I say it all the time. You have heard it all too often. What you focus on EXPANDS. This is a core belief of mine and many others. So why do most people not get it? While I cannot answer that question because everyone is uniquely different and at different stages in their lives. However, what I can tell you is that whatever you put your focus on often turns into a belief. The key is whether that belief is a positive one that supports and helps you grow or is negative and holds you back.
Here’s what I truly believe. Most of us see things WORSE than they are, instead of how things REALLY are. Ugh, I know! I recall talking to a friend of mine who practices this with a passion. What he tells me is that if I see how the worst it could be, I am prepared just in case this happens. So it is a survival technique all too many of us practice. The problem I see with this is that you are looking for the WORST it could possibly be and by thinking and focusing on the worst it can be, it can actually draw that to you.
I call this sort of thinking, STINK Eye thinking. Whenever you look at something and turn it to something bad or negative (often times it really isn’t) you have caught the STINK Eye. Not to worry, there are several techniques I teach to help my students focus on what the positive. In fact there are three things that can turn it around quickly. They are:
1) Focus and Visualization
2) Setting Goals
3) Look at setbacks as Opportunities
Focus and Visualization is the easiest and quickest way to dilute the STINK Eye. Simply try focusing on something positive in your life. If you have trouble with that, visualize a positive outcome or simply go back to a time that you were on top of your game. That simple technique can help drastically.
If you follow me or know me at all, you know that I am very, very goal driven. I believe it is my competitive nature but they are a major part of my life. I use them to take complex, nearly out of reach goals and break them up into smaller ones so I can create momentum. Once the positive momentum starts flowing, things change very quickly for me. Take for instance the issues today involving bullying and low self esteem. I have read enough information about bullying and self esteem in kids to realize there are a lot of different techniques people teach. I decided to try a different approach. I asked “what can I do to help kids deal with the negative influences and issues they are faced with today?” and that lead to a new book (STINKIN’ THINKIN’ STINKS). Once I had the goal of building self esteem as a way of combating bullying and other negatives, I created project plan for the book. That project plan consisted of 173 steps. It seemed overwhelming at first but breaking things into mini goals ultimately kept the momentum moving forward with the book launch.
Another area that can change your thoughts is to look at any setback as an opportunity. I saved this for last because it is one of the more difficult ones to practice. However, it can have the biggest impact. Looking at setbacks or problems as opportunities take you out of the victim mentality, which does nothing but deliver negative outcomes while looking for the opportunity that lies within them is very empowering. This is why I teach that setbacks are often transformational.
In summary, each of us posses the ability to focus on what we want and filter out the negative things around us. A lot of people look for the bad and that expands while others look for what is good and that expands for them. When you catch yourself with a bad case of STINK Eye, try three quick techniques to clear it up: 1) Focus and Visualization, 2) Set Goals, & 3) Turn Setbacks into Opportunities.
With peace and gratitude,