Positive thinking with Mathieu Dufour

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Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:00:00] Hi everybody. My name is Anne-Élisabeth Bossé and welcome to the Beneva podcast, It Happens to Everyone. Because Beneva is really good people, we've been networking to create memorable encounters. Every episode I have a guest on the show to talk about what's going on in their life. We've all asked ourselves at one point or another in our lives, should I go for my dreams or am I better off staying realistic? To explore this question, I invited a comedian for whom everything seems to work out, a daring guy who actually goes after his dreams, Mathieu Dufour, also known as Mathduff. And to help us in our reflection, I called upon the psychologist Véro Menard, who, I am sure, will shed some very interesting light on the matter. Well, let's go with that.




[0:00:49] Mathieu, even though you don't need to introduce yourself, I'm going to do a mini recap. You, you signed up on a whim for the School of Humor in 2015.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:00:56] Yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:00:57] You are hyper active on social networks. You have 213,000 followers on Instagram. You won an Olivier, you're nominated for another one this year, the Olivier of the Year. You performed your show at the Bell Center... [laughs]


Mathieu Dufour: [00:01:07] [laughter] Yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:01:08] ... last July in front of 13,000 people. That show is on Netflix. And you're preparing a new show that will be called...


Mathieu Dufour: [00:01:15] Good weather, bad weather. I'm not really preparing for it, but it's coming, this summer.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:01:18] That's in your plans to do that.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:01:19] Yes, exactly.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:01:20] Well, thank you very much for being here, Mathieu.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:01:22] Well, thanks for the invitation. I was really looking forward to it, really.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:01:24] Ah, well, I hope so.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:01:25] I'm very happy. I'm looking forward to talking and everything. It's going to be fun.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:01:26] I'm very flattered. Well, just with what we've just named, you're hyper diverse. It seems that you are a dreamer, but it seems that you are extremely positive, at least in what we see you do. Is it a stage persona? Is it something that belongs to your career or are you like that in everyday life?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:01:41] I'm really like that in everyday life. I have the impression that compared to other models, you know, of people who do either comedy or, you know, public figures in general, there is, sometimes, like a big detachment between the person who is on stage or in front of the screen or... in front of the camera, in the screen or... [laughter]


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:01:55] In front of the screen, it's something else.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:01:56] In front of the screen. Those who are listening, like [inaudible 0:01:56]. But there is often, you know, a kind of character or a detachment between that personality and the person in real life. And I'm really getting closer to that. You know, I get closer to... it's kind of the same person. You know, I like to say... one of the compliments that I really like is my friends who have known me for a long time, who tell me: "Mathieu, when we see you on stage, on TV, on your social networks - blah blah blah - it's really as if you were on the island, and then you talk to us. You see, there is this closeness that I have with this stage character who is not really a character, in the end.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:02:23] Well, no, that's it. Well, it's nice to see that when you're authentic it's so bright and positive. It's beautiful.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:02:31] Well, that's fun. Then, hey, I think it's when I finished the School of Humor... I was always a person who made people laugh. I like to have fun. I'm a kid, you know. You know, I was coming here, there's a street not far from the studio, it's Tupper Street, and I thought for, like, ten minutes in my head, to make a joke with Tupperware. Then, an English speaker who got lost, you say to him: "This is Tupper Street", and he's like: "Where? I was laughing to myself in my head on the way here. You know what I mean? It goes fast.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:02:51] Constantly boiling.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:02:53] Constantly boiling. So, you know, I've been the same way all the time. I like to have fun. I like to, like, play in life. But I used to be negative.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:02:59] Yes, okay. You don't always, always, even, let's say, in childhood or in adolescence...


Mathieu Dufour: [00:03:06] Like, adolescence, early adulthood, I was... my reflexes, in my head, were negative. Even though I liked to make the world laugh, I was always having fun, my reflex was to go negative all the time, like, in situations. Like, I stub my toe on the corner of a table, well, like, I'm going to be in tabarnache for two hours. You know, it could, like, scrape my mood for a really long time. Missing the bus. Because it seems like it's, like, indulgent. You know, it's fun, actually, to cry in your head.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:03:29] Were you victimizing yourself a little bit? You were a little bit like the Calimero of life: "It's so unfair. Why is this happening to me?"


Mathieu Dufour: [00:03:34] Not so much in the victimization, but more in the kind of, I liked that crying, it's fun to cry. You know, I read about it afterwards and, like, there's really something, you know, chemical, in the brain that gives you the kind of... it's fun. You know what I mean? That's why a lot of people are standing in that area. That's why. So I read a book/became aware of that and then I started to play switching that. So, let's say I was going to work - when I had my student job, you know, when I got out of the School of Humor - and then, well, I thought... I missed my bus, well, instead of being like: "Ostia! Now I'm going to be late"...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:04:03] "I'm late".


