What Are You Looking At?

I’m going to set you an activity to do first of all today – don’t worry, you don’t need to move from where you are.

Right now, look around the room you are in and count up how many blue things you can see. Make a mental note of them all. (Don’t cheat and read ahead, you’re only spoiling it for yourself!) If you’re not somewhere you can do this use the picture below.

Now close your eyes and name all the red things you noticed.

I’m sure you can name a few, especially if you are in a room you’re familiar with, but not nearly as many as the blue things. Have a look around a notice how many red things you missed.

What’s the point of the exercise?

There are so many things around you that you COULD pay attention to that your brain doesn’t take it all in, instead it takes in only what you are looking for. It’s the same way as before you bought your last new car you very rarely saw that model on the roads, once you decided to buy it it’s suddenly everywhere! Either you are a big time trend setter in your community, or the numbers haven’t actually changed that much, its just that it’s on your radar now.

It’s the same with everything – the blessings or curses in your life. If you’re only on the look out for the curses you’ll miss the blessings unless they wallop you in the face, even then you could decide to only focus on the bruised face.

The good news is, if you look for the blessings, reasons to be grateful, opportunities that arise, strokes of luck or good fortune they become more obvious to you and you also see more of these!

The bad news is that we are biologically wired to notice the bad stuff more than the good stuff. For the simple reason that throughout or evolution it was the bad stuff that could kill us. That’s why if someone says something nasty about you you remember it, never mind that they have spent the last 5 years only saying lovely things.

Good stuff slides off like a lubed up jellyfish. Bad stuff sticks like Velcro.

That doesn’t mean you give up and stop looking though! It just means you have to keep your eyes open and keep noticing the good stuff. It does take a bit of work and practice. That’s why keeping a gratitude diary can be really helpful, it really makes you focus on the good stuff every day until you get in the swing of it.

You also have to keep peeling off the bad stuff, the more often you have a clear out of all those crappy memories, events and feelings the quicker it is. I like to let it all wash off when I’m having a shower, watch it drain down the plug hole where it belongs.

You can’t control what is in this world, but you can control what you give your attention to, so choose wisely.

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