The Power of Focus
FocusAny of us can really wind ourselves up if we focus on something that happened to us that we found really annoying. We can sit here right now and get really annoyed about it. Or we can recount a moment where we felt really happy or when something was really funny, pleasurable or incredible, and sit here and smile for a few moments. This is what focus is about. Focus determines how we feel from minute to minute, and we should try to control our focus so we don't just focus on the one little blemish on the otherwise clean white sheet. It requires conscious effort. Why do we focus on the pain of a unsatisfactory relationship or a death, or loss of respect or money, but we don't focus on a really unpleasant episode of diarrhea? Your thoughts and your focus dictate how you feel. Your focus shapes who you are, where you are going and your future.
Whatever you focus on, you will instinctively move towards. If you are trying to gain control of a skidding car, and you keep looking at that tree, you are most likely to hit it! If you look at the empty grass run off, you are more likely to land your car. Your brain cannot tell the difference between 'Crash into the tree!' or 'Don't crash into the tree!' In martial arts, if you do not look directly at the centre line of the opponent, then your strikes and moves will not land on the centre line. They will land off target, wherever you are focussing. When you drive your car, you have to look where you are going or you won't get where you want to go, and more importantly, you will crash!
If someone tells you to focus on the colour red, the colour red will no doubt pop into your mind, into your focus. If someone tells you not to focus on the colour red, the colour red will no doubt pop into your mind! Your mind is not as sophisticated as a spam filter in an email program, which you can select subjects and senders you don't want to hear from. Think of the brain more as a waiter at a restaurant who does not speak very good English. If you order a dish, for example, a rack of lamb, and tell him what you DON'T want with it, for example, onions, the chances are that the waiter will walk away from your table thinking 'onions' and come back with the rack of lamb, with extra onions. And he might say 'You said onions, I brought you EXTRA onions, just how you like it!' and with a big smile on his face, thinking he has been really kind and given you exactly what you wanted! The mind works in the same way, and doesn't differentiate between want and don't want, it just hears the subject or object. Tell yourself you don't want to feel depressed or angry or hurt or jealous, and it's not likely to work! It is likely to have the reverse effect. You need to be positive with your visualisations, about what you actually want, and not about what you don't want. Anyone can say what they don't like or want. But it is more difficult to be positive and have the guts to say what you really want instead!
Here is an exercise. Don't think of the word chocolate...Now what did you just think of?
Don't think about how long the pages on this web site are! Now what did you just think of? ;-)
If someone was to tell you look around a crowded room and notice how many people are wearing brown shoes, you would suddenly focus your attention on brown shoes. You may not have noticed the brown shoes before this, and now that you are focussing on brown shoes, you may not notice what coloured jackets people are wearing or what style of ties they are wearing.
Whenever there are supply problems at one of the UK oil refineries, the television and radio news coverage focuses on it every day for a prolonged period, even though it only affects a very small (tiny) proportion of all UK petrol stations. By focusing on this one tiny blotch on an other clean piece of paper, the UK public become agitated and worried about being able to get fuel for their cars. The government seems to issue a statement every time to discourage panic buying of fuel at petrol stations by informing the public 'not to panic buy'. An already paranoid public see the words 'panic buy' and it encourages them to try to 'beat the crowds' by buying their petrol first, and thus actually encourages the panic buying behaviour the government is trying to avoid. The public do not see the word 'not' but focus on the words 'panic buy'. If the government never used the words 'panic buy' and either ignored the dispute or issued a positive statement that 95% or petrol stations (or whatever the exact figure) are unaffected and it is business as usual, then it would be much more likely to achieve the result they wanted and to calm the public. The media should perhaps only report the story on one occasion, but they are desperate for news and exclusives and send their reporters to the depots and spend many hours talking rubbish and speculating to get the most ratings and to make it out to be more exciting than it actually is. A similar situation happened with the building society Northern Rock in 2007, when BBC news coverage about Northern Rock caused most customers to queue up at the branches to withdraw their savings, causing a run on the bank, and causing it to go bust. The queuing made others think, gosh it must be bad, I must queue as well. The media tends to publish or report on stories that are negative or sensationalised, that appeal to people's baser instincts, which over time conditions people into certain ways of focussing on negative news and their perception of society itself.
