One of the core concepts of NLP and life coaching is ‘focus’. You’ll often hear NLP practitioners and life coaches say: “you’ll get what you focus on” and this is indisputably true. However what many fail to realise is that focus is only one part of the equation. Actually, I would venture to say that focus on its own could result in undesired consequences.
How to Focus
Before getting into how focus might backfire, let’s first understand why it is extremely important to have the right type of focus. Simply put, it is extremely important because the unconscious mind works to get us what we focus on. Unfortunately for us, the unconscious mind doesn’t process negatives. So if, for example, we’re focusing on ‘not ending up in a bad relationship’, we effectively are focusing on ‘ending up in a bad relationship’.
I only understood the profoundness of this when I was going through a difficult time. I had lost my job and my savings were running out quickly. I found myself thinking: “what can I do so I don’t go broke?” My options were limited. It was only when I realised my error and I shifted my focus to: “how can I make this much money this month?” that my mind started operating differently. Only then my conscious and unconscious headed in the direction of finding more solutions to move me towards making money instead of not going broke.
Here’s a fun exercise that you can do right now to illustrate the importance of focus. Take a look around the room now and make a mental note of everything that’s blue.
Have you done that? Good…
Can you list all the blue objects in the room?
Now without looking around again, can you list all the red objects in the room?”
It’s very likely that you can remember most of the blue objects but not many red objects. Is it because they’re not there? No. It’s because your focus was on something else, the blue objects. This brings us to the other part of the equation.
How Else to Focus
As important as staying focused is, it’s also equally important to be aware of your surroundings. One of my favourite tools that I learned during my NLP and life coaching training in London is called ‘expanded awareness’. It’s an incredibly useful learning state. And some say that the Samurais used it in battle to keep focused on the enemy and yet be very aware of their surroundings at the same time.
Imagine if you are going somewhere. And you’re very focused on getting there. You’re so focused that all you can think of is your destination. And as a result, you become oblivious to your surroundings. What would happen then? It’s no different than a train stuck to its rail where the slightest bump along the road will result in a derail and a fatal crash. Or at best, it will be severely delayed.
I know a guy who was very focused on getting one particular type of women. And almost all women he met and that expressed their interest in him he had rejected. They weren’t his “type”. Until one day he had a conversation with a female friend. That conversation made him wonder. He asked himself: “What would happen if I’m open to other opportunities while, at the same time, I stay focused on what I want?” He decided to give it a go. Very soon after, he met an amazing woman whom he got along with very well. As a matter of fact, he admits that he hasn’t felt so strongly about a woman in over two years. And the best part is that this woman is not even his “type”.
Always keep in mind your goal and stay focused on it. At the same time while you’re steadily and strongly moving towards it, sometimes look to your right, sometimes look to your left and sometimes look both ways. Otherwise you’ll get run over.
Until next time,
Copyright (c) 2009 www.TarekCoaching.com