What you focus on expands. This concept, though as old as the hills, is new to me. I first heard about it in this podcast, and once I found out about it, I kept hearing about it everywhere.
Some call it the Law of Attraction.
How I Discovered My Poop-Colored Glasses
When this Law of Attraction really came crashing into my consciousness, it was on my way home from work, in the form of a song (I am a songwriter in another life). I was in the middle of realizing that I’ve unwittingly put the Law of Attraction to work against myself for most of my life, thinking more about what I don’t want rather than focusing on what I do want. I’d been wearing the opposite of rose-colored glasses! Then this little song popped into my head:
“When you’re lookin’ at the world through sh*t-colored glasses
you can’t be too surprised when life looks like sh*t.”
Not the finest tune I’ve ever penned, and I don’t think it will end up on my next record, but it definitely stuck with me.
Here’s what this means to me: if you choose to focus on what is wrong in your life, that is all you will see. But worse than that, if you focus on what is wrong in your life, you will add energy to it, creating more of what is wrong and crowding out what is good. If you do this for a long time, you eventually won’t even SEE the good things. You will filter out everything but what you are focusing on.
Taking Off Those Glasses for Good
So how do you go about changing this focus? It’s a habit that’s hard to break, that’s all. It’s not who you are, it’s just the mindset you’ve been looking through. I’m still working on it, but I’m making a lot of progress. Here are my best tips:
- Think of something to be grateful for. As many somethings as possible, until you feel better. At first this might not seem natural or authentic to you, but that’s ok. It works, and the more you do it, the better it works. Bonus points if you actually write down what you’re grateful for – you’ll be able to refer to your list the next time things are looking poopy.
- Make it a habit to consistently read or listen to something uplifting every day, even multiple times a day. Breaking a well-established pattern of poopy thinking won’t happen overnight. Here’s a great podcast to try. Give yourself new ideas to focus on and you’ll start noticing a shift. Over the course of a year I made a lot of progress.
- Give yourself grace when the poop-colored glasses sneak back on. It’s gonna happen, and sometimes it’ll happen most right before you make a breakthrough.
Focus on the Good, Get More of the Good
Here’s the best part of changing your focus: when you learn to focus on the good, you will amplify the good vibrations in your life. And you can start with anything. If your dog (or roommate, or significant other) has left a mess that you will have to clean up, take a second to think first about how much happiness your goofy dog (or roommate, or significant other) adds to your life.
It may take a while before you notice a difference, but these little shifts will add up to big changes in perspective over time.