The last stretch is all about how to navigate tough terrain when we have nothing left in the tank. Part 2 dealt with the need to maintain momentum, no matter how much you feel like giving up. Part 3, the final part in this blog series, is all about the need to protect your FOCUS.
The reality is what you focus on expands. Chapter 3 of The Middle book goes into this in a whole lot more detail. Whatever we pay attention to manifests. It grows. There is the age-old fable about a boy who sits with his dad and explains that there are two packs of wolves that seem to be fighting in his head. One is a positive pack (representing positive thoughts) and the other is a negative pack (representing negative thoughts). He asks his dad which pack he thinks will win the fight to which his dad replies, ‘whichever pack you feed’. Every day we can choose whether we want to feed positive thoughts or negative thoughts in the following areas:
- Who we are.
- What we do.
- Our future.
- Our relationships.
- Our marriages.
- Our parenting skills.
- Our career.
- The economy
- Our country.
- What we own.
- Our past.
The list goes on! The more you wallow in negative thought, the more it overrules anything good. And the reality is there is SO MUCH negative aspects to focus on in all these areas. That’s life. But we have a choice and we need to exercise the right to choose what we focus on.
If you have been lost in negative thinking here are a few things you can do:
- Get a piece of paper and divide it into categories such as the ones I have mentioned above. Write down some positive aspects within each of these categories that you can focus on. Then read them out loud and declare gratitude for each of them.
- When you wake up, sift through your thoughts quickly until you land on a positive thought. Hold onto that thought and focus on it. Think about thoughts like clouds. They pass through the sky, some positive clouds and other negative clouds. Let the negative ones go right on by, in one ear and out the next!
- At the end of the day, choose one thing that you can be grateful for. If you have a family, ask this question at dinner and cultivate a culture of gratitude.
- Spend more time with positive people.
- Stop reading the news.
- Stop watching those clips on you tube which fuel negative thoughts.
Think of it like compound interest. These small opportunities to focus on the positive will, over time, build a more positive outlook in your life. Let it expand! Don’t feed the negative pack of wolves.
By sticking to the practical application in this three part series; taking care of the basics, maintaining momentum and protecting my focus, I have been able to tackle the last stretch of that endurance run or the last stretch of a tough season. As we always say at The Middle, you were made for tough terrain. That terrain can sometimes feel like it goes on forever. We are all feeling it now in the midst of this pandemic. It’s simply unprecedented. But it’s here. It’s real and we need to keep going.
I will see you at the finish line.