Filters apply to many areas of our daily experience. For example, we are not able to observe everything around us all at once. We would probably go insane. It would be too tiring. So our mind narrows down our focus to enable us to function on a day to day basis. However, there is a tendency for the mind to focus too narrowly and to get into what we would term 'routines', i.e. go around on 'auto-pilot' and not observe our surroundings. There is much to be gained from mental exercises that widen one's habitual pattern of focus, to notice more and to keep the excitement about our environment within us. However, talking about filters specifically, some Personality Types are perhaps more pre-disposed to developing filters than others. Some dysfunctional and one-sided personality types that do not grow (in particular, dysfunctional 'blue'), have a tendency not to create or develop filters in certain areas and as a result can become hypersensitive to their environments. i.e. they have less control of their focus. A typical example is being easily distracted by external noise, such as a conversation, phone call, or other type of random noise. One may focus in on that noise, even if faint, rather than what one is actually trying to concentrate on doing - be it studying, writing something, thinking or trying to sleep or relax. It is an addictive pattern of focus without the necessary filters in place. Filters are our servants, our tools, to serve us rather than enslave us in a state of not noticing anything. For example, dysfunctional white personality types are prone to excessive filtering, or being 'spaced out' and not noticing anything around them. So what is a filter? It is hard to define, but on some level it is a rule that your nervous system uses to prevent certain types of information reaching the brain as it does not want to bother the brain with it. On some level it is a belief. Or rather, a belief can reinforce that filter. But more fundamentally, it is an entrained nervous system response, a neuro-association, that triggers a response when a certain input is heard. The way to break the power of that trigger, so that one does not always react to that external event (i.e. start creating a working and useful filter) is to interrupt the moment when the trigger occurs and tell ourselves that we do not wish to be engaged by it. Or to gradually introduce higher and higher intensities of that external source of noise or stimulus, whilst all the time working to keep one's focus away from it; i.e. starting from a manageable level and only increasing when one feels comfortable at that previous level of intensity. This can be backed up with brainstorming one's beliefs and any core beliefs that reinforce one's addiction to responding to the event. And equally, using various other NLP or EFT techniques, which are explored on this page and subsequent pages. If you make no effort to create filters or do not try hard enough or consistently long enough, then you may well end up a slave to stress or decreased efficiency in certain tasks or ability to focus and concentration at your own will. Which isn't so great or clever really.
The result of your thoughts and focus is your emotional state. If you are regularly experiencing negative emotions, such as anger, stress, worry, paranoia, fear, guilt, jealousy, hatred, sadness, boredom, then these are a reflect that your focus and thoughts need realigning and changing. If you are regularly experiencing positive emotions, such as happiness, joy, beauty, peace and other creative states, then you are on the right track with your focus and thoughts. Your focus not only shapes where you are going and what you do for yourself and what you think, and therefore your emotional state, but also has an effect on other people around you. People often give you the response you ask for. Or what you are expecting. If someone expects lousy service from you, you are more likely to give it. And if someone expects excellent service and accurate information from you, you are more likely to make an effort to meet the person's expectations. If you think negative or worried thoughts about a situation, then that bad outcome is more likely to happen. It will be revealed in your thoughts, your body language and emotions, which other people will pick up on. If you are confident then you are much less likely to be mugged than if you are timid and showing sign of weakness, regardless of the fact that the same person is underneath. The chances of being mugged are extremely slim and the perceived likelihood of crime is grossly distorted by the newspapers, television and movies, which changes our thoughts and focus in this area.
