The Power of Our Focus
Have you noticed that whatever you focus on is what you end up experiencing?
If I say : Don't think of the color yellow. What are you now thinking of?
Hmmmm...I am guessing yellow!
It’s a human thing – our minds don’t hear the qualifier of “do” or “don’t”, they just focus on what we give them. In this case, yellow.
I remember cross country skiing this one time in the backcountry of the Rockies on a particularly challenging trail. We came to the top of a steep icy hill that we had to ski down and all I could think of was “I’m gonna fall, I’m gonna fall…”. Now, truth be told, I had the skill to get down that hill just fine. But guess what happened? Yup, I fell. And I have had the recurring knee issues to remind me of my folly. The folly being…my thinking.
That’s why they say, “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want”. Whether you personally pray or not, you get it: We create what happens by what we focus on. It’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy.
That is what makes this work so important. Because the reactive scores show us that we are problem-focused. So when something intense happens, we focus on what could go wrong.
An example using the case of someone who has scores in complying:
Joe has repeatedly noticed Nancy being late for the team meetings. He feels lateness is a sign of disrespect and he notices its bothering more than just him now. He knows he needs to say something but the thought of doing so makes him anxious as he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings or ostracize her in any way. She is such a valued part of the team.
After worrying about it for a while, he then musters up his courage and finds an opening to say something. But the message is so watered down as he skates around trying to be nice about it, that Nancy becomes confused and defensive and stomps off.
The initial scenario would be different if your default is protecting or controlling. You know your default from your old belief that we named. But the dynamic is the same in that by focusing on what we don’t want, we actually end up making it happen.
The good news is that that is how powerful our focus is. And its an unconscious dynamic for all of us until we start to catch it in action. And then we get to choose whether to use our focus for worry or for creating things that we actually want. In other words, to become outcome-focused. To change the habit by catching ourselves when we’re feeling anxious and then choosing to focus on what we DO want, not what we don’t.
Kennedy didn't say ‘we aren't going to stay here on earth’. No, he said ‘we choose to go to the moon’. He focused on the outcome. And made that happen.
That is the power of wording your new belief : it sums up the positive outcome you want now. And then your work is committing to that outcome over and over again - with the next action. That is how you focus on it. By taking action that honors it. And the action makes it true.
And hey, if we got to the moon like that, any outcome you and I can name is surely possible!