't. That's a trap. Because see, that's an external validation. And when that validation changes, let's say you feel good about yourself. And that's the meaning that you're giving something. When you feel good about yourself because of something external when that external thing change. So does how you feel about yourself, because the value that you placed upon yourself is changed based upon something external in your life. You know, I really don't want to go to what positive things mean, I could. But but so many of us focus on what the negative things mean.
I'm I mean, I've seen people that are really tall, and that means they stand down, but they don't want to stand out people that are really, you know, short, that means something I must be this, I must be that, you know, I must be inferior, because I'm not tall, I have a big nose, that means something I've got a big butt that means something, it means I'm dateable. I'm not dateable and desirable, I'm not desirable. You know, I've got a lot of money. That means x, y, z, I don't have a lot of money. That means x, y, z, the one I said the negative many times when things don't work in life, as we expect them to work, we put a negative meaning on that, oh, I must not have been good enough to get that job, I must not have been good enough for this or for that.
I've told the story before, I remember many years ago is 1992. And I was working at the Carter Presidential Center. It's executive offices of Jimmy Carter. And it's all nonpartisan, it's all humanitarian work. When I was there, I think he won the Nobel Peace Prize that year. And I worked in the executive offices. So I saw him etc. And I was in the part that was not open to the public. And there was a job that I applied for internally, which was the assistant to his chief of staff. And I really, really wanted that job. And I was telling a friend of mine, and he was my age very wise guy. And he said, you know, Jim, if you if you get that job, it's great. And he goes, if you don't get that job, it's also great. I'm like, Doug, what do you mean? And it goes, if you get you get the job it's meant for you. And if you don't get the job, then it's not meant for you. And there's something better for you. And I didn't get the job. And I didn't get it because I mean, actually that his chief of staff, one of the hire me, but he couldn't because of some hiring guidelines. I didn't get the job. Now had I gotten the job I probably I'm in I'm very I like to achieve. I like to create, so to speak. I mean, I like to, you know, I just enjoy making things happen in life. I probably would be working in politics today as even maybe Carter's right hand, man. I mean, he's still active in the world today.
Or right hand person, let me put it that way. But you know what, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today. Because something always leads to something I would not be doing what I'm doing today had I gotten that job because I wouldn't have left the Carter Presidential Center to get on a different path, which was in the personal development field, which led somewhere which led somewhere which led somewhere which led somewhere, which brings me to today. So I want you to look at things that aren't happening in your life and the way that you want them to. What does that mean? And be careful because the pitfall is, many times people make that mean something about their inadequacy. And then where they go to is I'm not good enough.
And they create a story and a belief out of I'm not good enough. And then what they do is they get that meeting, and then I'll show up in life. Why because I'm not good enough. I'm not one of those people, I can't do it. And none of that's true. It's all based upon the meaning that we give something. I've met a lot of people in my life. I mean, I've coached a lot of very high end, very wealthy people. I've worked with European royalty. I mean, CEOs, billionaires, movie stars, you know, the whole the whole gamut of life I've worked with. And so many people will look at other people and put them above them socially, because they have more money or more social status, which by the way, people clamor for social status more than anything. It's kind of hardwired, hardwired in the brain as a survival mechanism. But we look at other people, and then we put them above us, and then what many and I've done it, I don't do it anymore. And then what many of us do is we may meaning that we're not good enough, but here's the thing that I started this conversation will loop with.
Once we believe we're not good enough. We operate from that interpretation of life and that meaning that we're not good enough. And we create that paradigm that we live with for a lifetime. And the reality is, this is you're as good whoever or wherever you are on the planet. You are as good as everyone else on the planet. You're just here living your own experience. You're here living you know your karma. You're here, hopefully Living, which many of us don't your Dharma, which means your life purpose, the reason that you're here to contribute to the planet, and to your own evolution in your own growth. But what we do is we put so much meaning on herself based upon external validation or external comparison, that we're making interpretations about ourself. And then we put negative meanings on that. And then we trap ourself for a lifetime. So what I want you to be careful with seriously, I know that this is a bit of a slippery episode. Hopefully, you're giving some meaning to what I'm saying. And I set the slippery episode because, you know, I wish I could give you a concrete here, step number one, step number two, step number three checklist checklist, you know, to be able to live your life by.