Have you ever cut yourself or injured yourself but not noticed it? You didn't feel any pain until you realised that you had indeed been injured, you focussed on it, and then it really hurt! And then you shouted out in pain or starting crying (of course, we are talking about crying when you were a kid, not as an adult! ;-). When people are stabbed they do not notice it at first, they think they have just been punched with a fist. Shark attack victims who cannot see what is going on in the water when they are swimming sometimes report feeling like they have stubbed their toe or foot on a rock or feeling like they have an itch when they have actually had their foot or leg bitten off. They only felt the pain afterwards when their mind discovered the extent of their injuries through sight. Of course these types of injuries are typically clean cuts and do not hurt as much as other types of injury, but the principle is still applicable.
Often we notice that when we are dating some, we become more sexually confident and open, we often meet other potential 'prospects'. But when we have no boyfriend or girlfriend, we close up emotionally and become less open, and mysteriously don't meet as many potential prospects. Have you noticed that when you make an error or clumsy mistake in some way and curse and scold yourself, you can inadvertently put yourself in a grumpy frame of mind, thinking 'why me?' or 'that's typical' and be more reckless, and most likely incur a number of other accidents? And when you don't make an error, you don't put yourself in that grumpy, feeling sorry for yourself, ego state of mind? Often we don't see how we are going to get the results we want, and therefore don't visualise or focus on getting them, and thereby shooting ourselves in the foot. We may let our focus go whichever way it wants and be prompted by negative thoughts and focus and what we want to avoid. And close off the world of amazing possibility and potential. Just by our focus.
Using the same principles, of focus and belief, many patients diagnosed by medical professionals with terminal illness like cancer or irreversible spinal cord damage resulting in paralysis, have overcome their medical conditions just by using their minds, through focus and belief, and positive rather than negative thoughts (and have been diagnosed as cured afterwards). Unfortunately the vast majority of people diagnosed with such conditions and told (negatively) by doctors that they are incurable remain so, probably because they believe what they are told, and not what they want to believe. Just to put it in perspective, the average person only uses 5-10% of the brain capacity and capability during his lifetime. The average brain has enough potential energy to run an entire town's electric grid for several days. The average person loses 20 grams in mass when he dies. This was stated by Donald Gilbert Carpenter in 1998 to be the weight of the 'soul'. Mass is interchangeable with energy on a quantum level. Each thought has its own frequency, it's own energy. Whatever conclusion you want to derive from all this is yours to make! What we are saying here is just that using focus and belief we can achieve excellent results, much greater than most people think possible.
When we want to drive from one city to the next at night, we can only see ahead of us as far as our headlights. But we know that if we continue for a certain amount of time that we will reach our destination, even if we can't physically see it in front of us now. We are certain that if we continue on this strip of tarmac it will eventually lead to the chosen place. We know the road will not suddenly end with a big cliff that we will drive off. We know it will be simple and we know what we need to do, we are certain about our destination, and we just get on with it. We are FOCUSSED however primarily on the next 100 yards and getting them right. The goal will come when its time is right and it will indeed be ours. So don't be scared off or put off just because you can't see the goal right in front of you! Be certain! Have faith and belief in yourself and what you are doing.
We often view the past behind us, the future ahead of us, but who drives a car looking behind them (in the read view mirror) all the time - usually people who crash! What happens to people who drive their cars looking into the far distance but not seeing what is right in front of them? This usually ends with an insurance claim and/or visit to the local hospital or mortuary. So why do we manage our existence in such foolhardy ways? Ironically, our very perception and existence on a day to day basis is that which we notice the least. We may have pockets of awareness but we often operate within these in a learned and conditioned manner. There is very little sponteneity and awareness of sitting outside the box. We are often in a sense in the box all the time and not aware we are inside it or that there even is a box.
