What we focus on determines the content of our lives.
I don’t mean that in some bullshit law of attraction way, where if you think it, it will come. I mean that what we focus on becomes part of the fabric of our reality.
Things will still proceed as they will, but our perception of them, how we react and what we do with it will differ greatly.
Spiders are a good example.
A spider appears on your hand. If you hate or fear spiders, you’ll react differently than if you think they’re the coolest thing on the planet. If you don’t give two shits about spiders or your heroin addiction has you jonesing so badly you can’t think of anything else, you might not even notice.
You could change your mind partway through. Maybe you’ve been trying to get over your fears of spiders, so your focus shifts to a forced resilience, and an attempt at being open-minded toward our eight-legged friends. On the other hand, you might think it’s awesome, but then it sinks its teeth into you, so your focus shifts to flight or revenge.
Focus determines how we interact with reality. Focus on a skill long enough, you’ll get better at it.
Obsess over a slight long enough and you’ll read whatever you have to into it in order to justify your continued obsession.
Have a desperate need for attention or can’t get over the fact that your parents spoiled you? Guess what’s dictating your behaviour.
That’s right. It’s what you’re focused on (in those example: attention and entitlement).
Focus is the tool we use whenever we’re conscious in any form. Awareness isn’t knowing what’s around us; it’s how we control our focus.
Control your focus, and you’ll control your world (or at least your behaviour, attitude, skills and connections within it).
For me, my focus for a long time was on being the victim. Blaming everyone else for my lack of success (or even initiative). I still do that, from time to time. From time to time, it’s even legit.
But that’s not where my focus should be. My focus is where it should always be – on enjoying this life, right here, right now, and doing so in a way that engages the deepest parts of my self. Immersing myself in my passion to explore the world, to create connections, to open my mind to newer and greater and different things. Playing devil’s advocate to the world (and my own mind’s) various assumptions, in order to get at a deeper truth.
I’m always peeling the onion, looking for that alternate view, that way I haven’t thought of yet, and challenging accepted viewpoints.
That makes me sound like a dynamo or super-original thinker, but I’m not really. I’m more of a synthesizer. I listen. I digest. I sift and sort and connect and discard. Then I put forth a view, tentatively. Sometimes, new information comes up. In the past, I was focused on being absolutely right; nothing will freeze you in place like absolutism.
Now, I focus on evolution. If new information proves me wrong, even if it don’t like it, I try to work it in. I test it.
The best positions are ones where the criticisms only serve to bolster the argument. For example, I say water is wet. Someone says it’s not. I say, okay, let’s test that theory and put my hand in the water. Yep, it’s wet.
On the other hand, bad positions use specious reason, or just force of will to survive. If I say a paper towel can stand up to a samurai sword cut, and then someone proves me wrong, to continue that view would be folly (though it happens all the time with less ridiculous notions, like today’s new “flat earthers” or evolution deniers or “Trump is a great president” morons).
I’m shifting my focus to be open. More aware. More present. More like a fluid than a wall.
Focus isn’t static, but it is a determinant on what we see. We can deny anything. We can accept anything. It’s just how we choose our focus.
And if we can’t master that, then we’ve misused on the most important tool we’ll ever have.