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All of us are very busy creating our personal reality. Creating is actually a full-time job and we are all quite good at it. Problem is, most of the time we do this unconsciously. That means that there’s a strong likelihood we are busy creating things we don’t really want and we don’t even realize it.
Because creating is part of our nature, we are usually not consciously aware of our role in the creative process. There is a natural tendency to resist the idea that we are the ones creating it. This is especially true when we are creating a reality that we don’t really like.
Until we are ready to acknowledge the role our personal creativity plays in our own reality we will probably continue to create results we would rather avoid.
Avoidance and the power of negative focus
We’ve talked many times about using the power of focus to help us accomplish our goals. But without direction, focus can actually cause us to start creating the very things we’re trying to avoid. In fact, an avoidance mindset can program us to use our creativity to continually produce the exact things we don’t want.
Here’s what happens when we try to avoid something. Let’s say it’s a cold winter day and there’s ice on the walkway. Obviously, you don’t want to slip on the ice and fall down. So, as you go out the door you think to yourself: “Be careful, don’t slip on the ice.”
What happens next?
Your mind cannot process the thought “don’t slip on the ice” without visualizing you slipping on the ice. What have you just done? You’ve just created a mental image of yourself slipping on the ice, and now that’s what you are focused on. The slicker the walkway, the more you will focus on that mental image.
Can you see where this is leading? You’re walking down a slippery path and your mind is focused on an image of you slipping and falling. The harder you focus, the more likely you are to slip and fall. In this case, you are using the power of focus as a tool for creating the very situation you were trying to avoid.
Negative target fixation
Target fixation is a process by which the brain becomes locked onto an observed object. In an avoidance scenario, the observer can become so fixated on the target that they will forget to take the necessary action to avoid it, and end up colliding with the object.
This is a common issue for motorcyclists and mountain bikers. A motorcycle or bicycle will go where the rider is looking. When the rider has his attention fixated on an obstacle he wants to avoid, he greatly increases the chances of a collision. That’s the power of focus.
The same thing can happen when you visualize a situation you are trying to avoid. The harder you focus on it, the greater the likelihood of you creating that exact situation. Focusing on the avoidance of a negative outcome actually increases the likelihood of that outcome.
Creating a different response
Understanding the human tendency to adopt an avoidance mindset affords us the power to overcome negative target fixation. Once we recognize that we are subconsciously programmed to focus on things we want to avoid, we can change our response.
To accomplish this, it’s important to acknowledge the role of external input on our focus. If we constantly expose ourselves to negative propaganda, such as the nightly news, it’s going to influence the direction of our focus, and by extension, it will influence the reality we are creating.
If the talking heads are trying to convince us that we’re going to catch the next swine flu, lose our homes, or become a victim of identity theft, what kind of outcomes are we going to visualize? The fastest way to direct our creativity toward a negative reality is to focus on negative things. Need proof? Just look at how many people manage to manifest the exact reality they see on the nightly news.
What are you focusing on?
One of the things that reveals what we are focused on is our speech. Do you tend to talk about problems, or opportunities? Do you contribute to negative conversations, or do you endeavor to shift the conversation in a more positive direction?
Is your conversation encouraging, or discouraging? Do you talk about what’s wrong with your life, or do you share the things you’re grateful for? Do you have a complaining spirit, or do you look for the positive aspect of any situation?
Most of us like to think of ourselves as having a positive outlook. If that’s true, then it will be reflected in our conversations. So I encourage you to take a close look at your favorite topics for discussion, and see if there’s any room for adjustment. We tend to talk about the things that we are focused on.
Avoid avoidance (how’s that for an oxymoron?)
How do we avoid focusing on negative possibilities? We need to look past them and see our desired outcome. When a motorcyclists wants to avoid an obstacle, instead of getting trapped in negative target fixation he needs to look past that obstacle. He needs to focus on where he wants to be, not on what he wants to avoid.
We can do the same thing! If we’re trying to get from our front door to the car over an slippery walkway, focus on the car instead of the walkway. If money is tight and bills are piling up, focus on income, not the possibility of poverty. If you want to feel good about your life, focus on the things you are grateful for instead of your problems.
Accept that you are actively creating your reality
If you don’t like the reality you have been creating you can change it. But to do that, you first need to accept your role in the creative process. You need to take responsibility for the reality you’ve created before you can start creating a better one. Once you do that you will empower yourself to create the life you really want.
Don’t become a victim of negative target fixation. Don’t allow external influences to poison your mind with negative propaganda. Focus your creativity on where you want to be and fully accept your role in what you are creating. Then get ready to be amazed as the doors of possibility swing open and your life takes on a whole new dimension.
Do you feel like you are creating your reality? Are you creating what you want, or don’t want? Have you ever struggled with negative target fixation?
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