Special thanks to Oliver! You reminded me why I started this in the first place and have to continue doing it. Not for me, but for others.
About three weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. We were discussing our goals for 2018, and the things we wanted to accomplish this year. Throughout the conversation he asked me “So how are you doing?” I responded back with the biggest smile on my face “I’m doing wonderful!”
I then went on to let him know that this wasn’t something fake or me trying to be super positive and motivational. That this was genuinely how I felt, just a sense of absolute joy and gratitude for where I am in my life right now. I told him I can see how things are aligning perfectly to achieve certain goals I had set back in 2016, to be able to accomplish them within 2-3 years from now.
He was taken aback by my response. He mentioned that he was really inspired by my response. I couldn’t really understand why because that response seemed normal to me, but he explained.
He started telling me that he’s sure there are things in my life that I’m not completely satisfied with. However, the fact that I could give a response like that was truly amazing. He went on to let me know about how things weren’t where he wanted them to be financially for 2017, but there was good that happened. Funding for his business that he had been working on was finally coming through.
The thing is he said all this time he had been so focused on everything that had been going wrong, that he forgot to take the time to celebrate the things that had been going right for him.
This experience really got me thinking. I thought how many people too often choose to focus on everything that’s going wrong in their life, and how things aren’t how they want it to be. Rather than focusing on the things that are going right and being grateful about the progress they are making in their lives, no matter how small.
Why Escalating Failures Is Dangerous
Before that conversation I never really took the time to think about the danger of focusing on and escalating the things not going right in our lives. For me I’ve trained my mind to focus on the good in my life, fix the things that are wrong that I can, and leave the things I have no control over.
This has allowed me to create a peace of mind and joy that no amount of money can buy. However, I do realize the opposite is also true.
When you focus on and give attention to only those things that are going wrong in your life it will:
1. Cause you to lose your peace of mind
Because you’re focusing on the ways things aren’t working out it puts you in a state of constant worry and anxiety. In this state it’s hard to function at your best, hence you start to mess up even more. Which you then start to focus on the fact that you did, and it creates a never-ending cycle of you never being able to be at calm and ease with yourself or the world.
I’ve experience this first hand a few years ago. Where nothing seemed to be going right in my life, and that’s all I could focus on. The thing about it was it wasn’t just affecting me, but also affecting those around me who I loved. I was always angry, and the simplest things seem to agitate me. It was causing me to lose myself and lose my peace of mind.
2. Make you miss out on the good things
Have you heard the saying energy flows where focus goes (I think that’s the saying)? Well there is much truth to it. If all you’re focusing on are the things that are not working out in your life, it can cause you to disregard and even unknowingly ignore the good that’s right in front of you.
A friend of mine and I were having this very conversation on Friday. There are some things happening in his business, and to be honest he is justified in feeling the way he does. The problem is that isn’t helping him. I had to draw his attention to everything that is going right in his business. Things that are about to happen, and the future of where his business is going. More importantly, help him to celebrate those wins, not matter how small. He quickly saw the benefit in focusing on the good. Immediately he was fired up and motivated to keep going.
What I’m saying is you allow yourself to focus on everything that’s going wrong in your life, you miss out the reasons life has given you to celebrate, the small wins.
3. Make you develop the habit of always looking for the things that can go wrong
If you keep focusing on the bad, the losses, the failures, eventually it gets to the point where it becomes a habit. Now your mind will begin to always seek out for everything that’s going wrong. You can be in situations where everything is perfect, but because of how your mind is conditioned you start to think that things will always go wrong. Subconsciously, you begin to search for it, and the danger in that is if it isn’t there, you begin to create it in your mind.
This is a very unhealthy way to live your life, to always be searching for the bad, and creating scenarios that are bad. You get to a point where you no longer recognize any good in your life, even if it slapped you in the face. Constantly living in a state of worry, anxiety, and depression is no way to live.
Focusing on the Good to Create The Joy
I’m not going to tell you it’s easy not to focus on the bad things that are going wrong in your life, because it’s not. As mentioned it took me years to get to this point, and it’s something I had to intentionally train my mind to do. Also, there’s a difference between noticing the bad and focusing on it.
I’m going to give you a simple technique I used to overcome this challenge. Don’t disregard it because of its simplicity. Often it’s the simple things that can have the most profound effect on us.
Also, know that it’s not something that will change your mindset overnight. It takes practice, and developing the habit of doing it.
- Calm yourself- the first thing you must do is be in a state of calm. If you’re angry, agitated, anxious, or any other negative feeling it won’t work. I usually just talk to myself to get back to a calm state. Saying something like “Winston, it’s okay, you got this, you can do this, just be calm and find the solution you know is there”. Then I would take deep breaths until I am calm. It’s about being in a calm state
- I ask myself 3 questions about the situation that isn’t going right:
- What am I grateful for about this situation?
- What can I learn from this situation?
- How can I use what I learned to improve?
By asking these questions it allows me to put things into perspective and see the good that can come from even a negative situation.
Another thing you can do is whenever something good happens in your life that you were responsible for, take the time to really celebrate yourself for it. I mean like the Eagles winning the Super Bowl for the first time type of celebrating.
What this will do is train your mind to always celebrate with emotional intensity the things that are going right in your life, the small wins. Celebrating and focusing on small wins over time conditions your mind to immediate trigger this state in negative situation. It also builds confidence and belief in yourself.
Things will go wrong in our lives, and as human beings we’re allowed to feel emotional and bad about them (don’t let any hyper positive motivational speaker tell you otherwise). It’s not about not feeling bad, you’re suppose to feel bad. The main thing is not to REMAIN in that state of feeling bad, but to train your mind to get out of it as quickly as possible by following the techniques I just outlined.
Hopefully this post will help you to feel wonderful everyday by focusing on the things that are good and matter in your life, fixing the things you can, and leaving the ones you can’t.
Life isn’t that hard, it’s just us humans who complicate things.
To your success my friend!
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