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Are you focusing your time and attention to the right things? Are you placing importance on the right thoughts, feelings and behaviors?
Did you know that for most people, much of what they do in life was not consciously chosen by them? And many times we have done these things for so long they now do seem important to us, but deep down they really are not. At least not as important as what truly is deeply important. This is because doing so requires us to take command of our thinking and analyze the state of our life. But letting our minds just run things is easier, efficient and more comfortable. Most people have not taken the time to discover what is truly important to them, life just kind of goes along with many seemingly important activities going on all the time. Your brain will ‘take care’ of you in it’s own way and understanding this is very helpful if you want any kind of change in your life.
When you put your attention to something you will see and experience more of it, you will think about it more and even expound on it. Have you ever become interested in a certain model of car from reading and pictures, and then in the next few days you all of a sudden see lots of them on the road as you are driving around, and you hadn’t really noticed many before? Now that you have placed some of your attention, and maybe with some heightened emotional feeling, into the car you want your mind will help you experience more of the same. Your mind is just doing it’s job, to help keep you as comfortable as possible, and make your life easier with patterns, habits and easily repeated behaviors.
When you understand the way your brain works you can better work with it to get and experience what you want. In this case, it is valuable to be aware of what your mind will tend to do automatically so that you understand that you must be purposefully proactive with your thought and attention. Your mind gets programmed through repetition to see and pay attention to what you have already paid attention to. So if you don’t consciously otherwise direct your thinking, your mind will normally keep replaying the same things you have already done and have experience with. This is makes life easier, you don’t have to ‘think’ about a lot of things.
This is why we can feel as though our life has just been going on by itself, because it is. Until you step in, taking command of your thought, and direct your thinking – it will remain as it was. Well actually not exactly the same, your mind will continue to help you expand and develop on the theme – good or bad! In addition, whatever your mind focuses on becomes more important to you. This importance does not differentiate between good or bad.
When you place your attention on anything, this is a command to your brain telling it what you want. So, your brain works to fulfill this. Now this can be anything, even what you don’t want, or a bad experience, or a fear – anything you have focused conscious attention on your brain will help you experience more of it. This is one reason why habits are so hard to break, you keep falling into routines and have the same reactions and feelings over and over.
What can be done about this? Your brain is performing as intended but you are stuck repeating many experiences you would rather not have anymore or you want something new and different. You need to consciously take command of your thinking and override the automatic aspects of your brain. This is where your true power resides, in your conscious command of your thoughts. Just because your brain throws out thought and defense of it does not mean you must follow this – your conscious thought is ultimately in control. It may not seem this way because you have become accustomed to allowing the brain to keep things going automatically, but you can step in and take command anytime you choose.
You may not even know your deepest desires even though they have likely popped up once in a while. You will need to take some time and give attention to discovering what is deeply most important to you, it may not be what you have thought is important. There are different ways to go about this, with most consisting of quieting your chattering mind talk and learning to be receptive to inner information coming up to the conscious level. Doing things like asking yourself questions about yourself and becoming receptive to answers may not be something you are accustomed to doing, so it may take time, patience and persistence realizing that you are really in charge of your thinking. Even adding this kind of activity into your day means that you will need to make time by replacing something already present.
There are a few factors to be aware of that can hamper your progress:
Your brain will attempt to defend the repeating thoughts, throwing out ‘mind chatter’ to dissuade you from your new thinking and actions.
There is more short term comfort in what you already know, even if it is very bad for you. Keep your vision on the long term intention and satisfaction, as a way to get by the desire for feeling good now.
You must remain persistent, more persistent than the brains need to protect what you are trying to displace. Utilize whatever tools and techniques you can to help yourself stay on track. Persistence reveals the winner!
When you begin to see what is truly most important, you will then want to start to change what you focus some of your time and attention to. In order for the new desired experience to come to fruition you will need to continuously give it attention and time in your day. It is like a seed that needs to be nurtured. As you do this your brain will help expound on this and gradually have it become part of the automatic norm for your life just as it has with what you experience now.
Remaining in focus with what you have now or with what you don’t want will only tell your brain to perpetuate it. The first and necessary step for anything to change is your taking command of your thought and choosing what you do want based on what is important to you, then focus on it even if your brain throws up resistance. It’s up to you to choose your priorities and tell your brain what you want to focus on, not the other way around. Your brain will follow your lead once you’ve established your athority over your thinking. Take charge of your life, utilize your true power, choose your thought and your priorities.
