Focus on what matters, because what you focus on matters. I know that sounds ridiculous, but when you constantly think or talk about chocolate, after a while you start craving chocolate. This works on a much larger scale in all areas of your life. Imagine, if you will, walking down the road and focusing on your cell phone. Would you see a hole in the road, or a street pole? What are the chances of knocking your head. Like in life, watch where you’re going, and you’ll see the obstacles and be able work your way around it. Not so easy if all you see is the obstacle.
For some reason, it seems hard to fathom that we need to take responsibility for our lives. It seems unreasonable to suggest that you are a decision away from whatever it is you want. There is always the excuse that someone is in your way, something is holding you back, if only you had … whatever, you would be able to. You can’t because you need to pay bills… but no matter the excuse, it’s always without ever having put any effort to make a change. What have you done to remove those obstacles from your life?
At what point do you realise what you’re doing is not working? When do you reach a point of deciding to change? I know, to keep repeating the same thing and expecting a different result may not be insanity, but it is most definitely not the smartest thing you could be doing. I like to think of it as reading a book. If you’re only reading a page and are completely clueless, turn the page. There are many pages to the book of life, and if you refuse to turn one, you will never see what lies in the next chapter. The book will never make sense until you’ve read all of it.
This brings me to what matters. How we react to what happens in our lives is entirely a decision we make. We are so often focused on what is holding us back, what is standing in the way of our goals, that we lose track of what’s important. If you can’t see what matters, how do you work towards it? If all you can see are problems, how do you find a way around them? I return to the analogy of the street pole. When you come across a street pole on a walk, do you keep looking at the pole, or do you shift your focus and move around it.
You need to start seeing problems as building blocks for the foundations of your dreams. Solving problems is just a way to build character, gain strength, and change your mindset. After all, if you go to the gym, you don’t see the strongest athletes lifting small weights, they will be challenging themselves. Going heavier. Going faster. Going further. Stepping out of their comfort zones… that is after all, where progress is made. Nobody has ever gotten fit by sitting on the couch.
I received many comments when I started this journey, not all positive. Most common were…”when will you be back” or “see you next year” which obviously in context could have different meanings, but for the purpose of this post I will use the negative connotations. It seems to me, most who said that, have a fear of failure? Maybe even a fear of success. Most can’t believe anyone would possibly succeed, least of all themselves. So that is where their focus is. Regardless of what the fear is, it is all that stands in the way of change. So instead of looking inwards, they judge those trying to make a change… and nothing good ever comes from judgement.
The questions you should be asking yourself are: ” do you want it bad enough to give it everything you have? Do you want it more than anything else? Do you want it bad enough to step past your fears and towards your goal? ” If the answer is yes, then make a plan and work for it. If not, that’s a decision you need to take responsibility for. Stop blaming the asshole boss. Stop blaming the expenses. Stop blaming your responsibilities. Stop blaming everything but yourself. Nobody is responsible for your life but you. So stop complaining to anyone who will listen about all the problems you have and accept that this is where you choose to be. Go after what you want or settle for what you have. The choice is yours.
“But it’s not easy ” of course it’s not easy. If it were easy, you wouldn’t want it. It will be worth it though. When you finally grow up and decide to take responsibility for your life, win or lose, you are guaranteed to be happy. Happy because you are doing what matters to you. Happy because you gave it your best… and when it comes to the crux of the matter, if it really is what you want, you will never stop until you get it. Nobody wants anything that is easy to get. You need to be willing to put in that work. You need to be willing to take that risk. You need to be willing to put in the effort that nobody else does. You need to take responsibility for yourselves, regardless of fear. Fear is healthy. It keeps us alive. But it should never stop you from doing what is right for you. It should never get in the way of what is important.
It will amaze you how the smallest changes in our behaviour will change the way we think. The way we walk…upright and confident, or slouched and insecure? Change the way you walk! Think of life as someone interviewing your for a job. If you were interviewing someone for a job… (your dreams) would you give it to someone who was unsure of what they wanted? Would you employ someone who didn’t quite know that they could do it? Would you hire someone who slinks into a room and fades into the background over someone who strides in and makes his presence known? No, you wouldn’t. That is what focus does. Project confidence and positivity. Keep your thoughts positive. Keep your actions positive. And most of all, keep your words positive.
The way we talk is a big one for me. Most of us don’t realise the negativity we exude by the way we talk… small words and nuances we don’t even consider. This is our biggest problem as far as I’m concerned because, what comes out of our mouths, feeds our brains. ” I won’t fail” …sounds positive, right? Wrong! “I will succeed” that is positive. It could be argued that is just grammar, education, or preference, but the fact is, focus should be on “succeed” not “fail”! In fact, the word fail should never even cross your mind, let alone pass your lips.
Haven’t heard from someone in a while, you could choose to say: “Hi, how have you been? I’ve missed you, has everything been ok?”… positive, concerned, peace and love. Of course, you could also say… “Hey, how are you. Why haven’t I heard from you for so long?” Same question, however it comes across as aggressive and negative albeit unintentional. Focus shifts from concern for the person, to what I have imagined (usually the worst) has been going on.
And my absolute favourite… Hi, how are you? To which the reply is.. “I’m ok”, or: “carrying on regardless” sometimes even: “Can’t complain”. If you think about it, there is so much wrong with that. You perpetuate your misery by focusing on that negativity. What’s wrong with being grateful for what you have? What’s wrong with shifting focus to something positive? What’s wrong with expressing that gratitude? “I’m feeling fantastic, thank you.”, ” I’m doing very well thank you”, “I’m always good thank you”.
If someone says these things, it does not mean they have no problems, it just means they choose to focus on the good in their lives. Of course, the negativity in us will always judge them for having these positive responses, always expect something spectacular to be the cause of this positivity. Nobody in their right mind could possibly be feeling good without having something extraordinary happen to them right? No sane person would be happy for what they have! If you really think about it, I can guarantee every single one of you reading this right now, has at least 10 things to be grateful for. What is so wrong with expressing it?
I just say, listen. Listen with your heart, and actually feel what is being said to you. Listen to what you are saying. It will effect you in more ways than you know. This is about self awareness and self growth. It’s about what we can do to shift our focus away from negativity and improve our lives in the process. Shifting your focus could be what frees you from feeling trapped in what you think is the reality of your life. It could be just what you need to see that that reality is just an illusion. So just do it. Shift your focus. Alter your reality. you are just a decision away. It’s a process. It’s hard work. It’s scary. It’s not easy. It’s never ending. It is also… worth it.