CHANGE YOUR FOCUS CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
As they say, “Where focus goes energy flows.” I have found this to be true and I bet you have too. If you stop and look at your life you will likely see that what you have been focusing on is what you have got. I have found a couple of areas of focus in my life that really determine whether I am moving in the direction I want to go, and am generally a happy person who is excited about life. These areas are very simple and I will tell you them now. They are gratitude and hunger. Hear me out though, I believe these two areas are major players in success and happiness and here is why:
Gratitude, It’s not just for the privileged.
The first area of focus is gratitude. To me, gratitude always seemed like some BS that people who have things going really well throw at you when they talk about how kick ass their life is. I know that when I first began going to Alcoholics Anonymous I wanted to throw up anytime the meeting topic was gratitude or humility. People would talk about how grateful they were for how much their lives had changed, how much gratitude they had for AA and the people who came before us, and even how much gratitude they had for all of the shit they had gone through in their alcoholism/addiction because it had led them to the point they were at. To me, this seemed at best like self-deception and at worst an outright lie. How can someone be grateful for all of the negative things that have happened, that we had done while we were using? I am speaking about this relating to alcoholism and addiction but this principle applies to EVERYONE so don’t shut down just yet, look for the similarities not the differences. We have all gone through things we wish we could have avoided or done things we are less than proud of but the fact is those are the things that have brought us to this point and have probably impacted our lives in huge ways. Tony Robbins says that we have to make a decision that life either happens to us or for us. This is precisely what I am talking about here and what all of those people who I used to sit and judge in AA meetings were trying to share. Life does in fact happen for us. This is how we can be grateful for the whole ride, not just the good parts, or the thrilling parts, the whole thing. There are always going to be things that happen in life that re not in our plans, these things can cripple us or empower us. It is our choice, the strength is inside us all we just have to tap into it and in my opinion the way that we tap into it is to focus on gratitude. It is imperative that we live in a state of gratitude . To do this we have to live in state of self-awareness and mindfulness. This is where a lot of people get lost and plug back into the matrix of escapism. Meaning the news, what is going on during this exceedingly toxic elections cycle, celebrity gossip, the Facebook news feed, etc. Staying awake and attuned to how we feel and mindfully practicing gratitude is not easy and it unfortunately is not natural to many of us. It takes a lot of practice and gentle redirection of our minds from the habitual reactions and thoughts that we have all day every day. When we focus on the things each day that we have to be grateful for, even if things are bad or if life is not exactly how you would like it to be there are still things to be grateful for. A few examples: where you live, what you drive, public transportation, food, work, family, pets, fitness, technology, nature, health, streets, trees, internet, light, air conditioning, heater, etc. There are things big and small to be grateful for and when we train ourselves to see them first or to look beyond the initial suck of what is happening into the lesson of it or the other things we have to be grateful for life is manageable and we can thrive in the face of anything.
If you want more you have to become more.
Simple right? In my experience the second area of focus that drastically improves a person’s life is hunger. This is something that I have heard people say cannot be learned, I disagree. I have heard people say that some people have hunger and some people do not. I disagree. We are all hungry we just have to have something to prove or something we want bad enough. Some people are hungry for attention, some for recognition, some for money, for love, some for security or adventure. The point is that we are all hungry for something in my opinion. Many of us end up in jobs or relationships that suck the hunger right out of us or we end up so comfortable that any drive we had goes dormant. Put in a position where we need to prove something to someone (including ourselves) or we need to survive we all get really hungry really quickly, in my experience at least. Now that we have defined that I believe everyone has hunger they can tap in to let’s talk about application in the specific sense of improving the life we live. If you were to ask e what I am hungry for I would have to say more. I am hungry for more life, more adventure, better relationships, more money, more contribution, more happiness, more growth, more tattoos, better fitness, a better body, more knowledge, more experience. I want everything in my life and in the lives of those around me to be better. I want the world to be better and the environment to be better. I want it all. This is what keeps me going. I am never bored, I am never complacent and I am always seeking out challenges to prove to myself I can do anything I put my mind to. My wife and I have taken up scuba diving and swam with sharks and I was terrified of the ocean and especially of sharks (now I am extremely passionate about both), we hiked El Capitan in Yosemite, a 17 mile hike that took 10.5 hours and gained over 4,000 ft of elevation while living at sea level and not hiking for like a year, I challenge myself physically at least 2-3 times per week just to see what I am made of and develop some mental fortitude. I keep trying to expand my business and grow and develop as a writer and photographer. The point is, I am hungry and because I am hungry I push myself. In every area of my life I know that if it sucks, it is on me to change it. I also know I will figure it out because I have done it before. If we build this hunger for more, if we are never satisfied with what we have but are always grateful we will continually propel ourselves out of our comfort zones and into new and exciting experiences and opportunities. No one can teach hunger because we are all hungry we just have to access that hunger, we have to find something we want more than anything or we have to hit a place of pain that hurts enough for us to say NEVER AGAIN… or we just have to make a decision and get off of our asses. I used to be lazy, I used to sit around and wonder when my time was going to come, when I would get to do the things other people were doing or when a new and exciting job would come my way. I would work within the confines of society and my own thinking to get what I wanted. It took me getting into a lot of pain to finally make myself change. When I sparked that internal hunger it caught and grew into a fire.
Redirect and reaffirm who you are and what you want.
That fire burns bright and hot now and keeps me moving, but sometimes I end up back in my bummed out negative thinking. I start with the negative self talk and my fire starts to dim and I start to just feel comfortable and satisfied with where I am at. I stop focusing on gratitude and I stop believing in the possibilities of life and in my abilities. Physically I am tired and I do not stand up straight, I want to sleep instead of being out enjoying life. When I feel this creeping in the first thing I do is focus on all that I have to be grateful for and all that I have accomplished in my life. I look at the outcomes I want for my life and the work left to be done. I look for the hardest workout I have and I go do it. I take immediate action on something in my life that will put me on the track I want to be on, the track I need to be on to accomplish what I want for my life. I get grateful for what I have and I get hungry for more. I get hungry for opportunity and for growth. I get hungry for challenge and change and i remember that satisfaction is the death of desire and that life is an amazing adventure, meant to be lived and experienced fully. I own my life and how I choose to live it. When I am grateful and I am hungry I can accomplish anything.