Mathieu Dufour: [00:04:03] ... nanana, nanana, I was like... That was the reflex that came to me and then, I was like, OK, I'm going to play a game, I'm going to switch it. And then I'd take a breath, I'd say to myself, "Hey, you know what, it's a beautiful sunny day, I'm going to go down to St-Denis and listen to some music and then I'm going to stop and get a little coffee. I'll text my boss: "I'll be 45 minutes late". Then if there's ever a problem, well, I'll quit that job and then, like, I'll go... You know, in the sense... Then when I started doing that, I really saw a big change. Then the people around me really saw a change too. So I said to myself, well, I should never stop doing this, basically.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:04:29] Ah, I understand. And do you think that being positive can be a communicating vessel with ambition? You know, because we know that you did a show during the pandemic, a show called the Show-rona virus, in which you said, on the fly, in your legendary positivism: "Hey, one day, I'm going to do the Bell Centre.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:04:47] Yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:04:47] Something that happened.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:04:48] Yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:04:49] So I guess when you believe in life, life gives you back.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:04:52] 100%.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:04:53] But are you strategic about this? You just threw it out there, but do you have a career plan, a five-year plan? Do you sow a lot to reap or is it more things that happen to you?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:05:04] It seems that, inevitably, it really took off organically, to launch businesses like that, you know, and then it happens, and everything. Then, there, well, comes with it, more people following you, you know, projects, bigger business. So it seems that the first reflex is to try to say, well, I'll recreate that. You know, I'm going to try to stage it, let's face it. Then I tried, sometimes, to store it, and it didn't work at all.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:05:24] What do you mean, you tried to stager?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:05:27] Well, to say, let's admit, well, if I say it, it's going to happen, so that, like, trying to say to myself: "Ah, well, I'm going to plug this in beforehand because we want to do this". Then it didn't work at all. It didn't come from some nonsense, because when it comes from a nonsense, what I experience inside is really like a flame. It sounds super cliché and everything, but I don't care, that's what turns me on, to push a nonsense too far and then just, like... People get on board too. I feel like people are part of the process when that happens, because people see the genesis of the project and then they're like, "Come on! He's got a good basement. He did it for real.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:05:53] "We're going to follow him in there to see how far he'll go.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:05:55] "We follow him for real". Then it's like a big gang trip in there, which I find really fun. So, no, you don't have to stage it. And I remind myself of that as often as possible because the more it goes on, the bigger the projects are, the more pressure you feel to do other big things and stuff. So, no, my modus operandi is really, if it doesn't happen organically, we don't do it. Then even at that, to bring it back to the base, to do as little business as possible, the good business that you're supposed to do will come to you, yeah.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:06:17] It's still ambitious to do the Bell Centre. That's something you said that may have caught up with you later on. Do you have any visualization techniques for big events like that where you show up as you are?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:06:31] There are definitely visualization techniques. It seems like when I heard about visualization before, I saw it as a little too intense, too, like, shamanic, of like...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:06:39] Esoteric-weird?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:06:41] Yes, I'm very much into it. You know, I mean, I meditate, I... Yes, esotericism and everything, I'm there. You know what I mean? But, sometimes, there are cases that make me... I find it too much. I thought that in my head, that, me, the visualization was to really, you know, spend four hours in your couch saying, like: "I'm on stage, people are cheering for me". Like, all the same, you know. But I understood, finally, that my visualization came to soothe the anxiety that I had at a given moment of... I realized at a given moment that, for events that were coming, you know, in the future, I often made scenarios, negative assumptions.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:07:14] Ah, OK, your brain was automatically going there.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:07:17] Yes, imagine that show. One, eille, I have a show in a week, it's stressful. Imagine, it's not going well. Ah, the world, like, won't like it. Imagine, girl, girl. So, a week before an event I was in a negative mood, then I arrived at that event, then I was not in my good graces. Do you understand? I wasn't in my right frame of mind. I don't know.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:07:34] Yes. A good state of mind.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:07:36] Yes. Then, finally, these shows, at a certain point, I realized that things were going well. Then, I was like: "I've been feeling like crap for a week, I've been beating myself up, then, finally, I get there and then I leave, and 20 minutes after the show I'm really happy. It's fun. Fact that, there, why did I live this all week?"


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:07:48] Yes. Then the fun/not fun ratio is not equal. It doesn't pay for you. Yes.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:07:53] No. My God, the balance is... That's it. Right. I think that's when I started doing visualization. I thought, I'm going to switch this over. Instead of telling myself it's going to be crap a week before, I'm going to tell myself it's going to be fun a week before.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:08:00] "I can't wait".


