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Focus is everything. 

No, focus can’t change metaphysical reality. You can’t build a building just by imagining a building springing up before your eyes. 

You can’t lose weight by just imagining it. 

You can’t manifest a new car by visualization only, sorry to say. 

(Not that I’ve tried, or anything.) 

I don’t mean “focus is everything in that it actively creates outward reality. I mean focus is everything in that our focus almost exclusively creates and reinforces our emotional and psychological reality. 

What do I mean by “focus?” 

I mean the things we pay attention to. More specifically, I mean the patterns of things we pay attention to. 

I mean the premises and beliefs we accept as true, and the premises and beliefs we reject as unconditionally false. 

I mean everything we let past our “filters” into our brains for processing and action. 

The thing about our brains is, they are in fact super smart, but they are also constantly getting bombarded with information from our sensory organs. Our entire nervous systems are continually throwing things at our brains for possible processing and action. If our brains were to take into account EVERYTHING that gets thrown at them, we’d be paralyzed, because our brains would need basically an infinite amount of time to process everything and decide if it’s worth acting upon. 

So our brains take shortcuts. 

Our brains make decisions about what is worth focusing on, and what isn’t. (Psychologists call these shortcuts “heuristics” and “schemas.”)

The shortcuts our brains habitual make in deciding what sensory information is worth processing and acting upon— that is, our patterns of habitual focus— basically create our internal reality. 

We need to pay attention to our focus. 

We need to realize that we can actively influence our focus— bring our focus into alignment with our goals and values. 

We need to realize that we are ALWAYS getting a filtered version of reality…and we need to become aware of the way our habitual patterns of focus filter, and occasionally distort, reality. 

In fact, one of the most popular (and effective, according to the research) techniques of psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy…the main premise of which is that people who experience emotional difficulties usually have distorted patterns of focus. The main work in CBT is in adjusting our focus so that we don’t unnecessarily perseverate on distorted, negative thoughts and beliefs. 

You don’t need to be in therapy in order to ask productive questions about your focus. 

All you need to do is to dial up your self-awareness. 

Most people have trouble accepting that they only get a filtered version of reality. Because they’ve been looking through the same “lens’ for so long, they tend to think that reality just is what it is, and they’re simply observing it. 

Not true. 

Reality is what it is, but we’re all focusing on it from particular vantage points. 

Our interpretations of events will vary wildly from person to person and culture to culture based upon our patterns of focus. 

Are your patterns of focus serving you? 

Are your patterns of focus consistent with who you want to be and the life and the world you’re trying to create? 

Are your patterns of focus consistent with the things you’re trying to feel? 

It’s not a matter of adjusting your beliefs and attitudes so that you’re somehow avoiding or evading reality. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: it’s about taking an objective look at how your habitual patterns of looking at things are interpreting the events of reality as they transpire. 

Just become open to the idea that your focus matters. 

Become open to the idea that there is more than one perspective on reality. 

Be open to the idea that you can change the way you think, feel, and behave by changing your focus…which is NOT the same as evading or avoiding reality. 

Pay attention to your attention. 

It might be easier than you think. 

 

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One thought on “Focus on your focus.

  1. What a brilliant article Doc and so relates to goodself. By focusing on ONE problem to the extreme can be devasting to the extreme. It can spiral one down to depths of hell. Thanks for this article.

    Like

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