Your life is going on and on and on. This is a good thing of course and your brain is designed to keep it this way. Part of your brains function is to simplify as much as possible and to help you feel good which it is very good at. Now you may think that you are always feeling as good as you want this is because your brain sees keeping things the same as more comforting than change. So even what may not be good for you is perpetuated. Your brain is very good at keeping everything the same, in fact it helps to enhance whatever has already been experienced. The way the brain sees this is, you must want it – you chose it, even if not consciously.
The easiest course for your life is for more of the same and that is likely what you have been experiencing. This of course may be all good if you are totally satisfied with everything. But if you want anything about your life to be different, that’s not what your brain is in charge of. When your day is completely full of what you already think, feel and do where does the new come in? When your unconscious and conscious though are consumed with what is now going on, which I assure you they are, all of your attention is there as well. Your day to day life is essentially a habit that continues to feed and support itself, keeping you locked in as it is.
What happens is that you can become blind to other things, that are different. How this affects your life is this – You can become so involved with your repeating thoughts which increase in importance by default that you are not even aware of what you are not doing, what you are missing, and what is deeply important to you. I ran across a video that illustrates this. Pay attention to the guy speaking and do what he instructs you to do. Perception
This attention blindness keeps us doing what we have done and away from what is different and unrelated. You’ve heard the saying, “you can’t see the forest through the trees.” You may not see things that are right in front of you because your attention is already taken up with something. When focusing on the trees that are right in front of you, you are not able to see the scope of the entire forest and it’s varied landscapes.
Many of the things that you have grown to think are important because of your continual involvement, may not be so important to you at a deeper level. As you focus your attention on something it’s importance increases just from the increased presence of the involved thoughts and actions. With this higher level of importance your brain gives it more attention too making it even more prominent in your conscious and unconscious thought, thus many other things are completely shut out of your awareness.
It is important to know that you can really only focus on one thing at a time. When you are ‘multi-tasking’ you are actually jumping quickly back and forth from one thing to another. There is only so much of this that your brain is capable of doing. Plus, there is the time utilized factor. There are 24 hours in a day and when you have allowed the repetitive thoughts to inhabit those hours you are awake, there is no more time for other, new thoughts. You can easily use up your day pretty much thinking about the same things as you did yesterday and the day before. So where does new thinking fit it?
Essentially your life is easily consumed with what you have already experienced, have thought about a lot and have established feelings for. This is almost too simple. Allowing your daily life to continue on in the same way, as your brain helps you do, you are actually preventing yourself from seeing and experiencing anything new and different.
You do however have the ability and the right to make changes in your life anytime you want, you must choose to first and then follow through with persistence and determination to override what is already established in your mind. Your real power as a human lies with your ultimate command of your thought. Just because your brain functions the way it does does not prevent you from aver changing any of it. Where the problem lies is that most of us have a pattern of allowing our minds to perpetuate the same thoughts and experiences over and over rather than making frequent changes. Making frequent changes and adjustments to your thinking can become part of your normal operating system once do do it for a while. Your brain will support this just as it has supported anything else you have focused on.
To change any of your repeating life experience you will need to assert your command of your thought and make choices about what you do and don’t want to be your life experience. Just be aware of how your brain works, it wants to keep you comfortable by keeping things as they are.
As you work on change you may experience some of the following:
Doubt and worry,
Challenging your ability and self-esteem,
Brain fog, clouding your thought,
Short term gratification,
Don’t let this stop you, you don’t need to remain blinded by your existing life experience. Realizing what may occur up front you will be less likely to be influenced by it. Determination, persistence and the belief that you are fully capable will help you learn to make the wanted adjustments to your thought and what you focus on. It’s your mind, use it to your benefit.
What keeps us from doing all that we want? Many say that personal
growth and development and self awareness are our number one
priorities in life, yet most spend very little time and attention
towards this end. Some people do not realize how important it is to
continually grow, in fact they may not even realize they can. Many
people know that they can continue to grow, develop and become more
self aware, but they don’t do much about it.
And then there are those few that seem to be able to actively keep
moving forward on their life path. Why? They allow their thinking
to focus on their enlightenment, on how they think and act on a
regular basis, not just once in a while. They are able to let their
mind calm down and get quiet, allowing the chatter to fade away.
