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Ted Talk 163: Celebrating The True Meaning Of Christmas

It’s that time of year again. December has come, and with it, all the joys of Christmas. But what is the real meaning of Christmas? Christmas is about being grateful and sharing moments with our loved ones. 

Unfortunately, many of us struggle with gratitude. 

Just as with any other muscle in our bodies, our brain gets better at performing specific movements we do repetitively. If we constantly think of negative things, possible threats, or dangers, that’s how our brain will look at most situations we are in.  

But what would happen if we could prevent those negative thoughts from popping out whenever we face a new challenge? Is there something we can do to change how we see life and go through it?  

In this special Christmas edition Ted Talk, Ted shares his unique approach to gratitude. He explains why actively practising gratitude can change how you see and interact with the world and how being grateful changed his life and business. He also talks about why many people struggle with gratitude and the origin, pros, and cons of neuroticism.  

Plus, Ted talks about what he is grateful for, how his personal life changed throughout this last year, and much more.  

Listen now and start practicing gratitude to have the happiest Christmas ever! Happy holidays to all of you! We are so grateful for you! 😊   


You’ll learn:

  • About Ted’s mentors, their teachings, and the things they were doing wrong
  • The most important thing you have to do to lose fat
  • What can you achieve in 30 days of implementing the Fat Loss 101 approach
  • The real reason why your food choices matter
  • How much weight do you need to lift when lifting weights
  • What is the right amount of protein you should eat per day
  • The Life-Changing Power of a Daily Walking Habit
  • And much more…


Related Episodes:  

Ted Talk 115: Let The Christmas Spirit Ring! How Holiday Gratitude Can Make Us Happier And Healthier 

Ted Talk 61: How to Find Gratitude in Your Hardest Moments 

218: The Power Of Gratitude 


Links Mentioned 

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Podcast Transcription: Let Your Heart Be Light: Offer Yourself The Gift of Gratitude This Christmas

Ted Ryce: Happy Friday to you, hope you're having an amazing Friday, and I hope you're gearing up for Christmas Eve tomorrow, and Christmas day on Sunday. I hope you're having an amazing time with your family? And if you're celebrating a different tradition, well, cool, happy holidays to you, and hope you’re also having an amazing time this time of year with your family? 

Now, this episode is the obligatory gratitude episode that I guess every podcast has to have. But I want to take a different approach to talk about gratitude, and I think that if you're a person who struggles with gratitude, this is the right episode for you.  

I'm going to talk about my own struggles with gratitude, and how I've shifted about how I look at gratitude and why it's important. And I'm also going to share with you the things that I'm grateful for this year. So, if that sounds like you might want to learn more, if you struggle a bit with gratitude, then you're in the right place.  

What is up, my friend, and welcome to the Legendary Life podcast. I'm your host Ted Ryce, health coach for over 23 years, and what we do here is we work with founders, executives, entrepreneurs, and help them get into the best shape of their life for the rest of their life. So, no diets, no ridiculous workouts. We look at practices, sustainable practices, and that's what I'm here to help you do. 

And the second reason we do this podcast is because it's the source of our best clients. Well, if you're coming from another place and you're a client of mine, forgive me, it's just when you listen to the podcast for years, or you start to listen to it, it's just a different relationship than coming from social media where you've read some of my posts before. So, that's the second reason we do this podcast. 

And now I want to talk about gratitude, I don't know about you, but this has been a strange year for me, both personally and professionally. And before I talk about details here, I want to talk about the importance of gratitude, because I struggle with it, and I want to tell you this. This is what I've learned, and this is, I guess a bonus thing that I'm grateful for, but I've had some big shifts in my thinking this year, and in my practices this year. 

So, one thing that I started to realize is, I struggle with negativity a lot. It may not seem like it if you listen to this podcast, I'm always in a good mood, and that's because I really enjoy doing this. All my clients are like, well, you're always in such a good mood for the coaching calls, it's like because this is, it's very therapeutic for me. If I've created this life on purpose. But I struggle with gratitude, I struggle with negativity, negative thoughts. 

