Sunday, July 04, 2004

Right Focus

My pastor was saying this morning that when we focus on something bad in our past, that can make us reproduce that thing in our future. The example he gave was a person who focussed on being different to their alcoholic, abusive father - but who ends up reproducing that behaviour themselves.

His point was that it's not our emotional reaction to that past thing that matters, it's the fact that we focus on it that affects our future.

I was reminded of something I was taught during a BMW Advanced Driver Training course. The instructors pointed out that people's tendencies in a crisis situation, for example when losing control on a corner and skidding towards a tree, was to focus on the bad thing (e.g. hitting the tree) and that their efforts to avoid the tree failed, because you go where you are looking.

They taught us to drag our eyes off the tree and focus on where we want to go, because that gives a much better chance of actually getting there.

In a similar way athletes are taught that when competing they should focus on the result they want to get, rather than on their past results.

Sometimes it's tempting to dwell on past mistakes or "what if?" scenarios, but the reality is that they don't bear much relationship to our future. There is so much that each of us can and will achieve that goes way beyond what the limits of our past would indicate. So look forward to your future, and leave the past in the past!

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