There’s a simple way to get more of what we want. Focus on it. This always works because what we focus on grows.
We need to take responsibility for what we’re focusing on. When we do that, we see beautiful results and it’s guaranteed.
There’s a joke I once heard that says that a pessimist is only an experienced optimist. And then I’ve heard the reverse, that an optimist is only an experienced pessimist. And these are all cute jokes and both of them are absolutely not true.
What I mean by that is that an experienced optimist will always become a greater optimist; an experienced pessimist will always become a greater pessimist. The difference between an optimist and a pessimist is the way that they choose to think about something that is yet to be determined. So we don’t know how something is going to be. One has an optimistic outlook, one has a pessimistic outlook. Or what something means, something happened and what does this mean? One person will be optimistic about it, the other will be pessimistic about it. The difference is in perspective, which the perspective comes from the way we choose to think. But the difference is in perspective and perspective we know is subjective, it’s personal. One person chooses to see this side of the coin, the other one chooses to see that side of the coin. They are two opinions. They can argue from today until tomorrow but there is no way of proving anything. Results are objective. We have a result so if there’s something that’s yet to be determined and one person wants to be objective ‑‑ one person wants to be an optimist and one person wants to be a pessimist, that’s all fine. Results will show whether it was an optimistic result or a pessimistic result.
And this is very important because when someone is optimistic, they will have far more positive outcomes. When a person will be pessimistic, they will have far more pessimistic or negative outcomes. In other words, the way we behave encourages the results that we see. And this is another demonstration of a very simple idea, which is what we focus on grows. When we focus on something, we are actually giving it the energy to be. And that is very powerful. It’s powerful, of course, because we have a very strong influence on what the objective results will be.
You can think of this by doing a very simple experiment. And this little experiment can actually be very transformative if you’re struggling in a relationship. And here is the thing ‑‑ a simple experiment. Think about someone you love who you’re not feeling so good about right now. So take someone, it can be your spouse, it can be a parent, it can be a child, and you are just not feeling it for them, even though you’re in a relationship which normally is loving. If you just take two minutes and you think about three beautiful things about that person, you just close your eyes and think about three beautiful things about that person, things that they do for you, things you appreciate about them, contributions that they offer because of who they are, and you just think about that for two minutes, when you open your eyes you will feel differently in that moment about them than you did before you closed your eyes. Why? Because what we focus on grows. And we know, then, that if we feel a certain way, if we start feeling more love for that person, we behave differently to that person and so it directly impacts results. So that’s why we always need to remember that we need to choose to focus properly. Because when we focus properly, then things grow.
We know this so simple because we know that if you choose to focus on your golf swing, what’s going to happen? It will improve. If you choose not to focus on your golf swing, I can guarantee you it will not improve. It won’t improve on its own and, likely, if you don’t spend time swinging, it’s going to get a lot worse. Because what we focus on grows.
If we spend time watching sitcoms or some other relatively useless TV shows, or we read magazines where it’s just about a bunch of gossip, or if we engage in activities which trigger our animalistic self, our animalistic instincts, our cardinal desires, that is what is going to grow. It will also define the depth of our life.
When we engage in conversations about ideas, about deeper things than superficial, then we become deeper people. Why? Because what we focus on grows. We need to take responsibility for what we’re focusing on. When we do that, we see beautiful results and it’s guaranteed. How quickly, how much, that’s not guaranteed because that depends on many other factors. But it is guaranteed that if we focus on something, that area will grow. We can focus on our relationship with God. But one thing we can be absolutely sure about is if we don’t focus on it but we continuously insist that I’m waiting for God to show up at my door, then our relationship will not improve. Why? Because what we focus on grows.
This simple idea can be very transformative for anything that we know is truly important in life. If I have a relationship that’s important in life, I just need to focus on that relationship. If my child is not feeling enough love from me or is not getting enough attention from me, I simply need to give them more attention. If I’m not feeling like I want to give them attention, well, let me just focus on them and suddenly I’ll start feeling like giving them more attention because I’ll be enjoying the relationship that much more. If there is a subject that I would like ‑‑ I’d like to be more aware of, all I need to do is focus on it, I will be more informed in that area.
Anything you want in life you can get more of if you focus on it. Don’t be a pessimist. Take the responsibility of choosing to think optimistically, force your mind to think optimistically, you will get more optimistic results. This is all because of five words: What we focus on grows.