I’d like to ask you a question, “Are you getting the results you want in your business and/or your personal life right now?”

If you are not, it may be due to how you are choosing to pay attention to specific things while disregarding others. In other words are you focusing your attention on one thing at the expense of missing signposts in your daily life? By paying attention to these signposts instead, you will find you get the results you want.

How are you sorting information at the moment? Are you even aware that you are doing this?

Each and every one of us has our own model of the world that is created by our internal filter system in our mind. This internal filter system sets up our values, our beliefs, our attitudes and our emotional responses. Furthermore, every thought we have, we make up. We fabricate them from our internal filter system.

Our unconscious mind is able to take in about 2 million bits of information every second. Our conscious mind, however, takes in about 134 bits of information per second. Every second we take in 7 + or – 2 chunks of information at a time so our conscious mind “sorts” or prioritizes what is important to us. Our mind will ‘generalize, distort and delete’ information so that it can take in what is most important from moment to moment to fit our model of the world.

Consider this: What if what we think or believe is important to us is in turn, filtered by negative or un-resourceful thoughts? (This is also known as away from motivation. Away from what we want.)

Then not only are we generalizing, distorting and deleting, but we may be doing this through negative thought patterns. Examples of negative thought patterns fall into 3 categories:

  • Negations – phrases set in the negative. E.g. “I can’t, I hate, this is not, you won’t.”
  • Modal Operators of Necessity – phrases where something has to be done out of 
necessity rather than choice. E.g. “I must, I should, I have to, I need to, you’ve got to.”
  • Negative Comparative Deletions – phrases that make a comparison in the 
negative, but don’t explain what we are comparing. E.g. “This is the worst, this is the most useless, This is totally hopeless, this is a lost cause, there’s very little time, there is no possibility here.”

I’d like to share a story with you:

I am originally from Australia. One fine spring day I was driving through San Francisco when I first came to live here in the US. I was on my way to a friend’s house. Now there are a lot of streets in San Fran that are one-way or right turn only.

Quite frankly unless you live there and know the roads pretty well or have an up to date GPS (because things do change constantly) it can be a bit of a maze.

So here I was the little Aussie, driving through the streets of San Francisco and I hadn’t driven through the city very often.

Now the signposts over here are very different to what I am used to in Australia. (Where they are positioned physically, their color etc.)

In Australia, if you are driving in the city of Sydney, which is where I am from, signposts are usually above the road at an intersection. (I.e. they are physically above the road at the intersection.) Major signposts are large in size and have a green background with white writing on them.

In San Francisco, signposts can be on the sidewalk on the side of the intersection, they are small (compared to what I am used to) kind of like a postage stamp by comparison and they have black writing on a white background. (Are you starting to get a picture of what’s going on?)

So here’s what happened. I started to realize “I am lost.” How? I am beginning to feel “lost.” I am getting a sinking feeling “Uh Oh, I am lost” sensation in my gut (let’s call it a negative or un-resourceful emotion because it didn’t feel good.)

I start running in my head I don’t want to be lost, I don’t want to be lost (that is a negation) and I am thinking I need to find my way out of here (modal operator of necessity.)

I then start looking at the maps I brought with me, which I had on the passenger seat (I didn’t have a GPS in my car) so I am focusing on the maps and on not being lost.

What am I doing here?

I am actually focusing on the “assumption” that I am lost, so where is my attention focused on? It is focused on “being lost” instead of the outcome I wanted.

This is what happened. There was a street sign on the sidewalk one very large block away from the Intersection of 14th St (the street I was driving on) and Geary St (the street I was approaching).

It said Right Turn Only at Geary. That would have been good information for me to know wouldn’t it?

However, I didn’t see it. I was too busy thinking about being lost.

As I got closer to Geary St there were arrows painted on the road pointing to the right but I didn’t see them because I was too busy studying my maps and by the time I looked up my car was on top of the arrows so I couldn’t see them.

Right at the intersection of 14th and Geary there is a signpost on the sidewalk that has a right hand pointing arrow painted on it with the word “ONLY” painted underneath it. (Obviously Right Turn only, but again I didn’t see it.) I was so focused, so determined I was not going to be lost after all I was consulting a map (my map showed me it was the most direct route) that I simply did not see the sign.

Finally, right in the center of Geary St directly in front of the intersection I was on, were several “sticks” that acted as a barrier. So, directly in front of me is a barrier (well actually a partial barrier some of the sticks were missing due to an accident that occurred a week before.) I still did not register this as a sign. (The sticks in the road were unfamiliar to me and at least half the road was open so I did not see it as a barrier.)

I crossed the intersection…

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