EPMEPM: Productivity

Matthew Johnstone – Living life, not doing life

We can’t always change what is going on around us, but Matthew Johnstone is a firm believer that we have the power to change how we react to any circumstances. An author, illustrator, public speaker and Creative Director for the Black Dog Institute, Matthew will be speaking at ARPM Conference this weekend, and in the lead up, he sat down to answer a few of our questions.

You are passionate about mental health and wellbeing – why is it so important to “look after your heart”?

Matthew Johnstone: No-one drives us more mercilessly and unkindly than ourselves. Our expectations on ourselves are always greater than others. And we need to look after ourselves. We need to put ourselves first – both mentally and physically. This means you need to find out what your values are, what is important to you and what works for you.

We need to learn to have the “important conversations”. The truthful, honest conversations with yourself and those important to you – without judgement – about your goals, your values, your expectations and your dreams.

How can we be aware, to help both ourselves and our colleagues?

MJ: Prevention is the greatest cure. It is important to look after yourself and look out for each other. Just asking someone “Are you OK?” is such a simple act of kindness that can have a huge effect. The best way to help someone is to listen. Just being there for someone and listening to them is so important.

What is resilience? And why is building resilience important?

MJ: Resilience is learning to “toughen up”, learning that “stuff happens” because life will throw things at you that you won’t be able to change and it is how you deal with things in the long run that shapes you. It is learning to work with your strengths.

What are your top 3 tips to becoming more resilient?


  • Learn the sense of self compassion
  • Find out what is important to you and what works for you
  • You have to be prepared to learn – never stop learning or growing

What messages do you hope to be delivering to ARPM 2016 attendees?

MJ: Overall, it’s about living life and not doing life. Mindfulness is an important part of this. It’s not about the situation that is happening, it’s how you react to the situation.

  • Get out of survival mode and learn to look up
  • Self-compassion is so important. It’s about doing the right thing for you
  • Paying attention and being prepared to learn
  • Checking in is important – check in with here you are, what you are doing and who you are with. Being ok with this and accepting what you cannot change

Matthew Johnstone will be speaking at ARPM Conference, which will be held on 7–8 August at Sydney Hilton. For more information visit arpmconference.com.au

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