What We Focus on Expands: Don’t Read!

by | Sep 5, 2015 | Fabulous Mind Tools | 0 comments

Where do you put your attention?

What do you focus on?

If you want to lose weight do you spend time thinking about how fat you are? Or if you are having problems with money, do you focus on how broke you are? Or what about work? Do you focus on how bad things are?

Where you put your attention expands. So decide carefully where you want to place your attention. Lots of people are really good at focusing on what they don’t want….. and that becomes the very thing that expands in their life as a result. You can have a bit of a play around with this and look at areas of your life where you might want to get better results.

Think about how you represent these areas to yourself – if you want to be thin, are you thinking ‘I don’t want to be fat’? Just notice where you put your attention on in different areas of your life.

Here’s a fun exercise to punctuate the point by thinking about how we use the word ‘don’t’. We often get exactly what we proclaim we ‘don’t’ want. Think of a child running through a supermarket- and the weary mother shouting ‘don’t run’. The child’s brain pays more attention to the command of ‘run’ then to the ‘don’t part (we don’t process negatives in the same way as positives – whole other blog post). The outcome is that the child responds to the command of ‘run’! Then you have a harassed mother and a running child…..thus, expanding what we put our attention on.

The mother would get a better result if she were to state her suggestion in more positive terms – such as ‘I’d really like you to walk nicely beside me’. OR devilishly sneaky, say ‘don’t come here and walk nicely beside me’.

Think of the ‘don’ts’ in your life, here are some sample don’ts:

I don’t want to be in debt

I don’t want to be so fat

I don’t want put up with poor behaviour at work/ home (wherever..)

I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore.

Now simply consider reading the statements as if the word ‘don’t’ isn’t even there. Because when phrased like that, that is exactly what you’ll get. To test out this suggestion consider this – DON’T think of your best friend on a bike in a pink tutu. There you go. How was that for an image!

To counteract the affect of expanding your attention where you don’t want it, simply change how you phrase things to yourself and to the world. For example:

I want to be financially abundant

I want to be slim fit and well

I want to have a great relationship

I want to see how we can make changes at work

Think of your own examples of how this is true for you…..

Then get clear picture in your head of exactly what you DO want, then put your attention on what you really want….and please please, don’t think of emailing me telling me how you get on!

Have fun, enjoy and don’t focus on all the good things life has to offer…