DTHT Episode 9 – What You Focus On Does Not Always Expand
Welcome to Do The Hard Thing Episode 9. I am Jason Archer… creator, freedom seeker and leader of self | full time student and part time teacher of self mastery, and today’s theme is “What You Focus On Does Not Always Expand”.
So, turn up the volume, put down the distractions and let’s kick this off…
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Have you ever started down a path that you felt held a great deal of meaning for you, and then for whatever reason you could not move toward the outcome you wanted to create. Whether it was a Mental, Physical, or Spiritual target you sought, it didn’t matter… there was some part of you who refused to move. This podcast is born out of that specific idea. Do The Hard Thing is an exploration in human movement.
I know you’ve heard this one before… “What you focus on expands.”
Every dream board wielding watcher of “The Secret” and reader of personal development literature has at some point been exposed to this concept.
And, there is truth here. Focused energy on just about any topic or thing you want to bring into being will assist you in doing just that… Yet, there is an over simplication here that has always bugged me. Largely, it comes down to the idea that simply setting your focus is enough. That you can put of picture of a new car on your mirror and in short order that new car will end up in your driveway… or that you can write your deepest desires on a sticky note that hangs on your rear view mirror and magically those desires will manifest by themselves.
Well, in short. That has not been my experience. I doubt it will be yours either. Especially when it comes to money… Stay tuned for more on that.
First, lets get to the bottom of this idea of simply focusing on things to manifest them and make them real inside your life. To do that, we need to look at your brain. That 3 pounds of grey matter about the size of 2 fists between your ears.
Turns out there is some science happening here that you may want to take notice of… On some level, you’ve probably been exposed to the fact that scientists have been doing their level best to identify and map the various parts of the brain for many years now in an effort to understand what part of the brain is responsible for various thought processes and activities.
And while there is still a long way to go, certain bits of the map have started to be reliably identified.
One such area, which sits at the base of the brain, has been identified and named the Reticular Activating System or RAS. It turns out that the RAS acts as a filter. We all are being constantly bombarded with information and stimuli all day everyday. And, we need a mechanism to let us know what is important and what is to be ignored.
The Reticular Activating System assumes this role. It’s job is to show you what is most important to you within the context of the stimuli you are receiving in any given moment.
Let’s take a look at a concrete example. If you’ve ever wanted a new car, you’ve probably had this happen… Let’s say you decide you want to buy a new Tesla… Because you’ve got an extra 80k laying around and it would be so cool to tell your friends you own one of Elon’s latest creations, so you decide on the Model S in grey and begin your shopping adventure in the new and used battery powered car market.
What happens? Do you start to notice more and more Model S’s? Yes, you see them more often in your environment. In fact, it seems like they are everywhere… You see them pass you on the highway, you see them parked at the mall, and you see them in ads online and in print.
So what happened to make this Tesla suddenly show up all over town… Well, you happened. You decided that buying this car deserved enough of your attention and focus that it caused your RAS to start filtering out the noise of other cars and trucks, and show you the one car out of the thousands you see each day that you are most interested in at this point in time.
The idea of the power of focus is undeniable… So, using tools like feeding your mind images or phrases of things and people you want in your life is one method of telling your brain to filter out the noise and show you all the possibilities available to you in your life on a daily basis that are that thing or those things you seek.
It’s not magic, it’s a mental and biological hack that you can use to tip the scales in your favor.
Now, this is where most people stop. They decide that simply giving something enough attention to cause the brain to consider it important is all that is necessary to get that thing.
But what if you don’t have 80k dollars to go buy that new Tesla? Was focusing on the Model S enough to manifest it as not only being in your life, but being a possession of yours?
No… of course not. And, this is the issue successful people tend to take with a book and movie like The Secret. You still have to Do The Hard Thing. You must go into action and create a pathway to acquire the thing you want. In this case, a car.
It could be anything though. A partner in a business, a relationship, a new home… It’s one thing to see the thing you want out in the world somewhere, yet it’s a new thing entirely to actually claim ownership of it.
So let’s say all you did each day was focus on the car. You think long and hard about it… you make it your screensaver. You put a photo of it on your mirror. Your RAS shows you the car each day. It’s everywhere. Well at some point, you will realize that you have to take action in finding one to buy and coming up with the funds to do so.
The question then becomes, did your focus and your RAS awaken enough of a desire in your to put your head down and go to work to make it yours? Maybe you sell something you own to get the Tesla, or you cash out a stock or bond, or you decide to take on an extra job, or maybe all you have to do is arrange financing and get approved.
Whatever it is that you have to do to get this car, are you willing to pay the price. Thinking about it is easy… will you take action. At this point in the game it’s easier to see that many times in our lives when we want something or claim to want something, what we bump up against is the resistance to doing the work necessary or making the changes necessary to achieve our targets.
We’ve all been there.
I had a moment this morning where I almost didn’t get up and get my day going like I have committed to do. Each day I’m up around 6:30 and first order of business is getting out the door for a 2 mile hike while listening to something that will feed my mind and allow me to expand as a man and a leader.
Honestly, today… I did not want to get out of bed. I was comfortable and warm. However, as I lay there debating getting up with myself I realized that getting up and learning while doing something good for my body for the 252nd day in a row was more important to creating the vision I hold of being a leader, than laying in bed for another 2 hours.
So I did the hard thing and dragged my ass out of bed. I paid the price so I could step closer to what I want for myself. No amount of pictures on my dream board will replace movement and action.
What about you? Take a moment and think about what is important to you and what you want for yourself, and then ask yourself what action are you taking to get it… Be honest. If you are not closer to where you want to be after some self examination, maybe it’s time to move your ass, or maybe it’s time to just stop lying to yourself about what you want.
If you want to lose 20 lbs in the next 60 days, and you are unwilling to give up the office donuts and birthday cake your chances are slim to none in slimming down. You can think about being thin all day long, the physical result will come only from your consistent action.
That’s it for today! Thank you for listening, and if you found value in this message be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Google, Castbox, or Stitcher | Share this with those you know need to hear it on social | And I’ll see you back here in the next episode | This is Jason Archer signing off | Now… go, and DO THE HARD THING.
Listen at dothehardthing.net