Mathieu Dufour: [00:08:02] "I can't wait". And then, well, when the drawer opened: "Ah, it's coming up in a week" I said to myself: "It's going to be a lot of fun, I'm going to have fun, it's going to be sick. Thank you, good night. I closed the drawer and went on with my life. So I started doing that, and then doing that, well, that's, like, the easiest key to visualization for me, because I apply that to everything. Then anything that happens...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:08:19] Then it works.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:08:20] But it works. It works. And, you know, the Bell Centre, it's very nice... it sounds big because there are a lot of people and, like, it's a place...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:08:26] It's mythical.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:08:27] It's mythical, nanana. But, in the end, it's just that I built it with my own gang. I was thinking, 15,000 people are coming to see me to have fun, so it's going to be fun. So why wouldn't it be fun, you know. So that's what I tell myself in my head so I don't, like, create false negative emotions for nothing, you know, assumptions. You know, after that we could get into, like, the Toltec agreements, you know, not making assumptions in life.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:08:47] Yes, nothing personal.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:08:50] Yes. The impeccable word. Blah blah blah. But don't make any assumptions, it's one of the things I apply the most... I'm trying to apply more at the moment. And I think it's fun, you know.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:08:56] Because it's not true that it protects us from imagining the worst.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:08:58] No.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:08:59] You know, sometimes you say to yourself, "Oh, good, so I won't be disappointed.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:09:01] Right.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:09:02] But, on the contrary, because you put yourself in a bad energy and then you spend days just...


Mathieu Dufour: [00:09:06] 100%. Then there are... I don't know how much, but, you know, in many spheres, in many fields, the world, they think, you know, about situations like...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:09:14] Disasters.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:09:15] Yes, disasters. Then I think it's good to do it in certain situations, but you have to keep most of your focus on the positive, on the event. But you can leave yourself a door, you know, of..." It might not go well.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:09:24] Risk calculation versus...


Mathieu Dufour: [00:09:25] So, let's say you're a security guard for the president of the United States...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:09:27]. Let's face it.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:09:28] You don't have a choice, you know, to make a scenario of, like, what tunnel is the handsome Joe Biden going through?


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:09:34] "It's going to be okay! There are no terrorists.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:09:34] "Hey, it's going to be okay. Hey, I'll leave you my gun in the tank.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:09:37] [laughter] "I'm going to trust life. I am positive.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:09:39] "Basically, it's going to be fine. But that's it. Then after that, I took an extreme situation of, like, keeping the president of the United States, but I think it still happens. You know, let's admit it, at the Bell Centre, we were in front of 15,000 people and then at some point - you know, it was caught - at some point, there was a case that it was, like, bogus. But, you know, I thought about it, I was like, if anything happens, well, just stay calm and then just take it back, and then...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:10:02] Well, yes. Then, also, to take for granted that if people are there it's because they love you. To take the idea that love is there...


Mathieu Dufour: [00:10:07] Yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:10:08] ... rather that love is not there, then is to be won.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:10:11] And I, honestly, I've often said that I based my career on... because I'm a coward.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:10:14] Really?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:10:15] Yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:10:15] Interesting.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:10:16] When I left the School of Humor, I had nothing in my life. All the people who prepare me in advance by telling me that something is going to be, like, scary, it's going to be hard, I don't believe them. I don't believe them. I think, no, it's going to be fun.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:10:23] It will work.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:10:24] It's going to be fun for me. I won't get bored, it'll be fun. I'm going to have a lot of fun, because, you know, "Oh, the humor, the bars, the shows, the people who pull out pitchers of beer". You know, like, the people who fire, you know, they tell you things that don't make sense. You know, it's your aunt who tells you that, from the Saguenay, I mean, she's never been to Mon... You know, let's face it...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:10:37] But the actors too. Butter of peanuts. "You're going to eat peanut butter". Everyone is preparing us for extreme poverty.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:10:42] Yes, yes, yes, yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:10:43] Oh yeah. To misfortune.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:10:44] But 100%. Then, you know, let's admit it, we can even apply this to your relationships, nana. You know, I mean, everyone always tells me... I've never been in a relationship except recently, you know, and then it was totally easy. It was full easy, full beautiful because I wanted it to be full easy and full beautiful and I didn't put myself in situations where it was going to be complicated or, you know, I didn't bother.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:11:00] But from that perspective, as a guy who goes for it, are you sometimes afraid of failure, or does it ever cross your mind?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:11:08] It crosses my mind. It crosses my mind, and I'm even starting to find failure attractive.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:11:13] Oh well! OK. In what sense?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:11:16] Well, we really hear about that in a lot of businesses, you know, when you read the biographies of people who are really successful, who have, like, the biggest businesses in the world, and who are the most successful people in their field, well, it seems like you read their CVs and then, like, they have lots of flops. A lot of flops, you know. Then for me, since it's been fast, my business, with really all the time of... like beauties, successes, fun, nana, it seems like if you don't want to flirt with failure or you don't want to, like, accept that it exists, it can become more anxiety-provoking to say: "Ostia! Well, I'm not doing that project because, like, I don't want to fail. I won't do that project because I don't want to fail.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:11:50] Yes, yes, yes. I'm on a perfect line.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:11:52] Perfect pitch, blah blah blah. Like, "No, no, like, fuck me, I don't mind and then, like, I'll learn. Then, like, try some stuff. And the more you expose yourself, the more people there are... You know, humor, do you like it or do you not like it, so what is success, basically, in Our?


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:12:05] 100%.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:12:06] You know, people, I feel really bad talking about my show on Netflix, sometimes, because people are like: "So? They want to know, like, are you good, are you bad. I had fun doing it, I did my best at the time.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:12:14] Then, you, you're proud of yourself.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:12:17] Yes, exactly. And then, like, could you have done better?