If you are trying to achieve a goal, if you focus on succeeding and visualise what that feels like and have some fun with it, then you are likely to engage more of your faculties and be in a better frame of mind to actually achieve that goal than if you are doubting your ability to do it, nervous, shy, afraid of failure or rejection or stressed; if your brain is entertaining thoughts of failure and doubt...then guess what, it will try to deliver you what you have asked for! We routinely doubt ourselves, foresee failure, and lack confidence. This is easy. Everyone does this! What requires some mental effort initially is to focus on success! It follows that prior to any major engagement or undertaking it is a good idea to do some visualisation beforehand, even if just for a minute or so. Your brain engages the same physiology whether you are actually doing it or are just imagining it. And the more times you have run it through your mind as a success, the easier it becomes, much like winning your 4th race is easier than your first as you have done it before and know it is no big deal.
It is true that there is a great deal of suffering, cruelty, bad situations, corruption, misinformation, poor relationships, victimisation, poverty, starvation, murder, war, illness, poor health and so on in the world. We may feel bad about these issues on occasion or regularly. However, one can never really feel bad enough about them, can one? If you watch the news and see a starving child, you may feel bad. Shouldn't you feel WORSE to show you care more? Surely you can feel even worse than that? If you do that, then it shows you are 'real' and you 'care' and your ego somehow feels it is helping or empathising with that person. The problem is that you can NEVER feel bad enough! You can never feel guilty enough and you can never feel negative enough about a bad situation to make it good. It won't help. The best thing you can do is to feel good and to positively influence everyone in your life to feel good as well and act with generosity, spirit, heart and kindness, and by visualising what you really want for yourself and everyone around you, and tapping into the infinite resources and abundance that flow from this manifesting into your life, and not through negative impulses, resistance and through a sense of lacking, or focussing on what they don't want. To change something you have to visualise the outcome you want. Mother Teresa refused to join anti-war marches against the Vietnam war, even though she disagreed with the war, because it was 'against' something and ultimately pointless. She said instead that she would attend a march for peace! It is likely that a positive march will be more effective than a protest march rallying against something, which does not often convince anyone but gets people's backs up and a generally defensive response and reaction. The best thing you can do for the poor is to appreciate what you actually have, and not sit around being borgeois and feeling guilty about it. And not making sure you are poor so you don't have to feel guilty about it, in the illusion that you are somehow helping the poor by pretending to be poor yourself.
Those of you who pray, you may find it better to pray about what you want, rather than about overcoming scarcity or a lack of something, or to avoid or overcome a situation you don't want. The Bible, for example, is very clear in its teachings on abundance. Ask and you shall receive! If you don't ask, you won't receive. And equally, if you ask for avoiding what you don't want, you will likely get more of it and not less of it! How does God know what you want if you just tell him what you don't want? You have to be in tune with the infinite source of goodness, love and abundance to receive anything from it. You have to be positive! It is clear that the principles of attraction, focus and positive visualisation can be adopted by anyone of any belief system. It is not inconceivable that certain aspects can potentially conflict with a person's religious or spiritual ideas. However, it is in the application of these principles that is the important thing. There are many ways to apply the principles and many areas in which one chooses to apply them. Some are self or ego serving. Some are focussed on the greater good. Some are God serving (if you believe in God). Exactly how one chooses to do so depends on one's own personal spiritual or ethical beliefs and is up to the individual. Clearly a significant amount of self-love is healthy and required for good emotional health. But how much you materially wish for yourself is your choice. To focus on this area and neglect other areas such as health, wellbeing, helping others etc. would be excessive ego serving and disconnect one somewhat from God. One can choose to apply the principles with God in mind, or without God. If one chooses 'God', then one can clearly have any number of different concepts of God in one's belief system through which one uses the principles of focus and belief. It is not inconceivable therefore that two persons of complete polar opposite spiritual beliefs (I think you know what I am talking about!) cannot be applying the same principles but in different ways and in different areas (perhaps with some overlap).
