Want to change something? Focus attention on it.
In my recent blog post about attention (which you can read here) I talked about paying attention to the seemingly insignificant.
But this isn’t the only place where your attention is warranted.
Do you have anything in your life you’d like to change I wonder?
You know the sort of thing… you put it to the back of your mind, but it keeps rearing its head. You find yourself musing about how nice it would be if it were different. You complain about it fairly regularly. It’ll change. One day.
If the corner of your mouth is twitching in a rueful smile of recognition, let me ask you a question.
How much attention do you give to what you want to change?
Not the kind of attention that reinforces how bad it makes you feel.
I mean how much positive, focussed attention do you give to potentially changing it?
If you don’t pay real focussed attention to things you want to change, nothing happens. Nada. Nowt. Zilch. Change doesn’t occur just by waiting for it.
Now I’m all for positive thinking and gratitude. I love it! If you follow me on Facebook I post positive thoughts regularly. There’s a lot to be said for it. Positive thinking is the catalyst for greater optimism.
However, positive thinking alone is not enough to change something.
It’s like Tony Robbins said, if you’re looking out at your overgrown back yard and close your eyes and chant to yourself, “There’s no weeds, there’s no weeds, there’s no weeds!” will your backyard miraculously tidy itself up? No.
(If your backyard DOES tidy itself up just by you chanting “There’s no weeds, there’s no weeds, there’s no weeds!” I’ll have some of what you’re on!)
You can’t positive think your way out of a situation. You can positive think your way into tolerating the situation you’re in however, which is very different.
“Ah, it’s not so bad. At least the weeds have nice flowers.”
“Well, it could be so much worse.”
“We should be grateful for what we’ve got.”
If you’re happy to tolerate it, you have to ask yourself if you really want to change it.
However, Positive Thinking has a love interest and together they’re invincible. Oh yes, when Positive Thinking shacks up all nice and cosy with Positive Action, then the sparks really fly!
If you really want something to change you have to focus your attention on it and invite Positive Action to the party.
I know what you’re thinking… there’s that Positive Thinking sitting there looking all glamorous and attractive then that big, pumped up gym-bunny of a Positive Action shows up… well of course the sparks are going to fly!!
Well you know what? Positive Thinking isn’t fussy. Positive Thinking will fall for any Positive Action that shows up.
My point is this. That Positive Action doesn’t have to be some huge, life-changing decision or a major overhaul of every single bad habit you possess.
Positive Action can be small and quiet.
If you commit to a small Positive Action and do it consistently, the sparks will still fly. You’ll start to see a little bit of change happening and feel invigorated. The relationship between your positive thinking and positive action blossoms and becomes stronger. You get more confidence and wonder what else you’re capable of… so you switch your positive action up a notch… and so the cycle continues.
If you keep that little bit of change under the spotlight of your focussed attention it won’t be long before it’s grown into a real lasting change that you can be proud of.
So where are you going to start?
Choose something in your life you’d like to change.
Ask yourself some questions:
What would it mean to you if you changed it?
What do you want to change it into? (This is crucial, if you don’t know what you want to replace something with you have nothing to aim for.)
What small positive action could you take NOW to start changing it?
Reflect on how good it makes you feel. This is essential! (Whatever you do, DON’T start thinking about how much you still have to do, for that’s where overwhelm and inertia will curtail your change-making. Just move on to the next small action.)
Rinse and repeat.
If you want change, all you really need to do is get started.