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:12:18] Yes. Because the show at the Bell Centre in front of 13,000 people is on Netflix too. I don't know if I said it right, but there is the other step. There are not many comedians in Quebec who are on Netflix.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:12:27] No. No, that's it. Then after that, well, to do that, to stand out from the crowd, to stand out from the crowd, to do things that no one else has ever done, well, like, there's a damn gang that's just going to hate you and then they're going to beat you over the head, and then they're going to make you shit, and then they're going to say that you're no good.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:12:37] Do you live well with that?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:12:38] Well, more and more. Really. Really. Really.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:12:40] But I find it really inspiring. And I think you're lucky to be the same. I don't know, it's not given to everyone to see life with...I'm not saying see life with rose-colored glasses, in a way...


Mathieu Dufour: [00:12:50] Naive. Yes, yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:12:51] Yes, that's right. No, what I mean is to see the positive. But I'm still wondering about your learning curve with this. Was it a trigger that happened? Did you come from an extremely positive pool? Without getting too personal, you know, do you consider yourself lucky to be the same or did you work on your happiness?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:13:05] Really not lucky, like really not lucky.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:13:06] You worked it.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:13:07] Because, like, the three months I decided to make the switch, you know, like, constantly you're trying to make efforts, constantly, to tell yourself, like, no I'm not going to say... Because it's really easier to have immediate results in the negative. I'm not saying...then, after that, I don't like to talk about it from that angle, it seems, because I'm never going to put myself in a situation of "I worked hard, I've...", no way.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:13:26] You could.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:13:28] But I work really hard and, like, it's more demanding to stay in that state of mind than to go into the negative and then into victimization. So, no, it's not luck. And I'm happy. And it requires me to work all the time. It's not a case of you come in, you sit down and, like, you know, it's not like a door that you go through, and then once you're on the other side, it's done. Thank you, good evening.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:13:45] That's settled.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:13:47] It's all the time. Because after that the issues become different. There are other cases. There's always, like, a case that pops up in your blind spot that you're like, "Come on! Here's another one. But that's what I value most, I think, being able to do that, you know, I don't know. You know, when I left the Saguenay and came to Montreal, it was impossible for a lot of people, you know, in my entourage, for it to work, you know.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:14:06] To succeed.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:14:08] But I knew it was going to work and that ... let's go! You know, let's do it. Baby steps, it's going to lead, at some point, to something, you know. Then, it seems like it's done, so I say to myself, like, why not do other things? You know, things that at my age, I think, are impossible, and then to just apply the same process, and then to have fun with it, and then to do it. You know, I feel like maybe going to do, you know, stuff in the United States, in Europe.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:14:25] Why not?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:14:26] So the world... I know in my head that it's fully feasible, but, you know, the people around, it's like: "Well, yes, but you're from Quebec, you can't. You can't," they say. And that's what drives me on the edge. I'm like, "Perfect! Great! Hi hi" Like, I feel like my desire right now is just to put myself, like, in a bunker and then work on myself and then just, like, I'll see you in ten years and then...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:14:48] We'll see.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:14:49] ... I know what I'm going to have accomplished. And even if it's not like the top, well, already, when you go towards a goal you're already doing more business than if you hadn't gone there, so that...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:14:54] But it's so beautiful to have dreams, it's not even given to everyone. So I hope that when you see someone who has a dream...


Mathieu Dufour: [00:15:00] Yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:15:01] ... it's important to encourage him. It's just so beautiful.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:15:02] The world is having a hard time with this in Quebec.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:15:03] But it creates jealousy maybe a little bit.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:15:05] Yes, yes, yes, yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:15:06] That's what we feel.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:15:07] One metaphor that I find really good is the metaphor of the arena in life. You know, a bit like gladiators. You know, you're in the arena, you know, like, people trying, people trying, people chasing their dreams, the world...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:15:14] You are in the blood. You're in the blood, you're in the slime, "You, I'll take your comments".


Mathieu Dufour: [00:15:18] 100%. You're nice, you're sitting in the podium, you're eating popcorn and then you're looking at us, but, like, you know what....


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:15:20] "If I were you, I wouldn't have done that either.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:15:23] Yeah, like, javelin.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:15:24] Ah, 100%.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:15:26] Not even. I shouldn't have thrown a javelin. Look, I'm not judging these comments, but, like, you have blood on your shoulder, you're eating sand, tell me some comments. I want to know everything because if you tell me, it's because, like, I can get something out of it, you know.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:15:35] Yes. The critics from the cheap seats as they say in good French.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:15:38] Yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:15:38] Yes, I agree. But your background is really interesting, your speech too. And I know that, but for a lot of people, maybe, sometimes, they say: "Yes, but, that just happens to others. He's an exception. You know, it's the exception that proves the rule.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:15:50] Yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:15:51] But I wonder if the positive and believing in our dreams has a real impact in our lives. And I would like to continue the discussion with the psychologist, Dr. Véro Menard. Do you want to stay with us?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:16:02] Well, 100%. 100 %. Imagine, I'm leaving.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:16:03] No need for that, I understood everything.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:16:06] No, I'm double parked. Bye. Yes, it's full interesting. I'm tempted.




Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:16:09] Psychologist Dr. Véro Menard, thank you so much for being here. Let me introduce you quickly. You are a training speaker in addition to being a psychologist. And you launched a platform called psytusavais.com. And it provides mental health resources. And what else can I say? Oh yeah, you also have a Tik Tok channel. My God, you guys have a lot of stuff in common.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:16:30] Well, yes. My God!


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:16:29] That's great! Véro... I'll call you Véro?


Vero Menard: [00:16:31] Yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:16:31] Do you think it can concretely help people in their lives to be positive? Does it have a real impact?


Vero Menard: [00:16:38] Absolutely. Absolutely. Then, on the other hand, if we have ideas and then we have preconceived ideas, negative cognitions, well, that also leads us to program negative events in our life. So, of course, when we have a positive mentality, a positive perception of life, of the future, of people and of ourselves, of course it leads us to make choices and take actions that make it easier to achieve what we want.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:17:06] It seems to work like a big magnet.


Vero Menard: [00:17:09] Yes.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:17:10] It makes you a big magnet. It's in a mold. But I realize that sometimes I'm in a state of, I don't know, more... You know, at the beginning of the year or, you know, when you're in a more vegan state, I have the impression that it's... it's like there's less magnetism and magic that happens because, like, I'm more turned off.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:17:22] You emanate from less than...


Vero Menard: [00:17:23] Absolutely.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:17:24] Yes.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:17:25] Yes, I understand. But, also, it's not esoteric to say, so, having a positive attitude, it has an impact in the realization of your dreams, to reach your goals. It's not just having a good life, it's having what you want, ultimately.


Véro Menard: [00:17:36] Well, yes, you know. Then beyond that... You know, as a psychologist, as a doctor of psychology, I am a scientist. And according to my code of ethics, I have to talk about the science that I know and that I master. But beyond that, I am a human being with beliefs. So beyond spirituality, it has been really demonstrated - and I, just from my clinical experience, I have seen it repeatedly - people who have changed their mentality. But they had - well, that's a long topic - but, you know, they also worked on their past wounds to change that vision. So not just artificially adopting positive thoughts and behaviors - the right behavior - etc. But it had big impacts in the long term and even major changes in their lives, you know.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:18:14] So in order to learn to be in the light, you have to make peace with the shadow of the past, if I understand correctly?


Vero Menard: [00:18:19] Yes, yes, absolutely.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:18:20] But the nuance I would like to bring is, can we be too positive? Is there a positivity that can be toxic?


Vero Menard: [00:18:25] Absolutely. Really. Even, you know, you were saying that and then I was thinking about all the Facebook posts that we see. You know, "Smile, life is good. When you want it, you can. It's crippling to suffer. Then just being artificially positive by adopting and then ignoring the suffering underneath is missing the point. And then often the injury or the problems, let's say, of consumption...


Mathieu Dufour: [00:18:48] It's just putting a frame in front of the hole in the wall.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:18:50] Nice image.


Véro Menard: [00:18:50] Yes. Then you move it and it goes somewhere else. And this kind of post, it's fun, it's encouraging, I like it - you know, I'm a positive girl, basically, outside of my job as a psychologist - but you have to be careful not to invalidate the suffering and the experience of people either. So it's a balance between the two. You have to consider what you experience as suffering, then treat it, then also put yourself in that posture.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:19:11] And that's why I find it touching to talk about this all the time. Because, for example, someone who pokes this podcast, who doesn't know me and who just shows it, it seems that I feel, sometimes, it's not magic, it's not ...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:19:21] It's not a magic wand.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:19:23] It's not a magic wand, it's not magic. And, like, I have problems in my life, situations that I have to, like, manage. And, like, it's not all black and white.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:19:30] Yes. Positive doesn't mean not having pain, not taking your problems by the horns, not... That's it.


Véro Menard: [00:19:37] Yes, yes, yes. And if you don't do it, you're missing out on something. Let's face it, if, let's say, in a couple, there's no argument, in a friendship, in a partnership, there's no...


Mathieu Dufour: [00:19:43] It's impossible.


Véro Menard: [00:19:44] It's impossible. There's something wrong, you know. And then in schema therapy, okay, we describe the different parts of us. Like, for example, your sad and vulnerable child who comes in with your wounds from the past, your critic who judges you, who devalues you, who is harsh with you, your savior who gives everything to everyone and then sacrifices herself and then forgets your emotional needs. Then in these parts, there is one who is called the magician. The magician, in fact, puts a little pixie dust everywhere and then pretends that everything is fine, so you love yourself more than you really do. And then, we're in defense mechanisms. It's a problem.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:20:17] Often I see the image, you know, in any sphere of my life, of the construction of a building. I have the impression that if your foundations are like rancid, rotten, and then they don't hold, and then you try to put floors on top of them, I mean, it may look like fun and you're doing the right thing in the moment, but if you didn't go and face...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:20:32] You didn't make peace...


