The Power of Attention

low-angle photo of pink and orange balloons

Sometimes, it’s difficult to understand happy people. With the challenges facing the entire planet, it’s difficult to escape reality, yet we might think happy people are mentally blind to the challenges. Are they oblivious or are they seeing things that the rest of us are missing? It is possible that the answer may include a little of both, but it is also possible, in the final analysis, that people are happy because they make up their minds to be. Okay, this comment needs a bit of explanation.

Most happy people aren’t blind to the pain in the world, but because they have chosen to be happy – and happiness is a choice – they don’t focus their attention on the pain. They don’t let the cruelty and injustices that are undeniably present in the world rob them of the pleasures and beauty that are also undeniably here. These happier folks tend to focus their attention on solutions, rather than the problems alone.

And it is entirely possible that happy people can see things that others don’t, because their power of paying attention is enormous. Your attention, when you really focus it, is a lot like a searchlight. When you focus on beauty, you’re simply going to see more beauty than other people do.

The same thing happens when you focus on a problem: you see it everywhere you look, even though people around you may need to have it pointed out to them. The challenge is using that laser-like focus to find solutions. Once we do focus our attention on finding solutions, we find possibilities everywhere.

A few things for you to think about: Where is your attention focused these days? Do you see mostly problems or solutions? Are you surrounded by people you enjoy and appreciate, or are you surrounded by people who give you nothing but trouble? Does life send you an unending cavalcade of pleasures or a litany of pain?

One final question: How could changing what you focus your attention on change the results you are getting?