It is often true that if you do not follow your own path, i.e. do not live your life on purpose, but let life happen to you, or let situations guide your overall paths and goals in life, or follow the suggestions or wishes of others, then you may never tap into your creative potential or into abundance. Creativity must come from independence and carving out one's own path in life, and making one's own decisions. Without being truly independent and in charge of one's own destiny, one will find it very difficult to create. Living in abundance is about living in a constant state of creativity in one's everyday experience. If you are filling a role or behaving in such a way that you are been conditioned to accept, through society, parents, teachers, peer pressure, fear or the media, putting various limitations on yourself, then you will never be truly in charge in control of your destiny. That is not to say that one should dispense completely with social etiquette or respect for oneself and others, or act according to guilt or bad feelings about society. But it pays to think for oneself and make up one's own mind, and not to follow the crowd. No one is going to thank you or respect you for following the crowd! If you look at people who are respected, approved of, acknowledged or appreciated, they are those that do not care what others think about them andd those who do what they feel is right for them, not what is right for others. Those who constantly seek affirmation or approval from others, or those who seek to look good in front of others, often find that the very thing they want is the thing they don't get. People don't like clingy people who do everything everyone else wants to get approval. People like people with their own spirit, their own personality, who are not afraid to say what they think or to walk their own path, bring in new ideas or perspectives or to step out of their comfort zone. Someone who is their own person. A unique individual. It can be said that he who does not create, who does not break his own conditioning and make independent decisions, is not truly alive. Creativity does not always happen by itself, one has to be the architect of one's life, constantly creating and shaping oneself and the world around one, being responsible for oneself and one's actions, to be truly alive. Animals interact with their environment, and grasp their destiny and purpose, and so must we. It is really the purpose of existence. To live in conditioned states where you aren't really living your life but according to a set of programmed rules that you have developed from inside and outside influence is a waste of a life. The human brain exists in order to achieve great heights of clarity and not to tie itself into knots and create false illusions that hold it back.
Studies have shown that acts of kindness to others actually raises the serotonin levels of the recipient and also strengthens the immune system of the recipient. Not only this, but the giver of the act of kindness also receives these benefits! And lastly, even a person observing an act of kindness being given receives these benefits! So whether you give or receive or watch an act of kindness being given, you will feel better! And what is more, you are more likely to then go on and perform an act of kindness to someone else. Thus when you visualise what you want, try to also visualise the same benefits for other people you know too. The converse follows in that acts of hostility often result in one 'kicking someone else' (often someone who cannot do anything about it - e.g. people beneath one at work or other road users etc) to make oneself feel better or empowered, which causes a chain reaction of negativity.
It can often be hard not to focus on what is wrong in your life, your circle of friends, with your work colleagues, school friends, or with the environment, world poverty, economics, politics or current affairs, from attaching a certain meaning to our experiences or from what we read about or see on the news. Sometimes it is hard to not let our focus and thoughts be inundated with negativity rather than appreciating what is good. It is of course up to the individual, but there is a fine line between between being informed and aware and being obsessed! Negatively obsessive minds look for faults and problems, and they will always find them, which further reinforce negative beliefs that are not empowering or useful to have. This is particularly applicable to the 'conspiracy theorists' or 'conspirazoids' who may well be right about certain (or many) points, but their focus seeks out further links and connections that may sometimes be incorrect (and at best speculation), to reinforce their beliefs. It is an addictive negative pattern of focus that leaves the person feels disempowered and not empowered. In a sense it is a search for certainty, so one can pigeon hole things so one feels one knows where one is with them. Rarely is anything so simple in real life. This is why the conspiracy scene tends to attract those that have too much uncertainty in their lives and whom have confidence issues. The conspiracy scene, whilst intending to do good, may well be nurturing mental illness, paranoia and depression, and providing negative addictive patterns of focus. Perhaps the truth about current affairs should come with a public health warning! Perhaps it is a reflection on society that in western industrialised countries, death is hidden away and is something that happens to people in far off lands, and not on your home soil. Official statements by politicians rarely reflect what is actually happening on the ground. Perhaps it is a desire to introduce 'reality' or a raw edge in one's sanitised life. It is possible to see patterns in anything, just look at the Da Vinci Code! Whilst in many cases conspiracy theorists may indeed be correct, it is clear the movement is not united - theorists come in a variety of flavours and degrees of being grounded, and in many cases their ideas totally contradict each other. It is by no means a united movement. It is therefore prudent to keep an open mind, but to not put too much credence into speculation, coincidence, symobolism and conjecture, but to deal with the facts as much as possible.
