There are only so many things you can focus on each day. As a result, you need to sharpen your focus to recognize opportunities that will help you accomplish your goals.
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Where is Hello Kitty
Studies show there are millions of sensory events your mind can recognize in a given day. To keep you from going insane trying to recognize every event, your mind only shows you the events that matter to you.
How does it know they matter to you?
To help you recognize the impact you can have in your life when sharpen your focus, let me tell you a story about me going grocery shopping with one of my daughter’s. Alek and I were walking through the store and she said, “dad, there’s Hello Kitty!” Knowing we were on the juice isle, I couldn’t figure out where she could see Hello Kitty. That was until she pointed to a juice pack that had a Hello Kitty top. As we continued shopping and were leaving the store, we went down the diaper isle to exit. As we were walking, Alek yelled, “dad, there’s Hello Kitty!” Now I knew Hello Kitty couldn’t be on this isle, but there she was again. This time she was a shampoo top.
From grocery store to your real life
Think of the grocery store like your real life. There are thousands of isles in the store and you will never notice each and every item. Instead, the items you notice are the ones you have purchased before, read in the sales paper, were asked to get for someone else, or written down on your grocery list.
The same reason Alek noticed the Hello Kitty items in the store is the same reason I didn’t. My mind focuses on whether the juice is 100% juice, whether it is organic or on sale. I don’t purchase shampoo from the grocery store, but I have purchased diapers… so my mind recalls it being the diaper isle. Alek goes through the store knowing the names of her favorite characters, so she recognizes them on each isle. That is part of the reason so many characters are placed on these products in the first place. Your children are not concerned with how the product tastes, the price, or what it is made of; they sharpen their focus to point out their favorite TV and book characters.
How to sharpen your focus
Wouldn’t it be great if you could sharpen your focus to notice only the things that matter to you right now? If your goal was to read more, you could walk into your living room and pick up your book without feeling tempted by the TV or your cell phone. This is the power you can achieve when you learn to sharpen your focus and shift your mindset.
1. Write down and focus on your vision
To sharpen your focus you need to write down your vision and look at it on a regular basis. Ideally, you want to look at it once in the morning and once in the evening. This allows you to wake up and go to sleep thinking about your goal. This matters because when you wake up and right before you go to sleep you are in a natural meditation state. When your mind is in this state, it allows your subconscious to take over and your subconscious mind is great at creating solutions.
That is why I don’t recommend you go to sleep watching a movie or reading a fictional book. As discussed, your subconscious is great at creating solutions, so you don’t want to go to sleep thinking about how the Avengers could have defeated Thanos in Infinity War. While it will get you props at the 8am coffee chat, it is not going to help you transform your life.
2. Release your creative juices
It is important for you to allow your mind the opportunity to be creative. The best way to do this is to slow things down in a way that encourages reflection. Studies have linked improvement in focus to taking walks in nature, listening to music, taking a break and participating in meditation. Each of these activities allows you the ability to slow your mind and reflect.
Bill Gates is quoted as taking a week off from everything and reflecting in seclusion. This allows him to focus on being creative and thinking of ways to move his company forward. A key difference between people who are successful and building wealth and a legacy and those who are trying to survive is the people surviving are not allowing themselves the opportunity to create a solution. This causes you to focus only on ways to maintain life as it is. If you want to change your environment, you need to change your focus, and if you want to change your focus, you need to change how you allocate your time in a given day.
While it is a luxury to be able to take a break from life, it is important to find a way to make it happen.
3. Proper allocation of your time
If you want to spend more time each day focusing on family, you need to set up your schedule in a way to accomplish this goal. As a night person, I can do a lot of work at night, but that is not the case with spending time with my family. My kids need to get to bed early and my parents usually go to sleep before me; so I need to allocate time earlier in the day for them.
Ready for a mindset shift?
When you are looking to shift your mindset, scripture says you want to focus on what is good, noble, righteous, and peaceful. The reason you are told to focus on these things is because it will help you to look at situations differently. You will find something to be grateful for in the worst of situations.
When someone is focused on negative events, scripture also says, not to be deceived, that bad company corrupts good. The perception is you can absorb negative and depressing information on the news and it doesn’t impact you. However, the truth is if you are watching people getting robbed or dying in a car accident, you are now more cautious about driving and locking your door.
The events you watch have a serious impact on the actions you take on daily basis. Now, all of this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some of the information you absorb could cause you to take action in a place you were once procrastinating.
For instance, if you discovered someone from your high school class passed away from a heart attack, you may feel inclined to get a screening and to secure a will. If you knew someone who was diagnosed with cancer, you may decide to change some of your eating habits. There is a balance, but it remains that if you regularly absorb information about everything that is wrong with the world, you are going to have a skewed viewpoint of the world.
Think of the news anchor as a friend who is sitting next to you in your home and they are always telling you all that is wrong with the world. How would it make you feel to talk to them? This is what is happening every time you turn on a negative program on your TV. We don’t see it that way because it is the TV versus a real person, but it is the same thing.
Your mind must create filters to keep you sane, so it is up to you what opportunities your mind will show you. If you want to recognize opportunities to change your life in a positive way, you need to train your mind to look for these opportunities. You have to sharpen your focus to recognize what is good and righteous in the world. If you spend all your time watching, reading, and listening to negative information, you are shifting your mindset to only notice what is wrong with the world. Which will not put you in a position to succeed; it will only give you plenty of reasons to complain about life.
Until next time,
Dre “Better Self, Better Wealth” Griggs