But what I've recognized over the years, and come to know, is, and I'm working on this, I mean, I'm just transparent with you guys. I'm not perfect. No one is, is and I'm learning my lessons, is to be happy all the time, to be you know, no matter what's going on in your life. Now, you may or may not know, I mean, I had a stroke and heart failure in 2020. What I've not alluded to a lot of on this podcast is it was really, I mean, I think I feel the interpretations and meanings that I'm making in my life is that I'm pretty much back to air quote, normal, and actually very healthy. And I tell you, I had a really physically rough year, last year, I mean, the healing process, because I'd never been sick in my life prior to last year, not even a prescription since 1992. I mean, there's zero sickness, none. And I had to learn how to heal, not cerebrally not analytically. But I had to learn how to heal, practically to use my mind to heal. And I went through a lot of pain, a whole lot of physical pain, which I you know, can manage somewhat with, with self hypnosis with a whole lot of uncertainty.
Because I honestly, last summer, June of 2020, there abouts. Yeah, john, taking back June. I honestly thought that it was my time to leave the planet. And I wasn't forecasting it I wasn't asking for but I'm like, you know, maybe I've done my job. There's something that I did last year, that was very significant. Maybe there was my work, and maybe it's time for me to go home. And I'm okay with that. And I realized that I made that meaning based upon how bad I mean, there were some days that I really felt like, you know, if I went home today, hallelujah, because I mean, I'm not in pain today. And there were all kinds of discomforts, and physical sensations and all these things happening as a result of my heart acting up and my brain acting up, I mean, the two most vital organs in the body, so to speak, and both of them in one year, and one day, I was showering and I just didn't really feel well.
And I said to myself,what does this mean? And what meaning Am I making of this? Am I catastrophizing, it meaning that you know what I've got, you know, one foot in the grave and one funnel, a banana peel, you know, what does this mean? And let that soak in as you're listening. What does it mean in your own life? that somebody abandoned you somebody had an affair, somebody left you somebody came into your life, somebody cheated on you, somebody betrayed you. You got fired, all these kind of things? What do they mean? And even when we put negative meanings on them, they only mean something in that moment. Because as I look back now, as I look back now, I remember that day in the shower that I didn't feel well. And I remember I can even tell you where I was, and I was driving when I'm like, you know, maybe it's time for me to leave the planet. I can tell you where I was the meaning that I was making. And what I want to share here is that the meaning that I was making then, is not the same meaning that I'm making now.
Why? Because in any given moment, I'm making something mean something. And here's the big takeaway for you. Here's how here's where we have to be careful. Because you better be careful. I'm telling you that like a big brother you better be careful, you know, I'm not waiting my finger or anything at you, but you better be careful what things you make things mean Because that's going to cause more pain for you and more trial, or it's going to cause more healing for you on the opposite end, and more opening up, and more joy, and your life and more peace of mind and more prosperity in your life. You know what a lot of people do, let's simplify this. Because a lot of you will be able to relate to this. And even this past year, you know, think about life is once you think you have a handle on something, there's a whole nother level to it. And you're like, Oh, no, I get it, I get it. And then a year later, you're like, Oh, no, I didn't get it. And I'm learning a lot more now.
I mean, life's just a learning progress. If we choose it to be, it's just an opportunity to learn every single day. And where I was going with that, is worry, worry is the most of his worry about things, and I know you've heard this before, is that we worry about things that we can't fix, or we have no influence over. And I've said this for a lot of years in this podcast, but something I want to share is worry is insecure thinking, worry is saying I'm giving away all of my power as a human being. I'm choosing not to exercise my will of mine, my life force, I'm choosing not to exercise and command my will. I'm choosing not to exercise my command of my body through my thoughts. And then we give all that power away. Why? Because we worry. And that's why I say that worry is in secure thinking, because we're insecure. We just turn all of our power over saying you know what, oops, I lost my job all the way. boohoo, there's nothing I can do about it.