Depression is often an activity we may indulge in when we have options, when we have choices, when things could be much worse. When things are really serious, we may shift our focus onto survival mode and forget about being depressed. There are of course other ways of shifting our focus!
You may take it for granted that you can appreciate the good and funny things in life, but you may not actually do it, or make any effort to do so unless they strike you on the nose, but you may well make a huge conscious effort to find things to get annoyed about. Let us use a metaphor for a moment. If you think of walking along a pavement and seeing some dog's business [or use alternative terminology!] on the pavement, you'd be a fool to step on it and not notice it. But equally, you'd be equally foolish to become an expert in dogs' business and know the exact chemical composition of dogs' business just because you happen to come across one on the pavement once a week. If nothing else it would be psychologically unhealthy and anally retentive to do so. You want to notice the dog's business, avoid the dog's business, but also notice the nice flowers by the pavement and the beautiful sky and enjoy them and not let thoughts of the dog's business stay in your brain more than momentarily. The thought of the dog's business that momentarily flashes through your brain could be one of amusement or it could be one of annoyance, it which case it will linger for much longer and be hard to get rid of. To think of dog's business the whole time you are walking along the pavement (thinking this is the entirety of the experience of walking) would be rather odd and you'd miss the bigger picture. In a sense one is simply engaging one's ego in a massive way and nurturing it by focussing on, obsessing, and reacting (often negatively) to current affairs news and ideas about them. The ego is what is behind stress, rebelliousness and reaction. It ultimately results in unhappiness. Such states of ego-derived stress lower one's energy levels. The ego clearly has a place in one's daily existence, but it should be restricted only to where it is useful and productive in a given situation; as opposed to occupying 99.5% of your conscious waking experience (and dreams!)
Compartmentalised thinking is the mode by which the mind keeps and retains contradictory values, beliefs or behaviours, or at least ones that are not in accordance with all of one's core values, and separates them, so that there is no integration between them and the brain almost forgets the other compartments exist whilst in one compartment itself. It may be a way of 'not thinking' or using your brain properly when engaged in certain scenarios. Self-awareness may be diminished. Auto-pilot style conditioned and learned behaviour takes over. One may view one's main mode of operation as a very large compartment, with a number of small compartments that one is only semi-aware of. Compartmentalisation creates blindspots, stops the critical thought process and analysis, stops one gaining an insight into the bigger picture, stops one gaining full perspective of one's behaviour and stops true Individuation (integration of the psyche as defined by Jung). Some of our blindspots or compartments may be part of our destructive shadow and create a number of negative self-beliefs that we may not normally be aware of. It may sap our true confidence and we may not know why. We may well be able to see other's compartmentalised behaviour but not our own. If we are aware of compartmentalised behaviour, we may usually put it out of our minds after a brief moment, to maintain order in the mind and avoid having to face up to it and increase our general self-awareness as it is deemed to be too much hard work. One can put many of life's missed opportunities down to compartmentalised behaviour, default responses to situations (usually fearful and/or self-deprecating) and a general lack of clear thinking and ability to see the bigger picture, and integration of the psyche.
It follows therefore that one should strive to focus on what one wants and not focus on what one doesn't want. Whatever you focus on, you will attract on some level into your life, sometimes immediately, sometimes over a long period of time. You can apply this to small things, like driving around looking for a car parking space and visualise getting the space immediately, to large things in your life like visualising and focussing on making a business successful or getting the relationship you want. Your emotions and the results you are getting in your life are clues as to how well you are in control of your focus and how positive they are. Remember that a positive thought is many thousand times more powerful than a negative thought. When you are in a peak state of mind (e.g. excited, empowered, passionate, determined, motivated, confident, positive, honest - maybe triggered by a 'power move', your favourite music, getting up and moving around, dancing around, shouting or any activity or trigger that gets you GOING!), learning and self-conditioning is speeded up many, many times. Use this to your advantage.