And one of the things that I realized is that some people are just more neurotic than others. We know from monozygotic twin studies, in other words, twins that have the same genes. That some people their personality, or I'm sorry, not some people, but all of us, part of our personality is genetic.  

And for those of us who have a bit more neuroticism, that's one of the five factors of personality, it's just what it's called, neuroticism, which I think I'm a little bit higher end. You're going to have a harder time with negative emotions, they're going to be, they're going to come, you're going to be more sensitive to negative emotions. 

Now, add on top of that, if you had a tough childhood, the adverse childhood experiences or ACEs, you're also going to be a bit more sensitive to negativity. Or if you've been through something tough in your life, maybe it was a divorce, maybe childhood was okay, but you went through a divorce or bankruptcy, or a major accident where you got badly heard and had to spend months in the hospital recovering. 

Those types of things can set you up to be a little bit more negative, a little bit more sensitive to negativity, and I've realized about myself this fact. And so, when we're talking about gratitude, if you're a person who struggles with negativity a bit, and struggles with being grateful, I want to tell you this. 

Number one, it's normal, I think, at least for some, right? I can't give you hard statistics here. I didn't come prepared to have that type of talk with you, where I'm going to drop statistics and studies today. But I will say this, if your default is like mine, and you tend to trend negative, then what gratitude can do for you is this, practicing gratitude, and a lot of the studies are done on journals, but practicing gratitude can shift you away from the habit of trending negative, which is a habit, it's a pathway in your brain, a connection of neurons that just fire together. That's Herbs law by the way, neurons that wire together fire together. 

And what that means is, the more you practice negativity, the more negative you're going to be, it's going to be a very well grooved pattern in your brain. Well grooved connection of neurons in your brain. One of the ways you can rewire your brain is to practice gratefulness—practice gratitude, sorry.  

And this is something that's changed for me this year, I started to realize, I need to work on this more, because I'm going to share some big shifts for myself personally, but also some realizations that this is something I need to work on more. 

So, that's how I'm looking at gratitude now, because I feel like this, I don't know if you're with me on this, but some people are like, ‘Oh, you got to be grateful, you got to be so positive, got to be grateful. Oh, here are the million things I'm grateful for.” I'm like, I struggle with that stuff sometimes. I'm not naturally grateful, it's not my default, let's say.  

Now, it's a learned behavior, although some of, again, some of our personality is genetic, especially with neuroticism, and I want to say one more thing about that before I move on here, is that the neuroticism is a protective mechanism. Neuroticism means you get stressed about things, you're like, you're nervous about things. 

And the reason that's important is because it can prevent you from getting yourself into a bad situation, it's protective. You pay attention to threats, you stay out of situations that you perceive as being a threat. But in our world, the threats are more or less immediate, running away from a Saber tooth tiger, for example, and it's more like, how do I manage my emotions so I can create the family I want, to create the success that I want? And gratitude can absolutely help you with that. 

So, I want to tell you, just to give you a little bit of a backstory. I took time off in 2021, you probably heard, if you've been listening for a while, that my dad died in October 3rd, 2020. And I am grateful, although this is one of the things that I've listed, but I'm really grateful I was able to take time off from work to go to his aid to spend those last few months with him. It made a big difference for both of us.  

And I was able to provide for him financially, because my business started taking off during COVID. I mean, you can imagine, everybody, all the gyms are closed, people are like, how am I going to get in shape? I'm getting fatter, I'm putting on weight. Well, online fitness, online coaching.  

And when we got the call—or when I got the call that he was in the, oh gosh, was it the ER or the ICU, I dropped everything I was doing, and I got over there, and I could tell that it wasn't looking good. Anyway, he ended up dying and I took time off afterward, and my business partner Gisele encouraged that.  

She said, “Listen, you need to take time off, take some time, just enjoy yourself, heal, heal, healing,” which I did, I mean I got therapy, I did a bunch of different things, I worked on myself a lot. That said, I got a call at the end of October, or end of 2021 in October from Gisele, and she said, “Hey, I need to borrow some money, because our business is broke, we're paying the bills to keep the podcast running, and all the other software that we use and everything, but our business is broke,” from all the time that I took off.  

