Imagine yourself walking down a street in a city you’ve never been to before. You notice a particularly nice tree, and the sunlight is gliding through it in just such a way as to make you stop and pause. As your staring up and around like a tourist, someone walking by and says, “Oh! I love your hair! It’s beautiful.” What’s your immediate response?
Something like: “Oh thank you!”
Or more like “It’s a little frizzy today.”
Do you take a compliment or dismiss it?
This is such a small moment, hardly worth remembering, but underneath this complement is….. a conspiracy! No no, just joshing. (Just making sure you’re still paying attention. 🙂
This small interaction highlights a lot about you and what your mind focuses on.
Consider the opposite:
You are walking in a city, and think “the streets are so dirty here!” You notice that you feel particularly sticky and sweaty today. You pull out your phone—missing the nice tree—and check the weather. 49% chance of rain—you’re doomed.
As you are looking down at your phone, someone briskly walks by and gives you a look that says “watch where you are going, you tourist. Keep walking around with the face up your phone’s butt and you’ll get hit by a Hyundai one day.”
Again such a small moment, that completely sours your entire day. Did they insult you or did you just make it up in your head? And if they did insult you, why must something as small as a few negative words make you dwell on it all day?
There are so many small moments like this in life.
Compliments, criticisms, sunburns, and cracked sidewalks. Life is made up of small moments. Small moments in between a lifetime of small moments.
And throughout it all, in the gooey center is us staring out into the world, giving out our opinions. You might not realize it, or you might not believe it, but how we direct our attention and attitude changes everything.
“Like fingers pointing to the moon, other diverse disciplines from anthropology to education, behavioral economics to family counseling, similarly suggest that the skillful management of attention is the sine qua non of the good like and the key to improving virtually every aspect of your experience.” — Winifred Gallagher, Rapt
Oh course, this can be easier said than done sometimes.
Problems pile up (and high) some days.
And I wake up on the wrong side of the bed more often than I would like.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t change our minds or attitude.
Often the solutions are simpler than we think: Have I eaten recently? (Was it something healthy?) Have I taken a break recently? (Need a power nap?) Have I moved my body recently? How much water have I had today (versus how much coffee)? Have I talked to a friend today?
Sometimes simply taking a shower can give our day a reset.
All we need to do is find a way to reset ourselves — today, and focus on shifting our attitude and attention — today. By focusing on each today, we are priming ourselves to think and act more with an abundance / opportunistic/capable mindset, instead of a negative/hopeless/fruitless one.
Attention is an essential skill to be practiced every day. What we focus our lens on, ultimately becomes who we are. If we dwell on the negative side of life, then life becomes all negative. The more we can narrow our focus on what matters most to us, the more our time and creative output increases.
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1790
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