Using your peak state of mind, it is important to use absolute and brutal honesty with yourself. It should be noted that NLP or Neuro-Associative Conditioning (NAC) does not work very well if you are not addressing or recognising the core issue that is troubling you or holding you back. You have to be working with your core and inner nature, Your Authentic Self, not working around Your Negative Self Image or Your Pretend Self (more about this on the Personality Types page.)
Your peak state of mind MUST be one where you are 100% passionate and genuine in your intentions. If you are trying to effect a change in yourself or influence someone else because of a whim or vanity or selfishness, your body and subconscious mind simply won't play ball as much as they would if you were coming from a place of sincerety. NLP/NAC requires total passion, commitment and belief in it. If you are in a bummed out frame of mind, depression, too serious, too anxious, too sceptical, too defensive, unconvinced, too uptight, too embarrassed, too closed up, then your conscious mind/ego is actively resisted what you are trying to do and will not allow you to effectively change your focus or allow you to access the subconscious mind in the same way that you could if you were in a peak state of mind (when performing NLP or NAC) or totally relaxed as when having hypnotherapy.
When you are trying to relive a situation or memory that you find difficult, and that you are trying to change your association with or trying to alter your memory (to make it less significant/important), you HAVE to be intense, you have to be vividly experiencing it as if it were real. This includes all the physical sensations, sweat, touch, smells, sounds, emotions, the whole lot! If you don't, and you are too embarrassed or half hearted about it, then your mind doesn't believe it and the technique will likely not work. The technique has to work on all of the data of that memory which is filed in different parts of your mind. When you are really experiencing it, then you can start to play around with it, change the volume, brightness, proximity, the way it is played (forwards or backwards), play around with the voices (maybe using comic voices), have some people having their trousers fall down or perhaps simply someone frightening you or pouring a bucket of water over your head to interrupt it.
Try this exercise. Imagine being mentally strong for a moment. 100% sure of yourself and feeling mentally invincible, whatever is thrown at you. Nothing can phaze you. When we say mentally strong, we mean really, totally and utterly mentally strong! Try to stay in that certain, confident and strong mental state for a minute or two. Try to practice this several times a day. If you are able to remain in this state all day, your mind will adapt and adopt this as a new pattern, as part of its desire for congruency. Fantastic! Don't forget that negative mind states and focus are just habits, as are positive ones. No point waiting for the exact set of conditions conducive to a strong mind state to come along. Do it now! Let's shift from negative to positive!
Asking yourself the right question and the brain will respond with the right answer, a positive and empowering answer, that will be congruent with what you want and will help to keep your focus on a positive note. If you ask the wrong question, such as 'why me?', then the brain will respond with a negative and disempowering answer. The brain only puts out what you ask of it. The brain doesn't always second guess what you want, but responds to the conscious mind's attempts to control focus, most of the time. Use this principle to control your focus and put it on the right track when it veers off the rails into negative thinking and perception. For example, ask yourself:
How can I do [xyz] and enjoy it?
If you know you couldn't fail, what would you do/be?
Why not use every tool you can? Change the wallpaper on your PC every day or every week to something you really want. Be it a big smile. A fit body. That car you want. A lovely beach. A beautiful forest. Your ideal woman or man. Anything you want!
Focus Interruption/Maintenance TechniquesWe can break our focus if we are focussing negatively, by just saying STOP to ourselves, or by slapping ourselves in the face several times! I tried the latter approach as I kept thinking about a colleague who wound me up immensely. Every time I thought of him I became really annoyed. So when I found myself getting annoyed, I would disappear away from everyone and slap myself around the face a dozen times. Putting on a stupid voice whilst mocking the person (to oneself!!) and making anger at this ridiculous person seem ludicrous, can also help. This way, every time I thought of him, I would think of the slapping and the stupid voice and it would make him smile. The pattern was broken! After much slapping it might added. This is a great NLP technique.
