Unique Way to Get Focused

We’ve all had days like this…

You sit down at your desk bright and early but just can’t seem to concentrate on the things you know you need to be doing to grow your business.

Your spouse walks in around 10am and says something to you and you snap at them because you’re so busy… then proceed to waste time on worthless social media gossip that doesn’t amount to a row of beans. Then you check your email for the 15th time in the last 5 minutes.

By noon you’re really starting to hate yourself for being so unfocused.

It’s not entirely your fault.

A negative thought virus has come across the airwaves and lodged itself in your noggin. You could have caught the nasty little bug anywhere…

Maybe you’ve been watching too much news. That will do it. If catching a mind virus were like catching a cold, reading the news is like handling money and then eating finger food without washing your hands.

Or maybe you’ve been hanging around too many whiny, nitpicking sad sacks lately. They’re polluting your airspace, spewing bad attitude all over the place. Gloms on to you faster than a germ in a kindergarten class.

No wonder you’re grousing and griping about what’s wrong and who is to blame and jumping at any stupid excuse for not applying yourself to business.

It happens below the level of consciousness. You haven’t a clue what’s going on until your head is pounding and your day has been shot to hell.

And that’s nothing compared to when good ol’ Murphy rears his ugly head. At that point you’re a sitting duck for behaviors that self defeat and sabotage.

Is there a pill you can take?

Turns out there is, it’s called gratitude. No it’s not a new drug.

But it’s powerful protection from the errant negativity that’s floating all around you… and a potent cure for a bad attitude if you’ve already got one.

Here’s all you do …

Get in a quiet place and write down 10 things you’re thankful for. Just 10. Any 10. Rattle them off as fast you can.

1.    Your eyes
2.    Your computer
3.    The car in your garage
4.    Your family’s health
5.    The sun
6.    Shoes
7.    10 fingers
8.    Food in the fridge
9.    Democracy
10.  The Internet

Now go back over the list and think for a moment what your life would be like without each item.

Contemplate what your eyes make possible. Appreciate them for the gift they are. Heck you wouldn’t be reading this wisdom without them.

Then move on to the next item…

How much work would you get done today without a computer? How inconvenient would it be to head down to Best Buy and grab another one? Imagine loading all of your software into the new computer. Do you have the files backed up?

Heck, you could fill a whole day with this kind of thankfulness if you put your mind to it. You could easily come up with 10 different things to appreciate for each day of the year, couldn’t you?

Well here’s what happens when you get in the habit …

You clean up your head trash and start seeing the world differently. Where before you saw difficulty, now you see opportunity. You see it everywhere because you are focused on the utility and usefulness of things.

Napoleon Hill said: “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

Focusing on the usefulness of a situation and the opportunity it represents is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It harnesses a powerful feedback loop between belief and behavior.

Have you heard the old story about the two shoe salesmen sent to Africa to assess the market for shoes back in the 1800s? The first salesman wrote back to the home office: No opportunity here. Nobody wears shoes. The second salesman wrote back: This place is a goldmine. Nobody wears shoes.

Silly joke, but it makes a profound point about how the mind works. The two salesmen looked at the same scene and each one saw what he was looking for. Their minds were tuned to different frequencies.

It’s called the Reticular Activation System — RAS for short. It’s like a filter that focuses your consciousness on a tiny sub-set of the trillions of bits of data flooding into your brain from your senses.

The RAS keeps you sane by deleting everything that doesn’t fit with your prevailing mood and thought patterns. Which means if you allow your mind to be tuned for misery you’ll find it.

And if you proactively train it to be grateful for things, then you automatically see the good in them and how they can be used to get what you want.

What’s more, where your attention goes, your creative energy flows. Which means if your RAS is focused on difficulties, your creative energy creates more of them. Opportunities too.

Do you see the profound impact that simple truth can have on your working life?

You’re sitting there writing a report. You’re thinking about what an asset this new report will be to your business. You’re grateful for the opportunity to write it. You’re tickled pink you can put it up on the Internet and somebody clear on the other side of the earth can read it. Do you think these thoughts might encourage a useful idea or two? You bet.

But if you’re writing that very same report with a negative expectation; doubtful anyone will read it or buy it, isn’t the opposite true? A thought pops into your head and you crap all over it. “Oh, that’s no good,” you think to yourself. How likely is it you’ll have another idea? It’s just natural to become discouraged and distracted.

The good news is you have a choice. You may have been programmed as a child to embrace cynicism. You may have been inadvertently trained to look at the world with woe and worry. That’s unfortunate. But you can change. You can train your mind to see the good and the useful in every situation and how you can use it your advantage.

On the other hand, you may have been calibrated with a healthy dose of gratitude. And that’s great. Guard your gift.

[Ed Note: Daniel Levis is a top marketing consultant, direct response copywriter and publisher of the highly acclaimed marketing periodical, Persuasion Mastery Club. Get a full month of Persuasion Mastery Club (a $78 value), FREE! No credit card required. Visit: www.daniellevis.com.]

 

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  • I make a gratitude list almost every day, but have never worked with it like that. Great idea.

    Dan @ ZenPresence

  • Rebecca

    I knew this to be true conceptually and by experience. I don’t believe i’ve heard it explained this way; it’s a driven response created by RAS. Awesome insight!

  • Vera Kruger

    Thank you for your daily encouragements. Your newsletter is the best one that comes to my site. My first thankfulness is to God, and then the list continues. I run a guest house and B & B close to the mountains in Bragg Creek, just 3/4 of hour from Banff, Alberta, Canada and I keep a scrapbook of your positive and wonderful advice for my guests to read. Thank you. Vera Kruger

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Wonderful Vera, thank you so much!