I turned down clients, I was working with a couple of clients, but I turned down clients, and it was a rough moment. I started, I'm like, “Oh my gosh, how did we get to this point?” And I was also seeing someone at that time, and I was developing a really strong relationship with this woman. And then this hit me and knocked me out of my fantasy like dream state, or, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I have to get back to work.” 

And all these narratives started playing in my mind, like, oh, I can't focus on this relationship, I need to get back to work, oh my gosh, it's like we're starting over again. Because when I started posting again on social media, and started asking people to come sign up for coaching, there wasn't like a rush, right? It takes time. 

Like you, you've probably been listening to this podcast for years, and you're like, ‘Hey, yeah, I want to do coaching sometime, but I'm just not ready yet.” And that's okay, nothing against you at all. Some of my best clients have listened for many years, and if Dan comes to mind, he listened for 5 years before taking action.  

Now he's 50 pounds down and feels like, man, I wish I did this 15 years ago. But it takes a while for the—I hate to say it like this, but for the stars to line up and to hear the right thing and to be in the right moment and boom! Because the right time is total bullshit, but there does have to be this commitment to do something, that's really what it's about, and some people don't have it. You may be in that situation now. 

And so I got back to working on my business, and I didn't know how to do that, I didn't know how to balance the work that I needed to do for my business with how to keep the relationship going. And as a result, the relationship fell apart a bit, I'll get back to that later.  

And then there was another issue, we had signed up for business coaching, I prepaid for a year, I'm like, “We need business coaching, I know we need business coaching, let's do it.” We signed up, found the right person, actually the person we wanted to hire wasn't available, they sold their business to this new person. 

And so, we started working with this new person, Mike. And I'm not going to go into the full drama, but it wasn't good when we first started, it kind of sucked. And we just weren't getting what we needed, we weren't getting, we were a bit diluted about what we needed, we didn't have a strong, we weren't working with Mike directly.  

And it was just a bit of a mess of a situation. So, we went from struggling financially, not having any money for Gisele to pay her bills in October, to January, having an incredible month. 

We made 40k that month, which was, I think the most we ever made in a month up until that point. But the next month we had zero sales, I mean, we had money coming in from previous sales, but we went from 40K to zero. And it was like, oh my gosh, this roller coaster really sucks, why aren't we getting more consistency? And the business coaching wasn't working out. But the good news, there is good news. 

I ended up going to see this woman that I've been dating in Lisbon, and I spent a month there. And I quickly realized I was still struggling with the business, and I ended up telling myself, you know what? I am going to figure this out, this business thing. And I bounced around, I went to Lisbon, and went to Texas, and I spent some time with my family. I'll talk about that later. And then back and forth. 

And something magical, I ended up in Brazil after coming back from Lisbon the second. And I spent three months there this year, and something magical happened. I got together with Gisele, and we had a deep talk about what was going on in our lives and with the business. And we both realized, we were whining and complaining too much about the work that we needed to do to create the business, and more importantly, the life that we both wanted to live. 

And this is the number one thing that I'm grateful for, because her and I, we came together and got on the same page. I don't know if you know this story, but Giselle is my ex-wife, we've been through so much together, and we're business soulmates.  

We figured out, or you know, I don't know how else to say it, but we decided that our relationship in a romantic way wasn't going to work. But the business, we were going to make that work, it was the best thing that we both had in our lives, the best opportunity, the best, we both went through so much. 

And I'm so grateful that for her as a business partner, and as a friend, and really as part of my family, because in that three months there in Brazil, it was, we got together on the same page, we made a commitment to each other, we weren't going to complain and whine anymore, we were just going to sit down and do the work. 

And I want to tell you something, we had our most profitable year this year. We had a rocky star where we had a great January, then made zero sales in February, but once we started to do that, oh wow! Those 3 months in Brazil, where we got on the same page and I just showed up and did my work. We're on track, we're going to, 2023 is going to be a multiple of this year, that's the foundation that we laid with the work that we've done. 