An excellent example of the power of pattern interrupts and changing focus is the technique used by the United Kingdom's armed forces. When presented with a hostile atmosphere amongst local people whom may not speak a great deal of English (for example a particular situation in post-war Iraq), the soldiers ensure they are not wearing sunglasses to maintain eye contact with the angry crowd and simply say 'Manchester United' or 'Arsenal'. Whilst this may not work every time, it tends to instantly relax a hostile crowd and make them smile, as they have a powerful emotional association with international football teams. The tension is broken and the crowd now feel a common bond with the soldiers and share in the pleasure of thinking about the football team. It is something that people of all backgrounds can instantly relate to all over Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and it changes our state immediately. The same applies to pop stars, who have the power to make people feel instantly good by just having their picture shown, speaking or singing. This is why celebrities are often used in television adverts, because the sensation of feeling good when hearing the person's voice is associated with a particular product, especially if repeated again and again. Of course, you personally may not support these teams or like a particular celebrity, and if someone mentioned their name to you, you might feel an immediate negative reaction! More concepts about influence through controlling focus can be found on the The Power of Influence page.
You can use the principle of pattern interrupts both on yourself or on another person to interrupt their negative behaviour. Often stress or anger is a result of momentum, i.e. of nurturing and winding yourself up more and more with perceived meanings of a situation. One is 'doing' that emotion. In order to remove that momentum so as to effectively take all the wind out of the sails of that emotion, one can simply interrupt the flow of the situation. To interrupt another person, one can try to confuse them or ask them a question that makes them stop and think for a moment. Anything that gets them to stop what they are doing. Perhaps you could compliment them or ask them if you know them or similar. Or do something really odd or wierd to freak them out or confuse them. Often an argument or confrontation situation requires the recipient of the hostility to play along. If you don't play along, the situation cannot unfold as the aggressor wants. You do not HAVE to play the part the other person wants you to, although the general response is usually just that. You could try throwing a bucket of water in their face if the situation allows (and if you know them well)! Or make them laugh. Similarly, you could make yourself laugh if that it is you getting wound up.
A great way to turn around a negative state of mind (a pattern interrupt) is to simply say to yourself 'I intend to feel good' or 'I want to feel good'. Simply repeat this a number of times aloud with intensity, and you will no doubt feel a whole lot better! Another variation of this is 'I intend to attract abundance into my life' or be specific, for example 'I intend to attract healing and vitality into my life' or 'I give myself permission to attract an abundance of health and healing into my life.' Anything that thought that focuses on what you don't want or what you lack will create negative results and will not make you feel good. Nor will it set up the conditions necessary to get you want you feel you lack. It is useful to completely dispose of the 'lack' or 'don't want' mindset, and to merely focus on what you do want and to perceive yourself surrounded with the conditions that you actually want to attract into your life. Any focus on 'lack' or what you don't want will kill off this unlimited source of abundance and your ability to become what you actually want.
Another thing to remember is that a calm mind is very important in manifesting what you want in your life. If you have a constant background noise of thoughts in your mind, you are clearly not in control of your focus, but in addition, this addictive pattern of continuous thought will prevent you from tapping into the 'zone' for abundance and finding that creative zone where there is no thought but maximum performance.
Some of the ideas presented above are found in the Tony Robbins' seminar programme 'Unleash The Power Within' (UPW), the movie 'The Secret' (on visualising your goal and what you want, and concepts of abundance) and in Wayne W. Dyer's 'The Secret of the Power of Intention' (concepts of ego and abundance). These sources, as well as a brief examination of the history of 'The Secret', can be found on the Psychology Bibliography page.
Please continue to the Belief page.