They are willing to allow their fears, doubts and worries to be
present in their thought, knowing that these thoughts can’t
actually harm them – knowing that avoidance just postpones not
There are different reasons why we all don’t actively participate
in our own personal enlightenment, but one of the main reasons is
due to distraction. The human mind can actually do only one thing
at a time, those of you that think otherwise are just good at
rapidly switching from one focus to another. So what we choose to
think about determines much of our life experience. In relation to
distraction, when we think about is something that helps us feel
comfortable or think we should be doing because of our life
responsibilities we are not focusing on growth and self
Now I’m not here to tell you what is and is not important in your
physical life, but I know that you need to apply some of your time
and attention to your inner growth which includes how you think and
act. So what keeps you from doing this you may not even be aware
of. Since it is normal for humans to seek happiness, which we
equate to comfort, we tend to avoid uncomfortable thinking and
feelings. And we do this in many ways, some are our daily
activities. We may not be aware of how our daily activities can be
getting the way of our growth and self-realization
Things you may do to avoid discomfort:
Listening to music
Listening to talk radio
Playing video games
Hold on! You say, “these are normal things.”
Yes they are, but they can all be used as a distraction. And only
you can know what role they play in your life. Like anything,
moderation is usually the best.
There are two situations you may be avoiding.
1)If you tend to go to any activity when you feel
uncomfortable, you are probably escaping. Sure you will feel better
doing something you are familiar with, but this behavior can just
postpone what you are avoiding or even make it worse. What I’m
referring to here relates to more discomfort than simple relaxation
2)One of the biggest things you may be doing without
knowing it is avoiding real thinking. This is when you are
uncomfortable with allowing your mind to run through the incessant
mind chatter, which shakes your worries and doubts in your face, to
the point where your mind is clear.
Life requires balance, and what I have found is that for most, any
self-growth is pushed into a small corner receiving only spare time
attention – sometimes. Are you running in circles doing the same
things each day and not seeing any change? Are you frustrated with
your life? There could be an initial feeling of discomfort when you
choose to allow yourself to think freely and not choose a
distraction, but this will pass. Using methods of relaxation and
meditation will help.
If you want more for yourself take a look at what you do and why
you do it. Take a look at what you do everyday towards your own
personal growth and development, to what you are doing towards
self-realization. Only you can know if you are using activities to
avoid something that is actually more important. Choose to set
aside time to just relax and think – this is how you can get in
touch with your inner self on a more regular basis.
The choice of how you spend your time is yours and the result is
your life experience.
Tips and tools for daily personal growth, increased happiness and
Another article in the ‘Daily Action For Self Improvement’ series, articles focusing on the personal development and growth actions you can take daily to support a high level of happiness and satisfaction in your life.
In looking what you can do each day to support what you want in your life – check your thinking throughout the day.
Ask a simple question of yourself, “Am I a magnet for what I want?”
You see, your predominate thoughts direct your magnet. Unfortunately, spending a lot of time thinking about what we don’t want seems to be the norm.
But doing this just defines your creation magnet – so you are essentially requesting more of what you don’t want.
You do this when you re-play in your head;
What you don’t like,
What you are upset about,
What you worry about,
What you are afraid of
And, this is so easy to do, it is automatic. But it doesn’t have to be. You can stop and shift ‘thought gears’ whenever you want.
The first option is to switch your focus onto something, anything that you can feel good about. Get yourself to delve into this topic for a while to divert your attention.
It is easier to replace thought with another thought than it is to try to get yourself to just stop the current thinking. Replace your thought with something desirable.
A second option when you catch yourself stuck in ‘the negative thought spiral’ is to look for the opposite of what you are thinking. Usually at the opposite of a dislike is something you would want. Identify this and place your focus on it, allowing yourself to feel better.
Wherever your mind is – you are seeking more, even if it is what you don’t want. So, train yourself to not remain in that state of whirling around in what you don’t want – use that to look for the opposite, what you do like. Or even just switch to thinking about anything to get your mind into a happier place.
To get yourself to begin to notice more often what you are thinking about try this:
Get a 3 x 5 card to take with you for the day.
Write on it –
“What am I thinking about right now?”
“Does it make me happy?”
“What else can I be thinking?”
Keep this where you will see it often. It’s good to put it somewhere where you will accidentally notice it without thinking about it. This helps you catch yourself off guard so you can take notice of your thoughts. Using a tool like this can help you to learn to take more notice to what you are thinking all the time.