Mathieu Dufour: [00:20:33] ... the basement to redo your foundation, well, it's going to blow in two years. So, it looks like...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:20:37] Another beautiful image, Mathieu.


Véro Menard: [00:20:40] In fact, it's funny because I'm a specialist in trauma and personality disorders and when I explain to people, when I work with someone in psychotherapy, let's say, someone who has a borderline personality disorder, I explain to them that their personality, including the cognitions that they adopted as a child, the thought patterns, is the foundation of their house and that it's no use putting up beautiful windows and beautiful garlands, and beautiful lights...


Mathieu Dufour: [00:21:01] No, you're going to go...


Véro Menard: [00:21:02] It's going to be all wrong.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:21:03] Does this have anything to do with the fact that, naturally, there are people who have negative temperaments? We're not all born equal in that way. How would you explain that there are people who see the glass of water as half empty rather than half full?


Vero Menard: [00:21:13] Ah, that's a great question.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:21:14] That's good. That's a good question.


Vero Menard: [00:21:16] That's a good question. That's a good question.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:21:17] It was on my sheet, though. I don't want to give myself too much credit. But I'm really interested.


Véro Menard: [00:21:23] I would say to you that in fact-there's really... it's a nice mix. In psychology, whether it's a disorder or a beautiful side, it's really hard to undo the whole recipe and then say, "Ah, this is the ingredient that works. OKAY.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:21:33] It's case by case, often, and it depends on the...


Véro Menard: [00:21:34] Yes, but we can say that in this, in the personality, it's a mix, I would say, a nice mix between the two. That is to say that we come into the world with a genetic baggage that has been transmitted to us - thank you dad, thank you mom - that, among other things, there are temperamental traits. So we may be more on the neurotic side, we may be more on the calm side. That's really in our genetics. Does that make us negative? No. On the other hand, when you are more, for example, on the pessimistic side in terms of temperament and that, during your childhood...


Mathieu Dufour: [00:22:01] Your environment is...


Véro Menard: [00:22:01] Yes, your emotional needs are not being met, your father has the negativity-pessimism pattern. Every time something good happens, he's like, "Yeah, that's good, but watch out...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:22:09] "But check tomorrow.


Véro Menard: [00:22:11] Yes, that's right. Exactly. What's the next case.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:22:12] He's a jerk when he's driving. And then, when you're driving, you're always in the middle of it .


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:22:15] Life is an affront.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:22:18] Yes, 100%.


Véro Menard: [00:22:18] Then, oops, at 10 years old, your house burns down, the insurance doesn't cover it, you start all over again. When you add, deep down, to your temperament that you were born with, the patterns of your parents, the way they raise you, the way they talk to you, the way they think, and the events of life and then what happens to you in your childhood, well, that crystallizes why a person... Then when we do the evaluation, in psychology, precisely, before starting a psychotherapy or before issuing a diagnosis, it's precisely all these pieces of the recipe that we're going to evaluate.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:22:45] Understand them and then go see. Yes, yes, yes, yes.


Véro Menard: [00:22:47] That's why, also, sometimes you have someone... You know, for example, you and then you, and then me too, sometimes you're like: "Damn schnut day. There's nothing that works". But there are others, for example, who spend their day like that and then they're in a depressed state for a long time. But there are some... You know, it's on a continuum, basically, you know. That's why it's interesting to look at temperament, personality, life experiences, cognitions, etc. It's a whole thing. It's a whole.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:23:07] Would that be the techniques, for you, at that time, to develop your positivity?


Véro Menard: [00:23:13] Yes. Then other things. You know, in the sense that, you know, if we could... if I could I would change the whole health system, and then everyone could have psychotherapy because I think we all need it.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:23:22] Everyone would benefit.


Vero Menard: [00:23:23] Everyone would benefit.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:23:25] I admit, I can say all the time that, you know, I'm positive, I'm having fun now, but that's like a big... most of my time. But, like, in my cell phone, I have a note with all my problems. I like that too. I do a lot of...


Véro Menard: [00:23:39] Introspection?


Mathieu Dufour: [00:23:39] Introspection for, like, I know that when such and such a case happens, like, I snap. It may be my... You know, I have my problems too that, like, I want to go, you know, look for, but, that's it, it's like a higher percentage of I try to keep myself in the positive. But everyone has problems and everyone has situations that are, like, aberrant and trashy, you know.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:23:54] Well yes. And we were talking about balance earlier between making peace with the past, but also finding techniques for the present. I'd like to hear your thoughts on... I don't want to pass judgment on any of these techniques, but, hey, everything we hear on social networks, on the laws of attraction, if you send it out into the universe it will come back to you, the vision board, what do you think of these techniques? Is it, for you, a quick fix or is it good? In short, it's a bit...