But I want to tell you this, the second thing that I'm grateful for isn't the money, it's the people, it's you, it's you who've come back and listened to this podcast. Whether you ever work with me or not, I'm grateful for you. Because you are the reason this podcast exists, you're the reason that this podcast is ranked where it is.  

And of course, I want to thank the people who joined our program, and gave us a chance to prove to them that their health and their life could be a lot better, and that their best days were ahead of them and not behind them. 

So, if you have taken action in some way, if you signed up as a client, if you're a client of ours, if you're a previous client of ours, thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to prove to you that this can change not just your health, but your life. 

And the third thing I'm grateful for is a big shift in my perspective. So, what happened with Mike is, we had a rocky start, like I said. And what he did as the amazing coach and business entrepreneur, let's say that he is, he said, you know what? Come work with me one-on-one, I'm going to prove to you, I'm going to make up for what happened, and you're going to work with me one-on-one. 

And he is such a rock star of a coach, he said something so important to me, because I've been bouncing around, you've heard it, it probably sounds sexy how many places I've been. Like, oh gosh, Ted's really living the life. But what Mike told me, he said, “Ted, every time you travel, you have a lot of emotional ups and downs. You start whining, you start making excuses,” now, he said this in a much more smooth way, a much more tactful way than what I'm saying now. 

But he said, ‘You know what? You get off kilter emotionally. And this sets you back with work and psychologically.” And here's what I want you to focus on, forget about what the story is, get back to the habits or routines that have put you in a good place. Immediately, whenever you get somewhere, put yourself in a good routine. Ask yourself, what are the habits here? What are the things that you need to do to put yourself in a good routine? 

And that's when I had the realization that I wasn't managing my stress properly, because intercontinental flights with jet lag is stressful. And learning a new environment is stressful, and creating a place where you, creating a routine that fosters productivity, it's stressful, and I'm going to go do it again, like two times, I'm actually dreading it a little bit, and dreading the amount of travel that I'm doing right now. Story for another time though. 

But the third thing I'm grateful for is, I'm dreading it, and I don't care anymore, I won't use it as an excuse anymore. I put myself and do what it takes to get myself in a good position, a good state of mind, in a good state of productivity, I just don't make excuses anymore. And if I'm feeling off, I realize my anxiety's up, or I'm not getting massage, like I'll give you an example, when I came here to Mexico, I'll give you an example from the past week. 

I'm having my second 2-hour massage today, I leave tomorrow for my cousins, I had a 2-hour massage today. I don't say that to brag, and plus its $75 for 2 hours, it's doable for me at this point in my life, thankfully. So, I'm not doing a $300 massage for 2 hours, or whatever it might be in a different area, but I'm doing a 2-hour massage, and I went diving several, I went diving twice this week. 

And I didn't do it because I'm living like, hey man, look, I've got this diving lifestyle. No, I did it because I was feeling off, and I needed to take action to put myself back in the zone. And now I don't make excuses, like I said earlier, I take action, I put myself back in the zone. If I'm not sleeping well, I get a massage, I'll get another one, I'll get a float tank, I'll get acupuncture, I'll do whatever it takes to put myself back in the zone.  

Because most people, they wait until they hit, they start to redline before they take action, and now I'm not doing that. As soon as I feel, as soon as that emotional check engine light comes on in my body, I'm taking action. And so, that's the third thing I'm grateful for. 

The fourth thing I'm grateful for is my heart got opened up to love. Now, you know I've been married before, I just told you my business partner is my ex-wife. But when we got married, it was a complicated situation, and we were both very emotionally immature. And while I don't want to talk too much about it, this woman that I met this, not this year, but in 2021. I felt like a mature love, although I went through a lot of growth with that experience too. But my heart got opened up to love and long-term relationships, and having a family. 

