What you focus on determines what you see
About 9 years ago, I started a lifelong practice after watching a reality TV show.
Here’s what happened. This show featured interactive experiments designed to mess with your mind and reveal the inner workings of your brain. They had experts in neuroscience and psychology explain the science of perception and attention. I was hooked.
It’s what first opened my eyes to the fact
You can invest your attention into what you want to grow
You can use your attention to be able to see new possibilities you were blind to before
in other words – you can’t see things you aren’t looking for
#1: In one of the episodes, there was a guy doing a trick with money. He was counting it, waving it around, and somehow turned all the $1 bills into $100 bills in front of your face. The catch? Because you were so focused on watching the money, at the end of the video, he is in a completely different outfit. Like, outrageously different. And you don’t even notice until he points it out at the end. Even though it was right in front of you and it was blatantly obvious, you didn’t notice it because you were not focusing or looking for it.
#2 In a study done by Harvard, 24 radiologists were asked to look at lung CT scans to search for nodules or abnormalities. The catch? The scans contained a little dancing gorilla. . . and 20 out of 24 of the radiologists didn’t see it!
How does this impact you?
What you are thinking about — what you focused on — filters the world around you so aggressively that it literally shapes what you see.
It wasn’t because the eyes of the radiologists didn’t happen to fall on the large, angry gorilla. Instead, the problem was in the way their brains had framed what they were doing. They were looking for cancer nodules, not gorillas. They look right at it, but because they’re not looking for a gorilla, they don’t see that it’s a gorilla.
The best magicians and illusionists know this about your brain. If they can manipulate your attention, they can manipulate you (the enemy knows this too).
What you focus on determines what you see : How could this be working in your life?
If you are constantly focused on what your spouse or kids are doing wrong, you could be blinded to everything they are doing right.
If you aren’t actively looking for all of the blessings in your life, you could literally be missing them.
When you constantly dwell on what you don’t have, you are blind to opportunities that could get you what you need.
When your eyes go to what you don’t like about yourself each day, you create a type of body dysmorphia that distorts all of your great qualities.
If you are not actively looking for God, you won’t experience Him like you could. “I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.” – Prov 8:17
That’s just the plan of the enemy, isn’t it? Trying to get you to focus on what is ‘wrong’ to physically block your ability to see what’s possible and right.
The Daily Mind Trick
The trick/practice I do every morning is intentionally set my mental filter to search for what I want/need to see.
We all have a mental filter that directs our brains on what to look for which then determines what we see. It’s always looking for something. If you don’t intentionally direct your mental filter, your default one will take over, which is usually searching for all the lack in your life.
Every morning, I set my filter by:
Focusing on all the blessings in my life so I can see everything good that is around me.
Asking for wisdom on whatever I need wisdom on at that time in my life so my eyes are open to see possibilities and opportunities that I don’t currently see.
In any area of my life I am not loving, I redirect my focus to something good around it or say “I am open to what is possible” in that area so I don’t miss what could actually be good in whatever I am struggling with.
Wisdom: solutions, possibilities, ideas
The most incredible way I have tangibly experienced the power of this practice is by setting my mental filter to look for solutions, possibilities, and ideas. I now have pages and pages of answered ‘wisdom’ prayers that I don’t think I would have if I wasn’t intentionally framing my brain to be open to see ideas and solutions I don’t currently see.
Things I would have never thought of or seen on my own.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5
Whatever I need ideas on, I direct my focus on it every morning until I get a solution or a creative idea. Consistency is the key to this.
I wonder how many opportunities or creative solutions we are missing because we are so distracted by everything else?
I wonder how much of God and good things we are missing because we aren’t spending the time actively looking for them?
I think about this so often.