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You can’t take your attention from something. You have to give your attention to something else.

You can’t take your attention from something. You have to give your attention to something else.

OK, for the next two minutes, don’t think about elephants. Go!

Almost by definition, you’re going to think about elephants. How can you not think about elephants? Think about something else. Our minds are not strong enough, or rather, we’re not strong enough to guide our minds, towards not thinking about what’s on your minds. Our attention is simply there, stationery, seeing what is. For our attention to focus on something else, we need to put something else in front of what we were focused on.

  • Don’t think about not gaining weight. Think about exercising and eating right. Or easier yet: exercise and eat better .
  • Don’t try to keep your mind off of the job you don’t want. Focus on the job you do want–and gather the proof why you’re so qualified for the job.
  • Don’t focus on what you don’t want. Work towards what you do want.

Mope around the house all you want. Complain about how things aren’t going your way. How the other guy got the job you wanted. Focus on your fat. Think about your weight. Contemplate how little you know.

When you’re done with all that and you’re ready for change, give your attention towards the future. A future that you want to be. What does the past have to do with the future? That’s up to you. You can continue doing as you’ve been doing and all will happily glide along as if nothing has ever changed. Because, of course, it hasn’t.

How do  you know when you’re giving your attention to what you want?

Because it glides, it’s smooth, it feels right. It feels good. You want to do it more often. It launches rockets, it produces even more than what you began with.

Once you’re on cruise control, you’ll no longer see any need to focus your attention on anything that you don’t want. You’ll learn to move your focus away if you slide back into who you were. You’ll learn to politely step aside from people who bring you back to the focus that brought you back to the attention you didn’t want to have.

Don’t fight it. Don’t paddle upriver. Turn around when the time is right and go with the power of the current. You’ll know when you need to turn around and once you’re a ways downriver, you’ll first frown at the work you put in to getting upriver, but then you’ll turn your gaze back downriver and smile that you’re now on the path going with the current and the past will be behind you and the future will flow around you.

You can't take your attention from something. You have to give your attention to something else.

An elephant might never forget, but we’ll forget as soon as a deer comes along.

About The Author


I don’t like to call them excuses. They’re priorities. With a handful of exceptions, we usually have a choice in our actions. They just need to be prioritized.

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