Or where a lot of people go this day and age is their health and wellness. They're 75 pounds, 100 pounds overweight, something happens. They go to the hospital. And they worry and they worry and they worry. And I remember very vividly. And I wish you could see in the my brain so I could prove to you that I'm telling you the truth. When I was in the hospital, the first time it was for heart failure, I have two cardiologist, one was very positive ones like and he was the senior cardiologist. He said, You know what he goes, I'm going to say that you probably have a 70% chance of full recovery. Well, that still means limitation by their definition of it. And today, I'm more recovered cardiovascularly, than most people according to my neurologist and other cardiology work that I had done when I was in the hospital for a stroke.
But what we do is so many people in our culture is when they're sick, and the doctor says hey, X, Y, Z is wrong with you. They worry and they worry and they worry and they worry and they worry. And then what they do is because they're worrying, they're giving things meaning, oh, this must mean that it's time to leave the planet. This must mean when people say I'm going to die. This must mean Oh, all this bad thing. Number one, bad thing. Number two, bad thing. Number three.
Notice, it's nothing more than thought. Because nothing has any meaning except the meaning that you give it. So when I was in the hospital, one cardiologist was extremely, you know, positive. One was negative, very neg. I mean, like, she went to the opposite end negative, like, you know, you're 32% of heart function or whatever, blah, blah, you know, it could stay there. And she kind of said it, you know, it might not go up, and all this stuff like that. And literally, I was metaphorically I had my fingers in my ears going, Oh, la La, la, la La, I can't hear you. I can't hear you. I can't hear you La la la, I can't hear you. Because I wasn't going to absorb what she was saying to me. Because I knew, I knew in that moment that I was going to heal. I knew it. And today I look back and I'm like, I've almost forgotten how tough it was part of that healing process. Because I knew I was going to heal because the meaning I was putting on it I had one meaning and the meaning was this mind over body. This is my body and I can use my mind to heal my body. And I did and I am still but for the most part I did.
But take away here meaning what meaning Do you give things in your life? So what I'm requesting you do is look at things in your life right? Now that are not as you want them to be. What I want you to notice is the relationship between how something not being what you want it to be, and the meaning you're giving it, and how most likely the meaning you're giving it is keeping it what you don't want it to be. Consider that look at something in your life, and it's not the way you want it. And then notice the meaning that you're giving that. And notice that the meaning that you're giving that is keeping it exactly where you don't want it to be. Because that's the meaning you're giving it because that's where your attention is, what you've heard me say before you are, where your attention is. And whatever you're placing meaning on is where your attention is. And if you're not getting the outcomes that you want, you have to change the meaning by reinterpreting and then moving your intention.
Okay, What I don't know is what meaning you have made of this episode. I mean, you could be like, holy cow, this is mind blowing. You could be like, and No, thanks. You could be like, what did he just say? You could be like, you could make some meaning like, wow, I pulled something out of it that can transform my life? I don't know. Because you're the one making meaning of me visiting with you right now. And, you know, the question is, is what meaning Are you going to make out of the statement that you make everything mean something? And then look at what are those meanings? And then do those meanings serve you? And told us last year, I never considered myself an expert at adversity. Other speakers talk about it, stuff like that, for example, I don't talk about leadership, because I'm not a leadership expert. But adversity people you know, don't talk. I mean, I'm I don't, I didn't talk about adversity, so to speak, because I didn't really have any real encounter with adversity. Even though I've had a lot of things happen in my life that might be adverse, until this past year. And I'm like, holy cow, that's not invert adversity, you know, leaving the planet, there abouts twice, than what is.
And I look back now at the meanings I was giving in the moment. And for the most part, I kept most of those meanings very positive. And I look now and as I said, none of the meetings I gave back then really mean anything now, which shows me how fluid our meaning is. So take that with you and take my life, you know, the examples that I've given you, and look at your own life, and look at the meanings that you're giving everything and then recognize as one thing, before we go, you are the creator of the meaning. Which means you can recreate the meaning just like when I didn't get the job at the Carter Center, I'd mentioned I had to recreate a meaning the meaning was what the job for me. So look at all the things in your life that are not where you want them to be. You created that what meaning have you put on it? What interpretations have you put on it? What are Where's your attention? And now, what are new meanings that you can give those things? If you would, please, and you got value today, in this episode, please share, because the meaning to me is that I can help more people. And I'm very grateful for that very seriously. Thank you so much for listening. And I'll catch you on another episode. Bye bye.
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