Véro Menard: [00:24:17] Well, yes then no. So we're going to undo it a bit like... Because I'll see it as different pieces. So, you know, it's certain that I won't get into explanations about, let's say, what we throw into the universe and then what comes back to us, and all that. Even if, let's admit it, like the little girl inside me, the human being inside me, apart from the psychologist, I can have beliefs that touch on that, you know, I don't really want... But, on the other hand, for the rest, let's admit, we think about, you were talking about visualization techniques, then there are a thousand and one, or about vision board, we are more or less in the same thing. I've already had patients or myself do exercises to write down, in five years, where you see yourself exactly and then... Why it has been shown to be effective, apart from my clinical experience, to have seen it, and my experience as a human being, is that you put yourself in a mindset, eh, you put yourself in a state where you see it as possible. Just by seeing it as possible, you will already have the attitude, the words, the cognitions, adopt the right choices, the actions, see opportunities that you would not normally have seen.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:25:19] Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.


Véro Menard: [00:25:20] People too, when they come to you, if you have that state of mind, well, it's more exciting, it's sexier. You know, it makes them want to work with you, let's face it. I'm talking nonsense. The fact is, yes, I believe in it. And, yes, it's important. But, let's say, you ask me, with my patients, in psychotherapy, we don't get there in the first two sessions.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:25:37] No, exactly. Yes, yes, yes, yes.


Véro Menard: [00:25:39] You can work for a year on the wounds of today and then the past before you start adopting strategies like that.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:25:44] Yes, this Law of Attraction business and everything, sometimes it seems like it sounds really esoteric and like something or other, but, you know, the thing that I like the most is to apply it for myself and according to what I want to do. Then a case that I had read at one point, that I found super interesting is, like, you know, when you're younger or you're going to get a pair of glasses for the first time. You don't have glasses, but I can see it if you've ever worn them.


Véro Menard: [00:26:01] I've had them before.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:26:01] I've had them too.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:26:02] Me, when I learned that I had... When you put your focus on something, you see it more in life in general. The first time you wear glasses, well, like, you go to the mall, you're like, "Ah, my God, everyone has glasses. You see everybody with glasses. You're going to change tanks. You get a new tank, let's say. You have this brand. On the street, you're going to see all the tanks of that brand. So if you put a lens on yourself, it's the same thing. It's as if your brain is thinking about that, so the things that could help you get there, you'll think about them. If, let's say, you're in a job that you don't like, you say to yourself: "OK. Look, I'm choosing myself, I want to be happy, I'm switching jobs", you say that to yourself one morning. But if you go out for a drink in the evening with your friends, then there's someone around the table who says, "Hey, my cousin works at such and such a place, and they're looking for someone", if in the morning you got up and you were pissed off, then you didn't want to make a change, well, you're going to take your drink and then you're going to continue the conversation with your friend. You're going to hear this, then you're going to say...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:26:45] You were open to this kind of approach.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:26:47] ... "... No, no, no". If you said that to yourself in the morning, you just put your focus on that, that person, you'll say, "Huh, what is that?" OK. It becomes a possibility. That's what I find fun. There's no magic in it. A little, maybe, but mainly it's the logic of putting your efforts towards a goal, you know.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:27:02] But what's interesting in what you're saying, I think, is that, let's say, you write yourself a letter in five years, it's to project yourself well, it's to project yourself in a good state of mind, it's not to project yourself, I don't know, in a new job or thinner, to say I'm going to be good. I'm going to invest in his happiness, it seems like it becomes like, it guides your goal.


Véro Menard: [00:27:21] Yes. Then after that, the details become less important. It's how you want to feel. So, afterwards, how you feel or how it's going to look, feel, it's not really important to know, you know. I think it's really interesting to do that, that exercise. Among other things, the vision board is also part of it, and the different forms of visualization. But I particularly like this one. Because human beings, as living bugs, you know - beyond even being human, we are animals - we have a natural tendency to project our worries onto the future, to be on our guard. Anxiety is very important, it allows us to survive in the world. So it's a bit like a natural tendency inside us. It's a bit like a shortcut. But, you know, as we said throughout the podcast, I think, it can't just be that. You can't have problems since you were a little kid, not address them, not put them in your notes and then one day work on them, pretend they don't exist, and then do that, and then, there, everything will be fine. You may get to that point, but there are wounds that you miss.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:28:18] It's, like, it's a pill that you take so you don't feel the pain in your ankle, but, like, you're still running and then, like, you break it even more.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:28:23] But yes, absolutely. To numb.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:28:26] It's an Advil. It's an Advil.


Vero Menard: [00:28:28] An Advil, it just lasts seven-eight hours, right.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:28:29] Yes, exactly.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:28:30] But, also, let's admit that we project and then we say to ourselves... Because, you know, there are risks. When you try something, there is a potential risk. It's normal to talk about it, about what can be negative, what will happen. Maybe we have to change our vision of failure in ourselves too. How do you see failure?


Véro Menard: [00:28:46] Yes, well, it's an important question because we are in a society - and I'm talking as if I'm talking about 2023, but it's been the same for 200 years - we are in... society sends us extrinsic value, a value that is granted according to what you give, what you have, how you look, how much money you have. When you're in school, it's your grades. Your title, your appearance. In short, we teach our little ones - we learn this when we're little too - the whole system. Even religions, even the school system, it all works like that, with punishment and then rewards. Then the rewards go with what you give, what you do, what... Not who you are inside.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:29:26] Your performance.


