Quote of the Week
“We become what we think about all day long.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
What do You Focus on?
With the popularity of The Secret, by now everyone has heard of the law of attraction. If not, it is what Emerson described in this week’s quote. Stated another way:
“Our futures are formed by the thoughts we hold most often. We literally become what we think about, and we are all given the gift of being able to write our own story.”
The fact that our thoughts have the power to mold our futures is not new-age voodoo. It is actually just the way our brains are hardwired. The actual mechanism at work is sometimes referred to as the Reticular Activating System. I first learned of this amazing brain function years ago from Lou Tice of the Pacific Institute in Seattle.
In a nutshell, here’s how it works. We are bombarded by millions of messages every day, which are detected by our eyes, ears, nose and nervous system. If we became consciously aware of every message our senses were exposed to, we would go mad trying to interpret, categorize and react to them all. This is where perception comes into play. In order to filter out the majority of the external noise, our perception lets only a small fraction pass into our conscious minds. Pretty cool.
How does our perception decide what to filter out and what to let in? We give it instructions by forming beliefs. Other than the need to recognize anything that might threaten our survival, like an oncoming train or an angry dog, we basically perceive what we expect to perceive. This is accomplished through the Reticular Activating System. It is the filter through which we view the world around us. Whatever we focus on, believe, expect is passed into our perception and becomes part of our conscious awareness. For example, when my children were born, I saw Huggies and Loves commercials every time I turned on the television or opened a magazine. Since my girls passed out of the diaper stage, I’d swear I haven’t seen a single commercial. Why? Because my Reticular Activating System considers this input irrelevant to my current life.
This is very powerful stuff. If our experience of the world is created by our thoughts, what we think about is extremely important, to say the least. Bottom line, we have two choices:
- We can focus on what we don’t want – like a failing economy, a difficult if not impossible market, rising credit card debt, decreasing home values and poor production, or
- We can focus on what we do want, like quality, loving relationships, positive financial goals, meeting new, motivated and qualified clients, or making our daily calls, writing notes and popping by to visit past clients.
If we become what we focus on, which do you choose, #1 or #2? Once you’ve made your choice, wake up every morning and make it again.