The human body is amazing. One of the ways it astounds me is its ability to move in the direction of whatever the eyes focus on. Do you remember from Driver’s Ed what to do if your car starts fishtailing? Focus your eyes on a single point as far down the road as possible…and your body will automatically align your steering in that direction; otherwise you will likely end up in the ditch. How about you gymnasts…where are you supposed to focus your gaze while on the balance beam? Down at your feet? No, because if you look down, you will end up down…on the ground. But the instruction is to pick a point on the wall at the other end of the beam and focus on it. That’s your best shot for arriving at the other end of the beam…intact. There are many examples of this: dancers spot, baseball players keep their eye on the ball, boaters pick a landmark on shore, etc.
Focus equals direction. We automatically move in the direction we are focused on. And that can work for us or against us. I often see it working against us regarding fear and what we don’t want. I had a session with a client name Cal and asked him what he wanted. Here is our exchange:
Me: Cal, what do you want?
Cal: I want to not be miserable.
Me: Okay, so that’s what you DON’T want, what DO you want?
Cal: To not feel this way.
Me: So what is the opposite of feeling that way, the opposite of miserable?
Cal: The opposite of miserable is not miserable.
Focus equals direction. We automatically move in the direction we are focused on. And that can work for us or against us.
Clearly, Cal and I had some work to do. Cal’s focus was consumed with what he did NOT want. And that is what kept him stuck and struggling. Even though he didn’t like being miserable, his focus on being not miserable actually kept him moving in the direction of continuing to feel miserable. It wasn’t until Cal identified being joyful, happy and energized as a new focus that he had any lasting power to move in that direction instead.
Similar to the physical alignment of your eyes and body, whatever you focus your mind on, that is the direction you will move in. Because the brain responds to focus like a command, “Go here!” It doesn’t take any more effort to focus on what you DO want rather than what you DON’T want, but if you’re not already in the habit of living life this way, you’ll need to be intentional about choosing your focus daily.
Attempting to move toward what we do want while focusing on what we don’t want is like driving a car and looking only in the rearview mirror.
Fear is a bulls-eye for what you don’t want, and it is a powerful emotion moving you toward the very thing you’re trying to avoid. How much mental and emotional energy have you been giving to fear and limiting beliefs? You will continue to struggle as long as you focus your attention there; both conscious and subconscious attention. I’m not saying to ignore them, but rehearsing them is not the same as resolving them. Resolve them and free yourself up to focus on what you truly want instead. Then you will have all the power of the subconscious mind working for you instead of against you.
Can you see the difference in direction the following will take you?
Not Poor vs. Wealthy
Not Sick vs. Healthy
Not Sad vs. Happy
Not Lonely vs. Connected
Not a Loser vs. Winner
Not Confused vs. Clear
Not Afraid vs. Bold
Not Insecure vs. Secure
Attempting to move toward what we do want while focusing on what we don’t want is like driving a car and looking only in the rearview mirror. I lived in India for a time, and drove in the exciting traffic there–I’m alive to tell several near-death tales. But one of the most interesting things I noticed was that most Indians remove the rearview mirrors from their cars. They don’t use them. They pay no attention to what is behind them; only to what is in front of them. And it works really well. There’s a lesson in that for us. Because it’s true, what we see is what we get.
To Your Great Life!