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Arrow Tip #7: Keep Your Focus On What You WANT


The human mind loves to solve problems and fix things. That's all well and good when we can simply identify something in our life we would rather not experience anymore and then move forward and choose something different. But as stated in previous Arrow Tips, the brain also loves familiarity and the known. If you're like most humans, we seem to make talking about our problems and focusing on what's NOT working in our lives way more familiar than thoughts of what's going well for us. If 9 out of 10 things are going great in our lives we tend to fixate on that 1 thing that's not going our way and disregard everything else. It's so familiar to us that we keep doing it over and over.


Why we dwell on the negative comes from a multitude of reasons and those reasons can vary from person to person. But, the important thing to understand is that if you continue to focus on what you don't want then that's exactly where you're going to stay...creating and experiencing more situations that you don't want.


Let me explain why. Our brains are filtering massive amounts of information at any given moment. There's a particular part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). A big part of its job is to filter out all the unnecessary information and help you tune in and focus on relevant data. What's relevant to me might not be relevant to you. For example, if I were in a busy crowd and someone yelled "Hey Cathy!" chances are I would never even hear it. However, if someone yelled out "Hey Amy!" right away I would tune in and hear it because that's my name. That's relevant data for me and I have been programmed to respond to it since birth. My focus has always been and always will be attuned to that name. That's the RAS at work.


Other data may be relevant only for a period of time depending on what my focus is. I remember when I got pregnant. Suddenly I began to notice there were tons of pregnant women all around. I would see them everywhere. Prior to this I rarely noticed anyone pregnant, yet they were always around. Because they weren't my focus, my brain filtered them out. The same thing happened when I got a new car. Suddenly I began to see my car everywhere on the road. Last week I was randomly thinking about finding a place that had a specific service I wanted. A few days later, as I drove down a road I'm on every day, I saw a sign for the service I was looking for. I've passed by that building for years and never noticed it before, but now that this was an area of focus for me, I became aware of it.


The point here is that your brain is literally looking for data to give you what you are focused on. So, when you're focused on what you DO NOT want, your brain is going to actively seek more of that for you because that's what you're tuned in to. Even if there was a better alternative available for your situation, you would never even see it because your brain has deemed it irrelevant to you at this particular moment. You're too focused on the problem rather than a remedy. The good news is that you can decide what is relevant to you RIGHT NOW by simply putting your focus in a new place. Focus on THE NEW OUTCOME YOU DESIRE rather than the unwanted situation.


How do you do this? I'm going to give more details and different techniques to help with this in future Arrow Tips but for now, we will start with this simple analogy. It's a bit like listening to the radio. Let's say the current setting on your radio has you tuned into a type of music you don't like, but every time you get in your car you're still tuned into the yucky station. You keep thinking about how much you dislike the music playing. You even constantly talk about it to friends and family, voicing your annoyance. There are all these other stations available to you but you can't hear them because you're not tuned into them. Finally, you decide to "change your tune", no pun intended. You spend a few minutes clarifying what you would prefer to hear. You don't try to figure out where you will find that station, you just decide WHAT it would sound like when you hear it. It would sound more enjoyable to you. It would feel better. Even if you didn't know exactly what kind of music you might want to experience, you definitely know what you DON'T want and that's a starting point.


Flipping through the radio stations is like your brain going into search mode. It filters out whatever's not relevant to your desire, while locking on to anything that sounds close to what you're focusing on. That's how you quite literally get more of whatever you focus on.

Give your brain a new focus and let it do its job. It will bring into your awareness everything that resembles what you're tuned in to.


 

Here's a quick practical example:


Let's say you're in a work situation that you don't like. There are some good things about the situation but you can't see them because you spend all your time focused on everything that aggravates you about it. Your brain continues to do its job by showing you the multitude of things wrong with the situation. As time goes on, more and more things really start to bother you about it. This scenario only gets worse with time because your focus is on the unwanted. Your brain filters out the majority of other information other than what you are tuned in to. If you desire your current job to get better, or even if you prefer to find a different job, you're going to have to change your focus to what you want rather than all the things that are going wrong. First, try tuning in to what's good about the current job. By focusing on what's going well, it will allow you to have a better day-to-day experience at work. And, when your brain focuses on what's going well rather than what's going wrong, it will seek out more aspects that resemble that. Secondly, if you've decided that you need a new job then it will allow your brain to seek out opportunities that are in alignment with what you're looking for.


This Arrow Tip applies to ANY situation in your life, not just work. You don't have to stay stuck in something that's not working for you. You also don't have to keep feeling bad. You can simply redirect your focus. This not only allows you to have a better experience in your current situation but also enables you to see other opportunities you might have otherwise filtered out.


Note: This is not some "positive thinking" jargon where you deny anything that's going wrong so you can stay in a "bad" situation. It's acknowledging and accepting there are things that are not in alignment with what you desire for your life and then CHOOSING to focus on the better aspects and opportunities. This will allow you to feel better while bringing to your attention all the other options that are available to you for a better outcome or scenario.


 

ACTION STEPS:


1. Determine where your focus is by observing your thoughts and conversations.

2. Redirect your focus and tune into what you WANT or what you would prefer to have.

3. Make a list of any positives you can think of for the current situation.

4. Make a list of anything you would prefer to have if a change of situation is needed.

5. When you experience something you don't like, rather than denying, resisting, or dwelling on it, simply remind yourself that you are choosing to redirect your focus.

6. Tell your brain to actively seek out any and all opportunities that are in tune with what you WANT.

7. Practice, practice, practice by staying aware of your thoughts and redirecting your focus when needed.



*REMEMBER: YOU ARE UNSTOPPABLE