Focusing On What Does Not Come Naturally

Can you multiply “24 X 24” while making a left turn in traffic? Do you automatically stop talking to a driver who is passing a large truck when you are in the passenger seat? According to Daniel Kahneman, you will not be able to perform a math problem when turning and you will stop talking when a driver is trying to concentrate. Do you find this surprising? Will you try this exercises today? Our tendency to focus on what does not come naturally to us (which may include multi-tasking) causes us to some other tune things out.

How can we use this information about how our brain works to enhance our lives? Well, how did you start your day? Did you get up and say, “Yay, it’s Friday!”? Or maybe, you dreaded today because today is the deadline for an important project and you will be working overtime. No matter which start you had, think about it. If you got up and were excited about Friday, there is a good chance that you noticed every good thing that happened in direct relation to it being Friday. Or you noticed all the obstacles to your deadline.

Is it possible that if you focus on the good things, you are training your brain to notice the good things? Or are you training your brain to see all the bad things? If your brain has to make a decision while it is in default mode, which decision will it make? I personally was waiting on an email regarding an answer I needed, and the answer came earlier than I expected it. I was looking for it, so I did not miss it. I was actually a bit excited because I think I can make this deadline now. However, I could have taken a different approach.

If we choose to focus on all the things that are wrong, we increase the possibility that we will miss it. Have you ever been in traffic and gotten so caught up in the commute that you drove past the place you were going? It seems almost impossible to do. You got showered, got dressed, got in your car, and still passed your destination. I can tell you why it happened. You were mentally somewhere else, and I believe a lot of people spend time that way.

So, I invite you to focus on what you want mentally today. If you focus on the right outcomes, I think that you will notice that they have already shown up.