Your Focus of Attention is Your Key to Happiness
An Article By Jeanie Marshall
Your focus of attention determines your life experiences. Where you put your attention, you put your energy. Where you put your attention, you put your consciousness.
You draw into your life the things to which you give your attention, whether you want them or not. You seed the thing or idea that has your focus of attention. That seed grows into the experiences of everyday life. If you have put your attention mainly on happy things, you will lead a mostly happy life; if you have put your attention mainly on unhappy things, you will lead a mostly unhappy life.
Light and Dark; Positive and Negative
There is a light side and a dark side in every part of life. Or you might say that everything has both a positive and a negative side or aspect. Without the light and the dark (or positive and negative), life could not exist as you know it, just as you could not see images in a photograph without light and dark qualities.
It is your personal choice whether you focus on either the positive or the negative. You can choose to see and expand the darkness or the lightness of each situation, each relationship, each moment. You can choose to focus your attention on the negative or the positive in each person — both exist.
You can choose to illuminate the bad or the good in every situation. It is an individual choice, constantly evoked by your focus of attention. A little flaw becomes a big one as you talk about it. The flaw gains greater momentum with each telling, drawing to you others who are fascinated by the flaw. As the fascination grows, you see the same or similar flaws in others.
So, too, a good point becomes an enormous asset as you focus on it and give it attention through your observations, thoughts, and conversations. A good point is tryly worthy of your focus of attention.
Focus of Attention: A Matter of Choice
Every decision is a choice. Where you put your attention constantly changes and creates your life. Your attention steers your path and directs your thoughts. Sometimes it appears that you do not have a choice about where you place your attention, but that is because of habit or familiarity. Sometimes you need a reminder. So that is why I remind you and encourage you to remind yourself and others: "you have a choice."
Choose to place your focus of attention on what you want. Give your attention to what you appreciate. Fill your thoughts with what you want to expand. View your world through the same eyes of the person you want to be.
One of my regular clients — an organization consultant — called me, frustrated and angry about the overwhelming number of demands on his time. Six projects were due in the same week. I allowed him a few minutes of panicky explanations. Then I asked him to take a few deep breaths and assisted him to become centered. I knew in his accelerated frenetic state the only way for him to complete all his responsibilities on time was to slow down. We breathed together. As he focused on his breathing, he released his panic and resistance. We joined our consciousness to create a solution rather than to empower the crisis.
As soon as he was out of the crisis mode and emitting a smoother vibration, he was able to see clearly his path out of the mess. As he gave his full focus of attention to the clarity he was seeking, he energized clear thinking. He knew what to do. I offered several suggestions related to order, sequence, delegation, and self-care strategies. However, he freed himself from the panic when he gave his full attention to calming himself down by turning inside himself to become centered and clear.
He refocused his attention from the outer to the inner, which lifted his mood, changed the way he was resonating, and strengthened him to respond more effectively to his current situation. He called me two days later to report that he completed five of his projects on time and got a three-day extension on the sixth one, with no inconvenience to his client. Because he changed his focus of attention, he created a different future for himself.
Attention Expands the Thing
The thing which has your attention grows and attracts additional similar experiences. The thing grows in your awareness and in your reality. The resonance of your energy field harmonizes with the resonance of the focus of your attention.
When I was in my early twenties, I purchased my first car. Before I decided to buy a car, I was aware that there were Fords and Chevrolets and Chryslers and Saabs and a few other makes and models. My knowledge was general and shallow; my interest was mild. A car provided transportation.
I considered that I would buy a Chevrolet. Suddenly, I could see Chevrolets everywhere! Based on what I saw, I identified what I wanted and what I did not want. Cars — most specifically Chevrolets — had my attention. I was resonating with Chevrolets and they came out to meet me on the road.
Many times since then, I experienced this phenomenon in even more profound ways. That is, I am unaware or only generally aware of a thing, then I become more aware aware, and then I notice aspects of the thing that were unavailable to me before. Or I notice that the thing has many nuances I had not considered. When I began to apply this realization to other parts of my life, I began to recognize that manifestation is a direct result of my focus of attention. Before that, I considered that life was or at least might be a series of random occurrences.
When I give my attention to the light or positive side of a thing, it becomes more a part of my world. When I give my attention to the negative or lack of that thing, the negative or lack becomes part of my world. My attention is an act of creation. My attention creates and attracts my experiences. This is truly empowering news!