Vero Menard: [00:29:27] Yes. But, in the end, failure is very important. Do you know anyone who has succeeded and never had a blunder on their way, who never failed, who never had... No, failure is how you deal with it that makes the difference whether you succeed or not. If your failure is part of your learning and then you're like, "Okay, I screwed up, so now I know how not to do something..." or how not to succeed, what can I learn from that? How can I tackle it differently?"


Mathieu Dufour: [00:29:55] If you hadn't screwed up, you wouldn't have the answer to this problem. You know, that, finally...


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:29:59] Yes, yes, yes. But it's also that failure doesn't mean that you're not on the right path. It doesn't mean that you have to give up on that dream because there was a failure on the path, you know. And I think that there are people who make this association: "Hey, look, I'm not on the right track obviously, I have obstacles", and who don't listen to their dreams. And that's my question, what are the consequences, for you, of not listening to your dreams? There are plenty of people who don't have the courage of their dreams. What are the consequences of not going through with your business?


Véro Menard: [00:30:27] It's a terrible consequence. You have to tell yourself that.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:30:28] But no, but I imagine there are.


Véro Menard: [00:30:31] But yes. Then it's really... No, but it's terrible. I say that as a joke, but, actually, it's true.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:30:34] It's sad anyway.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:30:35] It's sad, yes.


Véro Menard: [00:30:36] Well yes. Because if you take a person who is dying, who is leaving this world, and you ask him what his regrets are, most of them will say: "I didn't get close enough to such and such a person, and I didn't try to make my dreams come true". You see, that's something, that's the meaning of life. For me, the meaning of life - and not just for me, for Brené Brown, and other authors.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:30:56] Brené Brown. Queen.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:30:57] Hey we love Brené Brown. Brené Brown, the queen, eh.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:30:59] Being vulnerable. Being vulnerable.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:31:00] Empathy too. In any case.


[inaudible - speaking at the same time 0:31:05]


Véro Menard: [00:31:06] I really agree with connecting deeply and then authentically with others and finding our place in the world, finding meaning in our lives. But it's a struggle, it's a hard struggle. And it's scary to fail.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:31:18] You have to be a winner. That's what it's all about.


Véro Menard: [00:31:21] Yes, you have to... Then there's Carol Dwek who is incredible. A psychologist who wrote a book about changing your mindset, so moving from the fixed mindset that says, "Failure is the end, it doesn't work, I'm worthless, etc.", the whole extrinsic self-esteem side, to the developmental mindset. Failure brings it, I'm going to learn from it, I'm going to get up stronger, I'm going to keep going.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:31:41] Phoenix. I rise from my ashes. It goes away.


Vero Menard: [00:31:43] Phoenix.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:31:44] Yeah, like, I'm going to burn, I'm going to come back.


Vero Menard: [00:31:46] I have one here on my arm. Phoenix. Look.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:31:47] My God! Brené Brown, Phoénix, we think the same.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:31:49] It connects.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:31:51] Yes, that's right. It's fun to meet you.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:31:52] It connects. For someone who wasn't lucky enough to have very supportive or helpful or loving parents, who has encountered a lot of obstacles, I imagine that following someone like Mathieu can have a very positive influence, that positive role models have a real impact too?


Véro Menard: [00:32:10] Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, you hear a lot of stories. In any case, I hear a lot of stories: "When I was little, my parents were... I experienced traumas. They were not there for me. We were poor. Okay. Bli bla blo bla blo "But I had a teacher who was incredible. I had a sportsman that I admired, that I followed. I had a comedian that I loved, who was positive, who went for it. So, yes, it's super important and it can be such a strong protective factor that it can even change everything.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:32:36] Incredible though.


Véro Menard: [00:32:38] Yes, that gives a beautiful meaning to your work.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:32:41] Me, if there's anything beautiful that I like, you know, sometimes people talk to me about being known or getting recognized blah blah blah, that exists, but for me, the moments where it shakes me the most, that I find really beautiful, are the testimonies that I receive from people who are just like: "I took this action because, like, I told myself that everything you dream of happens", or tatata. You know, so that, that, I'm, like, just wow!


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:32:36] Thank you for this precious knowledge, this popularization, but at the same time, these great technicalities. I think that we have gone really deep into the subject.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:33:10] It was really interesting. I could have talked about it for four hours with Véro.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:33:10] Thank you for your authenticity, for, my God, the positive influence that you bring into the world. You have really transformed me.


Véro Menard: [00:33:20] Thank you for the opportunity.


Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [0:33:21] I'm pleased.


Mathieu Dufour: [00:33:22] Thank you for having us.



Math Duff has been leading his life and career differently ever since he started seeing the glass as half-full. He discusses this with Anne-Élisabeth who then asks Vero Menard, motivational speaker and psychologist : How much do positive thinking tricks help us?

Animation : Anne-Élisabeth Bossé

Mathieu Dufour

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