When you are aware of your thoughts, you can decide if you want to change them.
John Halderman teaches and writes in the areas of personal growth and development focusing on effective methods for self actualization, increased satisfaction and happiness. For more:
Another article in the ‘Daily Action For Self Improvement’ series, articles focusing on the personal development and growth actions you can take daily to support a high level of happiness and satisfaction in your life.
How many things have you began and put aside before completing?
If you can answer, “many”, you are a ’starter’.
Do you have a tendency to get excited about doing something, begin it, then soon get sidetracked by interest in somewhat new. This can be any type of project, a new career or job, a hobby, a business idea, even a relationship – whatever, just anything that gets put aside when your interest clings to something new.
If you can relate to this, you are also perhaps quite frustrated with the lack of money, satisfaction and happiness in your life. What’s the problem? You try so hard; you are always involved with or working on something yet you don’t see the results you initially desire.
What is going on with this repetitive cycle you are stuck in?
* You do not have a clear course in your life to act as a beacon keeping you on track.
* You don’t have a clearly defined set of specific goals, targets or a vision to serve as benchmarks in your progress.
* You are not managing your time properly nor sticking to appropriate tasks.
* Allowing your focus to bounce around shows you are not fully committed to a big picture.
* You are not benefiting emotionally from the reward and satisfaction of accomplishment.
* Your personal confidence is likely not how it ought to be.
* Your frustration level is damaging to your personal power, energy and motivation.
* You are likely to be questioning or even doubting your ideas and decisions.
Now look at what a success cylce can be like.
The fact that you are bouncing your attention from idea to idea indicates that you are not aware enough of your purpose. Your purpose is what you are here to do to serve the universe and your work supports this when directed properly. Discovering or getting a better sense of your purpose in life gives you a specific direction to focus much of your attention. From this you will be better able to decide where to place the focus of your thought and the energy of your actions.
Seeing and feeling your purpose will reveal a deep intent and a strong motivation. You should feel strongly like you are on a mission. This helps you to remain focused and on task. You will have the inner strength and conviction to take command of your thinking, directing your thoughts and actions towards supporting your mission.
The questioning and doubting mentioned above comes up when your inner self is hampered by your conscious attempts to seek happiness and satisfy your ego mind. Without consciously knowing your direction you will not be giving your all to what you should be focused on. You can actually cause your inner guidance to be clouded to your perception, not receiving it’s full benefit.
When you determine a direction based on your purpose you can more appropriately set up the steps and focused actions that will support this. You don’t need to know every step in the beginning, just enough to get yourself going and more is revealled as you go. Through your inner guidance, intuition and conscious thought details are exposed as you are immersed in the process. If you sit back and attempt to figure it all out ahead of time before starting you will remain stuck. You must begin, in trust, taking steps forward in order to discover the next steps.. You will see the way forward as you procede in the right direction.
Accomplishing some goals or targets along the way definately gives your confidence and motivation a boost. This is crucial in keeping your energy and interest at a high level. Continued accomplishment and motiovation supports willingness to do what is necessary.
Daily planning and refocusing on the specific tasks to be accomplished each day is important to keep yourself from getting mired in daily life. You must have an intention and the burning desire behind it every day in order to trigger the self-discipline to stick to it, as it is so easy to get distracted amid everyday things that do not directly support your purpose. You can be busy all day and not get done anything that you had set out to if you are not diligent. Time management is critical to your overall satisfaction and progress, there is not time to do everything you can think of in a day. Learn to be selective with the thoughts you hold and the activities you are involved in so that you are not merely getting moved by life but rather focusing on your desires.
This should be reinforced with daily reminders of your purpose, intent and goals. Set up a daily plan for your activities every day, be determined to stay on course, and check yourself often, it’s very easy to veer away. If supporting your purpose includes several things, know that you can’t do everything at once. One thing accomplished provides far more motivation than 3 things half-done. Determine the method and order that projects will be done and commit to when they are to be completed. Focus your focus and atttention to the first or most vital step then go through the list – you are now on a mission. You will soon develop the positive habit of the success cycle.
Your personal development is your responsibility, take control of your scattered thought and find the key to focused attention. Happiness and satisfaction are the result of purposeful accomplishment.
John Halderman is a trainer and writer dedicated to assisting people with ideas, methods and tools to help them do, be and feel better enhancing their overall happiness and satisfaction. Get the guide detailing many activities you can use to daily support your personal development and growth.