Success or Failure-Where Is Your Attention Focused?

One of the most important skills that all professional race car drivers develop is the discipline of focusing at all times on the direction in which they want their vehicle to travel. This is especially important if and when they lose control of the car.

The natural human tendency if we are behind the wheel of a vehicle that is out of control is to look at the potential destination of our current trajectory. If we are headed for a guard rail or the wall of a race track, the chance that we will hit it is dramatically increased by our looking at that potential outcome.

I emphasized the word “potential” twice to make clear that our conscious input is a significant factor in determining the ultimate outcome of the situation. I will reiterate here what I have touched upon in previous posts. Multiple spiritual philosophies have taught for thousands of years what is now corroborated by the field of quantum physics: There are no outcomes independent of either observation or expectation.

Therefore, when driving a vehicle that may be momentarily out of control, by focusing on a desirable trajectory or destination, we create an overwhelming increase in the likelihood that we will steer toward it. The power of the subconscious will direct our body to steer us to safety in a way that the conscious mind cannot. The discipline lies in training our conscious mind to give the subconscious the appropriate instructions. Those instructions come in the form of where we direct our conscious attention.

I could have worded the first sentence of the previous paragraph in terms of the possibility of not crashing the car. But in the same way that we need to direct our attention where we want to go, our thoughts should be aligned with the outcome we want, as opposed to avoiding the undesirable outcome.

This is yet another way in which we have a choice as to where we focus our conscious attention. And the distinction between those choices sends our subconscious mind one of two dramatically different messages with significantly different outcomes.

Driving with Presence of Mind

When we apply racing principles as metaphors for our lives, we have a great deal of profound wisdom at our disposal. This is because race car driving, just like living intentionally, requires enormous presence, focus, and concentration. (And no, I’m not a huge racing fan. The metaphor just works.)

When we live merely “to get by”, to avoid the proverbial car crash, we still are operating from a state of consciousness where we are focused as much, if not more, upon negative outcomes. And our subconscious, the auto-pilot of our life, operates based upon the dominant thought and feeling states with which we furnish it.

Typically, those thought and feeling states originate in some pre-conscious (five years or younger) version of ourselves. So we aren’t always aware of the dominant thought and feeling states that are providing the primary operating instructions for our auto-pilot program.

However, if you find yourself consistently dissatisfied with the events and outcomes in your life, there is a very good chance that you need to replace the dominant thought and feeling states encoded in your subconscious mind. And the way to do that is through the conscious repetition of focusing upon and affirming, with as much emotion as possible, your desired outcomes.

Returning to our driving metaphor, you need to redirect your focus toward your preferred destination. It requires mindful practice, discipline, and repetition. But in time, you begin instinctively to look away from the outcomes that you fear or find unsatisfactory, and instead become focused upon, even consumed by or obsessed with the direction in which you do want to move.

Often We Have More Control than We Acknowledge

Another reason race car drivers learn to direct their attention toward a desirable goal is so that they may determine the outcome of the race to the greatest possible extent rather than being subject completely to the choices of the drivers around them.

Far too frequently in our lives we allow external circumstances to dictate what, when, how, where, and why we take action. This is equivalent to determining which direction we will travel in our vehicle by which way it is facing when we get behind the wheel.

Or imagine getting into your car, opening your preferred driving app or onboard navigation system and simply following the directions to the most recent destination entered into it. You may have been the one to enter that destination even, but it might not serve you in that moment.

What if you’re already there? What if it sends you to your Great Aunt Mabel’s best friend’s neighbor’s sister’s quilting group, but you need to go to the dentist? What if you need to take the little ones to a birthday party, but you end up at the adult toy shop? AWKWARD!

As long as we are subject solely to external conditions, we will find ourselves crashing into proverbial walls, driving off of cliffs, at the very least involved in constant fender benders.

To be sure, we cannot always control road and traffic conditions, the actions of other drivers, or chance encounters like a flat tire. But we can determine our destination, find its location, and make our way there, even if the route we travel in  the end turns out not to be the most direct.

Ultimately, we create, or at the very least influence, our external reality by the condition of our internal state. And sometimes, we act despite the internal state feeling less than ideal to us. In such a situation, the act of doing in the face of adversity will change our internal state.

At such times in fact, we are affirming a new internal state by deciding to feel empowered despite even the biochemical and psychological conditions that would suggest we feel otherwise. We are affirming that despite appearances, circumstances, and even undesirable experiences, we are in control of the final outcome of the journey. That regardless of the conditions that may make finding an alternate route advisable or necessary, we will get where we want and need to go .

Are there ways in which you have been focused consciously or subconsciously upon the outcomes you wish to avoid? Are there ways in which you have been living in fear, rather than faith? If so, your first step toward greater fulfillment and purpose may be to start focusing upon and envisioning your desired outcome.

Please reach out to me if there is any way that I may assist you.

At your service.

Jon

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