Right or Wrong; Good or Bad
Many people debate the classic question: "Is there an absolute right and wrong?" Or, "Is there an absolute good and bad?" However, I think it is more empowering to rephrase the question: "Is my attention on what makes me feel good or what makes me feel bad?" Or, "Is this right or wrong for me right now?" Since both sides of every duality exist for every part of life, you make a choice as you are faced with each part of life, hundreds of times a day. The variety helps you to choose.
Keep in mind that you exchange energy with the thing or idea that has your focus of attention. If your focus of attention is on what is right or good, or what you consider is right or good, or what feels right or good, you energize that. So too, if your focus of attention is on what is wrong or bad, or what you consider is wrong or bad, or what feels wrong or bad, you energize that. The thing or aspect to which you give your attention expands. Its resonance and essence expand in your energy field.
Where is your focus of attention?
Pros And Cons
It is very popular to consider the "pros and cons" of various choices of a decision. That is, to look at what you like and what you do not like about each option. This is often called "weighing" the pros and cons. Management specialists even teach the value of preparing a chart so that all the positives go in the plus column and all the negatives go in the minus column. The chart is powerfully visual. The problem is, it is also powerfully creative.
For example, if you have charted three scenarios from which you will select one and you see all the pros and cons of the three scenarios, no matter which one you choose, you are drawing to you both the pros and the cons. You send out mixed messages when you give your attention to the positive and negative aspects equally.
When you take the time to shift the negative items on the list to the positive column, you can take this process to the next step and make it more empowering. To shift each negative to a positive is very empowering. When you cannot keep your attention on the positive, you can shift it to the positive. Without this additional step, every decision you make by weighing pros and cons will manifest with pros and cons. Pros and cons have your attention; both expand.
An even better approach is to stay focused on the positive aspects of the three scenarios. Keep adding more positive items until they are exhausted. And then add more. What happens is that the internal thought processes — which are searching for positive aspects — convert a potential negative item to a positive one so that the item will make the list.
When you believe you are finished with the list, you are ready to make a selection. If you feel uncomfortable because something is left unsaid, then there is space to say the unsaid thing which, of course, will be negative. By then, you will be so accustomed to thinking of items to go on the positive side of the list that usually the shift to or toward a positive idea is familiar and easy.
Where is your focus of attention?
Appreciating the Whole Thing
A long-time client reported a significant experience as a result of discussing this concept. She had repeatedly been reprimanded by her boss, which had led to an uncomfortable dynamic in their relationship. She described several things he had done and said the day before. Ordinarily, she would have reacted negatively to him, possibly creating an argument.
This time, she decided not to dissect the events by calling them right or wrong, good or bad. She made a choice to give her attention to the whole. She said, "I just appreciated the whole thing." She stepped back and appreciated the experience. Wholeness and appreciation had her attention.
Wow! What a profound shift she had made: she moved her attention away from the fragmented parts she had judged negatively and moved her attention to the whole, without judgment. Her shift created good feelings in her, which she named "appreciation." Stepping from specific aspects that are annoying to a more general idea or broader view often assists in experiencing a good or positive feeling.
You can open your consciousness greatly by simply appreciating an experience. To this I apply the current cliche "being in the flow." To me, "being in the flow" is more than a mere excuse for doing or not doing something. I mean that life is flowing, energy is moving, and you are empowered. You have given your attention to the whole.
Where is your focus of attention?
Where is Your Focus of Attention Now?
Identify a specific event or condition that has challenged you this week. With that situation in mind, ask yourself, "Where is/was my attention?" Is that place or thing or idea worthy of your attention? You have a choice.
Is your focus of attention on the inner or the outer? On the seen or the unseen? On the good or the bad? On what is right or what is wrong? On the frustration or the opportunity? On worry or joy? On satisfaction or lack of satisfaction? On what you desire or the lack of it? On the light or the dark side? You have a choice. What do you want to seed with your attention?
Be gentle with yourself as you answer these questions. If you do not like your answer, laugh at yourself with loving appreciation and make a new choice.
Where is your focus of attention?
For Your Empowering Personal Development
Awareness of your attention in a variety of situations is an empowering approach to your own personal growth and development. Sometimes the simplest strategies are the most powerful. So, remember to pay attention! Pay attention to your focus of attention.
Copyright © 1991, 2012, Marshall House. All rights reserved. Jeanie Marshall, Personal Development Consultant and Coach, has developed http://www.empowering-personal-development.com to encourage you on your path.
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