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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.
I’m sure you have heard about the Qantas Airways Flight 30 jet that had to make an emergency landing at the Manila International Airport shortly after leaving Hong Kong while in route to Melbourne, Australia. It was discovered that there was a large hole in the fuselage and a this point no explanation has been given as to how it happened, although it’s not likely caused by a terrorism act. All the passengers are fine and were very calm during the unknown course of actions needed to get the plane down safely in Manila.
This is just the event that can trigger your personal growth and development. Have you ever been in a situation where your life is quite possibly in imminent jeopardy? If you have, you will know first hand how you quickly go through an awakening, which commonly includes ’seeing your life flash before your eyes’. You all of a sudden see yourself and your life from a different perspective. It is much like the perspective many people come to when they are at the place of imminent death from old age or illness. They are able to see in a new light many of their long held feelings, thoughts, and perspectives from a more ‘outside looking in’ point of view.
When you are living ‘in’ your life you have a harder time taking an outside view of what you are doing. What you think is important or necessary may not actually be so. Your perspectives and your interpretations of the people, situations and events in your life may not be the most desirable to have to support the life you really want. When your life has evolved as it has, you accept much of it as ‘how it is’ and don’t really look at it as something that can be different.
When an event wakes you up so to speak, you are sort of knocked off kilter a bit and suddenly you are able to see things differently. At this point many people do a lot of reassessment of what is important to them and of their priorities, making changes that are more aligned with their true feelings. As undesirable as the trigger event may be, it can be a wake up call for you to take a look at how you are using your life.
Like at old age when people look back and say, “I should have done this or that, or not have acted that way” and regret what they did for so many years. Why wait the facing of death to reassess your life? You can do it any time you choose. Just because your life has evolved mostly in an automatic way, you don’t have to let it stay that way. You can shift gears and change direction any time you want. The first point is to realize that you can, and you can. You don’t have to be shocked into it, although that can make it quick!
There are many helpful methods and tools available for you to use helping yourself see your life in a new view and then with making any alterations you may choose to make. The second requirement is you must want to change, as your mind will most easily keep doing what it has been doing up to this point so you will need personal motivation to override this. You are intended to continuously change and evolve throughout your life, but many get stuck and don’t realize why they feel unfulfilled and frustrated.
You have your thinking, reasoning and the ability to choose which are your basic tools to navigate your personal evolution through life. Your connections with your inner self and your intuition serve as guidance as you go but can only respond to what you seek. A life unquestioned is a life unchanged except by outside influences. Allowing outside influences to be your only guide, you will be much like the ball in an old style pinball machine bouncing from peg to peg with little to no choice.
Choice is part of your basic equipment, learn how to use it and do so. Don’t wait for some outside event or near death to wake you up, assess your life and how your feel now. What is working and what is no? Everything in the universe is in constant change, what makes you think you can remain the same and feel good about it? You can’t – dissatisfaction, unrest and unhappiness are the result. Rather, learn to navigate the change to best suit the life you are guided from within to live and you will see your happiness and satisfaction increase dramatically.
As you navigate your natural change, as guided from within, you will actually feel more calm and secure than when you were seeking comfort by trying to keep everything the same. Let this latest in air emergency be the catalyst for you to asses your life, don’t wait for something to happen to you. If we can learn from what happens to others, we may not need to experience it ourselves. Your first choice is to take a look at yourself – or not.
John Halderman writes and trains in personal growth and development focusing on what can be done daily to enhance your happiness and satisfaction with life through the understanding of how life works, managing your thoughts and purposeful actions. Find out what you can do daily to improve your life. And see the Effective Personal Development Blog for insight, methods and tools for life growth.
Do you think happy people have more in their life to be happy about? Well, yes and no. They are happy about more things in their life because they focus on being thankful and grateful about more things in their life.
What you focus on expands. When more of your attention is on things that bring up good feelings more than bad feelings you will be much happier and less dissatisfied with daily life. It boils down to perspective. First, what are you looking at and how are you looking at it?