And before I wasn't like that, before I was like, eh, yeah, you know? I'll give it a try, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I don't believe that this is going to last, or it's not what I really want, or… And now I'm at a point where, because of this experience I had with this woman, I'm not sure, to be honest, if it'll work or not with this woman, but my heart got opened up to love. 

And I'm very grateful for that. It's been an incredible experience to feel, you know what? I'm at a point where I'm past all my stories, all the traumas of the past, all the crazy family bullshit I've been through, and I'm ready for that. Or at least as ready as I've ever been to where I'm talking about doing it, instead of just thinking about doing it, right? I'm taking action. 

And the fifth is, I reconnected with my family. And what I mean is, I have cousins, I have family still living. And if you don't know this story with my brother, and I'm not going to go into that whole thing, but a lot of the tragedies that happened in my immediate family affected my extended family, and we just lost connection.  

And not only did we lose connection, but they've lost connection with each other. And I feel like with this specific cousin and his family, I haven't seen them for years, because I was living in, I left Miami in 2018. 

Before that, I think I saw them 2017, or 2016, I don't remember. And I said, you know what? I'm going to reconnect with him this year. This year was all about family, it was all about investing in my relationships, not just family too by the way, friends, investing time and energy, because it's one thing to say, yeah, yeah, family's important, family's number one.  

And then it's like, well, all you do is work. How's it number one, if all you're doing is work? “Oh well, I'm just working for them, everything I do is”Ah, that's what you call bullshit. Could be horseshit, but it's definitely some type of crap. 

The reality is, how you spend your time and how you spend your money say a lot about if you're putting effort into the things that you say you value. There's some nuance there, but if you're dedicating time to your family, you're spending time with them, you're not doing something indirectly to benefit them, especially financially.  

And just a brief rant, I'll step down off the rant box, the soapbox. And I say that not to, hopefully that resonates with you. But I was saying that to myself, you say that you're invested in relationships, but you don't make time for your family, and you haven't seen them in years. And so, I was like, you know what? I'm going to make this happen.  

And as a result, I've connected with my cousin again, and his wife, and his two nephews, which these two kids love me. They're 10 and 13, and I've seen them, this will be the third time, like the third time this year that I've seen them. And I can't make up for lost time, but I'm trying, I'm speeding up the process. 

And I'm not going to stop doing that, I'm going to make sure that I connect with my family, because the reality is, if there's one thing that all the deaths, as you may know, like I've mentioned. My immediate family, they're all dead, my sister, my brother, my mother, my dad, my stepmother even, and it's, life is short. And I don't say that to say, hey, listen, life is short, things suck, and then you die, or whatever the saying is. I say that because I feel it now, and I feel what that means now. 

And not only is life short in the sense that it just, the days tick by, it's like you have to make sure that you're spending your time intentionally with what you want. Now, if you don't, maybe you shouldn't spend time with your family, I don't know what your situation is, but for me, I'm so grateful that I reconnected with my family, even though it's been tough, because we haven't seen each other in a long time, and my cousin is a very different person now, his wife's a very different person now, I'm a very different person now. 

And so, it's been some challenging moments, not too much, but just figuring out like, you know, is it cool that I come? And so, I'm going to see them again for Christmas, I'm going to spend Christmas with them, and I'm going to be leaving the day after.  

But it started this thing where I broke the pattern of saying family was important, but not actually acting on it, not actually investing time and money to go and see them, and to stay with them, and to reconnect with my nephews. They're technically like sec second cousins, but the age difference is such that they call me Uncle Ted, and these kids love me, and I love these kids, I mean, so grateful for that. 

And the other thing that reconnecting with my family did for me is, along with what my number four thing that I'm grateful for, my heart got open to love. I saw my cousin, and I saw the relationship he had with his wife, with his two sons, I'm like, I want that. I feel like that's right for me, and I feel like I've been avoiding it. But not avoiding it in a way that's, I feel like I've been avoiding it in a way out of fear, out of fear of what might happen, out of fear of what I might feel. 

And I feel like seeing his family and connecting with them gave me the confidence and the model of like, oh, his kids love him, I mean, is he the perfect dad? Are they the perfect kids? Is anyone perfect? No, of course not. But damn, do they have a great family? And I would like to have a great family too.  

