Focus on what you want… not on what you don’t want.
I think I’ve shared with you recently that I’ve been getting back into reading again, and although it doesn’t have quite the same positive impact for us as reading a real life book that you hold in your hands and can turn the pages on, I’ve recently gotten into listening to audio books (on Audible) when I am driving in the car.
I’ve really been enjoying the deeper inspiration and knowledge that you get from reading books that really grab your interest and attention, and I actually spend quite a lot of time driving in my car. So whilst I generally love listening to music and podcasts and Ted talks while I am driving, I thought I’d give the audio book format a go so I could get more books into me. It took a little bit of getting used to, and it’s certainly a different way of consuming a book, but it has actually been much better that I thought it would be. It’s not as easy to go back and read over a point, you can’t take notes and it doesn’t get absorbed in quite the same way, but on the other side of that, the process of listening whilst driving means that you can contemplate the words and the meanings in a different way. And while it in no way has replaced reading a book for me, and nor will it ever – and I will probably end up reading the books I listen to in hard copy anyway – it’s been great and I will continue to listen along to books in the car.
There are two books that have recently been in my ears – Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio and the time honoured classic – Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Both of these books have a lot of information in them and could be listened to a number of times for that information to all be heard at a conscious level. However, like pretty much every book that has ever been written on material success, success in life, success in business, greater health, any kind of achievement of anything – these books both have at their core a very basic formula to get what you want in life. This formula has not been made up by either of these authors, nor by any of the authors of any other book. It is simply the way that things are, and communicated as understood by the people who have applied it in their own lives and who are writing the book that you are reading.
When we want something to change or we want something to happen, most of us, most of the time, spend most of our energy focusing on the problem, on the lack, on the actual thing we don’t want. So for example, you think your problem might be with your lack of health, or your lack of finances or your lack of satisfaction in your relationship. And what we tend to do, is we simply keep looking at the problem, thinking about the problem, talking about the problem – we know that thing intimately. But there are fundamental laws at play in our lives and in our world, and one of them is that where attention goes, energy flows. What we focus on expands. What we think, we become. So all this approach is doing is going to give you more of the same – of that thing you don’t want, even though you think you are doing the right thing by actively focusing all of your energy and attention on not wanting it.
So what we need to do instead when we want a change or we want a different experience or a different outcome – is that we need to change the way we are thinking about it, talking about it, behaving about it. And whilst on paper it seems incredibly simple (and it seems incredibly simple because it is incredibly simple), we like to make things much harder than they need to be.
We have all heard the words – “as you sow, so shall you reap”. So, if you don’t like the plants that are growing in your life, start sowing better seeds.
And this is where the kind of frameworks laid out in books like these help.
Napoleon Hill details this in a six step formula. Due to the nature of his book, this formula uses money as the point of focus, but this formula is Universal and can be applied to anything.
First. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say “I want plenty of money.” Be definite as to the amount.
Second. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There is no such reality as “something for nothing.”)
Third. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.
Fourth. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
Fifth. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.
Sixth. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ, SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.
So stop focusing on what you don’t want. That is an old and very boring story.
Focus instead on what you actually want. And in saying that do you actually know what you want? Or is the entire focus on knowing what it is you don’t want?
What is it that you really want? Get clear on it, decide what you are going to give in order to get it (time, effort, money, change in behaviour etc), when do you want to achieve it/have it by, make a plan to achieve it and then take immediate action, write all of this on a piece of paper and read it aloud to yourself twice a day.
All of that is focusing all of your attention and desire on what you actually want (leaving the actual problem behind). Persistence is key to this method actually working, so plant good seeds, water them, nurture them, keep pulling out the weeds, believing, staying true to them and don’t give up.
The Story of The Chinese Bamboo Tree
by Matt Morris
Like any plant, growth of the Chinese Bamboo Tree requires nurturing – water, fertile soil, sunshine. In its first year, we see no visible signs of activity. In the second year, again, no growth above the soil. The third, the fourth, still nothing. Our patience is tested and we begin to wonder if our efforts (caring, water, etc.) will ever be rewarded.
And finally in the fifth year – behold, a miracle! We experience growth. And what growth it is! The Chinese Bamboo Tree grows 80 feet in just six weeks!
But let’s be serious, does the Chinese Bamboo Tree really grow 80 feet in six weeks? Did the Chinese Bamboo Tree lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth? Or, was the little tree growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond? The answer is, of course, obvious. Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation it could not have sustained its life as it grew. The same principle is true for people. People, who patiently toil towards worthwhile dreams and goals, building strong character while overcoming adversity and challenge, grow the strong internal foundation to handle success, while get-rich- quickers and lottery winners usually are unable to sustain unearned sudden wealth.
Had the Chinese Bamboo Tree farmer dug up his little seed every year to see if it was growing, he would have stunted the Chinese Bamboo tree’s growth as surely as a caterpillar is doomed to a life on the ground if it is freed from its struggle inside a cocoon prematurely. The struggle in the cocoon is what gives the future butterfly the wing power to fly, just as tension against muscles as we exercise strengthen our muscles, while muscles left alone will soon atrophy.
Fiona Redding is the founder of The Happiness Hunter, co-host of #BusinessAddicts The Podcast and author of The Happiness Hunter’s Guide to Meditation.
Based on leading research, metaphysical principles and her own real life learnings and experiences, The Happiness Hunter will teach and empower you to change your life with the strategies, tools and mindset shifts required to live an abundant, successful and healthy life, full of passion, joy and meaning, and free of stress and anxiety.
Our services include life coaching and healing services, workshops, retreats, keynote presentations and corporate wellbeing programs with a focus on life integration instead of work life balance.
The Happiness Hunter also organises free community walks and weekly classes throughout Australia in an effort to increase happiness & wellbeing through human connection, nature and exercise, which is supported by a leadership network.