You’ve heard it before (from me and many others, I am sure): you get what you focus your energy and attention on. I’m sure you can reach back into your life experiences and see the proof of this. Where attention goes, energy flows. Yet, despite knowing this and even experiencing this proof, so many of us (including me!) choose to focus on things we do not want.
For example, I have clients (yes more than one) who are overly focused on the things that are “wrong” in their environment: the unrealistic expectations of their bosses, the fact that their colleagues don’t understand the pressures they are under or that they are under-resourced, etc. Sometimes it seems as if they like to justify their frustration by rehashing all the things that are wrong in their life. And the more they rehash all that is wrong, the more they continue to find things that are wrong.
I diplomatically point out to them that they are looking for what is wrong as opposed to what is right, and, as long as they continue to look for what is wrong, they will continue to find more of what is wrong. Thankfully, they frequently recognize this as fact and we try to shift their focus to finding what is right. It doesn’t make what is wrong go away but it does enable them to focus more on what is right; therefore bringing into their attention span more and more things that are right (yes, they are there – you just have to shift your attention towards them).
It’s just like an analogy I heard the other day while listening to a podcast. It was about a hummingbird and a vulture. What does a hummingbird always look for? Sweet nectar. And what does a hummingbird always find? Sweet nectar. What does a vulture look for? Dead things. And what does a vulture always find? Dead things. Just like the hummingbird and vulture, we too get what we look for. What are you looking for at work? What are you looking for at home? Problems or solutions? Are you looking for what is wrong or what is right? Whatever it is, you are sure to find it and I’m sure you have proof of this based on past experience. Where your attention goes, energy will flow.