And even as I want to say this now, I started out this gratitude episode, and feeling a certain type way about it, like, ah, man, you know? Okay, well I'm going to do my best to share my view of gratitude. 

And I don't know if you could tell at the beginning of the episode, it's like I'm going through the motions a little bit, and here's some stuff, some science stuff, and I think everything that I said is important to realize. But man, it just even shifted my focus right now, and just again, I'm practicing gratitude by doing this. And I want to tell you, if you're struggling out there, I'm done with my personal story now. 

And if you're struggling out there, it's I think normal, especially if you've been that way since you were young, or if you went through some tough things when you were young, or even if you went through some tough times as an adult. And I'll be honest with you, I don't do a gratitude journal, it's one of the things I wanted to try this year, but I haven't. I've got so many other things that I'm doing, it's been tough for me to figure out how to fit it in. But just doing this today, it made me feel a lot better. 

Although that was an unintended side effect of doing this episode, I really show up today for you to share my challenges with gratitude. But I want to challenge you with this too. If you're struggling with gratitude like I do, be intentional about taking the time to think about the top five things that you're grateful for this year.  

Write them down, I have them written in front of me, I write an outline for every episode. And let me tell you, I feel better now after, not just re writing this down, but recording it and also recounting the parts of this year that I feel so much gratitude about. 

So, it can be tough out there, especially for some people, the end of the year is an amazing time. For me, it's a bit more complicated, I love this time of year, but it's also, I feel the absence of my family. And if you're a person who's in that situation too, then invest in doing some, invest some time into doing some gratitude, some thoughts on gratitude, or writing five things that you're grateful for, and maybe sharing it with someone. 

Especially if you're grateful…you know one thing that's coming to me right now, when I talked about my cousin, I don't think I've ever told him how much being around his family helped me see that I could do the same thing that he's done, and have a similar experience being a father, being a husband, and I've never wanted it more than any time in my life than right now. And certainly, being around him has done a lot. To inspire that. But I've never told him. 

So, the second challenge is, if there's someone that you're grateful for in your life, tell them, and tell them why. Don't just say, hey man, I'm grateful for you, right? That's least. The way I think, that would be my younger, that's me, the caricature of my younger self, tell them, what are you grateful for? People don't hear enough sincere compliments, or sincere gratitude. So, it can be a real gift when you do that. And I can't wait to tell him that in person, when we're hanging out. 

And that is what I want to leave you with. I went a little bit longer than I expected, but I hope this episode gave you some food for thought. And the last thing I would say is, we talk about exercise, we talk about nutrition and supplementation and geek out on the details, and that's all important. But health goes way beyond what you put in your mouth, and the exercise that you do. It even goes beyond stress, it goes into our relationships with other people, it's critical, crucial. 

In fact, in my episode on longevity, I talked about that, the relationships, the strength of the relationships you have will affect how healthy you are, and how long you live. So, this isn't just some, hey, yeah, be grateful, because it's popular to talk about being grateful, especially when there's other people involved is about strengthening that pillar of health, the social side of our health. Which is equally as important as what diet you follow or tracking macros, or losing fat, building muscle, all the things that we talk about. 

So, that's the last thought I want to leave you with. I hope you enjoyed today; I hope you got something out of it. And let me know if you are on social media, hit me up, mostly on Twitter these days, but I'm on Facebook and Instagram too. So, @ted_ryce. If this hit home for you, would love to hear from you. That's it from me. Have a Merry Christmas, have a happy holiday, and love you lots. Let's make 2023 an amazing year. See you then. 

Ted Ryce is a high-performance coach, celebrity trainer, and a longevity evangelist. A leading fitness professional for over 24 years in the Miami Beach area, who has worked with celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, Rick Martin, Robert Downey, Jr., and hundreads of CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies. In addition to his fitness career, Ryce is the host of the top-rated podcast called Legendary Life, which helps men and women reclaim their health, and create the body and life they deserve.

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