Feelings Follow Focus

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Today’s edition of The Porch was submitted by a colleague named, Jeff Lay. Jeff summarizes a podcast he recently heard and applies it beautifully to how we can change our attitude and approach at work, home, or community. Take a look:

 

I was recently catching-up on a new series by a speaker in Florida I listen to via podcast.  When I saw the title of the series, “Meet the feels”, I was a bit hesitant because feelings are often a point of contention.  That is, personal perception can create somewhat nebulous takeaways.  However, the speaker has historically been able to grab points and make applications where others have failed so I began listening.  His primary message was that feelings are what they are, you feel what you feel.  Those feelings come from your experiences, perceptions, and emotional wiring.  Often times I have talked to people in difficult situations at work or at home and try to apply my own situational wisdom with them but to no sustainable success because it takes one simple sentence to shut down the conversation: “If you had experienced what I had you wouldn’t say that.”  We are all the sum of our experiences and that makes us who we are for better or worse.  The speaker’s point is that though we may not share the same experiences in life, we can all choose to focus on an alternative that drives how we feel.  His major phrase grabber for the message was, “Feelings follow focus.”  Though a simple phrase, it has great power in the message of what it could deliver if effectively utilized.  We all have good and bad experiences but it is what we focus on that drives our feelings about where we work, how we view a coworker, and how we get along with our neighbors.  We are all wired to internalize experiences and then elicit a feeling driven from an emotion.  If we spend our time focusing on the negative then we inevitably feel in a corresponding way.  His secondary point is that we own this portion of our lives.  We may not be able to change a feeling from an experience but we all have the physical wiring and mental capabilities to change what we focus on which in turn changes how we are feeling at that given moment.  In addition to the difficult takeaway that we, ourselves, have the ability to change what we focus on, if we don’t own it, then we give the power and control of a negative feeling to someone else, or something else and it will only compound an already negative feeling!

Take a challenge today and choose to focus on something different, something that changes the way you are currently feeling about a situation, a colleague, or a friend!

 

This is so true! The things we focus on – the things that occupy our minds at any given moment – significantly affect how we feel or what attitude we have. When I am mowing my lawn, I usually wear earbuds and listen to music. During this 2+ hour time, my mind is completely lost in the task at hand and the places that my music takes me. It takes me to beautiful, wonderful places with the people I love doing the things I love to do. My attitude is perfect because my focus is on things that are perfect to me. However, when I am watching the network news or reading the negative stories in the newspaper, my focus is on something totally different. I am consumed with how messed up our world can be and how hopeless life might be for those in war-torn areas, those living in poverty, or those that have lost loved ones to violence. My attitude can become very negative if I linger too long on negative news.

So, you can see by these two examples how Jeff’s observations are exactly correct. When you catch yourself feeling negative, low, or hopeless, re-channel your focus to something more positive or hopeful. At work, when you feel overwhelmed, refocus on those small victories you’ll gain when the project is complete. Refocus on the good news you just heard from a coworker, neighbor or family member. Shifting your mind to something more positive, can give you power over those negative feelings that can overtake us at times.

Consider how you can turn your day, or that of someone else, from negative to positive today. Have a fantastic day!

 

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