What have you been focusing on lately?
- On how well life is going for you or how the new boss has to hate you?
- On how much your partner loves you or on the terrible state of your bank account?
- On the wonderful vacation you came back from recently or how you're dreading going back to work?
Many of us naturally focus on all the things that can go wrong, especially if you have a tendency to be anxious, but focusing on the negative is the wrong way to go. Our happiness can be directly impacted by what we focus on, so choosing to accentuate the positive is more than just song lyrics.
There's a principle I teach to the families I coach, what you focus on will grow. Whatever you give attention to, you will likely see more of, so if you're only focused on the bad parts of life, you're likely to see more of them.
Have you ever heard of the law of attraction? While it may seem like some new age trend, there is some evidence that you might be surprised to hear. I first heard about this when Oprah had The Secret as one of her book club selections. She talked about her focus on gratitude and surrounding herself with positive people and images being the key to her success.
Consider this: the more you give your energy to one thing, the more that thing has a possibility of coming into being. If you concentrate on getting a university degree, you will most likely achieve that goal. If you concentrate on writing a book, you will again probably achieve that goal. But what happens if you continually tell yourself, while you are concentrating on getting the degree, that you are not intelligent enough to pass the exams, or that you simply are incapable of understanding the course material? And what happens, if you continually tell yourself while you are concentrating on writing the book, that you will never be able to write well, or that your story is not good enough? Obviously you are not only undermining yourself and sabotaging your desired outcomes, but you may also be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Goals and Fears
But focusing on a desired goal is very hard for a very simple reason: we are far too used to focusing on the fears surrounding the goal (I am so afraid I will never have a great relationship, rather than imagining in your mind's eye the great relationship in the way you want it to be; or how will I ever get that promotion rather than imagining in your mind's eye the way you will feel when you do get the hoped-for promotion).
How to Focus
So how do you focus? When you worry, and your mind goes around and around a problem, or some stress in your life, you are very focused on the problem. It is exactly at that moment that you need to re-focus and see your desired goal or outcome in your mind's eye, rather than all the problems you associate with it. The more time you spend on whatever it is you want to have in your life whether this is a material goal, a professional goal, a relational goal, or whatever it makes absolutely no difference, the more you will be in a position to achieve it, to attract it into your life. The more you think and focus on that goal in a positive way, the more you allow yourself to "feel" the way you would feel if you already had the results, the more likely it is that you will attain your desired outcome. This is the Law of Attraction.
Intentionally Re-focus on the Positive
Remember: the time you spend worrying about the desired outcome is time spent focusing on the opposite of what you want, so become very aware of all your thoughts and focus them in the right direction. Do this consistently each time you catch yourself thinking the negative version of your goals until intentionally re-focusing on the positive becomes second nature. This habit is like strengthening a muscle, if you do it every day, it will happen more and more frequently and naturally, and soon you will find that not only do the majority of your thoughts and feelings focus on the positive direction of your goals, but that those positive goals become part of your reality.