For example, you may feel that the home you live in no longer suits your wants and needs, so you focus on what you see as the negative aspects. And I’m sure you have noticed how easily your mind chatter will support your thinking about what you don’t like. This automatic feature of your mind will help to enhance whatever you think and feel – it does it so easily with dislikes.
But think a minute, isn’t there a lot about where you now live that you can appreciate and be thankful for? You do have a roof over your head, you are protected from the elements, you have running water, flush toilets, etc. Think for a moment, if you did not have this home? I think you‘ll see that there is really a lot about it that you can be grateful for. This is true of most everything in your life. If you are not sure, compare what you have and do against other people that have less. Think about your home, your clothes, your job, your possessions, your community, accessibility to what you want, how your basic needs are met, what IS going right, and so much more. There is always a good side.
Teach yourself to focus on anything and everything that you can no matter how minute you think it is and your happiness will increase. You can really only focus on one thing at a time, multitasking is when you bounce between different things more rapidly. But you can’t think about the good of something while thinking about the bad of it, always one or the other. To feel better and to send out the best signal, focus on the good. You can decide to be grateful for no specific reason, just for being alive and all that entails. This is actually a great base line for your life, your attitude, thinking, perceptions, health and behavior – grateful to be here, to be you.
If you have been thinking a lot about what you don’t like or want and you switch to fairly consistent gratitude, you will be amazed at how you feel. Your attitude, disposition and outlook will be much brighter, you may feel like you woke up on the ‘right’ side of the bed. Your body will respond positively too with more vitality, less stress and even some health improvements. The thing is, none of this is chance – the more thankful and grateful you are the better you will feel. You will be improving your happiness without even changing anything in your life except your perception.
Now you may be wondering what to do with all the new and different things you want in your life and I have talked about grateful for what you have. You need to do both. One of the ‘tricks’ in life is to find the fine line between two aspects of life, which we have an example of here with gratitude for what you have and thinking about what you want. Both are required for the most happiness and satisfaction in your life.
Where most of us fall into a trap is when we think it is logical to delineate what we don’t want, actually we just find it easy to complain about it since we have attached emotions that support our dislike. The key is this – you can express thanks for what you have and feel grateful for it, and want more at the same time.
What you shouldn’t do is, to repeatedly express your dislike for something and expect it to change. When continuously expounding on what you don’t want, you get more of it. Every thought you hold is an order to the universe – for what you want. To highlight how pointedly powerful each and every thought is, “I AM” in front of everything you are thinking and feeling. If you are thinking, “(I am) I hate my hair” you are what you want, just as an acorn is saying, “I am an oak tree.” The same forces that ensure the acorn develops as requested is working in your behalf in the same way.
Be grateful for your current situation, it got you here, it is a stepping stone on the path, there is something to learn or gain from it. If anything it is a clue to what you should not be doing, if you don’t like it. But rather than going on about not liking it, let it help you find what you do want.
Also, I am not suggesting using gratitude as a way to ignore anything that needs attention and action. You can be grateful for something and be working on changing or improving it. There is a big difference in thinking about something as you are working with it as opposed to thoughts dwelling on the negative aspects of it.
The bottom line is that there is something about anything that you can find to be grateful for. Sometimes this can be tricky to find and you may need to adjust your perception in order to see it. It could be a lesson or something that needs to be experienced for you or someone else. As you know by now some lessons and experiences can be painful. I just recently had to face this as my wife passed away three months ago.
If there is something in your life that you are having difficulty finding an aspect to be grateful for, don’t let it bog you down, just look at other things that you can be thankful for now. But if you can see the lesson, it is something to be grateful for, because now you know and can do something about it and grow from it. And that is worth being grateful for!
The more you do this, the more you will. Start with whatever you can and you will notice more and more to be grateful about. As you express gratitude for a few things your perceptions will change a little
Writing down what you are thankful for increases your commitment and increases it’s power, and sharing with others does so even more, plus others will benefit from it as well. To share your gratitude and/or the results of your increased gratitude with others, plus get some encouragement and insights reading what others write – go to the Gratitude Journal – see category list.
John Halderman writes and trains in personal growth and development focusing on what can be done daily to enhance your happiness and satisfaction with life through the understanding of how life works, managing your thoughts and purposeful actions.
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.