This article looks at another quote image, but the image is a bit lopsided…
Instead of focusing on getting rid of what you don’t want, focus on getting more of what you do want.
The image isn’t lopsided by accident, nor because my eyes have gone squiffy. Oh no, that was quite deliberate, because of what happens when you look at the image.
The smaller section being smaller than the larger section sends a message to the brain. The smaller section being black with the lighter writing, compared to the larger section being white with darker writing drives home the message – blimey, Disney would be proud!
There is actually some brain science behind how that works, and since it does have a bearing on the whole point, I want to cover it quickly…
When we see things, the light coming into our eyes is registered and sent as electrical signals up into the brain, which then converts it into the concept of what we’ve ‘seen’. However, since the brain is the most powerful processor on the planet, we know that it’s quicker if the brain doesn’t have to make a whole new image every time.
So, as we develop, our brain sets up a world of internal models, so that when we get input from something we’ve seen, we can compare the new information against the models we already have. The difference in processing speed is massive, but it’s done without us knowing.
The kind of model we set up over the years, and yes this might include Disney films(!), is that bigger is better than smaller, that white is better than black. It might seem trivial, corny even, but to understand it makes a huge difference. Understanding that we use these models all the time without knowing it means that we can take steps to *change* the internal models!
I hope you were able to bear with me while I went through some graphic design and brain science, because it lays the background for how we can apply this to the personal development world…
A central plank of the self improvement world is that we want to change something. In order for that change to happen, we need to go through the goal achievement process, and right at the start of *that* process, we need to decide what the goal is.
It’s the first step for a reason, because it’s vital, but it’s also the reason that most people succumb to a classic case of ‘falling at the first hurdle’ – they don’t the goal properly, which means they don’t achieve it, which means they give up, which means they dismiss the whole goal achievement theory.
If we look at why people fall at this first hurdle, let’s go back to the left hand side of the image, and the problem can be seen there…
When people are asked what they want, they respond by saying that they ‘don’t want this’ or they ‘don’t want that’ or they ‘want that to stop’.
No, no, and I’m going for one more – no!
This cannot work as a goal, for 2 main reasons.
Firstly, it is based in negativity. It focuses on bad things, it tells the mind to concentrate on the bad things, and implies a sense of lifting of burdens. Secondly, stating what you want you get rid of is not the same as stating what you want instead!
If you challenge someone who says ‘don’t want this’ to tell you what they *do* want instead, it can lead to a shrug of the shoulders and a ‘don’t know’.
If you don’t know what you want, chances are you won’t get much! You won’t have a positive target to move towards, you won’t be able to work out a plan to act on, you won’t be able to judge progress.
It’s a stumbling block for so many people – there may be reasons behind it, such as subconscious fear of change, what it might take to set out on the goal, or it might simply be a lack of understanding of how and why it’s a stumbling block in the first place, but it’s a crucial mistake in the process.
If we move to the right hand side of the image, we get the solution…
Focus instead on what we do want, and the negative stuff won’t have room to stay anyway.
When we decide what we want instead, we set a positive goal, something to set our sights on. This sets up the brain in a much better starting point, which will continue as we take action. It’s a starting point that will support us when we hit bumps in the road too, and the bumps must be acknowledged rather than dismissed or feared.
Once we set out on *this* path, the negative stuff will get pushed away. The things we ‘don’t want’ get squeezed out, because we are replacing them with what we want, rather than focusing on getting rid of the ‘don’t wants.’
Now, at this point, I think it’s important to say that this is not always easy. Life isn’t a Disney film after all. Sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to focus on the positive ‘wants’ while living with the negative ‘don’t wants.’
The challenge can seem daunting, it can seem frightening and overwhelming. That’s the fear of change I mentioned earlier, which comes back to those internal models we have built up, and we may have accepted those models for many years.
So yes, it’s not always easy. That’s not to say it’s not powerful though.
Changing our focus is the key. That’s how we start to change the internal models.
Changing our focus is the key, because that’s the foundation to different actions, which bring positive results, which reinforces our change of focus.
The new focus then becomes a habit, albeit with relapses maybe, but it’s a habit which replaces the old. It replaces the dark with the light.
So, look to your own circumstances. Are you focused on what you don’t want? If so, consider what you actually want instead. Have *that* as your focus, and you’ve instantly started to put the squeeze on reducing the space in your life for the ‘don’t want’.
Try it. It’s powerful, it can change your life, it can *transform* it.
As ever, I’d love to hear what you think, do leave a comment!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. If you’d like to do something about moving towards what you *do* want, make sure you watch my free video series about my 8 step goal achievement formula!