Why You Should Never Focus On What You Don’t Want
Often, what you fear most comes upon you because when your self talk imprints in your mind when you give it sanction it controls your behaviors. If you dwell on something you don’t want to happen, you will subconsciously move toward it.
Do you know any accident-prone people? What do you suppose they think about? Having accidents! The insurance industry knows that most accidents are caused by accident-prone people who are looking for each other. When you “know” you’re accident-prone, you create an accident.
To the degree that you focus on what you don’t want, you are drawn in that direction. You can sit around with others and talk about what’s wrong in life, but your negative, destructive talk will only keep you away from what you want. The positive way to think is, “What will it look like when we don’t have the problem? What will things look like when they’re fixed?”
What you focus on is what you get. For example, once you learn the skills of driving a car, driving becomes an unconscious habit. You simply picture where you want the car to go, and you automatically turn the steering wheel in that direction. You don’t have to consciously think, “Turn left, turn right, foot on the brake, foot on the gas.” You automatically adjust according to the image you hold in your mind of where you want to go. So how do accidents occur? They occur when you start picturing what you don’t want to happen.
Imagine yourself teaching a teenager to drive. The kid’s driving down the road, crowding the center line, and you visualize a head on collision any minute. So you say, “Watch out for the oncoming cars.” Where does the kid look? At the oncoming cars! Automatically, his subconscious tells him, “Aim for those cars!” When the kid drifts over the center line, you get upset and say, “Get over on the curb!” Those words trigger another picture, and the kid drives right onto the curb! You get mad and say, “Watch out for that parked car!” Smack! Right into the parked car. You then fix the blame fast: “It’s this problem kid! Why won’t he listen to me?” Well, that’s just it: he did listen.
What you visualize most vividly is what you get, whether it’s good for your or not. For example, if you golf and have a hook or slice that always puts you in the sand or water, what do you tend to think about when you’re playing? You reaffirm that you’ve got this terrible slice. And that produces the perfect slice just like steering your bike or driving your car. Once your self-talk says “I always slice the ball,” your body will automatically recreate your inner picture on the outside so the two pictures match. Not what you want, but what you think about.
You say, “No, not me.” But when you approach the tee on that most treacherous hole, if you really visualize your ball landing on the green, why are you taking out your bad ball? See, the difficulty is in controlling your self-talk. If you know there’s a water hazard and you tell yourself, “I don’t want to slice the ball into the water,” even though you may think you’re doing the opposite, your subconscious draws you toward your most dominant picture. The “don’t want to” doesn’t create a picture. “Water” is the picture, so water is where you’re drawn.
But then, as you’re walking down the fairway, you say to yourself “There I go again. That’s just like me.” So you not only slice the ball once when you hit it, but you do it again every time you think about it: “I must have sliced a hundred times if I’ve sliced once. In fact, I’ve always had this slice.” By the time the game is over, you’ve mentally “hit” about 500 slices! You’re better than you give yourself credit for: you’ve been slicing so often, you’re an expert at it!
So, with your self-talk, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Some people continually set themselves up by anticipating what will go wrong in their marriage, what will go wrong in their company, what will go wrong with their health. Worrying is negative goal-setting. It focuses you on what you don’t want so that’s exactly what you get.
Business leaders consider the way you lead your people. Parents think about how you guide your children. Coaches how do you run your teams? Spiritual leader show are you counseling your people? Are you giving them images of what you don’t want them to do? Are you leading them into the parked car?